Archives: December 2015
Posted in New Products on Monday the 28th December 2015 by Crafty Crafter
Posted in Special Offers on Monday the 21st December 2015 by Crafty Crafter
Posted in Special Offers on Saturday the 19th December 2015 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Saturday the 19th December 2015 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Friday the 18th December 2015 by Annette
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 14th December 2015 by Annette
Posted in Free Patterns on Friday the 11th December 2015 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Friday the 11th December 2015 by Annette
Within a few weeks of the Tinsel Hedgehog pattern arriving at Minerva from King Cole, another pattern arrived - this time for a beautifully cute owl! This just had to be another “Will” project, for my five year old, animal-mad grandson.
As with the Hedgehog pattern, this pattern for the Owl shows three sizes and can again be worked in any of the twelve colours of King Cole Tinsel Chunky Yarn. Which combination of size and colour would you choose? Just makes you want to get started and knit a whole family of them, doesn’t it?
Again, as for the Hedgehog I knit, I decided to go the more realistic route in my choice of colour, and as I had already used the copper tinsel, it was either going to have to be bronze (to make him into a sort of Barn Owl) or white ( he would look great as a Snowy Owl). As you can see from the picture above, I chose to go with the Snowy Owl. As a toy for a young child, using the white could have “keeping clean” issues, but if all the materials you use are washable, it should be possible to spruce him up if needed.
The materials used were as follows: 1 x 50gm ball of King Cole Tinsel Chunky in White, 1 x 25gm ball of King Cole Dollymix in White for the face panel, 1 x 25gm ball of Dollymix in Gold for the eyes, 1 x 25gm ball of Dollymix in Clerical (grey) for the beak and feet, a pair of size 5mm knitting needles (old size 6), a pair of size 3mm knitting needles (old size 11), a size 3mm crochet hook (old size 11), two shank buttons for the eyes and polyester washable toy filling.
I don’t know about other people, but I seem to have a “problem” when choosing what projects to work on next. I adore looking at knitting and crochet patterns, all the beautiful yarns, their colours and textures, etc. – and I love looking at manufactured clothing, home decor products and interior design ideas as well , as inspiration for colour and design. My problem is that I can usually see a basic idea but there will always be some aspects of it that aren’t just what I’m looking for! Do you recognise that feeling?
I always seem to be thinking:
“Well that bit’s fine, but could I alter it here?” or
“Could I create this idea but in a different material?” or
“Can I alter the size of this?” or
“Oooh, I love this product, but could I use it to create something else?” etc, etc.
So, over many years, I have adopted the attitude that even if you try out something and it doesn’t quite work, you’ve had a great learning curve along the way. At the end of the day, at least with knitting and crocheting, it’s probably only a few balls of wool that need pulling back! I now know, thanks to a great tip from a crafty friend, that all my “kinky” wool doesn’t need to be a problem either, because there is a very clever way to get rid of them. I will explain what this is, and how to do it, in another post in the near future.
All of the above preamble was really getting round to saying that, although I loved the idea of the owl, I was not really keen on the face panel as on the pattern (shown above). An idea came to mind which I’ll explain to you as we progress. I also wondered if it might be possible to give him a couple of wings as well, so I might try that too.
As I was going to play around a little, I decided that the largest owl would be the best one to make, as it gives me a bigger area to work with.
One ball of yarn (as per the pattern) is enough to knit the large body, but until I’d knitted it, I wouldn’t know how much would be left.
You can see on the photograph there was some, but whether it will be enough or not I’ll have to wait and see . I decided to concentrate on the owl as he was on the pattern, and think about “ wings” later.
It didn’t take long to knit the body and I decided this time, unlike with Herbie, that I would sew up and stuff the body first so that I could see what size I would be working with, in order to create my own eye pieces.
The body was knitted in stocking stitch, and in most cases you would probably sew something up so that the smooth side (ie: knit stitch side) is classed as the right side. The pattern does not actually tell you which way to sew it, but I decided I preferred the purl side on the outside – it seemed to show the tinsel effect off a little better (making it look more fluffy!) So I sewed knit sides face to face, then turned it inside out to stuff it. Also, normally, you would think that your cast on edge would be at the bottom of whatever it is you are knitting, but in this case the cast on edge is the top the head and the cast off edge is the base.
I would say the finished height of the owl is approx 25cm/10ins (it does not actually tell you the heights of the different owls on the pattern).
Next I decided to knit the owl’s feet as instructed.
Whilst I was knitting the feet for the Hedgehog, I must admit that the instructions seemed a bit strange, but stick with me, and hopefully I can make things a little clearer for you. They are exactly the same one’s for the owl’s feet. So I decided in this post I would try, with step-by-step instructions and photographs, to explain just what they mean.
