Getting the right yarn for knitted toys

Vintage knitted scarf made of colored wool
Girl superhero knitting pattern
Girl Superhero in DK 300m/100g

Getting the right yarn for your knitted project can be the difference between success and failure.  Knitting toys can be a fun and fulfilling hobby, but the end result has to look good.  Picking a yarn is part of the fun too.  Many knitters have a stash of yarns that they like and keep for just the right project.

As a general rule, Knitting by Post toy knitting patterns are constructed from either generic double knitting or chunky yarn weight.  There aren’t any hard and fast rules to specific yarns.   Tension doesn’t really matter for smaller projects and yarn weight can be mix and matched easily.  Read about our knitting tension experiments here.

Using fancy yarns can enhance a project.   There are some lovely fancy yarns that will add a little something special to your knitting, all it takes is a little imagination.  Be careful though as some can be tricky to knit with, especially if the part of the pattern you are knitting is complex.

When knitting toys, one consideration has to be the end user.   If it is going to children, consider the ingredients of your yarn as the item may need to be washed more than once so a good machine washable colourfast yarn is good.  Also consider any allergies an end user may have, so if you get a wool blend make sure the end user won’t react to it after all that hard work.

Think about yourself too.  You will probably spend a long time working on the knitted piece so it has to be a yarn that is soft and comfortable to work with.   Expensive yarns can be very lovely but they are just that – expensive.   If you have to buy over the internet and can’t go to a local yarn shop to test out yarns, go for a mid range yarn.  As a guide, the yarns used in the KBP range are about £1.80 per 100g ball so not the most expensive.  We try to keep it as close to real life knitting as possible.

knitted superhero patterns
Knitted Superhero in DK 300m/100g

Getting the right colours and combinations are important too.   Consider buying shades from the same brand collection as the yarn companies go to a lot of trouble choosing shades that compliment one another in the same range.  This will help especially if the piece has stripes included.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and use the yarn that you like, you are in control and use your imagination with yarn types and colours and you will create something magical.

KBP recommends

All Knitting by Post patterns are designed with either double knitting acrylic yarn at 300 metres per 100g or Chunky yarn at 145g per 100 metres.  No particular brand or yarn company is endorsed.

 

Assemble the head of Suki the Unicorn

unicorn knitting pattern

unicorn-side-small

This page is intended for anyone making Suki the Unicorn, to assist with assembling the head.

The head is knit in one piece. When it is complete it looks a bit like three rectangles attached together. The centre piece is the widest part (this is the top and sides of the head) and the row ends here are sewn together length ways, this forms almost a tube shape. The smaller rectangles on each end then fill the end of the tube shape. The cast on stitches are the bottom back of the neck and the cast off stitches are the chin of the unicorn.

Unicorn head diagram

2013-06-27_14.34.53sm 2013-06-27_14.35.47sm

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Is tension important when knitting toys?

knitted bears

Tension within knitting has traditionally been seen as an essential part of making any knitted item.  There are countless patterns that state that the results cannot be guaranteed unless the proper tension is achieved by the knitter.   This puts pressure on the knitter to get it right and leaves an element in the mind of the knitter that it may all end in disaster.

She then goes on to create a tension square before the item is knitted to ensure the results will be just as predicted.   This will give you a perfect reproduction of the toy or garment from the instructions provided.

knitted bears
knitted bears

I have spent some time recently putting this long established theory to the test with the designs that I create.  I took two patterns, just because I liked both of them, it wasn’t for any technical reason.   It was Stardust the Unicorn and All Bear One soft toy.   I knit both of them using 3mm needles and double knitting yarn.   I then knit the same pattern in chunky yarn on 5mm needles.    Both of these designs were originally designed for double knitting yarn.

knitted unicorns
knitted unicorns

The results were that both toys knitted up well, but not just that, the pieces fitted together lovely and at the end there was a perfect little and large toy that were exact reproductions of the pattern.

I know that this would not work when a piece has to be a specific size for a reason.   For example, the knitted toilet roll covers collection would not fit around a standard toilet roll if the tension was not somewhere close to the tension given on the pattern.

My conclusion from this little experiment is that tension isn’t important in toys unless there is a specific reason to have an element of the item at a specific size.  Go and experiment for yourself there are endless creations from just one pattern.