Tag: toys (page 1 of 3)

Shrödinger’s Christmas Cat

For the Canva 2015 Kris Kringle gift exchange, I got a colleague who is mathematician and engineer. I tried stalking him on social media, but he doesn’t post very much. I knew that he’s into dark European films and quantum physics, so my genius idea was to knit him Shrödinger’s Cat!

You can find more details about the knitted cat over on Ravelry. Obviously, he’s alive on one side and dead on the other! To complete the experiment, I included a bottle of “poison” (ie vodka) and a container full of “radioactive material” (ie Kinder eggs). I packed it all into a cardboard box that I spraypainted silver (since it’s supposed to be steel) and decorated with “PROPERTY OF E. SHRÖDINGER” and “CAUTION: LIVE(?) ANIMALS” labels.

I’m very happy to report that the recipient was delighted with it. 🙂

How to Make a Sock Monkey

I published this tutorial back in 2004, and it’s been pretty popular! I’ve now ported it over to my new site. You’re welcome to link to it, but please don’t reproduce without my permission.

Little My Softie

I wanted to make a special present for my niece Cali, so I thought that I’d whip up a “Little My” softie. Little My is from the Moomin books, and she’s Cali’s favourite character. (I know because I sent her this Uniqlo t-shirt and she LOVED it.) So I started by downloading a line drawing and printing it out. I decided that I was only going to make a simple “two-dimensional” toy rather than try to translate her into full 3-D. I traced the drawing onto some felt and cut out the pieces. The trickiest bit was embroidering her face.

Embroidering the face

I used some acrylic yarn for the embroidery. Her features were done in black with a split stitch, and I used orange yarn to backstitch her hair (leaving long strands at the top to form her top-knot). Rather than bother with turning things inside-out, I just used a tight zig-zag stitch around the pieces (with wrong sides together) to sew the her head and body pieces together. For her hair, I actually tucked the long ends back down into her head before sewing her scalp so it couldn’t be pulled undone. It worked really well! I stuffed the head and body parts through the neck opening and then joined the two halves there. Then I zig-zagged across the neck to join and covered the resulting mess up with a cut-out pink bow-tie (tacked on by hand). I also zig-zagged around the arm openings (where her hands are on her hips) and then snipped out the inside bits. I had planned to use black felt for her hands and boots, but honestly I couldn’t be bothered at that point.

No big deal - just being the BEST AUNT EVER. #littlemy #handmade

The first thing my niece Indie said was, “Her head’s going to fall off I think!” Which may well happen. The whole thing was a bit of a bodge and I doubt it’ll hold up very well–the felt was starting to pill within a day–but I’ve decided to just treat it as a prototype. Cali absolutely loved it, and that’s all that matters! I’m thinking of redoing it in fleece and trying to make her a bit more three-dimensional next time…

Plush Hobbes

HobbesPlush Hobbes
I was just updating my Crafts page and realised that I’d neglected to document the creation of Hobbes. This was my Christmas gift to my nephew Penn. He recently discovered Calvin & Hobbes books, so I thought he would love his very own Hobbes. I’d seen and bookmarked the Instructables tutorial a long time ago. The hardest part was finding the fleece! I was calling all over Sydney with no luck. Then Issy sent me a message that she’d found some in a remnant bag she’d just bought! She brought it over and TOTALLY SAVED CHRISTMAS. Anyhoo, I used the sewing machine for most of the basic tube construction. Then it was all hand sewing: assembling the tubes, sewing on the stripes, and sewing on his face. It took ages, and I had quite a blister on my finger! (I never did get the hang of using a thimble.) It was all worth it when Penn opened it on Christmas morning though. Within 24 hours I had to do emergency surgery on a split that had opened in his tail, but that’s what Aunts do, right? Tigers are meant to Have Adventures, not sit on a shelf. We should also have such a best friend!

Some construction photos:

Fleece and thread   Pieces   Basic assembly done

Sewing on stripes   Stripes finished

The w-g Oscar Contest 2013

The w-g Oscar Contest 2013

My ELEVENTH annual Oscar Contest is now open! If you pick the most correct answers, you’ll win a set of FOUR super-powered Avenger Monkeys! You get Captain America (with shield), Iron Monkey, Thor (with Mjölnir), and the Incredible Hulk Monkey. No, I didn’t do any of the lame human characters. If you want a monkey with an eyepatch or a bow and arrow, you can make your own. 🙂

And remember, in the event of a tie, the person that entered earlier wins. So don’t wait too long! Read on for more photos, or go here to enter.Here’s a body shot of Captain America Monkey. As you can see, he comes with a really sweet shield (painted by Mr. Snook himself!).