Casting on and the first two rows are straightforward, but for some people Row 3 may confuse you. First of all knit 5 stitches, then knit 2 more. Cast the second of these off over the first one. Knit next stitch, then cast it off over the previous stitch. Continue like this until you have 4 stitches remaining on the left-hand needle (you will also have 1 stitch on your right-hand needle). Knit 4 stitches, which then gives you 5 stitches at the end of the row.
On the next row (Row 4 on the owl pattern), knit 5 stitches then turn your work. Using the two needle method, cast on 20 stitches, ie: put the right-hand needle into the first stitch of the 5, knitwise; wrap the yarn round the tip of the right-hand needle; bring the right-hand needle to the front of the work but instead of slipping the stitch off the left- hand needle(as you would for an ordinary knit stitch), slip the loop formed back on to the left-hand needle. Repeat 19 times to create your 20 new stitches.
ON THE OWL PATTERN THERE IS ACTUALLY A MISTAKE AS IT DOES NOT TELL YOU TO TURN YOUR WORK AGAIN, BUT YOU NEED TO DO THIS TO BE ABLE TO KNIT THE REMAINING 5 STITCHES OF THE ROW. When you have turned, knit the 5 stitches that are remaining on what is now your left-hand needle.
Work 2 knit rows and then repeat the cast off/cast on rows again.
Work another 2 knit rows, then cast off all stitches. You now have a finished foot piece which you might think looks a little strange.
When you fold the finished piece in half you can easily see how it will create a foot. Simply overstitch all around the edges to give Ollie his three toes.
Now it was time to consider what to do about the eye panels.
I really didn’t like the look of them knitted in garter stitch as per the pattern, so I wondered what they might look like if I crocheted something instead, as it is easy to create circular pieces of crochet.
I decided to use a deep yellow yarn, as Snowy owls often have vivid yellow eyes with a deep black centre. To achieve the centre I was going to add some shank buttons at a later stage.
Here are the instructions for the eye panels, with photographs of the various stages to help you:
Using the gold yarn and 3mm crochet hook, make 5 chains (ch), join with a slipstitch (s/s)
1st Row: Make 2 ch, work 8 double crochet (dc) into the centre of the ring, join with s/s (9 stitches). Make sure there is a reasonable sized hole left in the centre. You need to be able to fit the shank of the button through it when the pieces are completed.
2nd Row: Make 2 ch, work 1dc into 1st dc of previous row, then work 2 dc into each dc of previous row, join with s/s (18 stitches)
3rd Row: Make 2 ch, work as for Row 2, but do not make s/s at end of the round. (If you make this stitch in gold, it will show in the next round which is going to be white). Break off the gold yarn.
Using white yarn, continue as follows – join to beginning chain of previous row with a s/s
4th Row: Make 2 ch. Work 1 treble (tr) into each stitch of previous row, to end, joining with s/s (36 stitches)
5th Row: Make 2 ch.* Work 1 tr into each of next 2 sts, work 2 tr in next st*, repeat from * to * to end of row, join with s/s (48 stitches)
Next, make 2 ch, then work 1 tr into each of the next 4 stitches. Remove hook from the stitch and pull the loop of this last stitch until it is a reasonable size (this is only to prevent the work being pulled back until the other eye piece has been worked). Break off yarn, leaving about a 30cm tail after the loop.
Now you need to make another piece exactly like this one, including the loop at the end.
Take hold of the two eye panels, placing them back to back, wrong sides together. Put your hook through the loop of the back panel which will be on the right-hand side. Next put the hook through the top of the stitch of the front panel as shown on the photograph (this will be at the opposite end of the joining sts to the loop}. Pull the yarn of the back loop until it is closed up against the needle ready to work. Using this tail of yarn, wrap it round the needle and pull it through all the loops. Using the same piece of yarn, work 1 dc through each of the next 3 tr on both panels together. Now, put the hook through all of the following at the same time: the top ch of the turning ch on the front panel, the last tr on the back panel and, at the same time, the large loop left previously on the front panel. Put yarn round the hook and pull through all loops. At the same time pull the tail of the front panel taut. Tie together with a couple of knots. These tails can now be used to sew the panels onto the owl’s body.
This has now created a ridge on the front side of the panels which can be used to help to attach the beak.
The button eyes can now be inserted in the holes in the centre of each panel. (If the shank of the buttons will not fit easily into the holes, using a pencil or pen tip, twist this in the hole to make it a little bigger). Once they fit through they can be attached by sewing them, through the hole in the button shank, onto the back of each panel.
Place the eye panels on the front of the owl’s body (I didn’t really think there was a definite front or back to the body so either side should be ok). Play around until you are happy with their location, then pin in place - I only used 4 pins, one top and one bottom on each eye panel.
