Saturday, 24 March 2012

Knitted Teddy - FREE pattern and tutorial

Something a little different today...

If any of you are regular readers, you may have noticed that I haven't been posting quite as often, and perhaps you've wondered why.  Well, I'm studying full time to be a librarian, and it is taking up quite a bit of my time, so I haven't had as many opportunities for crafting or blogging.

As you can imagine, there's an awful lot of reading involved, and I get the the other day, it suddenly occurred to me that I could knit while I study!  What a brain wave!  Last week, I knitted 3 baby hats!  That's more than I would normally knit in a month when I wasn't studying.  In fact, I knitted so many hats, that I thought I'd better think of something else to knit... I started knitting teddies!

Now, let me tell you a little bit about these teddies.  I first knitted some of these way back in my primary school days, when I was, probably about 9 or 10, I think.  One of the girls in my class told me the pattern.  I even made little outfits, and bibs and nappies for my two teddies.

This is Clara.  I'm not sure where her twin brother is.

Then the other girls in the class wanted teddies too, so I started knitting teddies for anyone who wanted them...the deal was, they had to provide the wool, and pay me 50c per teddy!  Big business!  Then when I was in my teens, my step mum had a market stall, and she suggested I could try selling something at her stall, so again I knitted teddies.  They didn't all sell though, and I ended up with a sack of little teddies in need of good homes.  Some years later, when I joined my craft co-op, I sold every last one of those teddies...and then I didn't bother making more, I was too busy with painting and quilting and other things.  But now that I've discovered how neatly reading and knitting goes together I'm knitting teddies again!  Also, it is a fantastic way to use up little bits of wool that are too small for just about anything else.

So then I thought I'll bet there are people out there in the blogosphere who would just love to knit teddies too, so here is how you do it...

This is what you will need:

Wool (of course ^_^) I used DK, knitting needles (4.5mm or the correct size for your wool), a wool needle (that's one with a big eye, and a rounded point), some stuffing, embroidery thread and an embroidery needle, a bit of ribbon, and scissors.  (I ended up using a different colour of ribbon than the one in this picture, sorry)

And here's how to make the teddy:

Begin with the legs.  First, cast on 10 stitches.

Knit 10 rows in stocking stitch.  (Actually, if you're a beginner and haven't yet learnt stocking stitch, then regular old garter stitch will work just fine.  Clara was knitted in garter stitch, but since I knitted this teddy in stocking stitch, I'll just say stocking stitch for these instructions.)  Don't cast off, just push towards the end of your needle.

Cast on another 10 stitches.

Knit 10 rows in stocking stitch, just like before.  You will now have two legs side by side on your needle.  For the next row, push the first leg back towards the point of your needle so that it is right next to your second leg and knit right across BOTH legs.

Continue knitting in stocking stitch, knitting 20 rows from where you joined the two legs together.  Cast off.

Now knit the arms, you will need to make two of them, of course.  Cast on 10 stitches, just like you did for the legs.

Knit 10 rows in stocking stitch.  Cast off.  Make another arm, just like the first one.

Now you need to stitch all the pieces together.  Use the tail ends to do this, or if they aren't long enough, use a bit of wool.  Fold the legs right sides together and stitch the bottom edge and inner leg seam.  Then stitch the centre back seam.  Leave the top open for now. For the arms, stitch the lower edge (the cast on edge) and the underarm seam, leaving the top open.

Turn all three pieces to the right side, and stuff gently with your stuffing.

Now stitch the seam at the top of the head, and make the ears.  To make the ears, bring your wool out at the top seam, a little way from the corner, then make a little stitch a little way down the side from the corner, like this:

Stitch again at the top seam where your wool comes out, pull tight, then wind wool round the bottom of the ear and knot off.  Repeat for the other ear.

Wrap a piece of wool round a couple of time where you think the neck should be, knot off and stitch your ends in.

Slip a bit of ribbon under the wool at the centre front...

...and tie in a bow.  If you don't knot it first, it will sit the right way round.  If your teddy will be played with, you might want to stitch this in place.  If it is just going to be for decoration, you wont need to worry about this.  Using your embroidery thread, make a few stitches for eyes, you can hide the knots of your thread at the back under the wool round teddies neck.

And there you have it!  Cute knitted teddies!  I've made a whole family already ^_^

If you want to make bigger or smaller teddies, that's easy as to do...either use a finer wool for a littler teddy, or a thicker wool for a bigger teddy.  Or you can  re-size the pattern.  This is very easy, just remember that the arms and legs have the same number of rows as stitches, and the body has twice as many stitches and rows as the arms and legs.  I made the little teddy with 8 stitches and 8 rows for the arms and legs, and 16 stitches and 16 rows for the body.
Easy as!

I hope you have just as much fun knitting teddies as I do!  

