How To Knit Beautiful Bags by Sian Brown Book Review with Flower Basket bag pattern

How To Knit Beautiful Bags by Sian Brown Book Review with Flower Basket bag pattern via Underground Crafter - book cover

Have you been wondering how to knit a bag? Bags are great projects to knit because you can start wearing and using them right away, no matter what the season! Today, I’m sharing my review of a book of knit bag designs and techniques. My review also includes an excerpted knitting pattern for the Flower Basket bag and your chance to win a copy of the book, so read on for details!

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. Search Press North America provided with a free review copy of How To Knit Beautiful Bags: 22 Gorgeous Designs by Sian Brown. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

Book Review

At first glance, How To Knit Beautiful Bags: 22 Gorgeous Designs by Sian Brown seems to be an above average collection of knit bag patterns, but once you dive deep into it, you’ll realize that it is much more! This book is actually a guide to how to knit bags in general, and provides all the information you’ll need to make not just these 22 projects, but ANY knit bag into something beautiful, functional, and durable.

The book opens with a visual Table of Contents with a thumbnail of each of the projects in the book so it’s easy to find a favorite bag pattern again. The book then moves on to an Introduction from Sian where she explains why she loves to knit bags (because they are relatively quick projects where you can try out new techniques). She also explains that each bag in this book is both lined and has pockets. (Spoiler alert: Don’t be intimidated about the lining, because it’s all explained later.)

The next section, Materials and Tools, covers everything you’ll need to knit the bags in this book. Most of the items are standard supplies that most knitters would have available, but Sian also includes a sewing machine (for creating the lining and pockets), wadding (also known as batting in the States), interfacing, and handles.

The next sections include the bag patterns. The patterns are organized into Simple Bags (7 patterns), Summer Bags (4 patterns), Cablework (4 patterns), Evening (3 patterns), and Colourwork (4 patterns). Each pattern includes a short description, the skill level, a list of equipment with needle sizes and yarn listed using both UK and US terminology, measurements (in both metric and US customary units), tension/gauge, and finished size. Each pattern also includes at least one full-page photograph of the bag, usually shown being worn or hung so you can see how it drapes, and 2-4 additional pictures.

In terms of skill level, there are 7 beginner patterns, 1 beginner/intermediate pattern, 11 intermediate patterns, and 3 advanced patterns. The patterns are written in abbreviations, but 5 patterns also include color charts.

Techniques is the final, 20-page section. It includes information about 

  • Gauge/tension, 
  • Colorwork (including stranded/Fair Isle and intarsia), 
  • How to embellish your bag (with written and illustrated tutorials for appliqué; 5 types of embroidery stitches; attaching beads, sequins, and knit flowers; and making pom poms), 
  • Finishing methods (including blocking, weaving in ends, and backstitch and mattress stitch seams), 
  • Fastening your bag (with zippers, buttons, snaps, and magnetic closures), 
  • Adding lining using batting or interfacing (for less bulk), and
  • Making braided cords and attaching handles.

The book concludes with a list of pattern abbreviations, a yarn “translation” chart from UK to US to Australian terms for yarn weights, and a list of the specific yarns listed in each pattern.

Overall, it’s a wonderful reference guide to making your knit bags beautiful, adding lining, and finishing with lovely details. The patterns are a lot of fun, but this is more than just a pattern book. Although the Technique section in How To Knit Beautiful Bags is substantial, it really focuses on the specific techniques for finishing knit bags. There is no “how to knit” information in this book, so it is best suited to intermediate knitters or adventurous advanced beginners. If you’d love to learn how to knit a bag for yourself or to gift or sell, then I highly recommend How To Knit Beautiful Bags!

Flower Basket

Knitting Pattern by Sian Brown 

How To Knit Beautiful Bags by Sian Brown Book Review with Flower Basket bag pattern via Underground Crafter - Flower Basket bag

Published in How To Knit Beautiful Bags: 22 Gorgeous Designs

Text © Sian Brown 2018. Photographs and design © Search Press Ltd 2018. Shared with permission from Search Press North America.

With simple garter stitch handles and top, this design features an attractive, basket-weave pattern for the body of the bag. Topped off with a delicate flower in a complementary colour using lightweight, mohair yarn, add some matching seed beads for a bit of sparkle and shine.

Notes from Underground Crafter

Equipment

  • Knitting Needles
    • 4.5mm (UK 7, US 7)
  • Materials
    • 4 balls of aran (10-ply/worsted) yarn in mauve (A); 50g/98yd/90m
    • Small amount of 1–3-ply (lace weight) yarn in lilac (B); 25g/218yd/200m
    • 16 lilac seed beads
    • Magnetic closure
    • Lining and wadding/batting: 36 x 29cm (14 x 11.5in)
    • Lining for pocket: 18 x 33cm (7 x 13in)
    • Interfacing for pocket: 15 x 15cm (6 x 6in)
  • Tension (Gauge)
    • 24 sts x 32 rows over 10 x 10cm (4 x 4in) in pattern
  • Finished Size
    • 33 x 26cm (13 x 10.25in) excluding handles

Instructions

Front and Back (Make 2)

  • With yarn A, cast on 63 sts.
  • Row 1: knit.
  • Row 2: purl.
  • Row 3 (RS): k4, *p7, k5, rep from * to last 11 sts, p7, k4.
  • Row 4: p4, *k7, p5, rep from * to last 11 sts, k7, p4.
  • Row 5: knit.
  • Row 6: purl.
  • Row 7: as row 3.
  • Row 8: as row 4.
  • Row 9: knit.
  • Row 10: purl.
  • Row 11: p5, *k5, p7, rep from * to last 10 sts, k5, p5.
  • Row 12: k5, *p5, k7, rep from * to last 10 sts, p5, k5.
  • Row 13: knit.
  • Row 14: purl.
  • Row 15: as row 11.
  • Row 16: as row 12.
  • These 16 rows form the pattern. Repeat three more times, then work rows 1–8 once more.
  • Work 30 rows knit.
  • Cast off.

