Monday, 1 September 2014

Faux Taxidermy Knits


It’s here! Well almost here... my debut book ‘Faux Taxidermy Knits’ is due for release on the 26th of September - hurrah!

Faux Taxidermy Knits features 15 wild knitting patterns split into two sections, wearables and habitat, inspired by animals you’d love to have as trophies but without all that terrible hunting business! Ranging from giant specimens, such as the big moose head and tiger rug, to winter warmers, like the wolf headdress and fox scarf. There are even some tiny projects you’ll be able to knit up in no time, like the lucky rabbit’s foot and bear coasters.

So that’s a little bit of information about the book, but what’s that? You want to hear more? Well you’re in for a treat as the book’s going on tour! Thanks to Stitch Craft Create, I’ve got some amazing bloggers who’ll be reviewing the book leading up its release. There will be giveaways, knitting advice and tutorials, and some have even knitted up their own versions of my patterns.


There’s so much to look forward to, I thought I’d cast on by talking about the process of the book and a little about myself.

The Backstory

For those who don’t know me, I started knitting a few years ago whilst I was at university. I studied commercial photography but always felt something was missing. I caught the bug from my sister who was learning to knit one Christmas. Seeing how immersed she was in her work and the sense of achievement she got from finishing each row, I couldn’t help but be jealous. I was given a set of 4mm needles and some forest green yarn and started learning. I would knit during all my lectures and tutorials. I started with misshapen garter stitch headbands and holey scarves but with lots of practice and some lessons from my friends and family, I got better and better and eventually started designing my own pieces.

I wanted to incorporate my newfound crafty skills into my photography work; my first project was actually all to do with hunting. It was the beginning of my affair with knitted taxidermy and I made several animal scarves, one of which inspired the fox knitting pattern in Faux Taxidermy Knits.    
                                      
I then went onto create ‘Wooly Head’, the photo series featuring six women in knitted wigs. In January 2013 it worked its way around the internet before being picked up by the national newspapers and TV production companies. I made my debut on screen appearance on the Alan Titchmarsh show; I’d hit the big time! I soon returned to the animal world however, with a commission for faux animal heads for Boden’s A/W press day at Somerset House.  

In the following months, I was commissioned to make animal heads for the amazing online children’s shop Molly Meg and exclusive pieces for knitting magazines. The fox knitting pattern was my first published design. I hadn’t really considered myself a pattern designer until I saw my work on the printed page; I was so excited, I knew I wanted to do more. After a few months of designing, an email popped up out of the blue labeled ‘Content Opportunity’. It was to truly change my world…

The Book 

Several phone calls and emails back and forth resulted in a trip to Torquay for an exciting meeting with the publishers, F+W Media, where the contract was signed. At the meeting we discussed and laid out the projects, choosing each creature carefully from the ideas I’d brought. Throughout all the planning I couldn’t believe what was happening and I still have to pinch myself now and again to see if it’s real.

I couldn’t wait to get home and start working, my head was swimming with possibilities. What weight of yarns should I use, what fibers, what colours? I couldn’t help but enjoy my hours searching the internet to find the perfect wools, I was like a child in a sweet shop! I was so lucky enough receive yarn support from amazing companies such as Erika Knight, Texere, Malabrigo and Brooklyn Tweed (just to name a few). I think the yarn you choose to design a project really determines the outcome and with such beautiful materials to work with I knew the patterns would be really special.

During a trip to the Knitting and Stitching Show, once again indulging in new wools and needles, Mr Sincerely Louise (who I’d dragged along with me) suggested that I should include my own hand dyed wools in the book. We took some dyes and yarn home with us and after purchasing a giant pot and some super precise science scales I began experimenting by mixing the powders to create the perfect colours. I dyed three colours, two Aran weights for the moose head and one DK for the crocodile bag. The range will be available alongside the release of the book, so watch this space.



For my first book deadline I had four pieces to make up, including the raccoon hat and tiny badger head. To my delight the publishers loved them and I continued working on the other patterns with great enthusiasm. I spent months developing patterns, knitting them up, unraveling them and knitting them up again. I remember the look on Mr. Sincerely Louise’s face after sheepishly telling him I’d pulled apart two days of work on the tiger rug so I could knit it chunkier. Leading up to my final deadline I worked harder than ever before in my life, my hands hurt and I was in need of some serious sleep. I can assure you they is very little to watch on TV at 4am.

