Tag: animals

Poke…Poke…Poke…AAGGHH • Felted Alpaca

Every so often I like to take a break from knitting to try a new craft. A lot of the time I struggle to really get into it the way I do with knitting. The jury is still out with needle felting though. On the one hand, I bled at least 3 separate times doing this project. On the other, the process and final results are incredibly intriguing! After learning the techniques from the kid’s felting kit last time, I was ready to level up with a llama/alpaca kit. And thus, I made a felted alpaca.

It didn’t seem as easy this time around for some reason. I felt powerful with each poke the last time I did it. Some of my pieces this time just didn’t seem to felt. It required a lot of extra work, hence, the bleeding. At one point I received a raspy, “What ARE you DOING?!” from my mom. I suppose all she could hear from the other room was -poke poke poke poke POKE POKE AAAGGHH-. Is it the wool? Do felting needles get dull and need to be changed? Without the very specific guidelines of the instruction book, trying to achieve the right proportions for each piece was a struggle as well. It took a lot of effort to make each leg the same length, and I’m finding some to be squishier than others…

Right here is where I stopped the first time because I was too scared to keep poking or add a face. Usually this is where I mess up and ruin entire projects. What I have learned with felting is that more time and finessing tends to make projects turn out better. I sucked it up and refined a little more, and now he’s a little more alpaca-like!

This guy’s a little fragile, but still pretty cute! He’s Paul’s new pet. Next time I think I’m going to try to make something a little more useful. Maybe some stitch markers…? Stay tuned. For now, the team’s got a new felted alpaca pet. Name suggestions, anyone?

A Weasley Sweater for DUUUKE

This is my buddy, Duke. Duke is a fox terrier with a goofy smile, skinny legs and a pointy bum! Duke loves cuddles and any kind of attention he can get. And although Duke came from Alberta where the snow piles high and the temperature drops low, Duke lives in the temperate weather of Vancouver, and he gets cold!

Back when I first started knitting, I made myself a Weasley sweater which turned out so well everyone else wanted one too. 3 sweaters later, we decided that our family dog Pepper should have one. I made my first dog sweater in the same style, and this became our family go-to for Christmas and family photos.

Years later, Pepper is no longer with us, but I now make friends with all the furbabies I encounter. I am grateful for all the people who are kind enough to share their furry friends with me. I received special commission to make a sweater for Duke, and I was happy to oblige!

When you don’t have a dog to model, but you do have a ceramic polar bear…

The quality of my work has much improved since my early knitting days. Better materials, better workmanship, better outcome. I got to work with hand-dyed merino wool (courtesy of Duke’s momma aka Fidley Dyeworks), and tried my hand at fairisle knitting. I even have fancy fabric tags with my logo on it now!

Duke is a lovely customer. He absolutely returns all the love and looks super handsome and cozy. He’s probably the fanciest doggo in the park.

 

Bonus: found this cute little video of Pepper wanting all the attention. This is what knitting with a dog was like <3

Pocket Teddy in Action

Pocket Teddy in Action

Back in December, I made a tiny teddy bear for my cousin that he could take with him to work for moral support. The whole concept behind it was to create a little buddy that could join him on adventures and provide some emotional support for those rough days.

I like that idea of having a miniature stuffed companion that’s discrete and easy to take travelling. I think a lot of people would benefit from having a little extra comfort and assurance in their day to day lives–I know I would! I am currently working on designing my own little critters that may one day follow kids to school, or teens to university, or even adults to work. Having felt the burden of anxiety myself, I think anyone who has ever dreaded leaving the house would like a little buddy to go with them.

In the meantime however, here’s what pocket teddy has been up to.

15731669_10211014987626509_978390770_nHe travelled safely with a few friends over to California in time for Christmas.

17911064_10212100516404050_220519684_nHe sat in this pocket and went to work at the library.

18110754_10212194449512319_376450668_nAnd most recently, he was there to provide support in a Chinese (amateur) speech competition…in front of 400 guests!

Super pleased to see these photos and hear about how pocket teddy’s been helping out. This was the motivation I needed to seriously consider going further with my designs. I’m still trying to squeeze out whatever projects I can to make use of the cold weather we have left, but once summer rolls around, it will be all about the pocket critters!

Welcome to the Fam!

Welcome to the Fam!

As January has come to an end it’s really starting to hit me that it’s 2017! Knitting/crochet quickly became such a core part of my identity this past year, to myself and many others. It was never something I spoke often about before that year. It was always something I did in secret in my little home workshop. In 2016, I was outed! And in fact, the amount of support I’ve received has been so heart-warming.

It’s been a good year of creating. The overarching theme of my 2016 crafting pursuits was amigurumi. Here’s a quick summary of all the new yarn babies that were born from my workshop in 2016!

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All of these were gifts and are no longer in my possession, but don’t be fooled! There may or may not be more experimental critters lurking around. Perhaps they’ll make an appearance this year?

Oh Deer, Is Christmas Over Already?

Oh Deer, Is Christmas Over Already?

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We have officially taken down our Christmas tree, and even though Christmas day is already just a faint memory, it still makes me a little sad!