Handle (Make 2)

  • With yarn A, cast on 8 sts. Knit until handle measures 40cm (15.75in).
  • Cast off.

Flower (Make 5 Petals)

  • Using yarn B held double, cast on 6 sts.
  • Row 1: knit.
  • Row 2: purl.
  • Repeat these 2 rows three more times.
  • Row 9: k2tog, k2, k2tog (4 sts).
  • Row 10: purl.
  • Row 11: k2tog twice (2 sts).
  • Row 12: purl.
  • Row 13: k2tog.
  • Fasten off.

Making Up

  • Press the main pieces of the bag under a damp cloth. Pin the flower petals to one side of the bag with the cast-on edges at the centre and sew in place. Sew the beads in the centre of the flower. With right sides facing, pin and sew the bottom seam using backstitch. Then sew the side seams using mattress stitch. Turn over the top border to half the depth, and slip stitch it in place. Pin and sew the handles to the inside top of the bag. Follow the lining instructions below to make and fit the lining and pocket, and the instructions below to fit the magnetic closure.

Lining

  • Lining is used to neaten the inside of the bags so that you do not see the back of the knitting. It also adds another layer, and gives the inside of the bags a splash of colour and print. Choose your own lining fabrics to personalise your bag.

Lining the bags

  • Cut out the lining fabric and wadding/batting for the main bag, and lining fabric and interfacing for the pocket according to measurements given in each pattern (NB: if the print on the lining does not have a specific direction, cut in one piece and fold it at the centre. If it does, cut it in two pieces and sew them together with the seam at the bottom, keeping the print on the pocket going in the same direction as the lining).
  • Pin the wadding/batting to the lining if it is being used. Fold over to the WS a 1.5cm (5/8 in) seam allowance at the top of one side of the bag and machine stitch in place.
  • Fold the lining fabric for the pocket right sides together and press. It is neater to have the folded edge at the top of the pocket. If using iron-on interfacing, press this on now, with one edge against the fold. Sew one side and the top. Clip corner, turn pocket right side out and press again. Pin and sew the remaining seam.
  • Pin the seam allowance on the open side. Pin and sew the pocket in place around the sides and bottom, a little below the top at the centre.
  • Fit the magnetic closure now if you are adding one.
  • Pin the lining pieces together around the sides and bottom and try inside the bag for fi t, pinning around the top to check. Make sure that it fits well and adjust if needed (it is better for the lining to be slightly smaller than the bag in depth and width to avoid it looking loose).
  • Once the fit is adjusted, sew the side and bottom seams, RS facing.
  • Place the lining inside the bag, referring to the making up instructions, and pin to the knitted piece, then hand sew it in place.

Snap Fasteners 

  • Snap fasteners are a practical way to fasten pieces together and easy to open and close. Choose a sewing thread close to the colour of the knitted pieces, and use a fine sewing needle. Doubling up the thread will make sewing on quicker and more secure. 
How To Knit Beautiful Bags by Sian Brown Book Review with Flower Basket bag pattern via Underground Crafter - snap closure illustration 1
  • Snap fasteners come in two sections: a ball and socket (see above). The ball at the centre of one section presses or snaps tightly into the socket at the centre of the other. 
How To Knit Beautiful Bags by Sian Brown Book Review with Flower Basket bag pattern via Underground Crafter - snap closure illustration 2
  • Decide where the snap fastener is to be placed. Secure the thread at the back of the work. Bring the needle up through one of the holes, around the edge and into the back. Repeat this a few times for each hole until the snap fastener is secure (see above). 
  • For the second half of the fastener, position it to line up with the first half and repeat step 2. 

Giveaway

How To Knit Beautiful Bags by Sian Brown Book Review with Flower Basket bag pattern via Underground Crafter - giveaway

Now that you’ve read my review of How To Knit Beautiful Bags: 22 Gorgeous Designs by Sian Brown and tried the Flower Basket bag pattern, I’m guessing you’re ready to get your hands on the book. Well, the nice folks at Search Press North America have set aside a copy for one lucky winner!

This giveaway is open to readers with mailing addresses in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, or other parts of Europe, except where prohibited by law. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, July 25, 2019. One winner will be chosen at random from the entries submitted via the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will receive 1 copy of How To Knit Beautiful Bags: 22 Gorgeous Designs, courtesy of Search Press North America. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Announcing the Second Annual Softie Crochet Along!

2019 Softie Crochet Along with CAL Central Crochet via Underground Crafter

The Softie Crochet Along is the second crochet along of 2019 hosted in the CAL Central Facebook and Ravelry groups. We’ve brought together ten of the top crochet designers out there to bring you free crochet patterns for softies. Five of our favorite companies are providing prizes for our end-of-CAL giveaway. Join us to make great amigurumi projects to cuddly and play with, chat with other crocheters, and enter to win fabulous prizes!

