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

Saturday, December 24, 2011




Much Joy!

Many Blessings!

Wishing all the joys of the season to all of you,
from theknittycat and Mr. theknittycat

theknittingkitty for theknittycat

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Grover / Super Grover for D's Birthday 2009(?)

Wheeee! Super Grover flies again!! 

Super Grover Flies Again

Smarter than a Speeding Bullet!
"onward and upward to do brave deeds.... up up and awaaaay...."

Look someone needs help!

Grover sees someone who needs help

This is a job for
Super Grover!

This is a job for Super Grover!

Up up and away!

Super Grover to the rescue - up up and away!

But first I have to hold Mother's hand to cross the street

Grover has to hold Mother's hand when crossing the street


I'm still craftless, with hands wrapped like mummies now, but my poor Hub needed a Peep for his birthday. What could I do?

I had made Grover / Super Grover for him two years ago, but Grover was packed up (along with the other peeps) when we made a temporary forced move, because our place was being re-roofed.  Soooo ... I unpacked him and he flew in to sing Happy Birthday to my Hub!  ;o)

 "Happy birthday to youuu
happy birthday to youuuuuu......."

Grover was made much like Elmo and Cookie, but with facial features added. I hadn't intended to make an open mouth, but after knitting him up like the others, I just felt he NEEDED that big jaw. So unlike the all-in-one-piece method I used to make the open-mouthed Stitch and Sackboy, since this was an afterthought,  I made the jaw separately, sort of a watermelon wedge shape, and sewed it on.  His red mouth is an i-cord, sewn to the jaw.  I also added a kind of flattened sausage shape for his upper lip, and two little sausages for eyebrows.

This was definitely more work than using the flap /loopy legs technique for the mouth while knitting the head.

 Grover mugging in mug shots.  ;o)
Grover mugging in mug shots collage

Isn't that a cute little belly?!

His mouth is flexible and can be posed.

Super Grover's emblem is one of my few felt efforts (because I'm not good at that), and is attached to the cord of his cape, so that it's gone when he is in his secret identity of Grover.  :o)

Super Grover collage

Making his helmet was interesting as I remember, but it was two years ago so I don't remember much.  :o/   I knitted the helmet, but crocheted the visor so it would have more body.  I do remember that I crocheted the visor sideways.

You might observe that the visor is a bit flattened in some photos.  That happened while he was packed away and I didn't notice till after I took most of the pics. Easily fixed though.  :o)

close-ups of helmet
Super Grover's helmet collage

My hub and I were really happy to see Grover Peep again!  Yay!  And now he gives us smiles every day.  :o)

You may be seeing more of the peeps who were packed away in future posts.

theknittingkitty for theknittycat

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fuzzy Brushed Amigurumi and how they got that way

A Short History of Fuzzy Brushed Amigurumi (crocheted and knitted toys)

In response to a question asked regarding my post of Fuzzy Hello Kitty, I mentioned the history of the Brushed Amigurumi Technique.  There was a little confusion (lack of clarity on my part) and the commenter thought it was my technique, but no, I'm not so clever as that.  ;o)

(I've noted here my recollections which I have verified as best as I can with net research.)

Who's on first?

As I remember, my first encounter with this idea was in 2007, the first year I was making amigurumi.  Wibit, aka Roman Sock had made a fabulous Pomeranian, and described her method of getting that marvellous furry effect by brushing mohair, or mohair blend yarn with a wire pet slicker brush.

Roman Sock's adorable Crocheted and Brushed Pomeranian

You can get the free pattern here:

Roman Sock posted a tutorial on how to brush crocheted fabric, including the results with several types of yarns, here:

The Next Mentions of Using a Pet Slicker Brush

The next mention of this amazing brushed yarn technique, that I  remember seeing, was from Roxycraft, who has a terrific photo tutorial on how to achieve a fuzzy look with ordinary yarn and a slicker brush.
 ---link to Roxycraft's photo tute ---

And later she did a crochet-along for a very cute fuzzy panda, with video tutorials.
(sorry, that pic won't post - click on the first link to see the panda)

--- links to Roxycraft's crochet along and video tute ----

And there was also chezmichelle's fuzzy critters and information.   Possibly around mid 2008? Around the same time that I saw Roxycaft's, or maybe a couple of months before.  The wee fellow directly below was crocheted with bamboo yarn, which chezmichelle said gave an excellent result.

