Thursday, 31 December 2009

Knitted snowman - free pattern

Greetings friends from us all at Flutterby Patch. We've had a very merry time here over the festive season and hope you have too. My little knitted family (you might have seen their patterns in my Etsy shop) have all gathered to wish you a Happy and Peaceful New Year

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I thought I would end the old year and start the new one with a 'free' knitting pattern. A couple of days before Christmas I decided that my traditional cake decorations (that I use every year) were looking a bit tired and so I decided to knit some little snowmen.


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I secured them on the cake by pushing one end of a cocktail stick into the knitted base and the other end into the cake. They measure approx 3.5ins (9cm) and are made from DK yarn. You will find the knitting instructions at the end of this post.
The poor snowmen grew increasingly worried when their cake grew forever smaller as slices were cut off and eaten.

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But kind Tilly came to the rescue. She placed a thread through each of the little hats and hung the snowmen on the Christmas tree out of harms way.
So now the little characters can enjoy the view from high up in the branches.

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Meanwhile I'm working on several new knitting patterns for my Etsy shop and receiving plenty of help from my little knitted family. You might recognise this rascal, it is baby Daisy who seems to be hiding her sister's dolly amongst my balls of yarn.

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I hope you don't suffer from too many 'helping' hands whilst knitting.

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Happy New Year to you all.



SNOWMAN PATTERN

You should find this straight forward and easy to follow
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All knitting is done with DK yarn (US – light worsted, Australia – 8 ply). You will need a small amount of white and bright shades for sweater, hats and scarves. Use 3.25mm needles (US 3).
The following pattern is for my basic snowman with hat and scarf (sweater instructions come at the end)

Body and head
Cast on 11 stitches in white and work in stocking stitch.
1. purl
2. increase into every stitch across the row (22st)
3 - 27. stocking stitch starting with a purl row
28. knit 2 stitches together across row.
Break yarn leaving 15cm (6in) tail. Use a tapestry needle to remove stitches onto this tail.
Making up
Starting at the bottom, gather the cast-on edge by catching each stitch and then stitch the seam (this will go at the back). Prepare to stuff the snowman through the gathered top which can be pulled open to allow stuffing to pass through. The firmer you stuff him the fatter he will become. When firm, but not over-stretched, pull the gathering thread to close the head and secure firmly.

Create a head
To create a head you need to firmly tie a length of white yarn around the snowman at row 18 to give him a neck.This will leave 10 rows for the head.
Arms
Cast on 9 stitches in white and work 11 rows in stocking stitch. Break yarn leaving a 15cm (6in) tail. Use a tapestry needle to remove stitches onto this tail. Gather the 9 stitches and use the gathering tail to stitch the arm seam. Before closing the top of the arm push a tiny amount of stuffing into the snowman's hand (you won't require much). Position each arm (see picture) and stitch to the snowman at the shoulders. Catch the wrist to the body with a single stitch.
Hat
Choose a colourful yarn (or two if you want stripes) and cast on 24 stitches. Work 13 rows in stocking stitch starting with a purl row and add your own stripe combination if required. Row 14 - knit 2 stitches together across the row. Break yarn leaving a 15cm (6in) tail. Use a tapestry needle to remove stitches onto this tail. Pull the thread and gather the stitches to form top of hat. Stitch the hat seam. Fit hat on the snowman's head turning up the bottom 3 rows to make a brim (see picture). DON'T stitch on the hat yet as first you must create a face.
Eyes
With the hat fitted on the head decide where you will position the eyes. Remove the hat and stitch eyes with black yarn or embroidery floss. Large French knots make excellent eyes. You can secure the black yarn at the top of the head as it will be hidden under the hat.
Nose
You can embroider a black nose or make an orange nose like mine which is supposed to represent a carrot. I used the following method for the beaks on my penguins and it is quite effective.

Use bright orange yarn and cut off a 6in (15cm) length. Secure a tapestry needle into the arm of your sofa, a cushion (or similar) and wrapping the yarn around the needle, tie a knot in the centre (see picture below).
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Tie two more knots pulling each one tightly so that you achieve a 'carrot' shape (see below). Slide the carrot nose from the needle and use the two orange tails to secure it to the snowman's face by passing each one through the head and out at the top.
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Mouth
The mouth is simply 4 small running stitches positioned to make a smile.
Scarf
Made from a twisted cord of coloured yarn. Alternatively make a crochet chain.
Once the face is complete you can stitch the hat onto the head. I back-stitched the hat to the head so that the stitches were concealed beneath the turned back brim. Add a bobble/pop-pom to the top if required.
To give the snowman a sweater like the one I made simply knit 6 rows in white and then continue to row 18 in the colour of your choice (striping if necessary). At the end of row 18 break off colour and join white yarn. Continue to the end in white. For the arms knit 8 rows in the sweater colour and 3 rows in white to form the hands.
Wishing you lots of fun with your snowman knitting

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

A knitted Santa takes shape

It seems rain has been pouring down for weeks and I haven't been feeling at all Christmasy but with only five weeks to go I decided I should seek some festive cheer. I keep my Christmas books on a shelf behind the sofa so that I'm not tempted to look at them throughout the year. And so last weekend out they came. Don't you just love vintage Christmas decorations.