I’ve never been a huge fan of Christmas ornaments. What I mean by that is I like the tree to be properly decorated with sets of baubles–maybe 2 or 3 varieties, and some lights and tinsel. To have a tree completely cluttered with ornaments that came from here and there is too much for my OCD brain to handle! I mean, clearly you’ll have favourites and some will inevitably be shoved to the back of the tree. And those that are super cute on their own end up clashing with all the other super cute ornaments, just fighting for attention. This year however, the family that I work with in my day job had a beautifully decorated house that I was lucky enough to get to visit for a few hours most days. On any regular day, their interior design is #goals, but when Christmas season rolled around, boy, did it become like a movie set. They had a chubby tree completely littered with all sorts of ornaments…and it looked good!

So against my better judgment, I decided to crochet Christmas ornaments. Even though ornaments people gift to me often just end up in a box somewhere, I could feel that they would fully appreciate and make use of them. I wanted to make something that the kiddos would enjoy, and upon browsing a tiny amigurumi book (book on tiny amigurumi…the book itself was actually quite large), I settled on making little reindeer ornaments.

I learned 2 very cool things from this book:

  1. You can crochet an i-cord.
  2. When making tiny amigurumi limbs/antlers, you don’t have to darn each one on to the body (which I hate), you just have to leave openings to pull the entire tube through! (ie. Instead of making 2 front legs, you make 1 piece that is equivalent of both legs plus a little, and leave holes when making your body so this long piece can be pulled right through. It requires a little bit more planning, but totally worth it in my opinion.)

So, as we start a new year and wait for Christmas season to roll around again, I can only hope these little fellas get to come out again next year!

Pocket Teddy

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…because who doesn’t need a tiny companion to whisper supportive messages to you while you’re out facing the world?

This tiny guy is literally pocket-sized and so adorable! I used this pattern and adapted it slightly to create my little buddy here. He’s perfect for a quick project or to use up scraps of yarn.

 

He was actually a gift for a cousin of mine who loves stuffed bears. He is the classic story of the kid who gets a teddy bear when he is born and keeps it as his prized possession as he becomes an adult. While he collects other bears as well, this one is the favourite–and you can tell! If he could bring this bear everywhere with him, he would. When he leaves the house, he says goodbye to the bear, and they exchange butterfly kisses. It’s sweet, really. How great would it be if the bear was tiny and could go to work with him?

As much as I would have loved to keep the little guy for myself, I think he’ll receive tons of love and care at his new home. I will definitely be making more tiny pocket friends though.

Totoro Amigurumi

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Happy Holidays! This was actually a project I did over the summer, but as it was a Christmas gift, I didn’t want to spoil the surprise and post it online until it had made it to it’s new family.

My aunt had asked if I could make her a Totoro doll like the ones you see in asian toy shops (you know, the really big ones you marvel over in the store and ultimately leave behind because they are too expensive or too difficult to carry home). I was quite certain I would be able to find a pattern online, and I did!

This pattern was for a much smaller doll using thinner yarn and a smaller needle. I simply followed the instructions using thicker yarn and a needle that was appropriately sized to create this larger version (Loops & Threads Impeccable; 5.0mm hook). He ended up being about 14″ tall from the base to the tip of his ears. To give him a little bit of weight, I sewed about a cup of rice into a square of scrap fabric (like a little bean bag) and stuffed it about 1/4 of the way up from the base. I also didn’t have the typical beads used for the eyes of stuffed animals, so I settled for some regular black buttons sewn with black yarn on top of the white circles I crocheted (which rather than following the pattern, I eyeballed, no pun intended). The only other minor difference was in the belly. I had originally made a circle that was too small by overlooking a step in the pattern. I attached it on, only to realize later when something seemed off about the proportions. Rather than unpick the stitches, I simply started a new circle and stitched it over top, which I actually liked better as it gave him a rounder-looking belly and some depth (yay happy accidents). For future re-creations I would recommend just putting a thin layer of stuffing between the white circle and the body before sealing it shut. The stitching details on the face and belly took a little bit of time and effort to perfect, probably because my stitching skills are not up there yet, though in my defense, stitching on thick yarn feels a lot like trying to adjust a picture that keeps snapping into a grid–it’s a little frustrating to find a solution.

For my first crochet amigurumi following a pattern, I was quite proud. I was still at the stage where I had to look up the symbols and watch youtube videos on how to do them, so the fact that the proportions turned out correctly was pretty cool. I do wish he was slightly chubbier, as I feel it would more accurately represent the character, though I’m not sure if this was just the way the pattern was, or if I stuffed him insufficiently. Ultimately though, I felt a rush of excitement upon finishing him up and was eager to share him with the world (privately, until now of course).

**Update: since I originally wrote this post, I have made ANOTHER Totoro doll in a smaller size, following a different pattern. This one was a gift for my favorite human (aka Patty Walters, singer of As It Is). I love this so much because it brings my nerdy granny crafting world together with my pop punk world. (:

 

Amigurumi Piggy

Quick little project I whipped up for a friend who loves piglets!

I followed this pattern to make him, with the exception of the eyes which I made by tying a few knots on a piece of black yarn instead.

I’ve never had to close a hole in crochet before, so this was a first for me. I learned a new technique doing this: making a clean finish. Ultimately, the tail went over the hole and covered it, but it was still nice to have it sealed up neatly.

I totally would just have a room full of little piggies if I could.