Tag Archives: stuffing plush toys

And…&!

Shemika & Harry?...who knew?

Shemika & Harry?…who knew?

 

One of my customers had the clever idea of knitting the initials of her son and his betrothed as a wedding gift. But she wanted an ampersand. You know, one of these — & — so she could join the initials together in a loving way. So, at her request, I’ve designed one and it’s now available on Ravelry.

One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, shut the door. After receiving many requests, I’ve been working diligently (okay, maybe semi-diligently…there are so many distractions in the summer) creating patterns for number plushies. Yes!…a set of patterns for number plushies will be available before the year is out.

Happy Knitting!

Dani

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Turn Finishing into a Fresh Beginning

I was planning to show off a few more inexpensive knitting cases in this post, but several knitters this past week told me how much they absolutely hate finishing work.  A woman sitting across from me in a knitting workshop described the mounds of unfinished projects sadly languishing in her home.

I think so many people despise finishing work because of its name: finishing work.  I mean, what could be more intimidating and depressing?  You’re finishing your knitting project, which means the joy of knitting, the thing you love to do, is, well, finished.  And work speaks for itself.

Ingrid before she "blossomed"

I prefer to think of finishing work as coaxing a beautiful flower to bloom or blossom. Because what I’m essentially doing is bringing my knitted sweater, hat, gloves, plushy, whatever I’ve been lovingly knitting during the past days, weeks, months, into the world.

Ingrid has come to life!

Up until now, it’s only been in the growth stage, developing slowly on my needles, shaping into its true self.  And it isn’t quite complete, isn’t quite ready to open up and greet the world, to show off its beauty, until I’ve given it the final touches.  Only then are they – the beautiful sweater, the funky hat, the fabulous gloves – what they are meant to be.

“That’s all well and good” you say, “but I simply don’t like to sew things together or tuck yarn ends…for me it isn’t an enjoyable process.”  Well, only you can make it enjoyable.  Until then, it’ll be a thorn in your knitter’s side.  Here are a few tips to help you enjoy the blossoming of your knitting project:

  1. Find a peaceful place. Choose a quiet place, with a flat surface, good lighting, maybe a lovely view out a window or next to the fireplace.  Your special spot might not be in your home, full of squabbling children and/or a well-meaning, but sometimes distracting, husband or partner.  Perhaps you’ll find it at your local yarn shop (an excellent choice!), a table in your local library, or a corner at your favorite coffee shop.  My place?

    My Special Place

    A small glass-topped café table in my living room, situated next to a sunny southern window that looks out at my favorite maple tree.  The gas fireplace is nearby, so I can pop that on when it’s a bit chilly.  It’s my lovely little spot where I bring my knitting projects to life.

  1. Treat yourself. This is a special moment in your project.  You’re breathing life into it.  You’ve spent many hours lovingly knitting this woven fabric and you deserve something special.  I always make my favorite cup of tea and get out the Bahlsen chocolate wafers (being careful not to get chocolate smudges on my knitting).  Perhaps plan a lunch date afterwards with a dear friend, wearing, of course, your newborn knitwear.

    What a satisfying feeling!

  1. Put on music that makes you happy. Play soothing meditative music, or get down and get your funk on.  Whatever works for you!  But set the mood with music.   I often pop in a David Wax Museum CD or the latest from The Decemberists.
  1. Choose the time of day when your senses are sharpest. My best time is first thing in the morning.  For others it may be in the evening, while winding down.  But, if you like to enjoy a glass of wine before bedtime like I do, it’s best not to mix the two.  I’ve found that drinking and stitching aren’t a great combination.  : )

Whatever your choices in location, music, time of day, or reward, make it a celebration!  Remember, your project isn’t really finished…it’s beginning its new life.  And it’s only work if you see it that way.  So, now that Spring is almost here, dig out those unfinished projects and allow them to blossom!

Happy Knitting!

dani

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Knitting Tips & Tricks: How to Stuff a Plush Toy (So It Looks Great)

Beautiful Letters are Happy Letters

You’d think that stuffing a plush toy would be the easiest part. But there’s a knack to doing it so your cute little Alphabet People don’t come out looking lumpy and weird-shaped.

1. The first trick is to stuff it while you’re sewing it together. Place the wrong sides of your finished knitted pieces together and use a mattress stitch to sew up your letter. (YouTube has several excellent videos demonstrating the mattress stitch.) As a leg or arm or head is formed, before it gets too far along, gently place some stuffing in that cavity. Notice that I said “gently.”

2. The second trick is to stuff your plush toy gently. If you cram a piece of stuffing in and pack it down, it’ll form a hard wad. The next piece you cram in will form another hard wad, and before you know it, your poor little Alphabet Person will be all lumpy and bumpy. So, gently place a fluffy, un-wadded piece of stuffing into the cavity. Press it into place with care, then add another fluffy piece and press it into place with care. This way, the fluffy pieces will mesh together and retain their soft, cuddly texture.

3. Don’t overstuff your Alphabet People.

Just Enough Stuffing

Add enough stuffing to your plush toy give it shape, but no more. Your goal is to create a toy that looks really nice and feels good. If you overstuff, the knitted fabric will stretch too far. You’ll see the stuffing through the stitches, your seams will show, and your plush toy will look bloated.

Natural, gentle row shaping

4. Take time to look at what you’re doing. Think of your plush toy as a soft sculpture, and you’re the artist. As you gently press the stuffing into a cavity, look at its shape. Is there enough stuffing in the far corner? Is this arm/leg shaped the same as the other matching arm/leg? Every so often during the finishing process, hold the plush toy away from you, stand back, and evaluate how it looks. Are the knitted rows still neat and fairly straight? If you overstuff in spots, it will stretch the knitted material and the rows will look crooked. There should only be gentle, natural swells where the pattern has called for shaping.

5. Use your fingers to shape corners while sewing it together. Your finished corners should be ever so slightly rounded, not squared-off with a point. Stitch right up to a corner and pull your stitches tight. As you start down the next horizontal/vertical, make about three or four loose stitches. Then, on the wrong side of the piece, insert one finger into where the corner will be and pull your yarn tight. This helps to form that corner shape.

6. Weave your yarn ends into the seams as you go. A lot of loose ends can get tangled up in the stuffing and prevent it from meshing together properly. And by now, you know what that could mean – lumps in your plush toy! You won’t be able to weave the last few ends into the seams, but just trim those to about two inches and tuck them neatly along the sides as you stuff and sew.

Make neat corners

7. Make your final corner match the rest. When you get to the final few stitches at the very end, gently press those corner edges into themselves as you stitch. This will help to shape it into a slightly rounded corner to match the rest. Make your final stitch directly into the corner and bring your needle out another place on the body of the plush toy. Pull gently on the yarn to help your final corner be more of an “insy” than an “outsy.” Clip the yarn close to the body; the end will disappear inside.

8. Give your plush toy a massage. When you’re finished, gently massage the plush toy into just the right shape. If it’s a little bit lumpy, massage those lumps until they loosen up and redistribute a bit. If a limb is sagging, tug it into place. Smooth the knitted rows into place. Don’t be afraid to work with your finished Alphabet People to make them look their very best.

If you have any questions about making your Alphabet People beautiful, feel free to write in the comments section of this blog or email me at TheKnitKnoodler@gmail.com.

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