Hello and thanks for visiting my blog. I have been knitting on and off for 50 years and I recently learned to crochet. I love looking for wool bargains and making them into something useful. I mainly knit for charity. I occasionally knit for myself and family members if I find a really good pattern or if they ask nicely!!

Thursday 25 January 2018

Therapy puppets and a project bag...

Following my last blog post about worry puppets, I have just finished sewing two therapy puppets. These are for the same organisation Knit-for-Nowt.  They are used, as before, by therapists, social workers and teachers, but differ slightly from the worry puppets. The therapists have requested that these puppets should have a sad face on one side and a happy face on the other side. This makes them useful in role play and discussions about emotions. They also do not have a pocket for the written worry. 

The pattern I used is on this page. It is the basic (unstuffed) hand puppet. I thought it would be quicker than knitting a worry puppet. It was a VERY easy pattern. But there was such a lot of hand-sewing involved that it actually took as long (or longer) than the knitted puppets. That wasn't a problem as I like sewing by hand. The main body can be sewn by machine. But the hair, facial features and fiddly hemming have to be done by hand. As requested, both my puppets have a sad face and a happy face. 

I deliberately chose a hair colour that is not natural so that children wouldn't have any problems identifying with the puppets. I remember completely rejecting a doll when I was about 6 because it had blonde hair. The irony is that photos show I also had fair hair at the age. My parents had dark hair and I just assumed I did too.

The material came from a discarded sweatshirt, seen here:

I cut off both sleeves, then cut the pattern pieces. One of the puppets came from lower down the sleeves, hence the cuff effect. The rest of the sleeves became the heads and second puppet. I was a bit surprised that I had only enough material for two puppets. Of course, I could have made a few more from the body of the sweatshirt. But I needed a project bag to replace the tatty, plastic carrier bag that was sitting on my sofa with knitting needles poking out at dangerous angles. This is what I made:

It probably took less than an hour to make. I simply cut across the chest of the sweatshirt and sewed the cut edge with a double seam for strength. I rounded the corners slightly to avoid the Mary-Poppins-carpetbag effect. The top of the bag didn't need any hemming as it is the lower ribbing of the sweatshirt. I sewed on two handles that I removed and saved from a fancy Christmas gift bag. It is a very wide bag simply because the sweatshirt was large. But it is perfect for holding balls of wool and long needles. Anyone getting rid of children's outgrown sweatshirts could use this same method to make little bags for holding toys etc.

I have already started my next project. I am making more worry puppets, but this time I'm amending a double knit pattern to suit Aran yarn. That isn't as straightforward as it sounds. The brain cells are definitely having to work overtime....

Sunday 7 January 2018

Worry puppets...

2017 was a  year I will be happy to forget for lots of reasons. By December I felt just about ready to knit something daft but useful. I don't often knit toys. But a charity I have knitted for in the past (Knit for Nowt) has changed its focus from hats and blankets to therapy puppets and worry monsters. These are used by social workers, therapists and teachers all over the UK who are helping children through various traumas. The idea is that the child writes down a worry and posts it into a pocket on the puppet. This acts as an ice-breaker which, hopefully, leads to discussion and eventual help for the child.

There are lots of patterns ranging from knitting to crocheting and sewing available on the Knit for Nowt website. The pattern I chose is on this page. It is the seventh pattern in the list and is called "Another Worry Puppet". Clicking on the link brings up a word document containing the pattern. Your imagination can run riot when making these puppets. I think my imagination was only strolling along as my puppets are very plain compared to some of the other wonders on the website. I simply gave mine blue jeans, a cream jumper and a big red pocket for a mouth.

But I think I have now caught the bug. There are lots of good ideas on the Knit for Nowt website and their latest newsletter shows just how much these puppets are used and appreciated. It even mentions that there is a high demand for finger puppets. I know some people love to make these; but I'm not one of them! They are far too fiddly for me. However, Hubby finished with a perfectly good cotton jumper today and I just saved it from the bin. I'm intending to print off some sewing patterns for glove puppets from this page. Watch this space...