Knitted Toys: Focus on the Face
In Knitted Toys: Focus on the Face, you will find helpful tips and tricks for your next special project. From positioning the ears, to stuffing the head, to embroidering the eyes and mouth, we will cover it all.
When it comes to knitted toys, I’ve adopted the attitude of getting the “Most Bang for My Buck” mentality.
While it would be ideal to spend gobs of time, attending to every little detail, ain’t nobody got time for that.
We all want to make beautiful toys, full of personality and charm, but we need to focus on what matters most. And that my friend, is the face.
Knitting Toys: Focus on the Face
Embroidering facial features is the toughest part of any knitted toy project, am I right? My stomach tightens just thinking about it. From French knots to satin stitching, these are necessary skills to be able to make the face come alive.
We all know the frustration of threading our tiny needles with embroidery floss and trying to get the nose just right only to discover that it’s completely crooked. Ugh.
Or how about this scenario… you’ve just finished a head and face only to realize it no longer looks like the bunny on the cover of the pattern, but a torpedo ready for launch?
I hear you, girlfriend.
As a total toy making fanatic, I’ve studied this topic in depth and have come up with my own personal procedure for getting the face just right, every single time and I’m sharing it all with you today.
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Because it’s almost the Christmas season, I chose to make the reindeer pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits. It is actually a free supplement to the adorable Fox pattern, which you must purchase.
I’m using my tried and true, favorite yarns for this adorable festive project:
- Berroco Vintage in the colors Buttercream and Mushroom for the body
- Debbie Bliss Babycashmerino for the eyes and clothing
Check out my full Comparison of Yarns for Hand Knit Toys!
Stuffing the Head
I actually think that the term “stuffing” is the wrong word. It leads us to believe that we merely need to push Poly-fil into every nook and cranny of our knitted toy head.
This is all wrong.
Think of it more like shaping and sculpting.
One of the best resources for stuffing the head is from the patterns from Little Cotton Rabbits. Julie Williams does an excellent joy of describing her process in detail.
There are a couple of additional things that I do to get the heads looking just the way I want them to.
Let’s use this little reindeer for example.
I like to stuff the back of the head quite well, but I don’t want it bulging out. Actually, I want it to be rather flat, but full.
The bottom of the pointed end of the nose needs to have plenty of stuffing inside as well. It creates an adorable upturned effect that I really like.
And finally, I add as much stuffing to the head so that it is completely full, but not straining the stitches. There’s a fine line between perfectly and overly stuffed.
Position the Ears
Positioning the ears is not just a necessary step, but an artistic endeavor.
Ok, that sounds a bit lofty, but hear me out.
Where you choose to add the ears changes the entire look of your project. Moving them up or down, this way or that can completely alter the character of your toy.
Play around with the placement. Use pins to hold them in place to experiment with the position.
Adding the ears a bit lower can give your toy a sweet, innocent look while adding them up higher makes him look bright and alert.
Embroider the Nose & Mouth
I’ve got some bad news on this front, my friend.
Embroidering the nose and mouth for your knitted toys is nothing more than practice and a willingness to do it over to get it right.
I rarely get this part right when knitting toys. I rip it out and do it over and over again, especially if it requires any type of satin stitching.
One of the few things that I have found that helps with this process is to use embroidery floss, not yarn.
Yarn tends to make this part look messy. Its typically too bulky to make such a small area like the mouth look neat and tidy.
On most occasions, I use three strands of embroidery floss, max. If I use more than that it can begin to twist which makes me unhappy with the final result.
Be willing to do it over and over again to get it just right. And we all know the cliche, practice definitely does make perfect.
French Knot Eyes for Knitted Toys
Making French knots for the eyes can be a very tricky process… that is until you check out this amazing tutorial.
Cheryx.knitadream created a wonderful video on Instagram for making anchored French knot eyes. Not only are these incredibly secure but they also look really good!
Check out the tutorial from Cheryx.knitadream!
You cannot go wrong using this method and I have been so pleased with my results since making the eyes in this manner.
I have found that using a sport weight yarn like the Debbie
Knitted Toys: Focus on the Face
When you are knitting toys, make sure to put your time and effort into where it counts. Taking the time to focus on the facial features is worth the effort.
Use these helpful tips when making your knitted toys:
- Remember to shape, not stuff the head.
- Play with the position of the ears.
- Use embroidery floss to embroider the nose and mouth
- Make anchored French knots using the tutorial from Cheryx.knitadream.
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Great advice! I do almost the same things you do when you make toys! Practice makes perfect!
Thanks so much, Kathy! Practice definitely makes perfect! ❤️
Merci beaucoup pour tous ces conseils indispensables au façonnage des jolies petites têtes d’animaux. Il ne reste plus qu’à les mettre en pratique. Quelle sorte de ouate de rembourrage utilisez-vous ? Merci d’avance.
Passez de merveilleuses fêtes de Noël en famille !🎁💞
Vous êtes les bienvenus! J’utilise du rembourrage Poly-fil pour les jouets. Joyeux Noël à toi!
Thank you for this post it’s very helpful! I watched Cheryx knitadream, do you know what kind of needle she is using ? I have never seen one before,
Hi Karen! They are called Bent Tip Yarn Needles. I have tried using them before and I cannot use them at all. But I do know that many toy makers love them! ❤️