Friday, November 4, 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane - Softies for Mirabel 2011

These little cuties took flight last week and are on their way to Australia where they'll be helping out with this year's Softies for Mirabel campaign. Each year people around the world contribute handmade softies which are then given out as Christmas gifts to children supported by the Mirabel Foundation. The foundation assists children whose families have been affected by substance abuse.

Pip. of Meet Me At Mike's, is one of the main organizers for the Softies for Mirabel campaign and you can learn more about the effort and where you could contribute your own softies by clicking the link in the top paragraph.

Softies for Mirabel is a great excuse to make some toys. It helps children in need, allows you to try out some new patterns and gives you an opportunity to use up some of that extra yarn or fabric that's been building up in your stash.

Need some inspiration? Check out the patterns I have available under the My Free Patterns tab in the left sidebar. Of course, don't feel your creativity is constricted to just crocheting. Mirabel gladly accepts any child-safe toys that are handmade. Feel free to pull out those knitting needles or warm up that sewing machine.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My First Knit Toy - Elefante

I've made a lot of crocheted toys over the years, but here at last is my first attempt at a knitted toy.

This knitted Elefante is a free pattern courtesy of Susan B. Anderson. Everyone who has seen him keeps telling me that he should have a longer trunk, but I think he's pretty cute as is. Besides, he needs that short trunk to act as a fifth leg and hold up his enormous head!

The instructions were easy to follow and I love how soft and squishy knitted toys come out compared to their crocheted counterparts. For this Elefante, I used some leftover Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in May Flower Ombre. Anyone who has used this yarn knows it's not the softest choice, yet by knitting with it instead of crocheting, I did end up with a rather cuddly elephant.

I find making crocheted items relaxing, but mastering the balancing act of keeping my stitches on four different needles at once was a tad too stressful for my down time. I think I'll stick with making crochet toys in the future. Plus, I'm sure this would eventually come with more practice, but I find I always end up with a bit of a gaping hole between the first and last needle no matter how hard I try to avoid it.

One final picture, showing the cool spiral effect you see when looking at my little elephant from above.