Aubie The Captivating Tiger

Say hello to Aubie the Captivating Tiger! | withwool.com

Say hello to Aubie the Captivating Tiger! He was one of the last projects I made for the 2016 gift knitting rush, and definitely the cutest of the bunch.  At first Aubie was going to be a cat knit in a bright, unnatural color like this one, but then a few thoughts came at me all at once. One, said cat is going to be knit for the daughter of one of my best friends from college. Two, said college mascot is a tiger (War Eagle!) and there’s no lack of school spirit in their house. Three, I had yarn in perfect Auburn colors. There was no way I couldn’t knit Aubie.

Say hello to Aubie the Captivating Tiger! | withwool.com

I made the arms and tail first so I could sew them on as soon as the body was finished. I also spent a good chunk of time embroidering the face and getting the expression just so. He was technically done, but looked naked. So he got a bandana. I used my Show Off Boomerang shawl pattern as a base. When it was wide enough to cover the front half of the body, I cast on more stitches to wrap around the rest of the neck. Then I knit a few more rows, bound off, and added a button. Aubie was ready to hit the road.             

Say hello to Aubie the Captivating Tiger! | withwool.com

Since I’ve made several of Rebecca Danger’s toys, I have a few mods that I make every time. You can see the full list on the Ravelry project page. For Aubie, I also tried something new. I’ve always had a hard time sewing arms on toys with a nice looking seam. Were the arms on there? Sure, but it wasn’t always pretty. This time I used duplicate stitch, making sure to go through both layers of arm every time I made a new stitch. The seam is both sturdy and near invisible. This kind of seaming does make the arms stick up a little, but that only adds to the charm. 

The pattern base I used, Greta the Captivating Cat by Rebecca Danger, has never let me down. It’s cute in any yarn, a quick & easy project, and is a great canvas for special added touches. Plus, kids and adults love it. I was so tempted to keep this one for myself because it was too cute. I’ve got plenty of yarn to make a twin though and I’m sure I will.

Say hello to Aubie the Captivating Tiger! | withwool.com

Pattern: Greta The Captivating Cat by Rebecca Danger

Yarn: 93 yds Knit Picks Telemark, Tangelo and Skyline, and 17 yds Wool of the Andes Sport, White

Needles: US 3 (3.25 mm) circulars

Date: December 3 - 11, 2016

@Ravelry

Still Gift Knitting

Just need to finish this tiger and I’ll be so close to finishing 2016’s gift knitting. | withwool.com

I’m knitting a tiger. Well, a cat with orange and blue stripes. The pattern, Greta the Captivating Cat by Rebecca Danger, is one I’ve knit before with great results. It’s cute, cuddly, and sweet too. Once you cast on, it’s also a fast and simple knit though it doesn’t seem that way if you knit the body and then the arms, tail, and ears. To speed things along and get a finished tiger sooner, or at least make it seem that way, I knit the arms and the tail first. Then I don’t have to wait to sew them on. Anything to make holiday gift knitting in December a smoother process is fine by me. 

As for the rest of this year’s gift knitting, I’m calling it. All the big stuff I wanted to do, is done aside from a good soak and blocking. It’s all the little things that I kept adding to the list that I’m skipping. The endless variations of ornaments and “wouldn’t this be neat” things were stressing me out. So they’re gone. I’m going to knit a few ornaments, finish that pair of handspun socks, and call it good. Besides, I’d much rather stay up late playing Final Fantasy XV than worry over my knitting. My wrists and shoulders are already thanking me. 

Say Hello To Señor Squid

Señor Squid was hanging out on the ocean floor and he was feeling kind of bored. 

Swimming through the inky depths wasn’t much fun and he wanted to see the sun.

He said good bye to his tentacled friends and quickly began to ascend. 

He waved hello to sea snails and avoided passing whales. 

Being eaten for dinner wasn’t part of the plan.

He swam and swam until he found a patch of clams.

They pointed him to a seaweed grove hidden in an underwater cove. 

He kept swimming after a nap even though he didn’t have a map.

He passed sharks, submarines, and fish as it was starting to look like he’d get his wish.

The water was brighter now and he was far from where he began. 

He’d reached the surface and was only just a little bit nervous.

With one eye above the waves he decided to keep being brave 

because the beach was within his reach.

Soon he touched the sand and gave the land another scan.