After all the pieces and text had been sent to my publishers, I had a little rest. I worked on some private commissions and my knitting kits. However, I hadn’t finished with the book yet as I’d agreed to photograph the pieces. By chance, a friend who works as an art director contacted me whilst I was tearing my hair out planning what to do. He was in the area and popped over for a cup of tea and quickly offered to help. We worked together for the next few weeks, drawing up sketches for each shot and visiting prop houses. The shoot took about three days, with a lot of assistance from old and new friends and the results were amazing. 

I believe this last year has been one of the best and one of the hardest of my life. I’ve been given the opportunity to achieve something that I’d only dreamed of since first picking up those 4mm needles. The support I’ve received from my friends and family and my online followers has been amazing and I wouldn’t be where I am now without them. I’d like to thank everybody who’s helped and inspired me!


Signed copies of Faux Taxidermy Knits are available to pre-order from the Sincerely Louise website in exclusive goodie bags. Included in the cotton tote bag you’ll find the book, an exclusive bonus pattern, everything you need for the fox knitting pattern and some badges.


Saturday, 16 August 2014

JIJI THE CAT - FREE KNITTING PATTERN

As many of my friends and followers know I'm a big fan of Studio Ghibli. In the winter I can usually be found snuggled up in a Totoro onesie and slippers watching Spirited Away. I've knitted bits and pieces before as gifts and Jiji the cat's no exception - well the only difference this time is I'm posting the pattern on my blog for free! 

There's nothing more I love than knitting animal toys, or basing my wearables on cute animals. I couldn't wait to get knitting Jiji as like most knitters I have an abundance of black DK yarn!

I hope you all enjoy the pattern, if you have any queries just drop me an email at info@sincerelylouise.co.uk



JIJI THE CAT




Jiji the cat is worked in the round for his body and tail, with his ears knitted on straight needles. Templates have been provided on a downloadable A4 sheet for the eyes and nose.


What you'll need:
1 x 100g Ball of Black DK Yarn
A small amount of Purple DK yarn for the inner ears
4mm DPNS
4mm Straight Needles
White Felt
Black Felt

Pink Felt
Toy Stuffing
Fabric Glue

Tension
22 stitches and 30 rows to 10cm on 4mm needles

Finished Size:
31cm high x 12cm wide

Colours
A - Black
B - Purple

The Body

Co 6 stitches in A and split evenly between three 4mm DPNs
Round 1 *Kfb* all stitches (12 sts)
Round 2 K
Round 3 *Kfb, K1* all stitches (18 sts)
Round 4 K
Round 5 *Kfb, K2* all stitches (24 sts)
Round 6 K
Round 7 *Kfb, K3* all stitches (30 sts)
Round 8 K
Round 9 *Kfb, K4* all stitches (36 sts)
Round 10 K
Round 11 *Kfb, K5* all stitches (42 sts)
Round 12 K
Round 13 *Kfb, K6* all stitches (48 sts)
Round 14 K
Round 15 *Kfb, K7* all stitches (54 sts)
Round 16 K
Round 17 *Kfb, K8* all stitches (60 sts)
Round 18 K
Round 19 *Kfb, K9* all stitches (66 sts)
Round 20 K
Round 21 *Kfb, K10* all stitches (72 sts)
Rounds 22 - 40 K
Round 41 *K2tog, K4* all stitches (60 sts)
Round 42 K
Round 43 *K2tog, K3* all stitches (48 sts)
Round 44 K
Round 45 *Kfb, K3* all stitches (60 sts)
Round 46 K
Rounds 46 - 60 K
Add some of your stuffing before decreasing the piece.
Round 61 *K2tog, K8* all stitches (54 sts)
Round 62 K
Round 63 *K2tog, K7* all stitches (48 sts)
Round 64 K
Round 65 *K2tog, K6* all stitches (42 sts)
Round 66 K
Round 67 *K2tog, K5* all stitches (36 sts)
Round 68 K
Round 69 *Kfb, K1* all stitches (54 sts)
Round 70 *Kfb, K2* all stitches (72 sts)
Round 71 *Kfb, K3* all stitches (90 sts)
Rounds 72 - 90 K
Add some of your stuffing before decreasing the piece.
Round 91 *K2tog, K7* all stitches (80 sts)
Round 92 *K2tog, K6* all stitches (70 sts)
Round 93 *K2tog, K5* all stitches (60 sts)
Round 94 *K2tog, K4* all stitches (50 sts)
Round 95 *K2tog, K3* all stitches (40 sts)
Round 96 *K2tog, K2* all stitches (30 sts)
Round 97 *K2tog, K1* all stitches (20 sts)
Add the final amount of stuffing to the head evenly.
Round 98 *K2tog* all stitches (10 sts)
Round 99 *K2tog* all stitches (5 sts)
Thread the yarn through the 5 remaining stitches, pull and weave in the loose end.


