knits by sachi

Patterns in magazines

This pattern was out last week. I was lucky to spot it at a supermarket.

It is in Woman’s Weekly published in the UK. Editors are always so busy and I don’t get notifications of when my patterns get published. Editing weekly magazine must be tough and I don’t know how they do it. I guess I have to be diligent and looking out for my work.

This is one of the quirky requests I often get from editors, otherwise, I would not even think of knitting robots. They named them Knitbots. Clever!

I like getting requests. It is rewarding when I succeed to meet their brief and receive nice compliments. I also enjoy the challenge, but the best of all, I get inspired to create. Sometimes, I carry on having fun, making similar items after I finish my commission.

Some time ago, I made these dummy holders for the same magazine.

I missed the publication for this one. I haven’t got a slightest clue when these came out. Dummy holder is far from what I need at this moment, but surprisingly, I very much enjoyed designing them. I finished the original request and continue making more holders. It is a bit silly, I know, but I made ladybirds, flowers, chicks and all sorts of things as a motif.

I also discovered that they would make nice brooches, so that I made even more. Animal faces are simple and cute, and seasonal items are also fun to make.

To be honest, there have been some commissions I initially could not feel too excited about. I thought they were not my style or anything I fancy knitting, however, I always ended up having lots of fun with them. I think I truly love creating knitted toys. It is very important for me to work with other people.

This knitting kit is out from Knit Now magazine this month. Making knitting kit is tricky and needs careful planning. I hope many will enjoy the project. This magazine if out for a month, thank goodness, so you have a bit more time to buy a copy from a shop.

As for the missed publications, Woman’s Weekly is putting up all knitting patterns on their website soon. Once it is activated, I will post a link on this page.

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Visit to Keito dama

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had nice holidays.

We certainly did. We spent two weeks in Japan and it was just amazing.

Apart from the recent emergency trip in November, our last visit was in 2011. My mother was still well so that we traveled Kyoto and Osaka together. It is a shame that she is in hospital now and probably, she will never get to travel with us again.

However, I was determined to enjoy this trip and had planned many things to do during the stay. First, we visited Tokyo.

My in-laws live in Tokyo but hadn’t seen us for quite some time. Father-in-law had gotten us to stay in a nice hotel with a fantastic view of the Skytree.

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One of the exciting event in Tokyo was visiting Nihon Vogue-sha, one of the leading craft book and magazine publishers in Japan. I always wanted to get in contact with Japanese publishers. I was delighted when I received a message inviting me to visit them.

The office I visited was their knitting magazine, ‘Keito-dama’ (translated yarn ball) editorials. Interestingly, the editor I met was a man who is a keen knitter himself. I know there are many male knitters out there, but never had have seen one in person.

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I had brought all my book titles and many issues of knitting magazines. I also gave him one of my little knitted work.

This little cat.

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We talked about knitting and crochet extensively and that was such a joy. Time flew by very quickly.

He gave me a couple of knitting books and the latest copy of their magazine which is full of beautiful designs.

Among many interesting articles, I found this one. It features crochet beaded handbag.

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The article is about how these bags are made with many hours of effort and are treasured by many, quite often handed down from a generation to a generation. What a coincidence! I thought, because I was just given a crochet bag from my mother a few days previously.

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This bag was made especially for my mother as a wedding gift. It means it was made fifty odd years ago!

It is beaded and crocheted. I cannot fathom how many hours are spent to create this. It is a handbag to go with a Japanese Kimono. Although my mother is very well aware that I do not own a single set of Kimono, she thought I would appreciate it since I am a creator myself. I am very honoured.

Mum thinks her life is approaching toward the end. She has given me all her precious jewelries over the last few years. I used to get upset and became teary every time she did this, but somehow, I learned to accept them with a smile.

I will certainly treasure this beaded bag.

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Recent publications

While I was away in Japan, some of my patterns came out in print. Most of them feature Christmas knits. It is the time to get busy with making gifts for your loved ones (and yourself).

Simply knitting magazine UK has this one: Santa, reindeer, elf and sleigh set.

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The request was to make the Santa family with miniature toys. This pattern is in the A-5 mini booklet which comes with the magazine.