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links.

This is the main post for 2019 Softie crochet along. Read on for more details including:

  • How the 2019 Softie Crochet Along Works,
  • How To Join the 2019 Softie CAL,
  • 2019 Softie Crochet Along Schedule,
  • 2019 Softie CAL End-of-CAL Giveaway Prizes, and
  • Enter the 2019 Softie CAL End-of-CAL Giveaway.

How the 2019 Softie Crochet Along Works

2019 Softie Crochet Along with CAL Central Crochet via Underground Crafter

Every Monday from April 1 through June 3, 2019, we’ll share a free crochet pattern for a softie! You can make fun softie projects to keep, for gifts, or to donate to charity while chatting with other crocheters in our groups and sharing your projects to win giveaway prizes!

Fairfield World has generously provided all of the participating designers with Crafter’s Choice Dry Polyester Fiber Fill to use in their softies. They will also be also be awarding the grand prize, a 5 lb. box of Poly-Fil and two Poly-Fil Basic 16” x 16” Pillow Inserts, to the crocheter whose project gets the most votes!

Clover USA, Search Press North America, LeitherCo, and Morgan’s Mane have also generously provided us with prizes for this CAL. Share your completed project pictures in this post (scroll down for details)by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Monday, June 10, 2019 to enter for your chance to win!

How To Join the 2019 Softie CAL

  • You can join in by crocheting the patterns as you have time.
  • Share your progress and post pictures of your finished projects. Tag your projects and posts #CALCentral on all social media. If you use Fairfield World Poly-Fil for your project, tag @fairfieldworld and use #fairfieldworld, too.
  • If you’d like to chat with other crocheters, join the CAL Central Facebook group or visit this thread in the CAL Central Ravelry group.
  • By the end of the CAL, you’ll have up to 10 awesome projects. Make adorable softies while having fun with us!
  • Use this button below on your Ravelry project pages or elsewhere on social media. Right click (on desktop) or tap and hold (on mobile) to save.
2019 Softie Crochet Along with CAL Central Crochet via Underground Crafter

2019 Softie Crochet Along Schedule

This list will be updated during the CAL to include links to each pattern as it is released.

2019 Softie CAL End-of-CAL Giveaway Prizes

We work hard to find the best crochet along prizes from around the web for each CAL Central Crochet Along. Read on for more details about the prizes and how to enter for your chance to win.

The most popular project will win the grand prize from Fairfield World: a 5 lb. box of Poly-Fil and two Poly-Fil Basic 16” x 16” Pillow Inserts. Show your support by following Fairfield World on Instagram | Facebook.

2019 Softie Crochet Along with CAL Central Crochet via Underground Crafter - Fairfield World Prize

Clover USA is providing one winner with a Swatch Ruler and Needle Gauge and a Quick Locking Stitch Marker Set. Show your support by following Clover USA on Website | Facebook | Instagram.

2019 Softie Crochet Along with CAL Central Crochet via Underground Crafter - Clover USA prizes

Search Press North America is providing one winner with both Cuddly Animals to Crochet by Lucia Forthmann (reviewed here) and Crocheted Bears by Val Pierce. Show your support by following Search Press North America on Website | Facebook | Instagram.

2019 Softie Crochet Along with CAL Central Crochet via Underground Crafter - Search Press Prize

MorgansMane is providing one winner with a Chakra Crochet Hook. Show your support by following MorgansMane on Etsy | Facebook | Instagram.

2019 Softie Crochet Along with CAL Central Crochet via Underground Crafter - MorgansMane Chakra Crochet Hook prize

LeitherCo is providing one winner with a subscription box. Show your support by following Ashley on Etsy | Facebook | Instagram.

2019 Softie Crochet Along with CAL Central Crochet via Underground Crafter - Leither Co Prize

Continue on to learn how to enter the giveaway for your chance to win one of these fabulous prizes!

Enter the 2019 Softie CAL End-of-CAL Giveaway

  • This is the end-of-CAL giveaway for the 2019 Softie Crochet Along. The Crochet Along is hosted by CAL Central and the giveaway is organized by Underground Crafter.
  • To enter the end-of-CAL giveaway for one of the prizes described above, share one picture of each project you completed using a 2019 Softie Crochet Along pattern by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Monday, June 10, 2019. Each completed project will count as one entry into the giveaway.
  • If you do not wish to share a project picture, you may also enter by mailing a letter with your name, the name of the CAL, and your email address (so we can contact you if you win) to Underground Crafter, Planetarium Station, P.O. Box 340, New York, NY 10024 USA. The letter must be received by Monday, June 10, 2019 to be eligible to win this end-of-CAL giveaway.
  • You are not required to use a link to enter, but if you do, please link directly to the project on your blog/Ravelry/Instagram and not to your main page. If you are new to InLinkz Link Ups, you can find a tutorial here.
  • The most popular project as selected by voting will win the Fairfield World grand prize.
  • Four winners will be chosen from the remaining entries at random to win one of the prizes from Clover USA, Search Press North America, LeitherCo, and Morgan’s Mane. Each will win one of the prizes listed above.
  • Winners will be contacted approximately one week after the entries close. Winners will have two weeks to claim their prizes. If winners do not respond within two weeks, prizes will be awarded to alternates.
  • By entering this giveaway, you are agreeing to share your contact information with InLinkz and/or Underground Crafter. You can read the InLinkz Privacy Policy here and the Underground Crafter Privacy Policy here to understand how this information is used.
  • The names of winners will be made available in list form by request from Underground Crafter.
  • This giveaway is open worldwide, except where prohibited by law.
  • Don’t forget to join the fun in our Facebook and Ravelry groups, too! You can share as many pictures as you like in the groups, but only pictures submitted here will be entered in the giveaways.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Finishing Touches Knit Along with KAL Corner (Part 1: Neck)