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These old Santas must have seen many Christmases come and go. What tales they could tell.

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After drooling over a few more Santas I was inspired to knit one of my own. A little fellow in traditional red and white of course, but to ring the changes I decided to make a Santa mouse who would deliver gifts to good little boy and girl mice around the world on Christmas Eve.
Out came the yarn and needles and I sat by the fire and busied myself with my festive creation.

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And here he is.... just 17cm (7in) tall to the tip of his ears.

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To begin with I gave him a traditional white beard and bushy eyebrows and he looked ridiculous! And so he ended up being beardless and eyebrow-less and looks a lot more mousy.

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I found a small amount of hessian coloured wool in my stash and it was just enough to make a sack for the little fellow. He wasted no time in filling it and trotting off to wherever it is he keeps his gifts for good mice.

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I was so pleased with him that I decided to write out the pattern which in the end took almost as long as knitting the actual mouse. You'll find the pattern in my Etsy shop. It's easy to follow (I don't do difficult) and you only require basic knitting skills.

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And so now my all time favourite festive poem will never seem the same. I used to read it to my children every Christmas Eve but the line 'not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse' seems no longer relevant!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

A busy old week

Well folks, it's been a busy old week with one thing and another. Just doing this and that and not really achieving anything in particular.

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Sunday was a frustrating knitting day. I seemed to spend more time pulling back than actually knitting.

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Monday I braved torrential rain and went shopping

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Tuesday turned cold and before going to bed I filled my trusty hot-water bottle.

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Wednesday I received the wonderful news that my oldest school friend had become a grandma for the first time.

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Thursday night was cold again and this time I filled the trusty bottle and put an extra blanket on the bed....very snug!

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Friday was a 'shopping for the weekend' day and as usual hubby and I got seriously frustrated by the huge number of pedestrians who step off in front of the car and wander aimlessly across the road.

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Saturday. Out with the camera and take a few pics for the blog.

In case you hadn't guessed I'm a bit of a Mabel Lucie Attwell fan. Her innocent world of chubby children and fairies is one that has always appealed to me!

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A very lucky fairy band
Got a lift to fairyland

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If I had a fairy
How jolly it would be.
I'd bathe him in a tea cup
And take him walks with me.

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I don't have many Lucie Attwell books but love my 1944 annual and there are 51 more to collect!
Before I go I must thank Julie at Yummy Miniature Foods who kindly gave me an award. Do call in and look at the tiny doll sized morsels this talented lady makes, they are amazing. It is something I have always wanted to do so I'm very envious of her skills.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

My knitted fairy pattern

After so much mousy knitting recently I got the urge yesterday to design and knit something easy. Suddenly this cute little autumn fairy popped off my needles and flew away to sit in a nearby tree.


Then a gust of wind caused her to slip from her mossy perch and she landed (very daintily) amongst some big yellow daisies below.



I lifted her carefully from the flowers and took her back indoors where I gave her a mossy log to sit on and that seemed to please her.


She only measures 15 cm (6 in) and I feel sure she would be easy enough for new knitters to try (children as well as adults). As long as you can cast on, cast off, knit and purl there shouldn't be a problem. I'm including the pattern in this post and have given added hints and tips which I hope will help if you are a new knitter. So whether you are new to the craft, or have been clicking away for years, do try knitting my fairy. I used 3.25 mm needles (US 3). If your knitting tends to be fairly loose then use a needle one size smaller. You will also require a large (tapestry) needle for sewing up.

I used DK yarn (in the US use light worsted and in Australia 8 ply). You can of course mix and match your own colour range but I chose autumnal shades. Golden yellow, rusty red, olive green and cream for clothes. Golden brown for hair and flesh pink for the fairy. Brown and pink embroidery floss or sewing cotton for eyes and mouth plus a tiny amount of stuffing.



The body and head are worked in stocking stitch (knit one row, purl one row) .
Cast-on 15 stitches in golden yellow and start with a knit row.
Rows 1 - 12. gold/yellow
Rows 13 - 20. flesh pink
Row 21. k2tog across row to last stitch, k1 (knit 2 stitches together right across the row to the last stitch then knit this last stitch)
Row 22. purl



Break the flesh pink yarn leaving a 15 cm ( 6 in) tail. Thread this onto a tapestry needle and take the remaining stitches off the knitting needle onto the tail of yarn. Draw up tightly and secure



Stitch the head and body seam which will be at the back. Stuff the head and part of the body, but not too firmly (don't stretch the knitting).



