knits by sachi

Let’s Knit May issue

May issue of Let’s Knit magazine is now out in shops.

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This one comes with my Farm animal knitting kit. You can make sheep, dog, cow, pig and mouse with the yarn in the packet. Exciting!

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But it was very tricky and difficult to make this kit.

First, we had to choose colours and amounts of each ball considering where to use main and contrast colours. I made samples using my own yarn. Originally the editors wanted the animals bright and vivid for the magazine to stand out among many other competitors, but after seeing my animal samples, they decided to go for natural colours. I think it is nicer that way.

After agreeing with the colours, the kit went to production. I re-knitted the animals with the kit yarn to alter the pattern, but I found the yarn much thicker than commercial DK yarn and had many trials and errors.

But I know it was worth it.

The patterns are super simple and easy. They share similar patterns, too. For body, you knit a square and sew four corners to create legs. I like simple patterns and detest gussets with passion. Knitted pieces are stretchy, allowing you to shape after sewing up. I don’t see much point in over complicating knitting patterns for toys.

This issue has more exciting news; the mascot for the Yarn Shop Day.

I have received an honour to design the mascot for the big day this year! I was asked to make an elephant, so here it is.

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I chose soft yellow so that it can be a boy or a girl. Readers can choose any colour they like for the elephant.

The elephant is named “Tiny”. It seems he has a mate called Chris, the monkey. Tiny sits about 12cm and for me, it is not so tiny, but with the monkey Chris, he does look Tiny.
You can pick up their patterns at the YSD participating shops on Saturday.

Tiny and Chris

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Yes, the Yarn Shop Day is next Saturday, and I will be at C & H Fabric shop in Tunbridge Wells with a fellow author and editor, May Corfield. She has written crochet books; 20 to make crochet granny squares and 20 to make crochet hearts. We will be doing a book signing and a workshop.

I am going to do an easy toy knits workshop.

For example, these animals. They are all made with knitted square pieces, no increase nor decrease.

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This way, children or non knitters can have a go. Some can be made with garter stitches so that you don’t have to purl.

I hope many will come see us.

A Happy Yarn Shop Day!

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Challenging commission

Lovely photo.
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Many knitting magazines come with cover mount knitting kit these days.

I mentioned in the Facebook some time ago that I received a rather interesting commission.

It is to knit two pandas using six different coloured yarn, each weighing about 20g.

Six different colours! And it doesn’t have black yarn.

The kit came with wooden needles and two pairs of black beads to use for the eyes.

This is very different from what I normally do.

I have done kits for Knit Now magazines in the past, but these were quite small and not too difficult. I got to do the design first, and the editor order the kit. I had the freedom to choose the needle size, yarn weight and amount of yarn.

But this time, I had to make up the design using the kit I was given. The yarn is thicker than commercially available Double Knit yarn, giving you less yardage, and the needles much fatter than my usual 2.75mm.

And the colours! How am I supposed to make two pandas with six different colours? And they are so vivid and bright!

This is completely out of my comfort zone!

I drew a few designs and coloured them in with colour pencils. They will be very quirky, and I don’t do quirky too well. But never mind. I was determined to produce something with a bit of my own style.

Work in progress.

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And I managed producing pandas at the end.

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I could go very wild with colour combinations and knit ears in different colours from eyes and limbs, but I was afraid that the result may get too confusing. The colours were crazy enough already.

I know this is not everyone’s cup of tea. I am more comfortable knitting small toys with natural fibers in soft colours.

But I remember once that one of my followers said although she loved all my work, her arthritis hands do not allow her to make small knits. She enjoys knitting, but cannot make small toys. These pandas may work well for someone like her.

They may be good for people with visual impairment, too. My brother has colour weakness and cannot differentiate some of the subtle colours. And small children may like these exciting colours.

To be honest, I was more worried than pleased when I received this commission. But to my surprise, I found myself enjoying the challenge very much.

I hope many people will get involved making these quirky pandas.

Another kit arrived. This time, i am to make cat and mouse.

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Interview article and my new projects

In this month’s Simply Knitting magazine, you will find this.

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My interview article!

It is done by answering the questions the editor send me, so there was no interview session as such. I supply most of the photos, too, but it is still very flattering to appear in this page. I have been a fan of the magazine and knitted many toys designed by Alan Dart.

Like this one. Guys from Shawn the sheep.(I knitted from his pattern with a bit of improvisation.)

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I didn’t even dreamed of seeing myself in this magazine a few years ago.

Like I said in the interview, I am no born knitter. I learned the skill from a mum in a parent and toddler group. She was ever so patient and showed me from the very basic; how to cast-on.

She was a fantastic knitter with her stitches so clean and even. Mine looked horrible. They were like bad teeth needing orthodontic braces. It is often said that knitting is good for mental health, but it certainly wasn’t for me then. It frustrated me and only caused more stress I didn’t need.

But I am glad I kept practicing.

Now I think I should have took each step more slowly and enjoyed my skill develop. There is no such thing called “bad knitting” is there?

I did have a go at making scarves, hats and even jumpers, but from very early on, I was always more interested in teddies and bunnies. I learned different techniques through toy making. By knitting a small jumper for a teddy bear, I learned a variety of stitches, cable and bobbles and the circular knitting. I also learned working with colours and fair isle knitting the same way. It is great to try something new without committing to a large project.

I so love knitting toys.

Recently, I have been making a little more practical and useful things, for example, coin cases.

Like these.
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These have inner cotton linings and quite sturdy. Some have zippers, some have clasps. I practiced a bit of fair isle, too.
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I like girly stuff.

I can sew to a certain degree, so that working with zippers wasn’t new to me. But I have never made a purse with clasps.

I took YouTube lessons and got the basic idea how to attach the clasps. It is great, the YouTube tutorials.

I made up the knitting pattern. I had pretty sock yarn that I was dying to use and it was perfect for this project.

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I think I am getting hooked with these purse making now. I also made a mobile sock.

This is fun!

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Knitted Ferris Wheel

Can you guess what I am up to?
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I like doing small projects which only take a day or two, but sometimes, I get this urge to get involved in a little bigger project.

I still take a small step at a time. I quite often set it aside to make time for magazine commissions and other jobs.

I have written about my knitted amusement park projects and that is one of them.

I added another item to the park, and this time, it is the Ferris wheel.

I have to think hard and plan well before I started knitting. I didn’t want it to go too wrong and re-knit it again and again.

First, the design.
I researched on handmade Ferris wheels. It seems some people have made them with cardboard, plywood, plastic bottles or carton boxes. I didn’t find any knitted one. Maybe I am the only one who even think of knitting a Ferris wheel.

That is good, I want to be the first to knit it.

The actual wheels normally have the seating gondolas between the front and back panels, but I decided to place them in the front so that you can see the figures better. I didn’t want my little animals to be hidden.

So the gondolas hang in front of the wheel.
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I cut two pieces of cardboard in circle, stick them together with masking tape and wrapped it with tissue paper. If I covered this part with knitting, I thought it would be too heavy.

The supporting box is covered with knitting. I placed ceramic beads inside the box so that the wheels would not fall over.

Then, my babies and their friends. This is always the fun part!
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The wheel has six gondolas and two figures go in each one.

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I had no idea why it is called Ferris wheel. Apparently, it is named after George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. who designed and constructed one as a landmark for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

We live only one hour away from London, but never been on the London Eye, the giant wheel on South Bank of the river Themes.

I should have a go someday.

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