Finishing Touches Knit Along with KAL Corner

KAL Corner, the knit along group started by me, Pia from Stitches n Scraps, and Joanita from Creative Crochet Workshop, is back to bring you another fun knit along! We’ve teamed up with some of our favorite designers for the Finishing Touches KAL to share 24 free knitting patterns for the perfect finishing touch! We’re starting the year by focusing on the neck with a neckwear theme.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links.

This is the main post for this knit along. Read on for more details including:

  • How the Finishing Touches Knit Along (Part 1: Neck) Works,
  • How To Join the Finishing Touches Knit Along (Part 1: Neck),
  • Finishing Touches Knit Along (Part 1: Neck) Schedule,
  • Finishing Touches KAL (Part 1: Neck) End-of-KAL Giveaway Prizes, and
  • Enter the Finishing Touches KAL (Part 1: Neck) End-of-KAL Giveaway.

How the Finishing Touches Knit Along (Part 1: Neck) Works

I’ve teamed up with KAL Corner, the group founded by me, Pia from Stitches n Scraps, and Joanita from Creative Crochet Workshop, and some of our favorite knitting designers to bring you 24 free knitting patterns for the perfect finishing touch!

Every other Thursday from January 3 through November 21, 2019, we’ll share a free knitting pattern. Lion Brand has generously provided us with yarn for this KAL, so all of the patterns will be made with Lion Brand yarn.

To keep things interesting, every quarter we’ll have a new theme and a new set of giveaway prizes. We’re kicking off the year with perfect finishing touches to wear around your neck, and great prizes from Lion Brand, Louet North America, and Search Press North America!

How To Join the Finishing Touches Knit Along (Part 1: Neck)

  • Sign up for our newsletter to get an email when a new pattern is released.
  • You can join in by knitting the patterns as you have time.
  • By the end of the KAL, you’ll have up to 24 knitted projects. You’ll also have the chance to win great prizes!
  • Share your progress and post pictures of your finished projects. Tag your projects and posts #KALCorner on all social media.
  • If you’d like to chat with other knitters, join the KAL Corner Facebook group or visit this thread in the Underground Crafter Ravelry group
  • Use the button below on Ravelry or elsewhere social media. Right click (on desktop) or tap and hold (on mobile) to save.
Finishing Touches Knit Along with KAL Corner

Finishing Touches Knit Along (Part 1: Neck) Schedule

Each participating Finishing Touches KAL designer will create a free knitting pattern for the neck using Lion Brand yarn. This post will be updated as each pattern goes live.

Finishing Touches Knit Along with KAL Corner

Finishing Touches KAL (Part 1: Neck) End-of-KAL Giveaway Prizes

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I think prizes make everything more fun. This knit along will be no different! Lion Brand, Louet, and Search Press North America are providing wonderful prizes for three lucky winners!

Lion Brand is providing one winner with a choice of colors for 4 skeins of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick or Color Made Easy. Show your support by following Lion Brand on Website | Facebook | Instagram.

Finishing Touches Knit Along (Part 1: Neck) - Lion Brand prize

Search Press North America is providing one winner with both Head-to-Toe Winter Knits: 100 Quick & Easy Knitting Projects for the Winter Season by Monica Russel and The Encyclopedia of Knitting Techniques by Lesley Stanfield and Melody Griffiths. Show your support by following Search Press North America on Website | Facebook | Instagram.

Finishing Touches Knit Along (Part 1: Neck) - Search Press North America prize

And, last but not least, Louet North America is providing one winner with a limited edition set of Sonix knitting needles, including US Sizes 2-11. Show your support by following Louet on Website | Facebook | Instagram.Continue reading to learn how to enter the giveaway for your chance to win!

Finishing Touches Knit Along (Part 1: Neck) - Louet Sonix Knitting Needles
Louet Sonix Knitting Needles.

Enter the Finishing Touches KAL (Part 1: Neck) End-of-KAL Giveaway

  • This is the end-of-KAL giveaway for the 2019 Finishing Touches Knit Along (Part 1: Neck). The knit along is hosted by KAL Corner and the giveaway is organized by Underground Crafter.
  • To enter the end-of-KAL giveaway for one of the prizes described above, share one picture of each project you completed using a 2019 Finishing Touches Knit Along (Part 1: Neck) pattern or tutorial by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Monday, March 25, 2019. Each completed project will count as one entry into the giveaway.
  • If you do not wish to share a project picture, you may also enter by mailing a letter with your name, the name of the sew along, and your email address (so we can contact you if you win) to Underground Crafter, Planetarium Station, P.O. Box 340, New York, NY 10024 USA. The letter must be received by Monday, March 25, 2019 to be eligible to win this end-of-SAL giveaway.
  • You are not required to use a link to enter, but if you do, please link directly to the project on your blog/Instagram and not to your main profile page. If you are new to InLinkz Link Ups, you can find a tutorial here.
  • Winners will be chosen from the entries at random. Each will win one of the prizes listed above.
  • Winners will be contacted approximately one week after the entries close. Winners will have two weeks to claim their prizes. If winners do not respond within two weeks, prizes will be awarded to alternates.
  • By entering this giveaway, you are agreeing to share your contact information with InLinkz and/or Underground Crafter. You can read the InLinkz Privacy Policy here and the Underground Crafter Privacy Policy here to understand how this information is used.
  • The names of winners will be made available in list form by request from Underground Crafter.
  • This giveaway is open worldwide, except where prohibited by law.
  • Don’t forget to join the fun in the KAL Corner Facebook group or in this thread in the Underground Crafter Ravelry group! You can share as many pictures as you like in the groups, but only pictures submitted here will be entered in the giveaways.


Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii Book Review with Gingerbread Man Pattern

Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii - book review with Gingerbread Man pattern excerpt on Underground Crafter | coverAre you on the hunt for cute, little Christmas gifts and ornaments to knit? Then you’ll want to check out my review of a knitting pattern collection by Sachiyo Ishii, along with an excerpted pattern for the adorable amigurumi Gingerbread Man!

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. A free review copy of Twenty to Knit: Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii was provided to me by Search Press North America. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

Book Review

Twenty to Knit: Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii is a knitting pattern collection of 20 adorable little projects that measure from 2.25” (5.5 cm) through 7” (18 cm) in length. Sachiyo opens the book with an introduction where she shares her delight in making little Christmas toys for decoration and gifting. She mentions that the toys can easily be adjusted in size by using thicker or thinner yarns with appropriately sized needles. The samples in this book are primarily made in DK/light worsted/8-ply yarn (#3 or light yarn in the U.S.).

The book moves on to Knitting Know-How, which includes information about yarn, needles, and other tools; sewing pieces together; and basic knitting and embroidery stitches used in the projects. This section also includes a list of knitting abbreviations.

The next section is the patterns. Each pattern includes a materials list with yarns listed by color and meterage/yardage. The patterns do not listed a needle; however, in Knitting Know-How, the author mentions that all the samples are made with U.S. Size 2 (2.75 mm/U.K. Size 12) double pointed needles unless otherwise mentioned. Each pattern includes instructions for each piece written in pattern abbreviations and a “To make up” section with assembly instructions. The patterns also include a full page picture and at least one additional, smaller detail picture.

Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit assumes that you have knowledge of knitting basics, though there is some guidance on terminology (like the differences between garter and stockinette stitches) provided in the Knitting Know-How section. The book is small – at about the size of a folded piece of letter paper, it’s very portable. Like the other books in this series, it’s designed to make it easy to knit on the go. If you’re an advanced beginner or intermediate knitter and enjoy knitting toys and especially Christmas projects, you will find many cute projects included.


Gingerbread Man

Knitting Pattern by Sachiyo Ishii

Published in Twenty to Knit: Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit

Text © 2018 Sachiyo Ishii. Photographs and design  © 2018 Search Press Ltd. Shared with permission from Search Press North America.

Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii - book review with Gingerbread Man pattern excerpt on Underground Crafter | Gingerbread Man ornament as gift wrapNotes from Underground Crafter:

  • This pattern uses pattern abbreviations. The Craft Yarn Council has a full list of abbreviations here.
  • The sample was made using U.S. Size 2 (2.75 mm/U.K. Size 12) double pointed needles. Gauge is not important for this pattern, but stitches should be small so that stuffing doesn’t show through.
  • This pattern uses k2tog as the decrease. Purl SoHo has a helpful video tutorial for this stitch here.
  • You can find helpful video tutorials for the embroidery stitches (chain stitch, backstitch, and French knot) used in this pattern at the end of this blog post.

Materials:

  • 10g of DK (light worsted/8-ply) yarn in brown (A) and small amounts of red (C) and lime green (D)
  • Small amounts of 4-ply (fingering) yarn in white (B)
  • Stuffing
  • Hemp cord for hanging loop

Additional Equipment:

  • A stitch holder or a spare needle

Size:

  • 8cm (3in) tall

Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii - book review with Gingerbread Man pattern excerpt on Underground Crafter | Gingerbread Man ornament on white backgroundInstructions:

Front panel, first leg

  • Using yarn A, cast on 7 sts.
  • Rows 1-5: beginning with a p WS row, work 5 rows in st st.
  • Break yarn, place sts on a holder.

Second leg

  • Work as for first leg but do not break yarn.
  • Row 6 (joining row): K7, then k across held 7 sts of first leg(14 sts).
  • Rows 7-15: beg with a p WS row, work 9 rows in st st.
  • Row 16: cast on 5 sts, k to end (19 sts).
  • Row 17: cast on 5 sts, p to end (24 sts).
  • Rows 18-23: beginning with a k RS row, work 6 rows in stst.
  • Row 24: cast off 7 sts, k to end (17 sts).
  • Row 25: cast off 7 sts, p to end (10 sts).
  • Row 26: cast on 5 sts, k to end (15 sts).
  • Row 27: cast on 5 sts, p to end (20 sts).
  • Rows 28-33: beginning with a k RS row, work 6 rows in st st.
  • Row 34: (k2, k2tog) to end (15 sts).
  • Row 35: (p1, p2tog) to end (10 sts).
  • Break yarn, thread through all sts and pull tightly. Fasten off.

