How to Make Stuffed Animals, Book Review

Blogged under Good Books,Sew Simple by Tammy on Monday 15 October 2012 at 5:23 am

In early September, I talked a little about a new book called How to Make Stuffed Animals: Modern, Simple Patterns and Instructions for 18 Projects, but I had not gotten a chance yet to take a complete look at the book other than the free download, which I offered then and again have for you linked here.

Now that I have the book in my hands, I can give you a little bit more info about it. As the title says, it includes 18 projects, all of which are small, adorable animals. The first part of the book before the projects section has the basics concerning what you will need to get started as far as supplies and also important information about the techniques. If you already sew, other than maybe needing to purchase some stuffing (the author prefers carded wool, but I think poly-fill would also work), you more than likely have most of what you will need. Plus since all the animals are pretty small, you don’t need tons of fabric and can probably use up scraps. In fact, one design element I really like is how she uses a mix of fabrics, even prints, for many of her project.

The techniques covered in the beginning section discuss some of the basics of sewing you need to know such as how to cut out a pattern correctly and how to do simple stitches like back stitch. At first I worried that maybe she expected you to hand stitch all of these animals, but the author explains how to use edge stitching on a machine. The hand stitching is really just for extra details and attaching parts together from what I can tell.

The projects are all freaking adorable! Each project has step by step instructions and include some pretty detailed illustrations to go with the text. (Again, download the file linked above so you can see for yourself). Though the book is about making stuffed animals, some of the projects take this a step further and show different ways for using them such as attaching them to a mobile or turning them into a tree ornament. At the end of the book, all of the patterns are included and require that you photocopy them at 200% and then cut them out.

This book retails for $24.99 US; $16.99 UK; and $27.99 CAN. At the US price, that equates to $1.39 per pattern, which is pretty economical. As with any small toy type craft items, these look like that can be “fiddly” to make. Personally, I don’t mind that myself, but I know some crafters who can get exasperated with making and attaching small pieces together (like arms and legs), so if you are anti-fiddly, then this is not a book for you. None of these patterns look overly difficult for anyone with sewing experience. If you already sew and are looking for some ultra cute gift ideas, this book would something to consider. Someone totally new to sewing might struggle a little, but that is the nature of learning a new craft. At least with small projects like this, newbies would not need to invest a ton of money or time.

Got a Ho! A Sock That Is!

Blogged under Projects in Progress by Tammy on Sunday 14 October 2012 at 4:37 pm



Sock # 1 is done! It is not perfect, and it was a bruise-braining process, but not only do I have one sock done, it actually fits my foot!

Now onto sock #2!

FYI: HO = Half-Finished Object

Crafty Link Time

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 14 October 2012 at 12:13 pm

About Family Crafts
Drop by the Family Crafts site and play along with the new craft challenge! This challenge is all about making scarecrows.

Eileen – The Artful Crafter
Check out The Artful Crafter’s Halloween Parade of Craft Projects.

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi shares how she made the sequined quilt for Sequintastic September.

Paper Covered Pumpkins With Poetry
Cherie adds old pages and poetry to a Dollar Store pumpkin.

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
See how to carve a maple leaf rubber stamp from an eraser.

Never Too Much Yarn

Blogged under Charity Crafting,Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Saturday 13 October 2012 at 12:29 pm

Of course, any crafter knows that when you take an extended trip, you have to pack some craft activities for any downtime you might have. I recently attended a conference for college English instructors, and it was about a three hour trip one way to get there. Luckily, I did not have to drive, which meant I could spend the three hours knitting or crocheting. Along with figuring out the right clothes to pack and other items I would need, I spent a good deal of thought thinking of the right yarn projects to pack. I had to keep things pretty light, though, because I needed to make sure I could lug all my luggage myself.

I hoomed and hawed about current projects I’m working on that I could bring with me. I needed a mix of easy no-brainer projects and maybe one more challenging project that would require a little brain power. Eventually, I decided to bring my sock project (for the brain required project), my Windsor shawl project that I have been working a little on and off since mid-July (a no-brain power project), and then as a last minute idea, I brought a skein of worsted wool yarn and a hook to make a hat for charity. I figured that would be more than enough. In fact, I almost did not bring the hat yarn, but I realized it would be a good car project for the way there.

I am so glad I brought all three projects! I can’t even believe I almost did not bring them all because I finished the hat about 20 minutes before we arrived in Ybor City, Florida (where the conference was held). I panicked a little too. One project was done, so that means I had only two to cover the next two days and the three hour trip home. Ybor City was kind of cute looking when we first rolled in – lots of brick roads and beautiful old buildings – so for a few minutes the idea that there might be a yarn shop nearby flitted through my head. Umm…no..Ybor City is so not a place for yarn shops! Tattoo parlors, biker bars, and funky consignment shops, yes, you’ll find lots of those there.

As it happens, the two other projects were enough to cover my downtime in the evenings (which wasn’t a ton of time) and the trip home; however, I learned a valuable lesson – You can never have too much yarn when you hit the road for a trip.

Yarn Store Splurge

Blogged under Crafty Products by Tammy on Monday 8 October 2012 at 5:54 am

This past weekend, I made a trip up to Brevard County to visit with my sister who is down from Kentucky visiting before she heads off on a cruise to the Bahamas. Since I have known for a while that she would be in town this weekend, I have purposely been saving up for a major yarn splurge at Knit and Stitch Boutique in Cocoa Village.