There was an octopus with an umbrella and he looked like an interesting fella. 

They said hello and got to know each other in the sun’s glow.

At this time, I walked by solo and they asked for a photo.

After the shot, Señor Squid let me in on his plan. 

I was only too glad to show him around as I picked him up from the ground. 

Between seeing the sights and the city lights, 

Señor Squid became a good friend and I’ll be sorry to see him descend.

When I cast on for Señor Squid, I’d just finished another project and was in the mood to make something fun and frivolous. The yarn had been wound and waiting for months along with the pattern, Inkling the Squid by Cate Carter-Evans. Then, once I started I just couldn’t stop. From the tip of the mantle to the last tentacle tip, I knit and assembled the whole thing in 8 days.

Knitting the squid was definitely fun, but also really finicky once I got to the tentacles. There were 2 strands of yarn at all times, an ever increasing number of almost-tentacles, and DPN’s sticking out all angles. Would I knit it again, knowing what I do now? Of course. The challenge of corralling DPN’s, seaming things just so, and learning basic intarsia was part of the fun. 

Oh all the things I’ve made during #yearofmaking, I’m most proud of Señor Squid. Knitting him required me to take my knitting skills and knowledge to another level of patience and detail. Looking forward to taking that step again with Horatio the Nautilus and Opus the Octopus

The Pattern: Inkling the Squid by Cate Carter-Evans

Yarn: Done Roving Yarns Frolicking Feet - Chartreuse (Body) and Knitted Wit Gumballs Fingering - Carbon (Underbelly and Tentacles)

Needles: 2.5 mm 

Dates: April 25 - May 3, 2015

@Ravelry

The Cat And The Hat

Say hello! This vermillion kitty cat doesn’t have a name yet but he (she?) is heading to a new home for the holidays.

Will there be catnip, snuggles, and tea parties? This cat does love a good tea party.

Traveling with the vermillion cat is a matching hat. Since I knit the hat in the 18 month - 4 years size, I was able to make both from one skein of Tosh Vintage. Even had a few yards to spare. I knit the cat mostly as written with the few mods I used detailed here. The collar is garter stitch and 5 stitches wide with a yarn over buttonhole. The hardest part of the whole pattern wasn’t the knitting but embroidering the face. Ripped out the nose and the whiskers several times to create just the right expression. 

 If you’re looking for safety eyes to use on your toys and softies, I recommend 6060 on Etsy. The selection for safety eyes - cat, round, or handpainted - and safety noses is amazing. There are plenty of different sizes and colors to choose from at reasonable prices. I picked up a 12mm variety pack of 5 different colors so I could pick out the eyes that would pop best on the vermillion yarn. Plus, my order shipped quickly so I’ll definitely be ordering from that shop again. 

Cat Pattern: Greta the Captivating Cat by Rebecca Danger

Hat Pattern: Slouchy Babe Hat by me - Download it here

Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage - Vermillion

Wander the Web 49

Inspiring, fun, thought-provoking, and crafty links to round out the week and jumpstart your brain.

"Caught up” is not the finish line. 

Such adorable little boxes

Urban Giants - An amazing look into the Western Union and AT&T Long Lines buildings

Check out Cities at Night to get an astronauts eye view of cities across the world.

Coconut pudding? Yes, please

I am so knitting Inkling the Squid

Fili & Kili

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Internet, meet Fili the Mouse. He moved in rather recently and has become my new desk buddy. I’ve since learned that he likes Hawaiian pizza, zombie movies, and long books. He’s also quite fond of knitting and the occasional Sci-Fi reference. I think we’re going to get along just fine.

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One of his habits is storing things away in his pot and rummaging around for them later. That pot must be larger on the inside than the outside because I’ve seen him pull out huge wheels of cheese, boxes of crackers, and then pull out  numerous skeins of handspun yarn. Really have to find out who makes his pots.

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This is is Fili’s friend, Kili. Kili doesn’t have a beard or even a mustache but greatly admires them both. The pair likes to go on adventures though they’re generally home before dark. I’m pretty sure they’re saving up for backpacks and a good camp stove for a journey to Lonely Mountain. Hope they don’t run into any trolls and keep an eye out for dragons.

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Fili’s pattern and yarn related details can be found here.

