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Hints and Tips for making soft toys

Many more will be coming soon

These hints are from my experience, and if any one would like to share their hints – then please e-mail me.

When making soft knitted or crochet toys it is necessary to have a tight tension. Always use a much smaller needle or hook size than you would use for a particular yarn when making a garment.

Regardless of how well you knit or crochet, it is the making up of the toy which gives a quality result. Pay particular attention to the seams, making sure that stitches are small and tight.

Stuff the toys firmly, but without over-stretching. A very fine fluffy polyester fibre fill gives the best results. Do not use the stuffing that has long fibres as this causes lumps that are hard to hide.

When seaming the row ends of stocking stich – use back stitch.

When seaming the row ends of garter stitch – use oversewing stitch.

When seaming the cast on and cast off edges - use oversewing stitch.

When closing a gap left for stuffing – use ladder stitch.

Unless otherwise stated, cast on toy pieces using the one needle and thumb method as this gives a firm cast on edge.

When casting off check to see which side of your work is facing you. If it is the right side of work – cast off purlwise.
If it is the wrong side of work – cast off knitwise.

When casting on in the middle of a toy piece, eg extending the arms, work into the back of cast on stitches to tighten them, plus work into the back of the first of the existing stitches. For example, in Benji Bear you have to cast on 11 sts to increase for arms, so start the next row by knitting into the back of 12 stitches.

When joining two leg pieces together to work across the full width of the body, knit to the last stitch of the first leg and then slip that last stitch onto the needle with the other leg piece. Knit together the last stitch of leg 1 and the first stitch of leg 2. On the following row, work into the front and back of that K2tog stitch. This makes a firm join without forming a gap.

Safety should always be an issue when making toys for children of all ages.  To remove the risk of leaving an embedded pin or needle in the toy it is a good idea to have a well organised needle case that is used only for your soft toy making.  I have 10 glass headed pins (two each of five colours), 6 T-shaped craft pins for tougher jobs such as holding limbs in place, and 1 each of several sizes of needles.  These are arranged on a felt "page" of my needle case and at a glance I can see if they are all present, and if not, know how many of what type is being used on the toy at hand.