Search The Purl Bee
Sign up for our newsletter!

Idea Center
Follow The Purl Bee

Entries in Toys + Hobbies (18)

Thursday
May302013

Molly's Sketchbook: Wool and Liberty Teddy Bear

In my mind’s eye, the perfect teddy bear is based on my own childhood toy, aptly named “Teddy.” He would sit with his arms outstretched, all round and cuddly in his  midsection. Sadly, he was lost in a move, but his ideal form has stuck in my head.

To tackle my own version of dearly departed Teddy I knew I had to use Mary Flanagan’s 100% Felted Wool. Not only does this material feel soft and rich, it also sews like a dream. The wool’s natural elasticity smooths the edges of curves and kindly forgives little imperfections. And to make my bear extra special I finished off his ears, nose, paw pads, and tail with some sweet Liberty of London Tana Lawn. Get all this, plus thread, buttons and stuffing, with our Materials for the Wool and Liberty Teddy Bear Kit!

Usually, I am intimidated by 3-D sewing. It seems so complicated and advanced, but I’ve found that if I work slowly and methodically, it is totally doable. If you have sewn a garment or any other intermediate project, I’d say you’re ready for this project! For me, all of the detailed work was easily worth it because this sweet little bear looks and feels just like my old pal, Teddy! --Molly

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May192013

Whit's Knits: Knit Octopus

I can't say that I've ever felt the desire to hug an actual octopus, but a stuffed one has a distinct appeal: eight embracing arms! With such magnanimity, a Knit Octopus makes a pretty sweet companion!

What I didn't know about designing an octopus was that it would put me on a deep-sea exploration of knitting's inherent intelligence. Knitting, like the ocean itself, answers to an inscrutable essence, part natural law and part mystery. Bound by the mathematics of eight, this Knit Octopus practically created itself, and so to me, the result feels magically inevitable.

And for mathematical magic there's nothing better than the purity of warm white. Blue Sky's Sport Weight Alpaca in Natural White brings a lovely serenity and simplicity to the Knit Octopus, while the wonderful softness of 100% baby alpaca (doubled!) brings us back to all that hugging I was talking about!

I hope, like me, that when you create your Knit Octopus you feel a little bit like the Jacques Cousteau of knitting, probing the fathomless world of knits and purls, learning a little something along the way! -Whitney

 

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Mar032013

Laura's Loop: Bobble Sheep Pillow

I guess it isn't surprising that a knitter has an affinity for sheep. Obviously, some sort of kinship must exist with the animal whose wool provides daily enjoyment (and employment!). So as predictable as it may be, I will say it anyway... I love sheep. They are a funny creature with a neurotic voice and a body perfect for graphic adaptation. 

I love their bulbous bellies and knobbly knees, their googly eyes and pointy ears. I love how they amble about in groups, looking like earth-bound clouds. And it goes without saying, but I love what they gift us... don't worry, I'm not about to type "mutton." I mean, of course, their wool!

A dear friend pointed out that it may be a bit snake-eating-its-own-tail, but anyway, I had to make one... I had to make a sheep, made out of sheep. 

With the softest, loftiest, creamiest yarn I could find and the most dramatic, nobbiest  texture I could create, I knit up this squishable, squeezable, nursery-rhyme version of every knitter's best pal. Bursting with bobbles, this sheep practically implores you to cuddle. 

Incredibly soft to the touch, Purl Soho's Super Soft Merino could not have been more appropriate for this project, right down to its color name, Heirloom White. Your own Bobble Sheep Pillow is sure to be loved by many generations to come!

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Feb172013

Molly's Sketchbook: Soft Woolen Bunny

There is something almost miraculous about sewing a stuffed animal. You start with a bunch of odd shapes that don’t seem to have much to do with one another. Then as you sew them together, they gradually begin to take form, and suddenly, as you turn it right side out and begin stuffing, it comes to life! Those mismatched pieces are somehow transformed into a cuddly friend!

In my opinion, there is no stuffed animal more inviting than a bunny. And with Easter fast approaching, now is the perfect time to create one. This little guy is made from cozy 100% felted wool, making him oh, so huggable. Plus, he would look right at home in an Easter basket!

This Soft Woolen Bunny is a totally approachable project, even for your first stuffed animal. The wool is lovely to sew and its forgiving nature hides all those little mistakes. I hope you enjoy watching your bunny come to life as much as I did! 

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb092013

Whit's Knits: Knit Hedgehogs

The first hedgehog I ever met was Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Beatrix Potter's kindly washerwoman of the Lake District. From her tiny country cottage to her "little black nose [that] went sniffle, sniffle, snuffle, and her eyes [that] went twinkle, twinkle", she was everything I thought charming and good as a child.

Since then I have always felt a love and affinity for hedgehogs. But not until I sat down to write this story did I actually realize that Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle was not only the first hedgehog I ever met, she is the only hedgehog I've ever met.

You see, I've always vaguely imagined that hedgehogs were all around me, hiding in burrows and hollow logs and hedgehog-sized cottages, but a quick look into the matter has thoroughly disavowed me of my silly assumptions. Hedgehogs don't even live in the United States, let alone outside my window! They live most everywhere else, but not here. I'm sure this doesn't surprise our worldly readers, but to me this information was a little bit shattering.

This newfound knowledge only makes my trio of Knit Hedgehogs more germane, because now they're not just cute and adorable, but they also offer a very practical way to hang out with hedgehogs if you happen to live in the Americas!

England is one place hedgehogs do live (just ask Beatrix Potter!), and so for a truly native hedgehog, we turn to British crafter Julie Williams of Little Cotton Rabbits. Just before posting this story, Little Cotton Rabbit's equally adorable Little Oddment Hedgie was pinned to our Pinterest page. We love it!

For our hedgie I used Manos del Uruguay's pretty Silk Blend for its head and belly. With a gentle handspun shine, Silk Blend makes a lovely contrast to the Cascade yarns I used for the hedgehog's garter stitch back. Both Eco Cloud and Superwash 128 are great heavy worsted weight choices for cuddling!

These guys are seriously fun to knit with not one lick of sewing or even grafting! So, if you'd like to populate your world with adorable little Knit Hedgehogs, get started by clicking below! -Whitney

Click to read more ...