Double Meow

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Now that both of these frisky felines have gone to their new homes, I can finally introduce them to you. First up is the daring Ninja Cat with his glowing green eyes and stealthy paws. Second, is the striped and inquisitive Bumblebee. It was hard to let them go since they both looked so cute lounging on the furniture.

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I knit them both with the same yarns, the same needle, and from the same heavily-modified pattern. The only difference was that I made Bumblebee with stripes. Even though I’ve been knitting for years,  I still find it amazing how small changes can drastically affect the finished object. Ninja Cat grew to be short and round while Bumblebee turned out tall and narrow. Both are stuffed with a few pebbles at the bottom to help them sit up. See the pattern, yarns, needle, and modifications on the public Ravelry page.

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One of the neighborhood cats stopped by for a visit and just had to check out the newcomers. After the initial stare down, Ninja Cat and Bumblebee were deemed worthy of her attention. Then she had a fine time knocking them over. They mostly landed on their feet.

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Done

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Something amazing has happened. All of my Christmas knitting, at least all the stuff I had to make for other people, is finished. In the 6 years since I learned to knit, this is the first time I haven’t had to give out IOU’s or show off stitches still on the needles. Bonus, today isn’t even the end of the world.

To celebrate I’m giving in to the urge to cast on something fun for myself and completely without a deadline. Over a year ago I bought a kit to make Mousie by Ysolda Teague and it’s been sitting in my stash until today. I’ve got grand weekend plans of doing as little as possible, knitting a cute mouse, and enjoying good company. 

If you’re still in the throes of holiday knitting, I wish you speedy needles, tangle-free yarn, and errata free patterns. Good luck. I’m cheering for you.  

IT'S A TRAP!

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Totally couldn’t help myself. Plus, the whole “It’s a trap!” thing is an internet mandated requirement whenever Admiral Ackbar is involved. Also, go watch the Admiral Ackbar cereal skit. I’ll wait. 

Every so often, “Your tongues cannot repel flavor of that magnitude!” floats through my mind and I can’t stop laughing. Whose tongue would be able withstand a combination of marshmallows and imitation crab meat, after all? Silliness aside, it’s time to get down to the serious business of knitting a Star Wars alien admiral.

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Pattern: Admiral Ackbar Sock Monkey by Carbonscoring

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes - Persimmon Heather, Cloud, Coal, Silver, and Turmeric

Needles: US 4 (3.5mm) DPN’s

Dates: Oct 9 - 25, 2012

@Ravelry

Ackbar was knit as a gift and I really, really wanted to keep him for myself. He’s giant, floppy, cuddly, and has such a great face. I’m going to have to knit an Ackbar clone just for me once all that pesky holiday knitting is out of the way. He can guard my desk and warn me of traps. 

The pattern description says that the knitting will be a “cake walk” if you’ve ever knit socks before and it’s true. Since the pattern is adapted from a sock monkey, the head and mouth are sock toes and the the butt is a heel flap and gusset. The knitting was pretty easy and mostly stockinette. You just have to obsessively count the rows and be prepared to spend some time sewing up the face. You can find a full list of my mods on Ravelry.

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Gotta love a Mon Calamarian man in uniform.

Afternoon Swim, Afternoon Snack

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This is Bob. He’s going for a swim in his brand new blue bikini.

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This is not Bob’s lucky day.

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This is Meg. She’s in the mood for an afternoon snack. 

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Meg, meet Bob.

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He’s tasty! Now Meg’s off to watch whales before dinner.

| - | - | - | - |

I made Bob and Meg for my Dad as a Father’s Day gift. The pair was a big hit and Dad’s reaction definitely kept him on the knit-worthy list.

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Bob is a modified Groom from Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi by Anna Hrachovec. He’s knit from Knit Pick Palette and Paton’s Kroy Sock on 2.25 mm needles. I stuffed him entirely with his own yarn ends and a magnet. Bob’s magnet is in his back and Meg’s magnet is in her mouth. It’s never really isn’t Bob’s day since he won’t escape. Ever. The magnets make sure he’s always sucked into Meg’s mouth.

Meg is Clare Doornbos’ Shark. She’s knit from Knit Picks Wool of the Andes on 3.5 mm needles, has 10 mm safety eyes, and is stuffed with poly-fill. The pattern was very well written and I especially like how she solved pectoral fin placement. No guess work required. Full mods and details @Ravelry

The part of the sea is played by my own 3-ply handspun.