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Pattern is not at all complicated, but assembly may require a bit of patience. The sleigh has a cardboard inside for sturdiness. I have added the template and instruction drawings with a help of my son. If you think the sleigh is a little challenging, you may be able to find an alternative, for example, wooden toy sleigh.

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This project is a lot of fun and very rewarding at the finish.
It looks like this with everyone together.

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I have made many Santas. This one is easy to make and is one of my favorites.

Another project is this one: Christmas ponies in Knit Now magazine.

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The pony is knitted all in one. The pattern is surprisingly simple. The blanket has a Christmassy motif, but it can be knitted without it of course. Using multi coloured sock yarn may produce an interesting effect.

And one more.
A few days ago, I received these from America: Toy knits published by Interweave.

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I was invited to submit my work in January so that this magazine has come a long way. It is more like a book than a magazine. It has been carefully planned with lots of time and care.

It contains many many projects and beautifully produced. I can assure you that you will find something you would like to try. There are book reviews and interviews included, and I was very happy to find my book in it.

I have two patterns in this issue; Knitted zeppelin and bunny in a jumper

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Cool, yes?

This is the very first time that my work appeared in a knitting magazine in the US. I hope readers will enjoy them.

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Love to Knit and Crochet interview

The article has this photo, my favorite amusement park train with happy animals.

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In the current issue of ‘Love to Knit and Crochet’, you will see my interview article, yes, again!

This time the article goes on two spreads, 4 pages. How flattering!
The first spread;

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and the second;

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I received the request some months ago by e-mail from the editor. Attached was the previous blogger’s interview PDF as an example. The pages were colourful and beautiful with lots of photos nicely arranged, and I felt a little anxious about accepting the request. I hoped that the editor can work a magic and make me look nice, too.

And I think she did!

I supplied all the photos. The hardest bit was the photos of my working space. I don’t have a studio dedicated to my knitting and sewing, I just work in a corner of our dining room. I wish I had a posh and stylish studio like I often see in magazines, but I do like my corner. I work most of the day but I don’t have to feel isolated.

The problem is the room is between the conservatory and living room and do not have direct windows. It is bright enough for me to work but photos taken in the room usually look too dark with funny colours.

I tried to do without work space photos, but I knew that the editor wanted these the most. That is the whole point of the interview, isn’t it? To show behind the scene?

So I asked my younger son to carry down the large lighting equipment that my husband uses for e-bay photos and there we go, we tried.

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They are not brilliant images, but I think it worked.

This shelf was made by my son. He made it for GCSE design tech. He scored very high with this one.

It is supposed to be a coffee table and cannot say it is the most convenient thing for my stash, but I am keeping it. Maybe some day, I can tell his children the story.

The article comes with the knitting pattern of this hedgehog pin cushion.
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I don’t like sticking pins to animal toys but this is an exception. Hedgehogs have spiky back and I feel less guilty.

Cute?

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Knitted astronauts

I found the better photo of my YSD mascot.

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My elephant, named Tiny looks very cozy with the monkey Chris. These pattern should be available soon through Let’s Knit magazine website for free.

The shop had our posters and books displayed in shop windows. I brought my knitted samples which attracted young and old. It was very nice to see people’s reactions when they see my creations.

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And of course, I had brought my business card that I made for this occasion. This one looks much nicer than the one I had when I used to work in the City!

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It was a small event, but I had a lot of fun with my fellow author and editor, May Corfield. And the shop was offering everything 20% off sale! I got a few balls of Rowan of course.

Another exciting event from last week. Knit Today May issue with my article has come out.

This one has my knitted animal astronauts and guess who, Tim Peake. Tim Peake is a European Space Agency astronaut and International Space Station crew member who is traveling space at this moment.

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This article goes across three spreads and you get the pattern to knit four animals, pig, dog, mouse and rabbit, and Tim. You also get the pattern to make the rocket.

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Editorial team has taken great photos and did a fantastic art work. I am very pleased with how it came out.

My younger son did the illustration for making up section. It is his first published work! He is looking to take graphic art courses after six forms. I hope this article has given him further motivation for his study.

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I heard that the editor has sent the images to Tim on ISS. I hope he liked it.