Front Ear Panel - Make 2

Cast on 16 stitches in A on 4mm straight needles
Row 1 K4a, K8b, K4a
Row 2 P4a, P1b, K6b, P1b, P4a
Row 3 K4a, K1b, P6b, K1b, K4a
Row 4 Repeat row 2
Row 5 Repeat row 3
Row 6 Repeat row 2
Row 7 Repeat row 3
Row 8 Repeat row 2
Row 9 Repeat row 3
Row 10 Repeat row 2
Row 11 Repeat row 3
Row 12 Repeat row 2
Row 13 K2tog in a, K3a, K1b, P4b, K1b, K3a, K2tog in a (14 sts)
Row 14 P4a, P1b, K4b, P1b, K4a
Row 15 K4a, K1b, K4b, K1b, K4a
Row 16 Repeat row 14
Row 17 Repeat row 15
Row 18 Repeat row 14
Row 19 K2tog in a, K1b, P2b, K1b, K3a, K2tog in a (12 sts)
Row 20 P4a, P1b, K2b, P1b, P4a
Row 21 K2tog in a, K3a, P2b, K3a, K2tog in a (10 sts)
Row 22 P4a, K2b, K4a
Row 23 Working all in A from here on K2tog, K6, K2tog (8 sts)
Row 24 P
Row 25 K2tog, K4, K2tog (6 sts)
Row 26 P
Row 27 K2tog, K2, K2tog (4 sts)
Row 28 P
Row 29 BO


Back Ear Panel - Make 2

Cast on 16 stitches in A on 4mm straight needles
Row 1 K
Row 2 P all even rows
Row 3 K
Row 5 K
Row 7 K
Row 9 K
Row 11 K
Row 13 K2tog, K12, K2tog (14 sts)
Row 15 K
Row 17 K
Row 19 K2tog, K10, K2tog (12 sts)
Row 21 K2tog, K8, K2tog (10 sts)
Row 23 K2tog, K6, K2tog (8 sts)
Row 25 K2tog, K4, K2tog (6 sts)
Row 27 K2tog, K2, K2tog (4 sts)
Row 29 BO


Tail

Co 6 stitches in A and split evenly between three 4mm DPNs
Round 1 *Kfb, K1* all stitches (9 sts)
Round 2 K
Round 3 *Kfb, K2* all stitches (12 sts)
K every round until the piece measures 20cm
Then work: *K2tog, K2* all stitches (9 sts)
Add a small amount of stuffing into the tail using a needle to push it all the way down.
*K2tog, K1* all stitches (6 sts)
*K2tog* all stitches (3 sts)
Thread the yarn through the remaining three stitches, pull and weave in the loose end. 


Sewing Up


Draw two eyes onto the white felt using the eye templates and cut out.
Draw two pupils onto the black felt using the pupil template and cut out.
Draw one nose onto the pink yarn using the nose template and out out.

On the front of your Jiji
Position each eye 19cm from the base of Jiji. Leave a 1.6cm gap between them. Glue into place using fabric glue. Position each pupil 0.5cm into the eye and 0.5cm from the top of the eye. Glue into place. Position the nose between the eyes, 19.7cm from the base. Glue into place. Weave the loose end once sewn up.


Take a front and back ear piece, pin together with the wrong side facing in. Sew up in A using a mattress stitch. Leave the cast on edge open then add a very small amont of stuffing. Repeat for the second ear. 

Place the ears on the top of Jiji's head, roughly 2cm from the glued on eyes. Position each ear in line with the edge of the eye, leave a 2.5cm gap between them. The ears should sit slightly diagonally on the head. Pin and sew into place using A. 

On the back of your Jiji
Place the tail on the bottom of Jiji, 3cm away from the cast on stitches. Sew neatly into place using black yarn. Place another stitch 5cm along the tail to secure the tail in place.