Link to chezmichelle and her cute free patterns here:

Unfortunately, like many of us who had blogs on, chezmichelle lost hers when vox disappeared and much of her info seems to be unavailable.
(except for a few bits and pieces, without photos, through the wayback machine's web archive )

P.S. to the issue - I did transfer my blog to - I have never had the time/energy to fix the look of the early posts, whose formatting got rather messed up in the process of the transfer.  But at least the content is all there.

What kind of yarn fibers work well?

It seems as though you can use this brushing technique with most yarns, but best to test your yarn by brushing a swatch before starting a project.   Some will work better than others.  I've seen wonderful results from wool, bamboo and acrylic yarns, and I'm sure other fibers will work well also.  Cotton yarn may not yield the results we want, but I haven't tried it so can't say for sure.  I've used Caron's Simply Soft, Vanna's Choice and Bernat Softee Baby, acrylic yarns, and all worked well.  I'll post a wee limbless kitty soon (hopefully) that I made with Simply Soft.  The outcome was very soft and silky.  Vanna's Choice came out wonderfully fluffy and fuzzy (see my Fuzzy Hello Kitty).

It's very simple to do, and really magical!  :o)  A very nice crocheted or knit amigurumi suddenly becomes a fuzzy, furry, cuddly softie!  Okay, maybe not suddenly, it's a bit of work to get it to a really fuzzy state, but it's still like magic to me!  :o)

xposted to and

theknittingkitty for theknittycat

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ewok to Baby Wookie for John's birthday, April 2011

"I have always held a secret belief
that Ewoks are actually ….. 
 ......  Baby Wookies"

Before all of my fellow Star Wars fans get mad ....

Just Kidding!!  heh heh




While making this little guy, I thought that his pre ears/helmet look was so cute that I didn't want to sew the helmet/ears on, so I made them removable.  And he DOES remind me of a wookie!  ;o)

This was my freehand version of the crocheted ewoks that I've seen on the net including chiwaluv’s cutie
 - there's a popular pattern available here: 

I crocheted him with with TLC Amore, a fuzzy boucle yarn, which is what decided me to use plain yarn and BRUSH Fuzzy Hello Kitty! Yeesh! I thought it was challenging to KNIT with fuzzy yarn!! But when you’re crocheting, you can’t see the STITCHES!!

Since I can't craft at the moment because my hands are healing (hopefully), I thought I'd post a few of the peeps I've been making, and have made in the past, who have been so woefully neglected because I never have a chance to stop knitting/crocheting, long enough to do any posting!  ;o)  I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as my Hub and I do. 

theknittingkitty for theknittycat

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lucy's Fuzzy Hello Kitty

Yet another Hello Kitty

Lucy's Hello Kitty

My most recent and hopefully my last Hello Kitty. Not that I don't think that HK is adorable, I just don't like working with so much white. By the time I finish that big white head I'm pretty bored with white yarn! ;o)

This one was made for Lucy and Baby MaryJane on the occasion of Lucy's birthday in May. :o) She has a little music box button inside that plays Brahm's Lullaby when you squeeze her tummy. :o)

You can hear the little music button playing here in this little video I made.
(little meaning simple, not small unfortunately)

(yeah, I know - I'm no budding cinematographer. Heh heh)

Lucy's Hello Kitty was crocheted with Vanna's choice yarn, just a plain acrylic (but nice stuff), and then brushed with a wire brush to make her all fuzzy!  In the white areas I held two yarns together, adding Lion Brand Microspun for a little shine, but when she was brushed  you couldn't really see the Microspun.

Here she is before fuzzing up. I had just brushed one foot for a bit, at that point, to try out the technique.

It's really amazing how well that works. I purchased a small dog slicker brush, but an even better tool that I used a lot is something called a nap riser brush, which I purchased here from It's like a mini slicker brush that you slide over a finger. It lets you get into small spaces and you have a lot of control.

