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Yarncrafting Costumes: Designing an Interactive (and Creepy!) Headpiece

In this guest post by Gali Beeri, she reveals a knitted costume that's a true feast for the eyes...

With Halloween just around the corner, today I’d like to share the creepiest costume I’ve knitted yet. The theme for this particular costume party was “freak show”, along with “third eyes”, wherever they may peer from…

In exploring design ideas for my headpiece, at first I considered knitting a crown made of tiny eyes. Pondering the other side of the spectrum, perhaps one big eye would make more of a statement. And then inspiration struck – what if people could interact with my costume in some way? What if one big eye revealed many tiny eyes?

I set about knitting one tiny eyeball after another. The yarn was an easy decision; of course my tiny eyeballs need to sparkle! Working on a set of US 1 double-pointed needles, I knit a small sphere starting out with Vanna’s Glamour® in Diamond and switching to blue (using scrap yarn I had left over from other projects) for the iris. Afterward I embroidered the pupil using a length of black yarn.

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Once I had 14 tiny eyeballs, I set about stitching them together around a central knitted sphere. I added a few silver sequins with needle and thread for good sparkly measure.

Next I designed and knitted the giant eye. Using Vanna’s Glamour® and Vanna’s Choice® in White held together on a US 8 needle, I made a sphere about six inches in diameter. I switched colors for the iris, working with Vanna’s Choice® in Aqua. I worked the last couple of rounds with more Vanna’s Choice® in Black held together with Vanna’s Glamour® in Onyx.

Note that I didn’t knit the sphere closed. I left an opening large enough for the cluster of tiny eyeballs to fit through, so that people would be able to reach inside the giant eye and pull out the tiny cluster of eyes. I knitted a small flap in black and attached it halfway around the opening, and sewed on some Velcro so the flap could close neatly and give the appearance of a pupil. I embroidered details on the iris with Glitterspun® in Aquamarine for added depth and sparkle.

I worried the large eye wouldn’t hold its shape well without the tiny cluster inside, as I also wanted the large eye to “stand alone” as its own piece. So I knitted a smaller partial sphere – a pocket, if you will. Nesting the pocket inside the eye, I inserted stuffing between the two layers and seamed them together at the eye’s opening. For increased sturdiness, I wove a length of jewelry wire around the circumference of the eye.

To attach the piece to my head, I found my new favorite resource – a plastic lace headband! The holes throughout the headband were perfect as anchor points where I could stitch the knitted eye.

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If I may say so myself, I consider this piece a resounding success! Many party attendees loved reaching into my giant eye and discovering what was inside. A couple of folks were too scared to reach inside because the eye was so creepy, which I found endlessly entertaining – an effective “freak show” costume indeed!

A few weeks after this party, I found yet another excuse to wear my creation. This time the theme was rainbow colors, so I knitted a few tiny spheres out of Bonbons® in Brights, stitched some eyes on them in black, and connected them in a silly little cluster around a small hand-wound ball of white Vanna’s Choice®. Reusable costume knitting for the win!

eyeballs-rainbow
What are you making for Halloween?

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