I'd love to see your finished Jijis! I love sharing your projects on my social media! Find me on Instagram @sincerelylouise
Twitter: @sincerelylouise
or www.facebook.com/sincerelylouise


© Copyright Louise Walker, 2014 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form without the written permission of the copyright holder. This pattern is not to be used for commercial purposes.



Happy knitting xox


Sunday, 3 August 2014

Jolly the Pug


He's here! Jolly the Pug has arrived on my etsy and ravelry stores. I made him as a gift for my sister's birthday. But also I've figured out if I keep knitting dogs perhaps my boyfriend may finally get us a puppy! Find him here:




Thursday, 26 June 2014

Giant Trophy Fox Head Knitting Pattern


Horray! He's finally here! My giant Mr. Fox faux taxidermy head has arrived in kit and pattern form! He's big, soft and best of all didn't used to be alive. Wait ... best of all you can make him yourself and proudly hang him above the fire or in a kids bedroom (they love them!!) 

Mr. Fox can be brought as a pattern here or as a kit here

The pattern does require an additional purchase of a hand cut MDF back. These are made by my dad, every animal head I make uses these and it ensures the piece is secure and flat against the wall. You can find these here!



This is my deconstructed fox head, and shows everything that you need/comes in the kit! Including the yarn, toy stuffing, eyes, sewing up and knitting needles, fishing wire, sewing up yarn and the MDF back. The kit even comes in a hand stenciled hessian bag! You can see just how giant Mr. Fox is in the image below next to a standard size matchbox! 


Happy Knitting!!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Knitting Pattern: TIny Explorer Owl

TINY EXPLORER OWL PATTERN

I've recently been working on some new patterns to release on my etsy shop! It's been great fun making them, photographing them and then putting the pattern together. I've got two more which I'll list in the next few days. I've also been working on my fox head kit, so there's lots of lovely new animals joining the gang!



You can find the pattern here!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

SUPER CHUNKY FOXY HAT PATTERN

Hello, its been a long time since my last post where I was lucky enough to be reviewing the Tiny Owl Knits book. I've been even luckier since then and have been working on my own book, Faux Taxidermy Knits, which will be released *fingers crossed* in October. 

I've been hard at work making lots of creatures for you to knit, including tigers, badgers and hedgehogs. I've also moved from North London to the wonderful Brixton, I'm looking forward to trying every restaurant and coffee shop in the market, and adventuring out to find my nearest yarn store and maybe a knit and natter!

I want to get back into the swing of blogging by offering a free foxy pattern! I've got some exciting new projects underway so keep watching this space. 

FOXY HAT PATTERN


This hat is a lovely quick knit project, perfect for the beginner knitter, or an expert with a spare night on their hands! Made in the perfect super chunky fox coloured yarn and knitted on 9mm needles its a project that'll make your winter a little more wild! 

To celebrate this pattern I'm having a clear out of my stash so I have a few balls and knitting needles on sale, so making this hat couldn't be easier, just click on the links or visit:




You will need:


YARN

Cygnet Seriously Chunky 
100% Acrylic | 48 meters / 52 yards per 100g
A Burnt Orange x 2 balls
B Cream x 1 ball  
9 mm Straight Needles 
Sewing up needle (I'll send one free with every etsy order) 

SIZE - Adult - one size fits all          TENSION - 8 sts and 11 rows to 10cm over St st on 9mm needles


ABBREVIATIONS: 

K - Knit
K2tog - Knit 2 stitches together 
K3tog - Knit 3 stitches together 
P - Purl
SKP - Slip 1, Knit 1, Pass slipped stitch over
St st - Stocking Stitch/Stockinette: Knit a row, Purl a row

If making this hat in another yarn please ensure you knit a tension 10 x 10 cm square in stocking stitch first. It has been tested in the Cygnet and is perfect, but sizing may vary if using another yarn without making the square. 

PATTERN:

The Hat
Using the long tail cast on method cast on 44 stitches in A, this will make up the first row.
Row 2 *P2, K2* all stitches
Row 3 - 18 Repeat row 2 
Row 19 - 30 Work in St st 
Row 31 *K2tog, K1* 14 times, to the last 2 stitches, K2 (30 sts)
Row 32 P
Row 33 *K2tog* all stitches (15 sts)
Row 34 P
Row 35 *K2tog* 7 times, K1 (8 sts)
Row 36 Cut the yarn and thread through the 8 stitches. Pull and weave in the end. Sew your hat up using a mattress stitch. 

