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

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

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hello Kitties in Kimonos!


Last post was all about my Hello Kitty in Kimono,

Cutee Hello Kitty!
 and after showing my HK to my very dear friend, Chiwaluv, she said that she was inspired to make one as well!  COOL!  I love to inspire!  It's like a domino effect -  thereseguzman and kandjdolls inspired me, and then Chiwaluv is inspired by my inspired creation... how many more will join the group?  :o).

I just have to share Chiwaluv's  wonderful (freehand) creation!!

Chiwaluv's Hello Kitty in a Kimono

Isn't she beautiful?!  (see more here)  What beautiful clothes!  And I absolutely adore those SHOES!!  Cutest little feet I've seen on a peep / amigurumi / softie.

Sooooo...  I'm not writing up any pattern for my HK but, as Chiwaluv writes LOTS of patterns, maybe we can cajole her into writing one for a knitted Kimono Kitty!!  ;o)

Check out all of her other patterns!  Both knit and crochet.   She's wonderfully prolific and the cuteness knows no limit!  :o)

Next post - more of my poorly planned Crafty Christmas 2010.  ;o)

theknittingkitty for theknittycat

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hello Kitty in Kimono - Crafty Christmas 2010


Hello Kitty in Kimono for Jennea - from my Crafty Christmas 2010

I put in a sneak peek of Hello Kitty in my last post (for New Year's Eve).
A very simple animation. :o)  But this post will give you the full intro.

When I was getting my HK photos ready to upload to my photostream on flickr, I noticed that if I put a few of them together, it made her move, and even bow (just a happy accident) ... I couldn't resist! I just had to animate her. ;o)

Isn't that FUN?!  I love animated gifs!  :o)

Hello Kitty in Kimono for Jennea
(holding still for her closeup)

a better view of her sleeves, and from the back

How to Poorly Plan Christmas Crafts
HK in Kimono is one of the multitude of projects that, two months ago, I suddenly, and unexpectedly, found that I needed to make for Christmas.   Since time was very short, I very cleverly designed projects that were much larger and more involved than my usual ones!  arrrgh!  And I'm not a speedy peepmaker!

size of HK in Kimono compared to
my first HK for Nicole

 (from my first year of peepmaking, 2007) 

So after making this "brilliant" plan and working like a madwoman for weeks, nearing the deadline I realized that the peep I had been working on for a good portion of that time (several weeks) turned out to be inappropriately delicate for her intended recipient, our lively, and very young niece, Mia.   So approaching the last minute, I had to start all over with another project for her!  (you'll be introduced to her replacement, Betty the Baby Bot in another post).  It happens that I totally LOVED what I wound up making for her (and so did she), but it would have been much more fun to have made it more leisurely.

It's been very challenging, but, working night and day, I got MOST of the projects done.  (yeah. I do NOT recommend crafting this way - made me really sick)  My Dear Hub's Piglet got postponed till after, and so did the Meowth for our wonderful nephew, who sweetly offered to let me make his after Christmas, so I wouldn't be so pressured.  :o)  Wasn't that a lovely Christmas gift?  I made him a simple thing (the pokemon character, Electrode - a red and white ball with a face) to tide him over till I make Meowth, and so he'd have something to open from us on Christmas Day, and now I'm off to make a tiny Meowth!  ;o)  And finish Piglet... and make my Hub yet another Lambie!!  He LOVES those lambies!  heh heh

Peeking at Peeps
Here's a peek at the projects I made for Christmas (all made in 2 months - there were four more, but those had already been sent to Scotland when I took this photo).  Please forgive the poor quality of the photo. I was in such a hurry at that point that I'm just grateful to have any pics at all!  Their individual photos are better, and I'll be sharing those in future posts.

 a wee peek of the group on the couch, waiting to be packaged up for gift giving
- toys for the kids and ornaments and earrings for the adults.

(yes, I did a lovely job of composing.   I especially love the disordered mass of ornaments.   ick.)

The gifts consisted of

5 large peeps:
Betty Baby Bot, Lizabeth Cuddle Lambie, Rosalie Flying Piglet, HK in Kimono, and Maria Teresa, the large doll that Baby Bot was replacing (who still needs her hair sewn on before she becomes a gift).

4 medium peeps
to Scotland (not in photo)
Elmo (who was actually finished in October), Dorothy Goldfish, Goldfish "Bowl", and Mirabelle Mousie

3 small peeps:
Terence the Terrapin, a Christmas tree with Santa sack, and the Blue Guy from the HTC cell phone commercials (my Hub loved those commercials, and that little guy!)

and 13 ornaments for the adults
No, your eyes don't deceive you. There are only 9 ornaments in that photo. I made 4 more after I took that pic.  (They look a lot prettier when they're not mushed up in a mass!  heh heh)

Plus 4 pairs of crystal earrings.


And now some background about Hello Kitty in Kimono!  Finally!  :o)

My Inspiration
I was inspired to make this peep when I saw this adorable amigurumi Kimono Kitty
from a Kimono Kitty pattern written by kandjdolls. (brilliant designers, by the way!).

The Kimono Kitty was crocheted, and of course I'd be knitting mine, but that's not a problem since I was only using the photo as inspiration.  (as most of you know, I knit everything freehand, without patterns.)

Although flawed, I'm quite pleased at how HK in Kimono turned out.  I made her in Jennea's favorite color, purple!  And Jennea, a big HK fan, loved her!  :o)  Yay!!  If I'd had more time I'd have liked to make an accessory for her. I was thinking that a parasol would be super cute!  So if I ever have some spare time for it ... Yeah. Sure. Heh heh

Eyes and How Not to Make Them
I had some trouble making HK's eyes satisfactorily, and have discovered that Lion Brand Microspun is NOT a good choice for knotted yarn eyes (see my yarn knot eyes tutorial).  Since it’s so loosely spun, the knots don’t cohere into a “fused” ball, but separate. Soooo… back to the drawing board.

Since her eyes are oval and I didn't have any glass eyes in that shape, I resorted to a new method that, recently, I’ve been utilizing on occasion - flattened knitted ball eyes. I made a pair with Red Heart Lustersheen (a very light sport or fingering weight yarn), and those worked just fine. This is the first time I’ve made oval ones instead of round ones, but it wasn’t a problem. :o)

One more thing to add before I close...

No Pattern Available but Hints on How to Make Her
Several people have already asked me for a pattern for this knit Kimono Kitty, but I made no notes at all while knitting her (I was in too much of a hurry to stop and write what I was doing), and I won't be writing anything up for her.  But she is made up of very simple shapes;

Two tubes for her legs, a tapered tube for her body and kimono, and wide flattened tubes for her sleeves (stuffing a narrow tube shape at one end of each sleeve for her arms), with white balls on the ends for paws (or you could make whole white arm tubes and tuck them into one side of each sleeve). And a rounded 3D rectangle for her head - kind of a shallow box shape.  It should really be a bit more squared than I made it - similar width to height, I was so focused on not making it round that I made it a bit wider than I should have, but I still love her.  :o)  And rounded triangles for ears.

That, of course isn't quite the way I made her since I hate to sew bits together. Except for her arms, she's all one piece, and her paws are one piece with her arms.

More Posts?
I'm really hoping to make time to post more often, and get caught up on sharing my backlog of finished peeps. They feel very neglected not to have had their day on the blog!  They will most likely be posted as the whim takes me, and not in chronological order, but that doesn't really matter anyway, does it.

We hope that you all had a lovely holiday (I hope you planned your crafty gifts better than I did!!). 
We wish you the happiest new year ever!  :o)

theknittingkitty for theknittycat