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Beautiful Stitches

No tutorial today, but I will get onto that applique pattern tutorial soon, I promise.

I went to the library yesterday so that I could pick up this book that I had requested, on interloan, no less.  I'm hoping that I will be able to get an idea of how to grade some of my patterns simply...lets hope it works!  So far, I'm not sure if I'll be able to understand it, never having done a single class in pattern drafting.  I've heard good things about it.  I've only got the book for three weeks, sadly.  I'm hoping that I will have time to study it enough to have a go with at least one pattern.  It cost me $7 to get it on interloan, I tried to get it from the public library, but sadly it was one of those books stuck in a box in a container somewhere, from one of the libraries that are still shut after the earthquake.  Ah well, luckily I don't have anything worse to complain about.

Anyhoo, while I was at the library, I remembered that there was an embroidery exhibition on, and just managed to keep the Young Lad interested enough to let me have a quick look...Miss Missy thought it was boring, and ran off to get herself some books.  Here are some photos of this spectacular stitchery (of course, I didn't have a camera with me, so couldn't take any of my own).  The little flowers in white squares (5th photo) is a detail of an entire cushion, it was truly stunning, such tiny stitches.

Also on the topic of embroidery, I have a little project waiting to be started that involves hand embroidering letters, and I found this fantastic tutorial series.  This is the final installment, there are 15 tutorials in all, so lots of wonderful ideas if you've even wondered how to go about it.

Happy Crafting!  ^_^

Friday, 2 March 2012

Tutorial ~ Even Simpler Machine Applique

It typical fashion, I've done things backwards.  ^_^
The other day, I put together a tutorial on machine applique, and while I was working on it, I thought to myself "You should have done a simple motif applique tutorial first"  But since I'd already taken the pictures and started working on that tutorial, I figured I might as well finish and post it first, which leads us to this tutorial, even though, logically they should have been the other way around.  And I'm also thinking that in the interests of completeness, I should also do a tutorial on making applique patterns...which will end up being third, but should have been second...I always do seem to go about things in a somewhat circuitous route!

Anyway, without further ado, lets get on with it!

Last time I showed you how to do applique using a stencil or pattern to create your applique shape.  This time, we won't bother with that, we will simply find a nice motif and applique that.  Even simpler!

You will need fabric with a fairly big motif on it.  I love these cute dinosaurs, so I'm going to make a T-shirt for the Young Lad.

You will also need: vliesofix, sharp scissors (not your best fabric ones though, remember), an iron and ironing board, and a T-shirt (or something else to applique onto).

First, decide which motif you would like to applique, and cut out a piece of vliesofix big enough to completely cover the motif with a bit extra for trimming away.  Place this piece of vliesofix on the wrong side your fabric with the rough side down.  Make sure your whole motif is completely covered.  Press to fuse the vliesofix in place.

Before you cut, think about where the stitching will go, and whether you want any background fabric to show round the motif.  I don't want the background to show, but I also don't want my stitching to cover up the dinosaur, so I cut it out just a few milometers from the edge of the motif, about the width of my zig-zag.  I have followed the contours of the motif quite precisely, but if you are new to sewing, you may prefer to make your outline a bit smoother.  You could even just cut out a circle or square of your fabric if you wish (if you're going to do this, you'll need your vliesofix to be that shape, of course).  I didn't bother to cut out between the legs, as there is hardly room for two rows of stitching there.  Also, I'm not worried about little bits of other dinosaurs being on the edges, as the stitching will hide them.

Next, peel the backing paper off.

(Different dinosaur, sorry ^_^)

Now place your motif on your T-shirt.

Hmmm, he looks a bit sad and lonely there all by himself, and really the motif is a bit small...lets add some friends!

Ahh, that looks better!  Now, just use your iron to fuse the motif in place, remembering to clean your iron before you do, just in case any adhesive got on it (you did read that other applique tutorial, right?  So you already know about cleaning your iron.  No??  Well, you can have a quick read now ^_^)  

Once again, set your machine to zig-zag, with your stitch length really short, and your stitch width small-medium (you might want to do a little test on a scrap of fabric).

Here's a tip for the benefit of any absolute beginner sewers out there.  When you are sewing round your shape, the only thing you need to worry about is curves and corners.  The thing you want to remember is that you want your stitching to cover up your fabric, not leave gaps, so just make sure that when you go round the corners and curves, you've got your needle on the correct side of your zig-zag.  I've made a couple of diagrams to show what I mean.  The black dot shows the needle position, and the yellow arrow shows where the stitch will go when you turn the fabric.

Outer curves

Inner curves

Inner corners

Outer corners

Now that we know what we are doing, simply stitch around your motif!

Viola!  Wasn't that easy?

In case you're wondering the fabric is designed by Robert Kaufman Fabrics, and although I have seen it in lots of places, I bought my piece here.