Captain America Monkey

A close-up of Cap’n’s face.

Captain America Monkey

Here’s Iron Monkey. (If you’re handy with electronics, you could make his Arc Reactor light up!)

Iron Monkey

And here’s his face. Sorry, Robert Downey Jr. not included.

Iron Monkey

Here’s Norse god Thor himself. He’s got a long red cape, flowing blonde locks, and a mystical hammer. (But don’t squish it too hard because it was sculpted out of clay, again by Mr. Snook.)

Thor Monkey

And here’s Thor’s close-up.

Thor Monkey


Hulk Monkey

You can’t tell from the photos, but he really is bigger than the other 3. (Unfortunately socks don’t really allow for a lot of muscle definition, so I had to embroider his pecs on.)

Hulk Monkey

What are you waiting for? Go enter the contest!

Shared today on Instagram

Shared today on Instagram:

Happy Halloween! I brought some googly-eyed friends to work.
Happy Halloween! I brought some googly-eyed friends to work.

Easter Show Knitting

Easter Show Knitting: This year I set a record in finishing THREE projects for the Easter Show knitting competitions. I probably shouldn’t blog about them yet – because, you know, SPIES and whatnot – but I can’t be bothered. I never win anyway, so there’s no point in being coy. As you will see, I stuck to my customary themes of “Giant Cabled Thing,” “Non-Traditional Colours,” and “Toys Based on Australian Children’s Literature.” Oh, and this year I added a new one: “Disturbing Accessories.” I even freaked myself out.

Rhiannon SocksFirst, the Giant Cabled Thing in Non-Traditional Colours. It’s Cookie A’s Rhiannon Socks knitted in hot pink Wollmeise. Yes, really. Longtime readers will remember that I actually tried to knit these socks four years ago and failed miserably. There are some truly diabolical cable stitches in there (increasing four stitches while cabling at the same time, for example), but this time I cracked it. I knitted them both at the same time on my usual 2.75mm circs. This photo, of course, is from before they were finished. They were blocking for the past few days so I didn’t even have time to get a proper finished photo! Hopefully the Easter Show display monkeys don’t, like, cut holes in them when they display them. (If you want more details, check out the Ravelry page.)

Sam SawnoffNext is my toy entry. Two years ago I knitted Albert from The Magic Pudding, and this year I decided to knit Sam Sawnoff. Sam, of course, is a penguin and a loyal member of the Noble Society of Pudding Owners. I used the Norman Lindsay watercolour as my model, basing the body off the “Fairy Penguin” pattern in the “Cleckheaton Wildlife in 8ply” book. I actually used two strands of 8ply wool throughout to make him bigger, and I improvised the feet and wings a bit (since the pattern instructions were incomprehensible). His eyes are felt, and his trousers are calico. They turned out a bit more nappy-like than I wanted, but I don’t think it can be helped given the realities of penguin anatomy. Incidentally, I’m pretty sure Norman Lindsay never even saw a real penguin. Sam is WACK. (More details on Ravelry here.)

BokaclavaAnd now we come to DISTURBING: the Bokaclava. I’m not sure how I came across this free pattern, but somehow a few years ago I agreed to knit one for my colleague Sean. It sat hibernating for a long time til I was inspired to finish it. My goal, of course, was to completely freak out the Show judges. And given how much it freaked ME out every time I tried it on, I think I will succeed. I knitted it out of some random Aran wool that I was gifted, and the thing looks more like something you’d buy in a Newtown fetish shop than something entered in a country show. And really, that’s pretty much what I was going for! BOOYAH. (And the Rav page is here.)

And now to wait and see the results of the judging. Any bets?

The 9th Annual webgoddess Oscar Contest

The Ninth Annual webgoddess Oscar Contest

My annual Oscar Contest is now open! I have added an additional category this year (“Best Cinematography”) to hopefully help avoid ties. If you pick the most correct answers, you’ll win the big prize: a pair of custom-made, one-of-a-kind Black Swan and White Swan ballerina sock monkeys! One is beautiful, pure, and repressed; the other is totes sexy-crazy. They might just be my best sock creations yet. (However, I disclaim all responsibility if you use them to act out the movie and then it drives you insane.) Read on for more photos, or go here to enter.SPOILER ALERT!

Once upon a time, there was a young ballerina named Nina. She was beautiful and pure and kinda repressed, and her greatest dream was to dance the lead in Swan Lake. She lived with her demanding mother in a tiny womb-like apartment and didn’t have any friends. She was a little weird.


