Sunday, November 23, 2014

Lions and Tigers and Bears

...Oh My!

Since the beginning of October, I've been participating in "Knit-A-Longs" over at Ravelry. These are not really competitions per se, but rather fun opportunities to knit up something in a selected category and show your finished objects with the chance to win some awesome yarny prizes in random draws. The topic of three KALs I have entered are all "toys", as many knitters are making stuffies for Christmas giving.

I wanted to see if I could modify the bear pattern I used to make my Hudson the Polar Bear and Oreo the Panda into different animals - and came up with the idea of a set called "Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!" (if you don't know, a reference to The Wizard of Oz). I drew out schematics with ideas of adding nose pieces, paws and tails to transform the bears into more feline shapes.

I also wanted to knit all three toys from my very own handspun yarn, so step one was to shop for fibre. Luckily our local yarn shop sells 100% Corriedale wool fibre in numerous colours by weight! So I picked out butterscotch yellow, grey, black and white.

I started with the butterscotch and spun up a ball of single ply yarn using my Turkish spindle.

It knitted up so nicely - and it was great to be able to spin as much as I needed! Here are the arms getting stuffed and sewn together to make paws.

Then I thought the raw fibre would make the perfect mane and tail tuft... so I used a crochet hook to weave it into my knitting.

Here's my first toy - Butterscotch the Lion! He was so much fun to do and I love the way the mane turned out.

The next toy I wanted to make was a tiger from the same bear pattern - but I had to figure out how to make him the right colour with stripes! I found this fibre online called "Tigger" (how purrfect is that?).  I began to spin it up, but wanted more of an orange result than it first gave me...

So I pulled the fibre apart into separate colours and spun it up individually, using just the orange and brown. As I knitted, I added in a few stitches of brown yarn here and there to make the tiger's stripes.

So here is Raja! I also used the white fibre for inside his ears, behind his eyes, on his muzzle and paws. I also used the brown yarn for the tip of his tail and around the outside edge of his ears.

The last of my set need to simply be a bear so I spun up some lovely grey and more white wool fibre.

The result? Greyson the Bear; again heavily modified from the initial pattern with the addition of white inside his ears, white face, muzzle, tummy and paws. He also has a tiny little grey tail. All three toys also have movable limbs - something the pattern didn't feature.

So here they are together: My "Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!" set!

So much fun to create, and I love having them on display in my Studio knitting nook!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tim Holtz Tags of 2014 - November

Another month is speeding by, but for a change I did my November tag with plenty of time to spare!

As usual, I gathered what I thought I might need.

I began by using Tim's Distress Stain on the background of my tags, spritzing them with water to blend.

Then I layered his Dot Fade texture stencil over each tag and dabbed on Tarnished Brass Distress Paint to add a touch of shimmer.

I cut out corrugated cardboard using both his Tags & Bookplates and Tattered Leaves dies run through my Cuttlebug.

Next, Tim instructed us to tear up the cardboard to reveal some of the textures underneath.

Then ink them using his Walnut Stain ink.

I also sprinkled his Walnut Ink Distress Stain right from the bottle and spritzed them with water. I used the Tarnished Brass Distress Paint too by dipping a toothpick into the bottle and flicking it over my fingers to splatter on the cardboard.

Next I detached letters from the Ransom Alpha Parts set.

And painted them in brass.

After attaching the cardboard to the backgrounds, I added leaf details with a long brush and some Crushed Olive Distress Stain.

Since I didn't have the texture set he demonstrated with, I thought this would be a nice touch to bring out the leaf details.

I saved the oak leaf cutouts and inked them up in Forest Moss and Spiced Marmalade stains. I added even more orange with the Spiced Marmalade ink and again added details with Crushed Olive ink and a brush.

I outlined the tag with Walnut Stain and added two pieces of Trimmings ribbon.

Love the dimension and textures of this tag - even though up here in the Great White North the leaves fell quite awhile ago ...

...and there is snow on the ground already!

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