I’m back! Actually, I was never really away; I just couldn’t bring myself to blog. I suppose, I kind of burned myself out a little. I was aiming for 2 to 3 posts a week in order to gain a regular readership, but even the simplest post takes me about an hour to write and put together, not to mention the time I need for the pictures. An hour might not seem like much, but with everything else that’s always going on, it started to stress me. So now I’ll aim for one post a week. It’ll either be a finished object, a work in progress or Yumday food post. I think that’ll work better for me.
Anyway, here’s the story of another ‘hot’ animal I made.
When I showed pictures of the racoon and the cat to a friend, she liked them so much that she asked for a maki hot-water-bottle for her birthday. Well, I first had to google what a maki actually is. They are these funny creatures (as usual, the pictures link back to the pages where I found them):
They are better known from the film Madagascar:
And here is my finished chap:
I bought black and white microfibre yarn for this project because it felt soooo nice to the touch and won’t be scratchy when hot. I knit the front, back, arms, legs, tail and nose all separately and later sewed them together.
If you want to make your own, start by knitting the arms and legs. I made longish rectangles to form them (slightly bigger ones for the legs). I then folded the rectangles in half and sewed them together. Don’t forget to add seam allowance, otherwise you will end up with really short stubby arms, like I did here. I didn’t fill them, but you could.
Proceed by knitting the back. Mine is just plain black. I measured out my hot water bottle and knit another rectangle exactly the size of the bottle with hardly any seam allowancebecause I wanted the cover to fit snugly. Don’t bother about the curved edges – you can make a slightly curved seam later to create them. When you’ve reached the neck of the bottle, bind off stitches to the right and the left, so that you’re only left with enough stitches to cover the back of the ‘noozle’ (what on earth is that part of a hot water bottle called?!?) and knit all the way up to the edge, then loosely bind off the remaining stitches.
For the front, start by knitting the same shape in white. Only chage colours after you’ve knit about two thirds of his face. Also, the front needs to be a lot longer than the back so that it can be folded over the top and about half-way down the back.
Now, pin the front, the back, the arms and the legs together and then sew them together from the wrong side. You don’t have to worry about leaving a hole to turn them because you will have the hole at the top anyway. When flat, the head needs to be slightly longer than the ‘head’ of the bottle (I keep changing the name of that part), otherwise the fabric will stretch too much. When you turn the finished ‘skin’ around and put it on your bottle (bit queezy, helps if you roll the bottle to squeeze it into the small hole), you will see that the corners at the top naturally form little pointy ears.
The nose is best knit in the round on three double-pointed needles. Knit about three or four rounds/rows without decreases then start decreasing 4 every other round. Change colour close to the tip of the nose and proceed making decreases until you are left with 6 stitches. Cut your yarn and thread the loose end through the remaining stitches pulling them together. Then fill the nose with cotton wool or another filling material and sew the nose onto the body using either black or white yarn (I obviously used white). I find that this works better if you do it while the bottle is wearing the skin (that sounds gross ;) ).
You can now sew on the chest hair and the sleepy eyes. (You can actually buy glass eyes which look just like the orange-y maki eyes in the picture above, but I found he looked much cuter like this.) To make the little tufts of hair at the tip of the ears, cut several shortish strips of yarn. Using a large needle pull them through the top of the ear, wrap them around your finger and prick the needle through the ear again, so that you have a loop on one side and all the ends on the other. Put the needle away and pull all the ends firmly through the loop you created by sewing around your finger (kind of like making a tassel – I’m sure there’s a word for this kind of knot, only I have no idea how to google that!).
The tail you can either knit in the round or flat and then sew together and turn (which is what I did). Sew it on and voilà: You have a sleeping cutie!