Sunday, 22 September 2013

Penguins, dull mending and exciting knitting...

Since my last post pondering on the failures of my peg bag, not much has been going on sewing (or woolly)-wise.  I've been mainly prodding the baby to prevent him from inserting his small fingers into 240V power outlets, and other important things.

At least I've managed to finish this little chap:

He's a birthday gift for another little boy in the village.  I hope he won't mind the operating system reference!  The pattern is free, just clicky on the badge:

Homepage of

The pattern does not include seam allowances or many instructions.  I made penguin up in felt, and added 1/4" seam allowances when I cut the pieces out.  The eyes are also top-stitched felt.

This is the second time I've made Tux, the first was for a friend's thesis-hat when he completed his PhD.  There are many potential ways to assemble Tux, but some are easier than others; my method makes the feet construction easier and more reliable.  If I end up making another for my husband's work desk, I'll try to take step-by-step pictures of the construction.  Meanwhile, I'll do a brief text version here, to remind myself (if nothing else):
  1. Cut out all pieces with 1/4" seam allowance.  Cut out eye shapes in black and white fabric, using the pattern illustration as a template.
  2. Top-stitch the white eye-highlight to the black pupil by hand using white thread.
  3. Top-stitch the black pupil onto the white of the eye by machine using black thread.
  4. Place the eyes onto the body pieces using the pattern as a guide, and top-stitch in place using white thread.
  5. You should have four foot-pieces.  Two should have oval holes in them.  (Holes are marked on the pattern, but cut 1/4" inside the oval shape - don't forget that seam allowance!)  For each foot, place a solid and a hole-y piece right-sides together.  Stitch half-way around the pieces in yellow thread, just stitching the toe-edge of them, and leaving the heel flapping open (we'll come back to that).  Turn the feet right-side out.
  6. Your black body-pieces should have matching oval holes in them.  Place the foot-hole up to the body-hole, right-sides together with the foot sticking out in front.  Stitch around the hole, being careful not to catch the free part of the heel you've not yet sewn.
  7. Push the foot through the hole so that it's wrong-way out again.  Now you can match the heels of the two foot-pieces and continue sewing around them in yellow thread.  Finally, push the foot back through the hole, and right-way out again.  The feet are done: cute!
  8. Sew the wing pieces with black thread, right sides together, leaving the top edge free.  Turn them the right way out.
  9. Slash the body part along the lines indicated on the pattern, and insert the wing.  Fold the body along the slash line, right sides together, and sew along the slash line to close it up, catching the top of the wing in it.  Stitch in black thread, as close as you can to the slashed edge.
  10. Stitch the darts at the head and base of the body pieces with black thread.
  11. Stitch the two stomach pieces, right-sides together, with white thread.
  12. Stitch one of the beak pieces to the top of the white bib, right-sides together.  To do this, ease the straight edge of the beak to match the curved edge at the top of the bib.
  13. Place the remaining beak piece right-sides together with the attached beak piece.  Sew around the curved edge with yellow thread and turn the right-way out.
  14. Place the two black body pieces right-sides together, and stitch along the short seam at the bottom front.  Also sew a partial seam from the top of the head down the forehead, past the eyes, to the top of the beak.
  15. Carefully pin the bib-and-beak piece into place within the body pieces, right-sides together.  Lots and lots of careful easing is required, and it's a right fiddle.  Sew around the bib-and-beak, bandage your pin-pricked fingers and make a cup of tea.
  16. Finish the back-seam of the penguin, from his head to his tail with black thread.
  17. Pin the base of the penguin to the rest of the assembly, right-sides together.  Sew most of the way around, leaving a 2-3" gap.
  18. Turn penguin right-side out through the gap.
  19. Stuff penguin firmly, beginning with his feet.  Use a fat crochet-hook to push stuffing into his toes.
  20. Whip-stitch the opening at the base closed with black thread.  Operation complete!
My subject line promises dull mending and exciting knitting.  It's true: I mended the pushchair cover yet again, this time strengthening a torn plastic grommet with two circular patches.  Thrilling.

Much more exciting is the yarn and beads that I've acquired courtesy of my yarn-expert friend for the Boo Knits hallowe'en mystery knit-along, who is kindly sharing her lace-knitting expertise with this n00b.  I'm going to keep my own progress on this knitting secret for now (so sorry for the teaser).  However, if you want yarn eye-candy, you should check out her blog as she's doing the MKAL too, and dying her own yarn for it!  Alas I'm not using Fleece Cottage yarn, but maybe for the next time.  Anyhow, the MKAL starts on October 1st, and you should join too, dearest mystery readers!

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