It does take some work to get this effect but I find working with fuzzy yarn to be challenging with knitting, and crazy-making with crochet! So fuzzing up plain yarn after I've knitted or crocheted a peep is an interesting alternative.

What amazes me is that after all that brushing and fuzzing, very little fiber actually came off of the yarn. I've tugged on the fibers and they seem very secure still.

Did you know that Hello Kitty has a tail?!  She DOES!   I didn't know that till I did my picture research for this one.  And this is the fourth one I've made!  I just never noticed before.  Yes I know she's a kitty, but she's kind of a humanistic kitty.  And besides, I'm kind of notorious for leaving off tails!  heh heh    But Lucy's HK has a tail!!  Hurray!

More pics in my flickr photo stream.

As some of you might remember, I injured my knitter mitts (hands) in my crazy Christmas marathon, and have been crocheting my peeps for awhile - okay that's been interesting and I've learned some tricks.   :o)   But being a knitaholic, I am really missing knitting them. Well, a couple of weeks ago ... Ummm this is embarrassing ... I overdid with the crocheting, and now I can't do ANY crafting!!!  Eeeek!! Making peeps keeps me sane.... Now what?  Heh heh. My hub has suggested learning to knit with my toes. Heh heh

Hmmm. I think he's scared. ;o)

Since I'm so behind in posting my peeps, I've got plenty of them waiting in the wings, and I may find time to put up a couple more of my adventures in crocheting them, while waiting for my hands to heal up enough to allow me to work on them some more.

I hope that everyone is enjoying the new weloveamigurumi community theme and their summer!

(xposted to weloveamigurumi and theknittycat's tips)

theknittingkitty for theknittycat

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Froggie Frogmorton the Froggie Peep

Yay! I actually made something during a weloveamigurumi (live journal group) ami-along that fits the theme!! :o)

As part of my Spring Birthdays/Easter crunch, I have several gifts still in progress for my Hub's sister and  Mum, in Scotland. (They're late, but they're used to getting their peeps from me late.  It's now a tradition.  ;o)  There are so many people to make things for and just not enough hours in the day!)

I finished this froggie on Saturday, just under the wire for the "in-the-pond" ami-along! WooHOO!!  Okay, I know, I know - the rule in WLA is that it doesn't matter if you post items that aren't related to an ami-along, and it DOESN'T! But it's exciting anyway! Ha Ha! And I'm still making Octo-Buns (more about those later) - so I'm right in time for THIS month's under-the-sea ami-along!!   *does the happy dance*

And yes, I AM easily amused. ;o)

Frogmorton in Motion

Frogmorton is my very first crocheted frog! And my first not-KERMIT frog!
(knitted Kermie's are here )

Froggie Frogmorton in his little lotus flower bed/tub

I'm still unable to knit (with my sore mitts), and being less adept at crocheting ami's (and slow as molasses at the moment), I'm sticking to simple shapes. ;o) Happily, there are LOTS of cuties to be made with simple shapes!!  (I've written a post all about my crocheting adventures and why I'm crocheting my peeps at the moment, but haven't had a chance to post it yet)

Frogmorton with his very yellow bath pouf

My Hub's sis loves yellow and orange!

Frogmorton in my hand

He's kind of ticklish. ;o)

Frogmorton collage

He LOVES a bath with his fuzzy yellow pouf! :o)
(the pouf is also a ring - so you can always keep it handy in case you have an emergency need for a teensy weensy bath pouf. heh heh)

Doesn't he look like a teddy from the back? hee hee
That was a surprise!

The bottom left of the collage shows him with a photo of my inspiration
(on my iTouch - iPhone without the phone)

He's based on this adorable design by LuvlyGurumi

her pattern is here:

I didn't work from her pattern (I always work freehand) but it's the same frog. Totally her design. I came across her brilliant designs a while back, and have always wanted to make knitted versions of them. They're sooo adorable!!!  Love love her lambie!! And her lion, with a bonnet-mane (!), is just too cute!!! :o) And the other day I saw that she also has the cutest BUMBLEBEE!! And she has a wonderful bunny and pup too! Oh sooo much cuteness!