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I had no idea how Bob’s size would compare to Meg’s when I first cast on. Turns out that Bob fits perfectly in Meg’s mouth and I couldn’t have planned it better if I tried. So, if we assume that Bob is 6’ tall, then Meg isn’t a Great White Shark (20’). She’s a C. Megalodon which current estimates put at 52’ long. Scale is everything. Now I want to knit a sailboat for Meg to chomp on. 

Did you hear something?

Maybe it was the wind in the trees or a squirrel walking across the roof. Or, the most likely possibility, ninjas.

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See? Ninjas. I knew it was ninjas. They’re everywhere. You just can’t see them most of the time. 

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Pattern: Wasabi the Gregarious Pug by Rebecca Danger

Yarn: A mix of Patons Kroy Sock 4-Ply and Knit Picks Stroll

Full details @Ravelry

Silliness aside, I made these as gifts and, as far as I’m concerned, they are the pièce de résistance of 2011’s Christmas knitting. The idea to turn a dog and a llama (technically, the pattern is for an alpaca but close enough) into ninjas was really fun right off the bat. I only laughed maniacally most of the time. It wasn’t all roses though. They took a lot longer to knit then I thought they would. Plus, besides from the knitting, stuffing, sewing, and faces both of them have round braid kumihimo belts and katanas made from pipe cleaners covered with i-cord. For future reference, making braids out of sock yarn will take way longer than you think. 

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Pattern: Zeke the Aloof Alpaca also by Rebecca Danger

Yarn: Also a mix of Patons Kroy Sock 4-Ply and Knit Picks Stroll

Full details also @Ravelry

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Making a llama into a ninja was pretty cool but figuring out how to make a removable emo coif (after this first style) was even better. A few steps:

  1. Once you have knit enough of said llama’s (or some other creature’s) head, insert a small, yet powerful magnet inside and hold it in place with another magnet on the outside. You might have to adjust them a bit before stuffing but they’ll stay in place once the llama has stuffing for brains.
  2. Embroider the face with the magnets still holding on to each other.
  3. Remove the outside magnet and knit a case for it. I cast on with Judy’s Magic Cast On, knit and increased in the round. When it was big enough I started decreasing and then pulled the yarn through the remaining stitches. If the magnets are strong enough they should hold through 2 layers of knitting. 
  4. Cut lots of 6” strands of yarn for the hair. You’re going to need them.
  5. Thread a needle with both ends of a stand and push it part way through a stitch on the case to make a loop. Pull the ends through the loop. Repeat until your llama has a nice, full coif. 
  6. Give it a trim and appreciate the awesomeness. 

While I was making these, I was a bit nervous about how they’d be received. Shouldn’t have worried though since they were a big hit. Does a knitter’s heart good. 

Happy Halloween!

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My plans for the night include eating a lot of candy (we don’t get a lot of trick or treaters around my house) and watching a horde of zombie movies - Zombieland and 28 Days Later among them. Then I’ll finish things off with a long standing tradition and watch The Nightmare Before Christmas.  Also, lots of knitting.

What are your plans for the night? Any spooky, horror movies to recommend?

P.S. The ghost pattern is from the incredibly cute Teeny-Tiny MochiMochi by Anna Hrachovec. My full mods exist here.

A tiny bit of awesome

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Seriously, he’s only 3.5” tall but he makes up for it with buckets loads of awesome.Mere hours after finishing the Giant Blanket of Doom(really need a shorter name for that) I wanted to cast on for something small, quick, and entirely for me. The latest Knitty was still fresh in my mind with the Kiwi my favorite pattern of the bunch. I couldn’t resist. A late night plus a few more hours and he was finished in all his bug-eyed glory. Now that his glamor shots are done, he sits on my desk and makes me laugh.

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This isn’t a simple a pattern as it seems. There are short rows that you actually have to pay attention to and a lot of stitches to pick up. Also, those three toed feet threw me for a loop the first time I tried to  knit them. The finished object is totally worth it though and, to be honest, the fact that I was knitting with doubled fingering weight yarn on 2.5 mm needles (whose tips keep breaking off) probably didn’t help. Plus, I used a different short row method. Still, totally worth it. All details and mods exist on the Ravelry page.