When I am in town, I occasionally drop by there for a skein or two (or three) and had just one more stamp to go on my 10% off card. (Once you have $100 on your card, the store gives you 10% off your total purchase.) I also had a list of yarns for future projects I hope to make, and luckily, my sister is also a crafter, so she was happy to tag along and check out what I now refer to as basically “yarn heaven.” In fact, though she was not ready to treat herself to the good stuff (yet), she found a lot of inspiration in some of the finished pieces displayed throughout the store.

Normally, this store is jam packed with yarn and people, but we found what would be considered a lull time. There were only maybe a dozen people in the store instead of two or three times that amount, which is normally the case when I go there. As usual, the staff was super helpful and friendly. Here is the yarn I walked away with.


This is some of the baby alpaca yarn that is so amazing. I’ve purchased baby alpaca at a few places on-line since discovering it at this store, and none of them are even half as soft as this stuff. The colorwayis called Summer Sky Heather. This probably a cross between DK and worsted and has 220 yards/100 grams. I have no specific plans for it yet, but I just loved the color. You can’t tell from the photo, but is kind of has a hint of blue-ish-purples in it.




Of course, that was not enough baby alpaca for me. This is a splurge, right? One skein of this stuff was not going to do it, so I also got two skeins in black. I plan to make a shawlette, specifically the Milk Thistle Shawlette if I can figure out the pattern.

I’ve been looking for gray yarn to make probably another shawlette, and I was curious about using a bamboo blend. I wear a lot of black and gray pants at work, and then I just switch out tops. It’s kind of my teacher uniform. I selected this super soft skein of Frog Tree sock yarn. It is 80% washable Merino wool and 20% bamboo. The skein is 100 grams/255 yards.


Now for a pop of color – This is Cascade 220 Quatro 100% Peruvian wool. I think it’s DK weight. It has 220 yards/100 grams. I have a green long sleeved t-shirt type shirt that I wear a lot to work, so again, I’m thinking scarf or shawlette with this. I had them go ahead and ball it up for me.


Now I know this next skein looks really similar, but I could not pick between the two. And why should I have to pick when I’m splurging? So my final purchase was this skein of Heritage sock hand painted yarn. It is 75% Merino superwash and 25% nylon and has 437 yards/100 grams. Even though I have a few projects in the works now that I really need to finish, I couldn’t help myself and yes….


I started another project! This is the beginnings of a shawl that will probably turn into a shawlette (notice a trend?) The pattern is from Totally Simple Crochet: Over 30 Easy Projects for the Home and to Wear. The pattern is called the Crochet Shawl with Chain Stitch Loops, and what I like about it is that it starts at the point of the shawl (which is a triangle shape), so you can stop at any point later to make it smaller or even larger than the pattern calls for. I did find a typo in the pattern and that meant it took me a while to figure it out, but luckily, I did, and it is pretty easy to do, mainly single, double, and triple crochet stitches.

After the splurge, that means I have yet another 10% off card of there with lots of stamp on it…yikes! But, I’m going to be strong and not make another trip there until probably the holidays.

Weekly Crafting Links

Blogged under My Crafty News by Tammy on Sunday 7 October 2012 at 4:11 pm

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a tutorial on how to create your signature initials for your Zentangles, a fun portrait made from confetti, some zombie fun and a yummy recipe for tomato pie.

Eileen – The Artful Crafter
Eileen shares the how-to for a Sand and Sea themed Glass-Beaded Bracelet.

Mixed Media Artist
Have you tried Derwent’s Inktense pencils? They’re like nothing you’ve ever used before!

Painted Glass Garden Mushrooms
Cherie makes some glass mushrooms for the garden using recycled materials.

Tapping Flamingo
Terry’s Friday photography experimentation takes a look at water.

Fresh Stitches
Stacey explains how her adorable crochet amigurumi owls came into existence.

Crochet Socks – An Attempt

Blogged under crochet and knitting,Projects in Progress by Tammy on Wednesday 3 October 2012 at 11:51 am

I’m attempting another knit along. This one is run by the Knitbulls Podcast and requires making socks using self-striping yarn. Of course, there is no way in the world that my knitting skills are up to the level required for socks, but I checked with Diane (aka knitbulls), and she said it was okay to crochet sock. As a native Floridian, I have to admit that socks are not a huge part of my life. When I’m home, I’m usually barefoot. When I’m out and about, I’m usually wearing sandals or flip flops. However, at night when the AC is cranking I do tend to wear socks at least for part of the evening.

Pictured is what I have so far on my first pair. This is actually my second attempt because the first pattern I tried to do was like reading Chinese. I really could not figure out what the heck the instructions were trying to tell me to do! Both the pattern I’m using now and the other I tried are from a book I got during the 50% off sale at Knitpicks. It’s called Learn to Crochet Socks for the Family. There are 15 patterns in this book, and all are at the intermediate level. That sort of tells you something: there is no such thing as an “easy” sock pattern.

The KAL deadline is mid-October, so hopefully, I can continue to have some success with this other pattern and get these made in time. Most of the stitches are single crochet, working in the round, so it’s fairly fast once I figure out what I’m supposed to do.

Oh, and notice the cute little owl project bag? I got that from Freshstitches. It is probably one of the smallest project bags I have, but it is perfect for socks, and I love the little owl pin.

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