Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Knifty Leprechaun

After sharing a picture of my little "loomy amigurumi leprechaun" made on the DA small gauge Mini-WonderLoom, several folks on one of the Yahoo loom knitting lists wanted to know if he could be made on the Knifty Knitter Looms. The answer is: "Yes, Virginia, there can be a Knifty Knitted leprechaun!" Since the Knifty Knitters are large gauge looms, I thought they might not be the best choice for knitting amigurumi. However, I'm very pleased with how well the KK leprechaun turned out. Of course, the KK version is about six inches tall - an inch or an inch & one-half taller that his four & one-half inch small gauge cousin, but much of that is due to the oversized top hat.

Modifications had to be made to the original pattern. The first thing was to use two strands of yarn held as one instead of the single strand that was used on the small gauge loom. Two different Knifty Knitter looms were incorporated for the KK leprechaun above. The 8-peg end of the spool loom was used for the body and the I-cord hat brim. The 12-peg flower loom was used to make the head and the main part of the hat. Also, I used some different stitch techniques to shape the bottom of the body and the top of the hat. This time around I remembered to use black when knitting the hat brim and added a yellow chain stitched buckle. As for the beard and hair, I used two strands of carrot colored Red Heart yarn instead of the copper colored fun fur and loosely crocheted an eight inch chain, which was whip stitched in place. I decided "fun fur" is an oxymoron, because it really isn't much fun to work with. To me, the fun fur is a bit too fussy for the amigurumi style. Another change was the use of buttons for the eyes. Of course, this would not be recommended for use with small children, but I just wanted to see what they would look like on this one.

At the rate I get things done these days, the pattern might be available in time for next St. Patrick's Day. In the meantime, I plan on making other amigurumi characters on the Knifty Knitter Looms since they are quick knits and such a hit with the kiddos.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Loomy Amigurumi

Amigurumi is the art of knitting or crocheting little stuffed softies and it is quickly becoming one of my favorite pastimes. These little creations are so quick to do and children love them. Since I have limited time, four grandchildren under the age of four, and enjoy small creations on the knitting loom, amigurumi is perfect for me.

The little leprechaun pictured above was made during one of our Saturday day trips. Of course, I had to wait until I returned home to embroidery the face and stuff him. (That's the bad part about working on projects on the run, you always leave some of the stuff you need at home.) This little fellow is about four and one-half inches tall. He is made on the small gauge DA Mini-Wonderloom, which is the prefect loom for this type project. I used one strand of worsted weight Red Heart yarn and copper colored fun fur clipped short for the beard. He was worked in three separate parts (body, head & hat), then stitched together. I really liked the way the little hat turned out. I tried a new I-cord technique that worked really well on the hat brim, however, I forgot to change colors and add the hat band - oh well, maybe next time.

Since I used a specialty loom, instead of the Knifty Knitter, I won't be writing the pattern for this one. If you plan on getting into loomy amigurumi, I highly recommend using an adjustable small or fine gauge loom. If you decide to experiment with large gauge looms, I would recommend the Knifty Knitter Long Looms with loom clips and two strands of worsted weight yarn. However, the biggest problem I've found with doing stuffed toys on the Knifty Knitter looms is the stuffing shows through the stitches and this is easily corrected by using the small or fine gauge loom.

Now I'll leave you with an old Irish quote in time for St. Patrick's Day:

Leprechauns, castles, good luck and laughter
Lullabies, dreams, and love ever after.
Poems and songs with pipes and drums
A thousand welcomes when anyone comes.
~Author Unknown

Note: Since this post, I have written a general instruction sheet for making the Loomy Amigurumi Leprechaun. It has been added to the Pattern Box on the right, or by clicking here.