Through a series of events that may or may not have involved a pilfered lipstick and a stolen kiss, Nina got her wish and got picked to play the Swan Queen. As rehearsal wore on though, Nina started to get paranoid. She began to fixate on the new dancer Lily. Was someone following her? Who was that lurking in the shadows and behind mirrors?

The dark shadow

Nina was perfect as the White Swan, but she couldn’t embody the sexuality and ecstasy of the Black Swan. She tried everything, but mostly her creepy Mom kept thwarting her. It really started to get to her. She spent a lot of time looking in mirrors. She got a weird rash on her shoulder.

A strange rash

On a night of reckless abandon, Nina goes to a club with Lily, drops Ecstasy, and makes out with a random dude. Then in the taxi, Lily makes a move…

Lily makes a move

They spend the night together – OR DO THEY? – and it pretty much facilitates Nina’s full psychotic break. She freaks out on her Mom and has some more avian hallucinations. On opening night, she wrestles with Lily in the dressing room and dramatically stabs her. Nina’s Black Swan persona finally emerges.

Black Swan

Exhilarated, Nina dances the third act as the Swan Queen passionately and sensually. As she dances, her arms sprout feathers and become full black wings. She loses herself and transforms into the Black Swan, earning a standing ovation. The whole audience wonders what the hell just happened.


But what becomes of the White Swan? Pretty much just what we all expected. OR DOES IT?

The White Swan's suicide


Actually, I’ve got some more photos so you can see the details of the prizes. First, the White Swan. She features a white dress with feather detail, white tutu, pink ballet shoes, and white feathered headpieces. She has a mysterious rash on her left shoulder.

White Swan   White Swan's rash

Ballet shoes   White Swan headpiece

Next, the Black Swan. She features a black dress with feather detail, black tutu, pink ballet shoes, and a black crown (of pipe cleaners). She has red button eyes and hand-painted makeup on her face and hands. She also features velcro down the back of each arm so you can attach a pair of black feathered wings.

Black Swan   Black Swan's face

Velcro   Black Swan wings

What are you waiting for? Go enter the contest!

Massive thanks go to Kunaal and Josh for all their help, especially with the fantastic photos. And as always, thanks to the Snook for inspiration and assistance.

Easter Show Knitting

Easter Show Knitting
The other big thing that happened last week was that I finally finished my Easter Show knitting. I had two entries this year: “St. Brigid” in the aran category and “Albert the Magic Pudding” in the knitted toys. I think they turned out pretty well!

St. Brigid     Albert the Magic Pudding

St. Brigid is from Alice Starmore’s Aran Knitting, a book which is sadly out-of-print. (Used copies go for $300! No joke!) Luckily I know someone with a copy who was generous enough to share. This is my second Starmore after last year’s Na Craga. The wool is Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed in colour 127 Posie. It’s a very pretty pinky red with little flecks through it. Starmore’s patterns are famously huge with lots of ease, so I had to play to get the right size. I actually used 4mm needles to get gauge and lengthened the body by an extra repeat. I also lengthened the arms quite a bit. The original version had fringe around the bottom (ew) and a mock turtleneck (ew ew), so I left both of those off. This is a very warm jumper, and I’ll probably only get to wear it a few times a year. But it’s beautiful and I made it and I love it. (More pictures on Flickr and more details on Ravelry.)

And then there’s the Magic Pudding. (No, Mom, he’s not an octopus!) He’s from a famous Australian children’s book by Norman Lindsay. The Snook read me this book, and I absolutely loved it. It’s a shame that kids in America don’t know it! I based my original design off a postcard with a watercolour of the Pudding by Lindsay himself. I was really tickled when the RAS volunteer who was taking my entries recognised him immediately. Maybe next year I’ll have to do Bunyip Bluegum? (More details on Ravelry.)

Bag Swap Package

Bag Swap Package
I can’t believe I forgot to post my Bag Swap Package! I received mine from Tricia, and I sent off a package to Amanda in rural Victoria. I spent some time stalking Amanda, and I figured that a practical bag was going to be best for her. I went with Knitty’s Satchel, which is a roomy, felted messenger bag. I knitted the smaller size out of Lincraft Cozy wool and felted it in my washing machine. (I double-felted the handle for extra strength.) In one of her questionnaires, Amanda happened to mention that she really wanted a dog. Well, I thought, I’d stitch her one…

Satchel Spot the Dog

I also sent her a book of Sudoku (since she likes doing those), a bar of chocolate, and a box of T-pins. (A lace knitter can never have too many T-pins.) I’m really happy that she liked the package! (More details over on Ravelry if you’re interested.)