LuvlyGurumi's store with LOTS of adorable patterns is here:

I'm looking forward to getting back to knitting my peeps, but in the meantime, I'm having fun crocheting them now!  Hurray!  :o)

theknittingkitty for theknittycat

Friday, April 22, 2011

HAPPY EASTER! HAPPY SPRING! and Mimi the Eggy Peep in her Hot Air Balloon

Free Glitter Graphics

Meet Mimi the Eggy Peep in her Egg Cup and ....
flying in her Hot Air Balloon!  :o)

Mimi the Eggy Peep in her Egg Cup


I'm so sorry that I've been so swamped with making gifts for Easter and the many April birthdays in our family, for the past couple of months, and haven't been able to post anything!  I have still to write up the last installment of my Christmas peeps, and so many more peeps that I haven't had time to post.

After my "knitting injuries" from my far too zealous Christmas knitting, I've been *gasp* crocheting my wee peeps!  Oddly, at the moment, it hurts less to crochet than to knit!  But I have to take it slowly.  And I've been gaining even MORE respect and admiration for the amazing creations that my crocheting amigurumi-making (toy-making) friends come up with all the time, than I already HAD!  I'm finding it a lot harder to crochet ami's than to knit them !  Eeek!  heh heh 
(even though I've been crocheting other things than toys for YEARS!)  But I'm happy to be crocheting them till I can knit again.  I do have to stick with simple shapes, though.  No teensy limbs!!!  ha ha!  I tried!  ;o)   I've actually written up two posts chronicling my foray into crocheting toys but haven't yet had the opportunity to get the photos posted and finish them.  So that's something to look forward to.  ;o)  

I'll be posting more of my simple crocheting efforts soon.  I just HAD to get these pics of Mimi up right now, since my Hub and I got such a kick out of playing with her while taking them!  I hope you'll take a peek at the "Screaming Mimi" video we made.  heh heh

and Mimi with her Hot Air Balloon!


Video of Screaming Mimi Taking a Ride is here!
(be sure to have your sound turned on...  hee hee)


I got this idea from a photo of an adorable design by "Crocheting Crab"

Who has a free pattern here

I didn't use a pattern but I've made notes of making Mimi in her eggcup so I may have a pattern in the future (you're on your own if you want a balloon like mine, though,  heh heh)

We're wishing you all a beautiful and Blessed Easter and


theknittingkitty for theknittycat

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Betty Baby Bot - Crafty Christmas 2010


Baby Bot and Maria Teresa - My Crafty Christmas 2010  
- Or how to poorly plan your holiday crafting.  Part 2.
(see Part 1 with Hello Kitty in Kimono here)

Betty Baby Bot
Baby Robot for Mia's Christmas

When I saw this super cute crocheted doll, designed by kandjdolls I just loved her!  (a frequent reaction I have to their adorable designs - see the Hello Kitty in Kimono inspired by another of their designs) and I wanted to use her as inspiration for a knitted doll.

precious crochet pattern by kandjdolls here

 (what has this got to do with a Baby Bot?  
 Well... be patient, it all connects together... eventually  heh heh)

She was to be a fun and colorful, no-deadline project, to clear my head after making Stitch and several other requested peeps.  I had made her first booted foot and leg when I found out, in late October, that I needed to make a bunch of gifts for Christmas - so after my initial panic at the time frame, I thought - cool!  I have one started!  And since time was so short (only two months before the holiday!!!), starting with her seemed like a good idea.

It wasn't.

I can make larger and more elaborate peeps for birthdays because there are fewer items to make at a time, but at Christmas, because there are too many to do, I don't make gifts - except for wee ornamenty sized ones for the kids, as time permits.
(see examples of these wee Christmas peeps)

What made me think I could make more and larger ones this time with only two months to do it in?!

So back to the doll foot...
On I went, happily knitting away at this doll (alongside other projects of the needed gifts, including Hello Kitty in Kimono), days were going by, weeks were going by, when I realized that I was making her way too large for the time I had available!

So I stopped there, put her aside and made smaller and simpler projects that I could complete in the time I had.

