mk crochet news

updates and information about shows, upcoming projects, and all things yarn & hook related.

I love animated movies! In fact, I loved them so much, I became an animator when I grew up. It’s how I pay the bills when I’m not crocheting or knitting up new patterns. Most recently, I had the amazing privilege and pleasure to put together not one but two Disney themed crochet kits – “Disney Classic Crochet” and “Disney Winnie the Pooh Crochet”.

DisneyKit
WinnieKit

To celebrate the release of the new kits, I am very excited to be sharing a free pattern of “Gus Gus” with you from Disney’s original “Cinderella”.

Click here to download your free pattern of Gus Gus

from the pattern shop page!

One question that I have been asked is how does one go about licensing Disney characters for their own craft related designs? While I can’t speak to the finer details of setting up a licensing agreement, I can tell you what the process was like for me.

  1. For the Crochet Kits I put together, the licensing rights were handled by the book producer “Becker & Mayer”. They handled the licensing and approval process for the characters. The publisher(s) for the kits were Sterling Publishing and Thunder Bay Press. The publishers handled the logistics of putting the book design together. For my part, I was contracted to design the actual patterns and to write the text for the book (so decisions about the photos, the size of the book, the patterns were being decided by the book producer and the publisher).
  2. After signing off on my contract, I was provided with size and material guidelines as well as a list of 13 characters (the books have 12 patterns, the 13th pattern is a bonus/backup). The turn around was quick with about 3 months to put everything together.
  3. The approval process involved sending photos of the finished patterns to the book producer who would then send the images to Disney for notes and approval. As an animator in the industry, I have a healthy appreciation for needing to stay “on model” (animator speak for “needs to look like the character”) in order for a design to be approved. Usually, the notes I would get back involved tweaking a shape here or there and changing up the colors.
  4. Finally, once the patterns were approved, I wrote out the front how-to section of the book and then crocheted all the “in between” steps for the how-to-assemble instructions. The manuscript files are then emailed out and the crochet samples are shipped off to the publisher to be photographed for the book.
  5. The last step is proofing. The book is emailed to me as a pdf at which time I have an opportunity to look everything over and to make corrections and suggestions.

After the proofing is all done, the kit goes into production and eventually ends up on a store shelf (or, hopefully, in your home!). So, that’s the process from my end! If you are interested in working with Disney properties, my suggestion is to start by checking out Disney’s Consumer product & licensing page.

Happy Crocheting!

binky_tutorial_title

A few weeks ago, a friend at work introduced me the wubbanub website. Wubbanubs are adorable plush toys with pacifiers attached to their mouths and perfectly sized for babies to snuggle with. Such a cute idea!

Inspired (and with a little one of my own on the way), I thought it might be fun to turn a few of the animals from the Crochet a Zoo book into a home-made binky buddy.

Note: Some patterns will work better than others for this ~ go with patterns that have simple round bodies to make adjusting the orientation of the head and legs easier to manage.

Materials:

  • - Yarn (I used Berroco “Vintage” Yarn, worsted weight).
  • - Stuffing.
  • - Notions: crochet hook, scissors, tapestry needle, sewing needle, thread.
  • - Your favorite crochet critter pattern from Crochet a Zoo.
  • - 3/4″ fabric ribbon (I went with twill ribbon from “Really Reasonable Ribbon“)
  • - Pacifiers.
  • - (optional) Riveted or Sew-on snaps
materials

Step 1: Make the toy.

  • - Crochet your animal pieces.
  • - Since this will be for a baby, embroider the eyes on. I went with a “sleepy” eye look by using a lazy daisy stitch; Apply 2 loose satin stitches across the eye and then tack down the middle with a third small stitch to create an bowed arch shape. The same technique is used for the brows but without doubling up the first satin stitch.
  • - To make the toy more baby and washing machine friendly, I skipped the felt patches for the patterns I picked and used a short loop stitch for all the hair details to keep the yarn from becoming too frayed (you can find the “loop stitch” in the zoo keeper chapter of Crochet a Zoo).
  • - Once your toys pieces are crocheted, lay the pieces out on a flat surface so you can determine the attachment points for the legs and head to the body so your toy will lie flat. TIP: You can use marking pins to help hold the pieces in place before you sew.
hippo_construction

Step 2: Apply the ribbon.

I found that 10-11″ of ribbon is a pretty good length to start with if you intend to tie your pacifier on to your toy. Pacifiers that will be attached at the sides need a bit more ribbon than pacifiers that will be attached at the handle. You can adjust this length to suit your toy and pacifier selection.

  • - Fold the edge of the ribbon over twice and secure the folded end with a running stitch (to keep it from fraying). If you plan on applying snaps, you can hold off on this step.
  • - Thread your ribbon onto your tapestry needle.
  • - Draw the needle and ribbon through the stitch spaces on your toy’s head near the chin.
  • - Tie the ribbon in a knot to secure it, taking care to keep the two ribbon ends even.
lion_add_ribbon

Step 3 (option 1): Attach pacifier ~ tie on.