Back panel

  • Work as given for Front panel to row 15.
  • Row 16: k to end.
  • Row 17: cast on 5 sts, p to end (19 sts).
  • Row 18: cast on 5 sts, k to end (24 sts).
  • Rows 19-24: beginning with a p WS row, work 6 rows in st st.
  • Cast off.

To make up

  • With fastened-off yarn end of Front panel, sew the back seam of the head down to the neck. Sew all side seams and lightly stuff. Using yarn B, embroider chain stitches on the front panel at the hands and feet, and make backstitches for the mouth. Using two strands of yarn C held together, work a French knot for each eye. Using yarn C, French knot three buttons on the body. Using yarn D, embroider a bow tie at the neck with long horizontal backstitches, gathered with a short vertical stitch. Attach hanging loop if desired.

Giveaway

Now that you’ve read my review of Twenty to Knit: Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii and tried the Gingerbread Man pattern, you may be ready to get your hands on the book. Well, the nice folks at Search Press North America have set aside a copy for one lucky winner!

This giveaway is open to readers with mailing addresses in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, or other parts of Europe, except where prohibited by law. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Friday, December 7, 2018. One winner will be chosen at random from the entries submitted via the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will receive 1 copy of Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit, courtesy of Search Press North America. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cuddly Animals to Crochet by Lucia Forthmann Book Review with Nelly the Hippo Pattern

Cuddly Animals to Crochet: 28 Cute Toys to Make and Love by Lucia Forthmann book review via Underground CrafterWho doesn’t love cuddling up with an adorable crochet creature? I’m sharing a book review for a crochet pattern book filled with cute, huggable animals, along with the pattern for Nelly the Hippo and your chance to win a copy of the book, so read on for details!

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. A free review copy of Cuddly Animals to Crochet: 28 Cute Toys to Make and Love by Lucia Forthmann was provided to me by Search Press North America. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

Book Review

Cuddly Animals to Crochet: 28 Cute Toys to Make and Love by Lucia Forthmann is a crochet pattern book including large, huggable crochet critters. The book opens with an introduction from Lucia, where she explains how the crochet characters in this book can “accompany little people on dangerous, imaginary adventures, protect them against monsters in the night and are always on hand to comfort them.” As someone who grew up with my grandmother’s adorable crochet bears, I have to agree with Lucia.

After the Table of Contents, the Techniques chapter includes written and illustrated instructions for the magic ring, 3 basic stitches (single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet), increasing and decreasing, 3 stitches for seaming and embellishment (mattress stitch, whip stitch, and French knot), 4 additional stitches used in the patterns (tulip stitch, raised or post stitches, spike stitch, and bobble), and changing colors. There is also a key to the U.S. pattern abbreviations used in this book (with U.K. terms in parenthesis).

The patterns in the book are arranged by locale, with chapters for Forest (5 animals), Farm (5 animals), Africa (5 animals), Asia (3 animals), Australia (3 animals), South America (3 animals), and Water (4 animals).

Each pattern starts with a background story for the animal and a full page image of the animal that is styled to match the story. For example, Priscilla the Pig loves to dance so there are illustrated dancing steps and ballet shoes in the background of her picture. The patterns start by listing the height of the finished animal. The patterns in this book measure from 8.25” (21 cm) to 19.5” (49.5 cm), but most are in the 12” (30.5 cm) to 17” (43 cm) range.  The patterns also include a materials list with the yarn listed by brand name with fiber content, weight in grams, and yardage/meterage listed. The instructions are then written out in U.S. terms (with U.K. terms in parenthesis). There are several additional pictures included with each pattern. Some include close up details or profile images. Throughout the book, there are images of children holding the animals, so you can get a better idea of the scale.

As noted in her introduction, Lucia uses higher end yarns for these projects. Most patterns are made with Merino wool or organic yarns. As the book was originally published in Europe, some of the yarns are not easily purchased in the U.S. Lucia does include a short note encouraging readers to substitute yarns of a similar weight and yardage if necessary, but more details on the yarn thickness (for example, medium/aran weight) would have made substitutions easier.

What I liked about this book are that there are several different sizes and styles of animals available. Most have lanky limbs or wide torsos to make them easy for small hands to carry. The patterns don’t include difficulty level, but most are very beginner friendly, though there may be patience required for assembly. New crocheters (or those new to crocheting amigurumi) might find it helpful to watch a video on assembling amigurumi as the finishing instructions assume some level of comfort with seaming and assembly.

Cuddly Animals to Crochet: 28 Cute Toys to Make and Love is filled with fun project ideas and the background stories provide a nice launch into story time for the children that will receive the finished projects. I would recommend this book to beginner and intermediate crocheters who like to make projects for kids, or those who enjoy making softies.


Nelly the Hippo

Crochet Pattern by Lucia Forthmann

Published in Cuddly Animals to Crochet: 28 Cute Toys to Make and Love

Pattern and Photos © 2018 Edition Michael Fischer GmbH. English Translation by Burravoe Translation Services. Shared with permission from Search Press North America.

