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  • Yarncrafting Costumes: Designing an Octopus Headpiece

    With Halloween just around the corner, I’m very excited to share the latest piece of my yarncrafting costume adventures with you -- an octopus headpiece. Costuming is a year-round experience for me, and I love that Halloween invites everyone to join the fun!



    For a costume party held right after my birthday, I wanted to create an intricate piece to ring in my new year in grand fashion. The theme for this party was an interesting mashup – horned creatures and “under the sea," with a steampunk flair!

    Upon taking various sea creatures with tentacles, horns, and tusks into consideration, I decided to design an octopus headpiece. The octopus arms would be fun to shape into “horns” sticking out of my head, and would create the combination of drama and whimsy that I love.

    After exploring images of octopuses (octopi?), including cartoons and stuffed toys in my search, I was most drawn to the spherical octopus shape. I knitted a sphere in the round using Vanna’s Choice® in Aqua, working with US 5 needles. A few rounds away from creating a fully closed sphere, I started increasing rapidly to create more of a flat circular shape. This would form the octopus base, where the tentacles would attach.



    Once the body of the octopus was complete, I placed the live stitches on scrap yarn and started creating the tentacles separately. (Technically speaking, octopuses have “arms” rather than “tentacles”, but the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. I became very fond of calling them tentacles!)

    The construction of the tentacles prompted more debate than that of the relatively simple body. At first I wanted to knit in the round, and yet I also wanted to use multiple colors for two-tone tentacles. The prospect of fiddling with intarsia in the round didn’t seem appealing, and so I opted to knit the tentacles flat. I used the intarsia technique to incorporate both colors. Bobbles on the underside of the tentacles were perfect as suckers! (Here I was inspired by Anna Hrachovec’s Squidpocalypse pattern from Huge & Huggable Mochimochi.) Using the long tail I left while casting on, I mattress stitched each flat piece into a tube.

    Adding Lights

    To add lights to the piece, first I turned the body of the octopus inside out. I ran a string of wire LED lights along the inside of the sphere. Then I anchored the wire through a stitch every so often so that the lights would stay put. Then I turned the body right side out and stuffed it with fiberfill. To hold the stuffing in place, I knit a small circle out of the main color and seamed it to the underside of the octopus body. I left a small opening during seaming so that I would be able to access the battery pack to turn the lights on and off.



    For the octopus’s eyes, I chose a pair of gears to fit the party’s steampunk theme. I found two points of light that were aligned closely enough to serve as eyes, and stitched the gears in place using fine-gauge floral wire.

    Finishing Steps

    With the octopus head complete, my focus turned to attaching the tentacles. Using Kitchener stitch, I grafted the tentacles to the wide base of the octopus. Thick-gauge floral wire would give structure to each tentacle. I took a length of wire and bent the edge back on itself about half an inch. Then I wrapped the end with floral tape before inserting the wire into the tentacle (so that the wire wouldn’t poke through). I repeated the process for each tentacle.

    I wove a length of wire around the underside of the base of the octopus, forming a circle. This functioned as an anchor for the tentacles’ wires. I affixed that evenly around the wire circle.

    The final step was to attach the octopus to a headband. A rubbery lace headband worked perfectly, with holes throughout as anchor points where I could stitch the underside of the octopus.



    And voila! A knitted octopus lights up the underwater world, creating costume whimsy for Halloween and all year long.

    P.S. A happy coincidence – the colors I chose for my octopus match perfectly with the free Lion Brand mermaid tail cocoon pattern! Kit available here.

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  • Project Knitwell and Lion Brand Comfort with Yarn

    Any knitter can tell you that their craft can have healing properties, and Project Knitwell works to bring the that to people in stressful situations. The group works with patients, family members, and caregivers to use knitting as a way to find some needed distraction during worrisome times.


    Project Knitwell works with MedStar Georgetown University Hospital to hold a monthly knitting group. Above is a member of that group, the mother of a pediatric patient, who made the hat and scarf she is wearing out of Lion Brand Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick®.

    According to the group's Facebook page, this mom has already worked her way through their Resource Guide. She is about to start on the patterns in The Comfort of Knitting. We hope the healing properties of knitting can help her and anyone else in a similar situation.

    Project-Knitwell-Presents-The-Comfort-of-Knitting-Book-B106Supporting the Cause


    Lion Brand is a proud supporter of Project Knitwell. The proceeds of the book Project Knitwell Presents: The Comfort of Knitting go to their cause. We have also donated hundreds of skeins of yarn for project and starter kits.


    If you would like to donate or volunteer, visit their website for more information.

    If you are in the Washington, DC, area, Project Knitwell will be hosting a free event at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital called "How Your Brain Helps You Heal: The Science of Knitting for Health and Wellness" on October 17 at 5 pm. RSVP here.

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  • Curvy Girl Knit-Along, Week 4: Cables!

    CGKAL banner What's up, curvy knitters? We're back again with the Curvy Girl KAL. It's week 4, and we're on to the front of our sweater! How did you do with the last section? Did you finish your back piece? It's great to be moving on to the cable portions now, since they add a little interest and detail.

    curvy girl cabled cardigan

    Don't forget, if you're looking for a place to share your progress or want to chat about the project, you should definitely join our Ravelry group. It's a great place to ask any questions you might have and get feedback from our little KAL community.

    Ready for the Next Section?

    This week we're casting on the left front panel and working up until the decreases start. Much like the back, you'll start off working some ribbing before moving into stockinette stitch. The different here is that instead of knitting these all the way across, at one end you will work the cable. Since we're working the left, the cable will be on the left side of the piece. Also, make sure you are following the correct chart! The two front panels use cables that twist in opposite directions, like they're moving toward each other, so there are separate charts.

    Curvy Girl Cabled Cardigan -- left front border

    This piece is where you will want to start using a row counter. It doesn't say to use one in the pattern, but trust me, it makes things much easier when you're keeping track of where to work the cables. That's one of those things that is nearly impossible to visualize. Even the most seasoned knitter will have trouble with that.

    Once you get into the rhythm of the cable and this section, it's actually a pretty easy week. Keep track of your rows, make sure you're working the correct chart, and that's about it!

    Curvy Girl Cabled Cardigan -- left front

    Next week we will finish this panel, starting with decreases for the v-neck and shaping the armhole. Are you getting excited about this piece? I don't know about any of you, but I can't wait to be able to wear this sweater. It's going to be a great winter staple.

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