Thread your needle with flesh pink yarn and starting from the seam at the back, where the gold joins the flesh, pick up every alternate loop all the way round (see picture above).



Draw up to create a neck and fasten off.


Placing your needle down the centre of the head (see above) will indicate where the eyes and mouth should go but there are several variations. Using pins with coloured heads will give you some idea where you want to place the features.


Eyes close together and fairly high on the head will give a worried or perplexed expression.



Eyes places at different heights and mouth off-centre gives a quizzical look.




So I played safe with eyes widely spaced. I'm not sure what expression this would be.

Knitting yarn can be too thick for a small face so use embroidery floss or sewing thread. Black eyes and a red mouth can look too heavy so try brown eyes and a dark pink mouth.



At this stage the fairy is simply a finger puppet and so she needs arms and legs.

These are twisted cords made from flesh pink yarn. Just two strands twisted to form a four strand cord is perfect. If you are unsure how to make a twisted cord you will find very good instructions (with pictures) in the sidebar of my blog. Arms should be approximately 6 cm (2.5 in) long and legs 8 cm (3.5 in) long.


There shouldn't be a knot at the top of the arm but the knot at the bottom will (with a bit of imagination) look like a fairy hand and fingers. Similarly the knot at the bottom of the leg will resemble feet and toes. A knot at the top of the leg will be useful as it will help to secure it inside the body when the legs are attached.

Stitch the tops of the arms to the fairy's shoulders. Add a little extra stuffing to the body if required and push the knots at the tops of the legs into the body. Stitch across the bottom of the body with matching yarn ensuring the legs are held firmly in place.

Next comes the fairy hair. I have used golden brown and have created a fairy top-knot. Wrap the yarn 6 times around two fingers and secure in the centre with matching yarn to make a top-knot (see picture below).
Stitch top-knot over the centre hole in the top of the head


Place a few extra stitches on the fairy's forehead. I got so carried away with my hair styling I added a little plait at each side. (If you want to do this you will need to plait six strands of yarn).

Finally the fairy needs wings and a skirt. Firstly the wings. Cast on 4 stitches in green and work 10 rows in garter stitch (knit every row). Break the yarn leaving a 15 cm ( 6 in) tail. Thread this onto a tapestry needle and take the remaining stitches off the knitting needle onto the tail of yarn. Draw up tightly and secure. Stitch this end of the wing to the back of the fairy at shoulder height. The tail at the cast on end can be woven down through the wing and cut off.


The skirt is quite full which allows the fairy to sit comfortably. It is knitted in garter stitch (knit every row). Cast on 52 stitches in russet.


Rows 1 - 2. russet
Rows 3 - 6. golden yellow
Rows 7 - 9. white
Row 10. k2tog across row
Row 11. green
Row 12. k1, k2tog across row to last stitch, k1 (green)
Rows 13 - 15 green

Cast off . Weave in the ends of yarn and then (leaving a small opening for fitting) stitch the seam from the bottom upwards. Fit the skirt onto the fairy with the seam at the back. Close the remainder of the back seam and back-stitch the skirt to the body around the fairy's waist.


Finally, little blushing cheeks made with a red pencil crayon complete the 'look'. What a cute little lady she is. But I think she looks a bit lonely so reckon I'll have to knit her a few fairy friends!!

Hope you have fun knitting fairies.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Pip and his Halloween pumpkins

What a lovely month October is. So full of warm russets and golds. I found this seasonal little picture in a book my daughter loved as a child and was inspired to knit something with a Halloween theme. A Halloween mouse maybe!




And here is the little fellow that came tumbling from my knitting needles this week. His name is Pip and he's the king of the pumpkin patch.


Just look at his gorgeous orange pumpkins.


With such a crop of pumpkins Pip is now busy making a Jack O'Lantern for each of his mousy friends.




I love this little fellow. If you'd like the pattern for Pip and his pumpkins you'll find it in my Etsy shop.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Thinking about mice

You left me last time thinking about knitting vintage style toys. Unfortunately before I'd really got started I found these cute little mice in one of my Mabel Lucie Attwell books and decided mice would now be top of my knitting list.


And so I 've spent the week knitting mice (or trying to). I've designed a variety of different mouse heads and body parts and eventually put together a pattern for a little lady that made me smile.
Her name is Darcy and she measures just 17cm (7ins) to the top of her ears.

This dainty little mouse loves to dance and you will find the pattern for her in my Etsy shop

I'm so in love with mice that I'm now working on a little boy mouse. If he turns out well I hope he will join Darcy in my Etsy shop by next week.
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