Take one of the long ends left at the end of joining the two panels together. Thread this in a wool needle and make a few stitches to attach the beak area to the body. Next, if you look carefully at your crocheted panels, you will see that there are two distinct rounds of stitches worked in white. Using the line between the two rows as a guide, and using backstitch, sew all round the eye section. Fasten off. Using the other long length of yarn, repeat for the other eye.
You should now have an owl face with attitude, even if he is still missing a beak!
This is a straightforward knitted triangle, which I knitted in grey. It doesn’t say on the pattern which way out to turn this, but I decided that it looked more like the texture of a beak if it was used with the purl side outside. Using the tail from either casting on or off, sew the decreased edges together to form a little cone-shaped piece. I did this by oversewing the edges on the right side. Again I felt this added to the textural effect.
Fill the beak with a small amount of stuffing, making sure you get some right down to the point, without poking right through the end!
Using your fingers and thumbs, I found that if I you gently coax the pointed end, you can actually create a bit of a bend, or hook, in the end of the beak.
Using the remaining yarn at the end of the beak, and using the ridge on the eye panel to help, attach it to the owl’s face.
To attach the feet I turned the owl upside down and faced the feet to the front but splayed them slightly to face outwards .When I had decided they looked alright, I then flipped them over to face backwards and pinned them to the body (they will slightly cross over one another at this point). This only needed one pin, but it just made sure it wouldn’t move whilst I was trying to sew them on. Using small overstitches I sewed along the straight edge of the foot. Then I turned the foot back towards the front of the owl and stitched along the straight edge again, then fastened it off securely. I tried to make sure that both the beak and the feet were sewn on quite securely as I had visions of Ollie being transported by his young owner using one or other of these appendages!!!
Once I had finished Ollie I decided that he could look even more cute if he did have wings. I had a little bit of yarn left, but obviously if I tried making them, I would have to have enough for two! My philosophy was that it was not going to take long to knit a piece the size I was going to need, so – just go for it! What did I really have to lose?
To keep it simple I thought that a triangular shape might work for this, like it did for the beak. A bigger triangle with the straight edge at the top, then fold it in half to create a straight edge at one side and a tapered edge at the other. I didn’t know at this point whether I would end up putting any stuffing in it or not, that could be decided later.
The instructions for the wing I decided to make are as follows:
Using the Tinsel yarn and 5mm needles (as for the main body), cast on 6 sts.
Starting with a knit row, and working in stocking stitch(1 row knit, 1 row purl), increase 1 st at each end of every row for 9 rows (24 sts).
Next Row: ** Purl
Next Row: Increase 1 st at each end of knit row**
Repeat from ** to ** 3 times (30 sts)
Work a further 9 rows in stocking stitch.
Cast off knitwise.
Once I had knitted this piece I could see there was enough yarn left to knit the other wing. Pheww!! as by now I was really quite sure that I wanted him to have wings.
I folded the wing piece in half, and as with the body, placed the knit sides together . I then stitched it along the angled side. Next, I turned it inside out and placed it at the side of the body. The decision now would be to see whether I thought it needed any stuffing inserting, or would it look alright as it was. I decided on a half-way house – it needed something but not too much. I also decided, by placing it on the side of his body, that it was probably going to be a bit wide across the top edge to sit comfortably in position. So, rather than pulling it back and re-designing the shape, I decided to try running the sewing-up thread along the top straight edge, thinking that once I had put a bit of stuffing inside, I could perhaps gather it up, thus reducing its length. I love it when a plan comes together!!! It did work- really well!
Gathering along the top of the wing piece gave it a better, more realistic shape, and with not too much stuffing it should mean that the wing would not stick out from the body at right angles!
I now needed to decide where to attach the wings to the body. As with other parts of the project, this is really down to personal preference. Play around with some pins and try them in various places. So long as they are both about the same height on each side it should be fine. I was thinking, that as with the feet and the beak, the wings may well end up being used as a means to carry him around, so the important thing is to make sure you sew them on securely.
So, there we are! One finished owl with some innovations. I must say I am extremely pleased with how he has turned out. I personally feel that the crocheted eye panels give him much more character, emphasising the roundness of an owl’s eyes. By sewing round the inner ring of stitches, it makes the outer row of crochet stand out, almost representing a frill of feathers on his face.
I am also really glad that there was enough yarn left to have a “play” and give him some wings, although he is still cute without them! If, for some reason, you did not have enough yarn left, then if you had to use another ball, I am sure that you could always find someone else who would also love a cuddly owl, or that the recipient of the first one wouldn’t mind a “family” of them! Remember, this was the largest one, the others won’t take as much.
I hope that you have enjoyed following this post, and if it encourages some of you to have a go at tweaking one or two of your own patterns, then I will be very pleased. Sometimes it only needs a small variation to make something your own and stand out from the crowd!
I look forward to bringing you another project soon,
Bye till then and happy crafting
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 7th December 2015 by Annette