End of fairy tale.

Heh heh

Nope. That's not what I did. I stubbornly continued working feverishly on her, alongside the other projects needed.  For weeks.

As Christmas drew closer, I grew more and more panicky when I saw how far behind I was.
So then I cut my losses and made something simpler.


I kept trying to get this doll, now known as Maria Teresa, made!

About two weeks before Christmas I was working on creating the elaborate hair that I had decided to put on her (*sigh*). and realized that it was going to be 3 to 4 more days of hard work, with a bunch of other projects still needing to be completed.  And much worse than that, although my Hub and I both loved how she was turning out, she was going to be way too delicate for our very active wee niece.


(I don't normally like to show these peeps before they're finished, but after telling you so much about her, it didn't seem fair not to let you see what I was talking about.  So please forgive her mussy state.)

Maria Teresa unfinished
She's a large peep!  For me, anyway, at 12 inches

Size I prefer making

So, suddenly, at that late date, I had to make something else!  And quick!  I couldn't get waylaid and wander off into another lengthy project!  Something with simple shapes which I could use thicker yarn to make, rather than the fine stuff that I usually use.   Looking through my stash of inspiration pics, and trolling the net for ideas, I chose to make a knitted version of these super adorable, cutie crocheted robots! (apparently from a Japanese crochet amigurumi book Amigurumi Collection Vol. 6 by Uzunotsuke - here  Also available from some sellers on - search for the book title)

This photo of the beautiful one crocheted by masakiti was the one that inspired me, but there are a number of them around.
masakiti's inspirational robot

That worked out great!  Betty Baby Bot was born!  (Hurray!  Finally I got to the point!)

 Pushing her buttons and Tuning her in

My Hub and I really LOVED her!!  So much that I plan to make a mini version for him!  :o)  And she was a great hit with our wee niece!!  Yay!!  She immediately grabbed Betty (or Baby Bot as we call her) and ran around with her, swinging her by a leg, or an arm as she played. Yep. Maria Teresa wouldn't have survived. Heh heh. But Baby Bot was happy as a clam!  Yay!

Maria Teresa's fate is still undetermined. She still needs that 3 to 4 more days of hard work, putting together and sewing her hair, and I'm loaded up with belated Christmas projects (pushed back because, even working day and night - with several all-nighters - I still ran out of time).  She may go to someone else, or maybe she’ll be saved for Mia when she's a bit older (or, my Hub says, maaaybeee, we'll just keep her!  heh heh).

Baby Bot was a fun project (or would have been without the time crunch) and I tried out a mix of yarns that was quite successful. I needed to make these projects from my stash, not a big hardship considering its size, but since I needed this to be much faster than my usual knitting, I also needed worsted weight, not baby yarn!  That, I don't have much of.  For her stripey legs and arms, I did have some Bernat Berella 4 in baby colors, leftover from my years of charity baby blanket knitting.  For the minty part of her (everything but arms and legs), I held two strands of baby yarn together. It worked so much better than I expected!!

Using 1 strand of Bernat Softee Baby Mint and 1 strand of TLC Baby in Powder Pink Sparkle, I knit her on size US 4 needles. Tight. (5's would have been better but they were somewhere in projects and I didn't have time to look for them.)  I was really pleasantly surprised at how the fabric came out. You'd never realize it wasn't one strand, and I LOVED the effect of the subtle variations in color that it created!  Definitely want to try more of this kind of combo!  And I was very pleased with how her mouth turned out... I wanted it to look like that transistory-wirey stuff and I just made several long skinny yarn knots on one length of yarn (actually two strands tied together) and stitched it down in a mouth shape.  (See my yarn knot eyes tutorial for info on how to make knotted yarn eyes and other things.)

She's flawed of course. Especially since I knit her in 5 days (plus the time to put on her face) instead of 2 or 3 weeks, as it would have normally taken me for a simply shaped peep that size.  But despite her flaws, we love her.  (and apparently so does Mia)  :o)  And she's a really good hugger! 

Still more of My Crafty Christmas 2010 in upcoming posts...  Bet you can't wait!!  ;o)

theknittingkitty for theknittycat