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After all that I still had to make another. I love how I can make two knitted kiwis the same way and have them be completely different. Their eyes give them such different personalities. That is if knitted toys can have personalities. Eh, something to ponder.  

Knitting Review

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I hope you all enjoyed Christmas or your own favorite winter holiday. I know I enjoyed mine even if I was frenetically knitting right up to the last second and only slightly slower once the deadline passed. In fact, this lone ornament, also masquerading as a pair of mittens, wasn't even started until the 26th. Sill, I'm calling it on time since ye old Christmas bush is still decorated. I did actually finish other things in time to go under the bush though.

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Maddox, Albert, and Beatrice by Rebecca Danger

Who knew that less than a skein of Noro Kochoran, some safety eyes, felt, stuffing, and a bit of thread would make 3 totally different monsters? I could hardly believe they were all made from the same skein. 

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Wee Mushrooms by Ysolda Teague

The mushrooms were a last minute addition to the list but were still pretty fun to make. I used the pattern more as inspiration and made each of the 8 shrooms different. Instead of using coins, I put magnets in the bottom to weight them down and make them stick to random metal surfaces. Playing darts with these things was way too fun.

Also, to make realistic looking mushrooms, just barely stuff the cap and then sew down the center using the end. All the mushrooms I made before I figured this out, look more like topiaries than fungi. I would also recommend listening to this song.

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Windschief by Stephen West

Another last minute addition to the queue and how I spent most of my lunch breaks during the week before Christmas. I didn't finish the cowl until a few days later even though I knit most of it in front of the recipient. He's arguing that it's the best gift of the year which makes all that work worthwhile. 

A pair of KIS mitts, some Spring Cleaning cloths, and a Triforce washcloth made the deadline too.

Besides from an unfinished blanket and a yet to be started scarf, I managed to complete everything even if I did have to shorten that list in the final days. Once I knew something wouldn't be finished on time, I stopped worrying about it and reached for something I could finish instead. Still, the rushing and complete takeover of my free time made the process far from stress free. I knew I'd turned a corner when, reading yet another make this in time for Xmas post, my first thought was, "It's the 22nd, just buy something." With that thought, my 2011 Christmas knit list got a lot shorter. I'm not going through this again next year.

On a better note, Happy New Year! I'll see you in 2011.

Bunny and Bear

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Beatrice and Bernard the Inseparable Bunny and Bear by Rebecca Danger (Ravelry

Patons Classic Wool - Lemongrass

US 4 (3.5mm) needles

July 16 - 18, 2010

@ravelry

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Part of the reason why the July socks aren't finished yet is that I've been knitting other things. There have been hatswashcloths,  a hand towel, a blanket, and this cute bunny and bear pair. I was at knit night when their cuteness finally overwhelmed me and I had to get the pattern right then. Once I had the yarn, the knitting was quick work. Even the fiddly parts. The only problem is that I can't decide what to name them. Any suggestions?

Generally, I find that the hardest part of making toys is naming them but that won't stop me from making more. Next on the list is Maddox and the legendary Loch Ness monster. Also, an octopus

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Office Mates

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My army of cuteness continues to grow and these are my two latest recruits.  The blue alien is staying with me and the little green guy is heading off to share an office with the boyfriend. Blue has been a pretty good office mate so far and he certainly keeps the place lively on rainy days.

I'm still using this pattern but decided to try out a bulky in addition to a worsted weight yarn. The bulky creates an alien about twice the size of one made from worsted. Still wonderfully cute too. 

Fall Might Finally Be Here

Today was grey, rainy, and a bearable temperature. In other words, it felt like Fall. I might even need long sleeves and layers soon. In preparation for the lower temperatures, I've been knitting hats, socks, scarves, and fingerless mitts throughout the summer.  Now that Fall seems to be hanging around, I want to knit cute, colorful things that have nothing to do with keeping warm. So, it's a very good thing that I have plenty of supplies for making more of these:

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Pattern: Mini Alien by Barbara Prime (@Rav) (@FuzzyMitten.com)

Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm)

Date: Sept. 15-16, 2009

Ravelry

These little guys are small, quick to make, and are so cute that they'd fit right in on an episode of Dr. Who. They don't take much yarn either since I only needed 5g for each one. The original landing party is destined to be a Christmas gift but the subsequent waves are going to be for me...and a few of my choice lieutenants. 

Soon, all your base are belong to us!