Cuddly Animals to Crochet: 28 Cute Toys to Make and Love by Lucia Forthmann book review via Underground Crafter | Nelly the Hippo amigurumi patternNotes from Underground Crafter:

  • This pattern uses U.S. pattern abbreviations. The Craft Yarn Council has a full list of abbreviations here.
  • This pattern uses sc2tog as the decrease (listed as dec 1 st). New Stitch a Day has a helpful video tutorial for this stitch here.
  • You can find helpful magic ring tutorials by Oombawka Design here (photo tutorial) and here (video tutorial).

It‘s a well-known fact that hippos are great at baking. And Nelly loves spending her days kneading dough, cutting out cookies – and licking the bowl when she‘s finished. After all, what‘s the harm in carrying a few extra pounds?

Height

  • Approx. 13in (33cm)

Materials

  • Lang Yarns Merino 120 (100% Merino wool) 2 balls Mint 0174 and 1 ball Rosa 0019; 50g/131yd/120m
  • Austermann Merino 160 (100% Merino wool) scraps of Black 202 and White 201; 50g/174yd/160m
  • 2.5mm (B-1/UK 13) crochet hook
  • Stuffing (fibrefill)
  • Tapestry needle

Cuddly Animals to Crochet: 28 Cute Toys to Make and Love by Lucia Forthmann book review via Underground Crafter | Nelly the Hippo Amigurumi patternMuzzle

  • Work in rounds. At the end of each round, work 1 sl st into first st in round, 1 ch and turn.
  • Round 1: Using Mint work 9 ch, 1 sc into second ch from hook, 1 sc into each of next 6 ch, 3 sc into last ch. Continue working on the other side of the length of ch: 6 sc, 2 sc into ch with first st in (18 sts).
  • Round 2: Inc 1 st, 6 sc, inc 1 st three times, 6 sc, inc 1 st twice (24 sts).
  • Round 3: 1 sc, inc 1 st, 7 sc, inc 1 st, 1 sc, inc 1 st, 1 sc, inc 1 st, 7 sc, inc 1 st, 1 sc, inc 1 st (30 sts).
  • Round 4: 2 sc, inc 1 st, 8 sc, inc 1 st, 2 sc, inc 1 st, 2 sc, inc 1 st, 8 sc, inc 1 st, 2 sc, inc 1 st (36 sts).
  • Round 5: 3 sc, inc 1 st, 9 sc, inc 1 st, 3 sc, inc 1 st, 3 sc, inc 1 st, 9 sc, inc 1 st, 3 sc, inc 1 st (42 sts).
  • Round 6: 4 sc, inc 1 st, 10 sc, inc 1 st, 4 sc, inc 1 st, 4 sc, inc 1 st, 10 sc, inc 1 st, 4 sc, inc 1 st (48 sts).
  • Round 7: 5 sc, inc 1 st, 11 sc, inc 1 st, 5 sc, inc 1 st, 5 sc, inc 1 st, 11 sc, inc 1 st, 5 sc, inc 1 st (54 sts).
  • Round 8: 6 sc, inc 1 st, 12 sc, inc 1 st, sc, inc 1 st, 6 sc, inc 1 st, 12 sc, inc 1 st, 6 sc, inc 1 st (60 sts).
  • Round 9: 7 sc, inc 1 st, 13 sc, inc 1 st, 7 sc, inc 1 st, 7 sc, inc 1 st, 13 sc, inc 1 st, 7 sc, inc 1 st (66 sts).
  • Round 10: 8 sc, inc 1 st, 14 sc, inc 1 st, 8 sc, inc 1 st, 8 sc, inc 1 st, 14 sc, inc 1 st, 8 sc, inc 1 st (72 sts).
  • Round 11: 9 sc, inc 1 st, 15 sc, inc 1 st, 9 sc , inc 1 st, 9 sc , inc 1 st, 15 sc (dc), inc 1 st, 9 sc, inc 1 st (78 sts).
  • Round 12: 10 sc , inc 1 st, 16 sc, inc 1 st, 10 sc, inc 1 st, 10 sc, inc 1 st, 16 sc, inc 1 st, 10 sc, inc 1 st (84 sts).
  • Rounds 13-38: 1 sc into each st of previous round (84 sts).
  • Round 39: *12 sc, dec 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (78 sts).
  • Round 40: *11 sc, dec 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (72 sts).
  • Round 41: *10 sc, dec 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (66 sts).
  • Round 42: *9 sc, dec 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (60 sts).
  • Stuff the muzzle.
  • Round 43: *8 sc, dec 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (54 sts).
  • Round 44: *7 sc, dec 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (48 sts).
  • Round 45: *6 sc, dec 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (42 sts).
  • Round 46: *5 sc, dec 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (36 sts).
  • Round 47: *4 sc, dec 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (30 sts).
  • Round 48: *3 sc, dec 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (24 sts).
  • Round 49: *2 sc, dec 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (18 sts).
  • Round 50: *1 sc, dec 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (12 sts).
  • Round 51: Dec 1 st six times (6 sts).
  • Round 52: *Miss 1 st, 1 sl st*, rep from * to * twice more (3 sts).
  • Secure the yarn and fasten off.