Pacifiers that have small holes on the sides are best suited to be tied on while pacifiers with larger side holes, side slits, or handles can have the option of being secured using snaps.

lion_elephant_knots

Step 3 (option 2): Attach pacifier ~ snaps.

  • - Follow Step 2 but hold off on finishing the ends of your ribbon with a running stitch. Simply thread your ribbon onto your tapestry needle and apply it to your toy.

  • - For pacifiers with thin slits on the sides, I went with Dritz sew-on snaps, size “1″. Fold the end of the ribbon over twice, leaving enough space to accommodate the snap. Sew one half of the snap down to the end of the folded ribbon. Sew the other half of the snap close to the knot by the animal’s chin.
  • - Slip the ribbon through the sides of the pacifier and press the snaps together to close.
lion_little_snaps

If you want snaps that are a bit more “heavy duty”, you can also give rivet snaps a try. I paired up my little hippo with a pacifier that had a handle, so the finished ribbon length was a bit shorter than the one for the lion (about 7″). To apply a riveted snap:

  • - Apply the ribbon to your critter as indicated in Step 2 without finishing the ribbon ends first.
  • - Trim your ribbon to length and fold the end over twice leaving enough room for the rivet.
  • - Following the directions on your snap rivet kit, cut a small slit or hole through the ribbon layers to insert the snap shanks. Use a mallet to secure your snaps in place.
  • - For pacifiers with a handle, a larger sew-on snap (size “2″) will also work well.
hippo_snaps_done

Pacifiers with a handle often have covers you can put over the pacifier to keep them from getting dirty. Since the ribbon is attached to the handle, it shouldn’t get in the way when applying a pacifier cover.

You can also use this technique (and a slightly longer length of ribbon) to secure your baby-friendly zoo friends to strollers and car seats! I would suggest attaching the ribbon at the back of the neck for this option.

The great thing about making your own cuddly pacifier pal is that you can choose the pacifier that your baby prefers and you can remove it to wash it (or the toy) separately. Hopefully, my newest addition will like at least one of her new little friends!

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TNNA yarns

The folks from Martingale invited me to attend the The National Needlearts Association (TNNA) trade show this past weekend. So many cool things to see and people to meet. Since my book isn’t released yet, I came armed with samples of some of the patterns to drum up interest.

Soak

The folks at “Soak” were particularly enamored with my designs and started to decorate their booth with a few of the zoo animals. They seemed right at home!

Dream in Color Yarn

Some other booths all ready had their own “animals” set up for the show. These lovely models belong to the folks at “Dream” in West Chicago, IL. They seemed excited about contributing some of their beautiful yarn to some of my future design endeavors.

Crochet A Zoo

In the Unicorn booth, we spotted the spiral version of my book on the Martingale shelf getting chummy with a couple of crochet sock books!

ipad case

This case from YarnPop is definitely on my list of things to buy (once I pick up an i pad). It’s a knitting/crochet and ipad combination case (perfect for working on digital patterns!). The i pad fits behind the plastic on the right side so you can keep your tools and patterns close at hand.

When I wasn’t being distracted by all the beautiful yarns, project bags and notions, I spent the rest of my time at the conference tracking down and chatting with the various magazine publishers. With any luck, I might be able to publish a pattern article or two this year. Fingers crossed and more updates to come!

toothless_4

In the wake of the shootings in Newtown, I’m sure that most of us were struggling to find a meaningful way to show support to those closely affected by such a terrible event.

Then I stumbled across the facebook page for “The 600 Monsters Strong Foundation”

“The 600 Monsters Strong Foundation” strives to bring monster-friends for children affected by gun violence and other traumatic situations through the generosity of crafters worldwide

The 600 Monsters Strong Foundation was started as just a few knitters who wanted to do something for the children affected by the events in Newtown, CT on December 14, 2012.

toothless_1

So, my monster isn’t really a “monster” per say. He’s a dragon. Specifically, he’s a baby Night Fury. Since my day job involves working with an assorted group of these guys – it seemed most appropriate to send “600 Monsters” one of our most loyal, kindest, and loving dragons to look after a “dragon trainer” in need.

toothless_6

If you would like to contribute a monster (or dragon) to “600 Monsters Strong”, you can go to their facebook or ravelry page for guidelines and shipping information.

toothless_3

As for the Night Fury knit pattern – I’m afraid I’m unable to divulge it (our studio’s legal team is pretty particular about licensing rules). However, I based my knit pattern on the crochet pattern available here! If you want to make him super snuggle sized – go with chunky weight yarn and a 6.5mm – 9 mm / K–10.5 to M–13 hook.

My moo cards arrived today! I must say I am quite impressed. If you are in need of business cards (or mini cards), I would highly recommend them. The website was easy to navigate during the design process and the cards not only look great – but they arrived about 4 days earlier than I had originally anticipated.

I ordered both the regular cards and the mini cards for the upcoming TNNA conference in Long Beach, CA. The folks at moo cards even offer a cute little case that attaches to lanyards and key chains to make the mini cards easier to get to in a pinch.

So, if you’re in need of business cards, check them out at www.moo.com. You can use coupon code 2RB2CK to get 15% off your first order.