The Ears - Back

Make 2
Using the long tail cast on method cast on 9 stitches in A, this will make up the first row.
Row 2 P
Row 3 K
Row 4 P
Row 5 K
Row 6 P
Row 7 K
Row 8 P
Row 9 SKP, K5, K2tog (7 sts)
Row 10 P
Row 11 SKP, K3, K2tog (5 sts)
Row 12 P
Row 13 SKP, K1, K2tog (3 sts)
Row 14 P 
Row 15 K3tog and bind off

The Ears - Front

Make 2
Using the long tail cast on method cast on 9 stitches in A, this will make up the first row.
Row 2 P
Row 3 K4a, K1b, K4a
Row 4 P3a, P3b, P3a
Row 5 K2a, K5b, K2a
Row 6 P2a, P5b, P2a
Row 7 K2a, K5b, K2a
Row 8 P2a, P5b, P2a
Row 9 SKP in a in a, K1a, K3b, K1a, K2tog in a (7 sts)
Row 10 P2a, P3b, P2a
Row 11 SKP in a, K1a, K1b, K1a, K2tog in a (5 sts)
Row 12 P2a, P1b, P2a
Row 13 SKP in a, K1a, K2tog in a (3 sts)
Row 14 P all stitches in a
Row 15 K3tog and bind off

SEWING UP:

Weave in all loose ends. Take a front and back ear piece and place together with the wrong side facing in. Pin and then sew up using a mattress stitch in a coloured yarn. Repeat this for the second ear.

Lay the hat down flat with the sewn up seam in the centre back. Place the ears 21cm from the cast on edge on either side of the hat, along the rounded decrease. Neatly sew into place using the a coloured yarn. Weave in the ends, roll up the brim and your hat is all ready to wear! 




© Copyright Louise Walker, 2014. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form without the written permission of the copyright holder. This pattern is not to be used for commercial purposes.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Crafty Blog Tour: Stephanie Dosen's Woodland Knits



Woodland Knits, a Tiny Owl Knits Collection by Stephanie Dosen, was an absolute treat to receive in the post from my friends at Crafty Magazine as part of their book tour surrounding its release. And what could be better than reviewing it whilst on holiday surrounded by beautiful woodlands. 

When I first saw Stephanie Dosen's work I was beginning to realise knitting could be much more than just scarves and hats. I was intrigued by artists such as Shauna Richardson but found Tiny Owl Knits was much more accessible. And with the release of this book, with over 20 of her patterns, some favourites and some brand new, Stephanie's work is sure to be admired by all.


The book features a range of patterns primarily for adults but also includes children's sizes, such as the 'Deer With Little Antlers Hat' (the cover shot) and the fairy wings which fit all ages. Also with some felting projects, crochet and a little embroidery it has a challenge for everyone. 

My personal favourites are those with motifs on, with the 'Oh My Bear' being the one I'll knit first. Others such as the 'Meow Mitts' and 'Fawn Poncho' are also super cute. 

I felt perhaps the book is aimed at a slightly older audience than I, some patterns were also a little too elven for my taste, but overall it is full of inspiring and well made knits. I did feel the yarn choices for each project were gorgeous, with lots of Rowan beauties, as well an a Erika Knight Fur Wool I couldn't keep my eyes off. 




I also really enjoyed all the little descriptions and notes throughout the pages, they're a perfect way of ensuring Stephanie's personality was heard. The illustrated owl experience levels linked in perfectly with this. 



One of the things that really stood out to me was the presentation of the book and how well it represented Tiny Owl Knits as a brand. The patterns all have enchanting boarders around them and I love the darker pages with the lighter motifs. The theme is always present with everything working well together.


Although the presentation was really strong I did find in places that the photography could have been a little better. Perhaps I'm a little biased here, but I would have loved to have seen images as powerful as the cover throughout the book. 

Overall I'd definitely recommend this book to any knitter who's a fan of wildlife or forest whimsy, and especially those who have been following Tiny Owl Knits. Having the patterns in a physical form, such as a book, really suits them and it will fit in well on my book shelf. 


Follow the blog tour next with Lauren Guthrie tomorrow and Kat Goldin on Saturday! You can also see previous reviews from Emma LambEmma Varnam and Crafty.