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

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Thing in progress ... Jean Greenhowe Patterns and Kinki Knitting

Please check out for larger photos and all of the peeps.

A Pattern for the Thing?
It's taking me a lot longer than I had hoped to write up a pattern for the Thing.  Making him was a bit more complicated than I'd realized. 

When I approach "sculpting" with knitting, I nearly always create as I go, without much, if any, plan.  I sometimes have a specific image in my mind, or at least the approximate size and shape of the item. And sometimes I have an image or images on paper (like the
Muppet characters, Hello Kitty, the Marvel Comics' character, the Thing,

and Matt's character designs of Ted and NegA-teD, amongst others).

I simply begin, usually at the bottom, and work my way
up, creating the desired shape with increases and decreases as I go.  I am not really conscious of the difficulty of the process till some time has gone by and completion is not yet in sight.  :o)
I'm sure that I wouldn't have tackled some of the projects I've made if I'd thought out the difficulty in advance!  ;o)  I like simple and quick projects!

With the Thing, I was knitting pretty intensively for a few weeks, so I guess he was rather difficult for me.  Hard work, anyway.  Though not difficult to figure out how to manage the shaping.  He's pretty blocky.  It's proving much more complicated and challenging  for me to analyze how I did what I did, and put it in writing, step by step.  I want to say "make this part as tall and wide as desired", but that's not much use to someone who wants to work from a pattern, is it.

So, the upshot is that it's taking me a lot longer than I'd hoped to put it all down in a useable form.  Especially since I no longer have the fellow and have to work from the photos that I took.  Happily, I took a lot of photos!
And here's a collage of some of the in-progress photos that I took during his creation:

I'm still hard at work, analyzing his structure and writing up the steps to create him, in between making other peeps, of course.
I have such admiration for all of those prolific pattern writers out there!  How on earth do you do it?!

Jean Greenhowe Books...

On a happier note - speaking of prolific pattern writers - I recently received two of the absolutely marvelous Jean Greenhowe pattern books that I'd ordered from!

Her knitted characters are just so wonderful!   I especially loved the Little Dumpling Ladies!  (just look at this adorable lady in the YARN SHOP!!)  Besides, I'm rather a "little dumpling lady", myself.  ;o)

And, although I am unlikely to ever actually make anything from one of her patterns (since they are knit in pieces and sewn together and I dislike doing that, and they have LOTS of little details that make them gorgeous, but I don't like to fiddle with), I really enjoy looking at the pics, and thought that I might pick up a tip or two, like a different way of making hair, etc.  Or just more inspiration!  :o)  Just looking at these beautiful creations makes me very happy!  :o)

Kinki Knitting...

I've recently purchased some new circular needles from (I use circulars for all my knitting), and I'm just crazy about them!  They're lovely, silky smooth bamboo, with nice flexible cables, really smooth joins, and SWIVELS inside the joins!  I really love working with them! And they have sizes all the way down to US 0!

The brand is Kinki Amibari (KA), with prices starting from $7.35 for 16 inch needles (the length I use for knitting small items in the round).  The sizes range from US0 up to US17 and most sizes cost under $8.00!  Compare that to Addi Natura's (which are nice but don't have a very smooth join) for $13.00 to $16.00 each!  The Kinki Amibari needles come in several lengths, though I didn't look at the prices of any but the 16" length.

Previously, my favorite needles, and really the only needles I liked to work with, were vintage nylon circs, which haven't been made in a lot of years.  I've been collecting these needles for several years, getting them wherever I could find them, but it's becoming more and more difficult.  So I'm ecstatic to find needles that I'm really enjoying using that are readily available!  Hurray!   Be forewarned though, there is usually a one week delay before the needles are shipped from since they are ordering them from the manufacturer in Japan.  But they're definitely worth the wait!  :o)
Well, I just talked myself into going and ordering some more!  Yay!

(A little post script:  Please forgive the erratic spacing in this post.  I'm having some trouble with the coding produced by Vox's compose window.)