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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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Knitted animal accessories

Knit Now magazine kindly posted photos with nice comments on Tweeter and Facebook.

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In this new issue, you will see these of my design.

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These animals have button holes in the front legs and buttons in the back legs. They can be connected with one another. You can attach one on a bag or a baggy handle.

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Or on a baby’s wrist.

I have been making many many knitted toys, but I realised that haven’t designed baby toys much. I should make more.

In the past, I did try these ones.
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And these.
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You often see these baby rattles made of wood. I think I can attach bells to make them more interesting.

I thought of knitting them, because I remember my sons use to bang their heads with wooden rattles and cry. These are soft and squeezy and feel very nice.

When my first son was born, my mum gave me the rattle that I used as a baby. She also gave me the personal child record. She had them all these years. Both my children used the rattle and hopefully, it will be passed on to their children.

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I weighed 3940g (8.68 Ibs) when I was born! A big baby!

Some things are absolutely priceless.

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Summer knits

Here is the latest Knit Now magazine.

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It has lots of great ideas for summer.

We are lucky to have the cool and dry weather in summer here in the UK. In Japan, it gets so hot and humid. I wouldn’t fancy knitting at all unless I have my air conditioners running full blast.

My mother used to crochet lace when it was hot. I remember her making a large table cloth and even a cover for my up-right piano.

This issue has lacy knitting patterns. I am not too good at knitting soft and delicate garments, but these are tempting.

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I tried a little summery knit, too; a flower girl with a sun hat.

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I used cotton yarn for the head and limbs.

I rarely use cotton yarn for my knitting. I find most cotton DK (8-ply) yarn are thicker than wool and a little hard to make toys with, but I had this rosy pale pink cotton yarn that I have had quite some time and decided to have a go. It may be a good material for summer.

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This Knit Now issue comes with a toy knits booklet and I found my patterns in it. It was such a pleasant surprise for me. I didn’t know about it until yesterday.

The articles are extracts from my two books, Mini knitted safari and Mini knitted woodland.

Here is the lions.

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and badgers.

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Talking about badgers, I found this tiny badger the other day.

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My friend needle felted it. It isn’t possible to make it any more smaller!
She gave it to me for a Christmas many years ago. Handmade gifts stay with you forever.

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Knit Now Issue47

This came out in shops today; Knit Now issue 47.

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I was looking forward to see this issue. It has my Nautilus toys, some of my favorite designs. You will see my sailor bunny with his friend penguin. And a seagull on top of a lifesaving ring.

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Nice bring-to-holiday projects, yes?

I designed them for the magazine. Usually, when they send us call for submissions, they give us certain themes and this time, it was the Nautilus style. It is quite fun to take the challenge of creating something to meet their requests.

The first item I made was the bunny. I really like the sailor outfits and I wanted to include it somehow. The bunny on his own looked a bit lonely so that I decided to make him a friend. I have knitted many penguins in different styles, but I like this tiny one with quirky look. It may work as a dangler charm as well.

The knitting part is easy as always. To shape the foot of the bunny, after it is sewn and stuffed, insert a threaded needle from the base centre of a foot and take the needle out from the top of the foot (over the decreasing row) and repeat. Pull the thread. If you would like to keep the feet closer together, you can stitch them together after shaping each foot. I like to keep knitting simple and shape with stitches afterwards rather than try to be too clever and complicate patterns.

And next, I made a seagull.

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I grew up in south west of Japan, very close to a beach. We have seagulls in Asia but the kind we have the most over there is a little different from what we see in the UK. It is called “black-tailed gull”, Umi Neko in Japanese. Literally the name means ‘sea cat’. Why? Because it meows. I am not joking, it has cat-like call.

When I was little, I thought Umi Neko was a cat.

Assembling methods for both projects are quite simple, but I made tutorials here for your reference.

http://www.knitsbysachi.com/nautilus-toys-sailor-bunny-and-penguin/
http://www.knitsbysachi.com/nautilus-toys-seagull/

For the knitters who cannot get the magazine, I have included the seagull project into the book due out next year. I will also try to publish the bunny pattern when the magazine contract expires.

I hope you will enjoy them.

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