Tips & Techniques for Knitting theknittycat's Peeps and Other Toys

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Character Peeps - Marvel Comics' the Thing

I recently posted a new Character Peep to our flickr pages modeled after the Marvel Comics' character the Thing (link), and suddenly, it went a little mad in our e-world!  :o)  Apparently, there is a LOT of interest in the Thing (member of the Fantastic Four in Marvel Comics, and recently immortalized even further in a big screen movie).  Folks were viewing and blogging about our humble little version, and interest in a pattern became apparent.

Making the Thing
Unfortunately, as I've mentioned, I rarely knit from a pattern, and usually knit freehand, inventing (sculpting the shape) as I go, so there is really no exact documentation of how I made the Thing.  I can reconstruct a close approximation of how I made him, but the exact execution will be up to anyone who wants to duplicate my efforts.
Update: I'm hard at work, writing an actual pattern.  I hope to have it finished within the next week, and I will post a link here as soon as it is ready.

I did take a few "in progress" photos, during his construction, and hope that they will help you to visualize the process.  I will include them on the page with the pattern when it is completed.


There is really nothing very unusual about the construction of the Thing. He's actually engineered in the same way as any basic, two-legged, standing, toy, and can be crocheted, instead of knit, if you prefer.  My version is knit in seed stitch (k1p1 then knit the purls and purl the knits) except for the shorts which are stockinette.

If you've made other toys or amigurumi, he is made using the same process.

  • Starting from one foot, knit the foot and leg in the round in the same way that you'd knit a simple sock or bootie.
  • Put the stitches from the first leg onto a holder and make the second leg the same as the first and add the toes to both feet.
  • Attach the color for the shorts and knit across both legs (front and back), picking up the stitches for the first leg from the holder.

  • Knit the torso in the round up to the neck, (changing back to the body color at the waist).
  • Knit the head and arms (including the fingers) and sew them onto the torso.
  • Knit the brow ridge and sew it on.
  • Knit the waistband and sew it on
  • Pop in the eyes and embroider the mouth

VOILA!  The Thing!

Since he wasn't going to a small child, I did insert pipe cleaners into the legs, arms and torso, to give a little posability and stability (because he's so top heavy).

For much more detailed instructions, please see the Pattern for the Thing linked to on the

MERRY CHRISTMAS! Our gifts to you - PATTERNS!!

post. (now finished!)    :o)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Peeps! and how to make them... Introduction

To view the Peeps Collection, please visit our flickr site

My abortive attempt to blog the Peep Saga has been put on hold because it's taking me too long to get it going.  Sooo... I've decided to start this little interim blog to more quickly address the requests for patterns and how-to's that are coming in, while I'm bogging along with the main blog.  :o)
I make my Peeps (also known as Amigurumi) freehand, without patterns (unless I write one), and only some of them with a plan.  :o)   Almost all are knitted, as that is my current passion (and is much easier on my painful hands), but I reserve the right to toss in a crocheted one whenever the whim strikes.  ;o)

There are four distinct varieties of peeps:
Classic Peeps,     Character Peeps,
        More Elaborate Peeps,

  and Inanimates (food and other items). 
Plus there are always guys that don't fit any of those categories,
so they will be Special Peeps.

Classic Peeps:
Classic Peeps are made using the double knitting method from the legs to the neck.
For an excellent description of this technique, please see this pattern.
Although I cannot find the author's name on her site, she does give the following credits for the inspiration for this pattern:
"I got this idea from Jacquee Gillespie of Heber, Utah. The Double Knitting technique is from Beverly Royces’ book which is edited by Meg Swanson and available from Interweave Press."  The doubleknit bear pattern author also has this pattern available for purchase in a package with other patterns here or alone here.
Double knitting, using the method described above, is a really fast and easy way to knit a simple three dimensional tube-like item.  You knit the item inside out so that you simply knit one stitch and slip the next, across the needle (you don't need to pass the working yarn back and forth like you do with double knitting right-side-out).  This knits one side of the item, then you turn the needles and knit/slip across the other side.  When you finish, you turn the item right side out, and VOILA!  It's one piece of in-the-round knitting that you did straight across!  Magic!  :o)
The body, legs and arms of each of the classic peeps are knitted with this method, inside out, in one piece, on one circular needle (you can use two straight needles if you prefer) and then turned right side out and placed on two circs (or on dpns if you're comfortable with them), and the head is knit in the round.  The pieces are all together when you finish knitting, and there are no seams to sew.
In the pattern (above) for the doubleknitbear, the author suggests that the head also be done with the doubleknitting technique, but I find it unwieldy to do much shaping while doubleknitting, so I turn the peeps right-side-out before knitting the head, and continue in the round from that point.
More examples of classic peeps:
C & C's kitty peepsPenelope PigolettaSissy in her new pink lace dressThe Vanilli Sisters - 3 Giggle Bunnies


Character Peeps:
Character Peeps are based on existing characters and are created in a variety of ways, depending on the looks of the character, and my mood.  :o)  And the desires of the recipient, if they know about the gift before it's made.
Some of them (like Elmo and Cookie and Kitty and Super Bear) are started in the classic peep method, and veer off when the head is made.  Some (like Kermie and Hedwig and Taz) bear no resemblance to the classic peep creation method, and are each approached on an individual basis.

Cookie MonsterElmo & GoldySuper Bear Peep in flight with cloudsAlex's snowy owl HedwigHello Kitty for Nicole front 3 qtr
More Elaborate Peeps:

More Elaborate Peeps are also created in a variety of ways, depending on the looks of the character, and my mood.  :o)  And the desires of the recipient, if they know about the gift before it's made.  But these aren't based on an existing character.  The inspiration for them can come from anywhere, and their design may begin with looking at lots of pictures of real and imaginary animals (like for Linus the Penguin, and Harmony the Hedgehog) or may just be a product of imagination (like Marietta the Flat Cat, the kitty pillows, or the video game bunnies).
MiniMe  turtle cupped in my handKristina's birthday & D's armrest  kitty pillows & wee prototypeTony's video game character Easter "bunny"Linus the Penguin with scarf & hatKatie's Flat Cat Marietta side
Some of them (like Marietta and the kitty pillows) are made using the double knitting technique, but most are knit in the round on two circs.  There are a few exceptions, of course, like MiniMe the crocheted turtle, and Harmony the Hedgehog, who was knit partially in the round but, although the fuzzy back was knit at the same time as the front, they weren't connected while knitting and had to be sewn up (ugh!) later.

So far, most of the inanimates are food, and most are created simply knitting in the round with two circular needles.  There are exceptions, of course, including an "unbroken" heart which is created all in one piece, using slip stitches, with no break in the yarn to make the second lobe.  Most of them, thus far, have been created as brain food for the ZomPeeps (more on that later).


Unbroken HeartPeter Pumpkinhead's pumpkin w flashZompeeps & Fruit Brains with flashtomato in handDiane's bday ice cream dish sewing kit - with a cherry on top