Top of head

  • Work in rounds. At the end of each round, work 1 sl st into first st in round, 1 ch and turn.
  • Round 1: Using Mint work 17 ch, 1 sc into second ch from hook, 1 sc into each of next 14 ch, 3 sc into last ch. Continue working on the other side of the length of ch: 14 sc, 2 sc into ch with first st in (34 sts).
  • Round 2: Inc 1 st, 14 sc, inc 1 st three times, 14 sc, inc 1 st twice (40 sts).
  • Round 3: 1 sc, inc 1 st, 15 sc, inc 1 st, 1 sc, inc 1 st, 1 sc, inc 1 st, 15 sc, inc 1 st, 1 sc, inc 1 st (46 sts).
  • Round 4: 2 sc, inc 1 st, 16 sc, inc 1 st, 2 sc, inc 1 st, 2 sc, inc 1 st, 16 sc, inc 1 st, 2 sc, inc 1 st (52 sts).
  • Round 5: 3 sc, inc 1 st, 17 sc, inc 1 st, 3 sc, inc 1 st, 3 sc, inc 1 st, 17 sc, inc 1 st, 3 sc, inc 1 st (58 sts).
  • Round 6: 4 sc, inc 1 st, 18 sc, inc 1 st, 4 sc, inc 1 st, 4 sc, inc 1 st, 18 sc, inc 1 st, 4 sc, inc 1 st (64 sts).
  • Rounds 7-15: 1 sc into each st of previous round (64 sts).
  • Secure yarn and fasten off.

Body

  • Work in rounds. At the end of each round, work 1 sl st into first st in round, 1 ch and turn.
  • Round 1: Using Mint crochet 6 sc in a magic ring (6 sts).
  • Round 2: Inc 1 st six times (12 sts).
  • Round 3: *1 sc, inc 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (18 sts).
  • Round 4: *2 sc, inc 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (24 sts).
  • Round 5: *3 sc, inc 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (30 sts).
  • Round 6: *4 sc, inc 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (36 sts).
  • Round 7: *5 sc, inc 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (42 sts).
  • Round 8: *6 sc, inc 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (48 sts).
  • Round 9: *7 sc, inc 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (54 sts).
  • Round 10: *8 sc, inc 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (60 sts).
  • Round 11: *9 sc, inc 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (66 sts).
  • Round 12: *10 sc, inc 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (72 sts).
  • Rounds 13-16: 1 sc into each st of previous round (72 sts).
  • Round 17: *11 sc, inc 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (78 sts).
  • Rounds 18-32: 1 sc into each st of previous round (78 sts).
  • Round 33: *11 sc, dec 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (72 sts).
  • Round 34: * 10 sc, dec 1 st *, rep from * to * 5 more times (66 st).
  • Round 35: *9 sc, dec 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (60 sts).
  • Round 36: *8 sc, dec 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (54 sts).
  • Round 37: *7 sc, dec 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (48 sts).
  • Round 38: *6 sc, dec 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (42 sts).
  • Round 39: *5 sc, dec 1 st*, rep from * to * five more times (36 sts).
  • Secure yarn and fasten off. Stuff the body.

Legs (make 2)

  • Work in rounds. At the end of each round, work 1 sl st into first st in round, 1 ch and turn.
  • Round 1: Using Rosa crochet 6 sc in a magic ring (6 sts).
  • Round 2: Inc 1 st six times (12 st).
  • Change col to Mint.
  • Rounds 3-12: 1 sc into each st of previous round (12 sts).
  • Secure yarn and fasten off. Stuff the leg.

Arms (make 2)

  • Crochet the arms following the pattern for the leg, working two additional rounds of round 12.

Ears (make 2 in Rosa, 2 in Mint)

  • Work in rounds. At the end of each round, work 1 sl st into first st in round, 1 ch and turn.
  • Round 1: Work 5 ch, 1 sc into second ch from hook, 1 sc into each of next 2 ch, 3 sc into last ch. Continue working on the other side of the length of ch: 2 sc, 2 sc  into ch with first st in (10 sts).
  • Row 2: 4 sc, inc 1 st, 4 sc, inc 1 st (12 sts).
  • Secure yarn and fasten off.
  • Place one Rosa and one Mint ear together, and work 1 round sc around to join. Hold so that you are looking at the mint ear.

Nostrils (make 2)

  • Round 1: Using Rosa crochet 6 sc in a magic ring (6 sts).
  • Round 2: Inc 1 st six times (12 sts).
  • Secure the yarn and fasten off.

Finishing off

  • Sew the last round of the top of the head to the muzzle, working from the middle to the edge. When finished, the first round of the muzzle should be facing forward, and the first round of the top of the head facing up. Sew the last round of the body to the underside of the head using mattress stitch. Sew the last round of the arms to the sides of the body using whipstitch. Sew the last round of the legs to the underside of the body using whipstitch. Sew an ear to each side of the top of the head. Position the eyes 10 st apart above the muzzle, and sew to the top of the head. With White sew two French knots onto the Black pupils of each eye, and sew two lashes to the side of each eye using Black. Sew a nostril to each side of the muzzle.

Giveaway

Cuddly Animals to Crochet: 28 Cute Toys to Make and Love by Lucia Forthmann book review and giveaway via Underground CrafterNow that you’ve read my review of Cuddly Animals to Crochet: 28 Cute Toys to Make and Love by Lucia Forthmann and tried out the Nelly the Hippo pattern, you probably want to get your hands on the book. Well, the nice folks at Search Press North America have set aside a copy for one lucky winner!

This giveaway is open to readers with mailing addresses in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, or other parts of Europe, except where prohibited by law. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Friday, November 23, 2018. One winner will be chosen at random from the entries submitted via the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will receive 1 copy of Cuddly Animals to Crochet, courtesy of Search Press North America. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway