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yarncrafting costumes

  • Yarncrafting Costumes: Designing an Arctic Fox Headpiece

    arctic fox

    My knitted costuming adventures continue, this time with a ferociously cute flair! Foxes are dear to my heart, and snow white arctic foxes are so adorable! So with a “frozen forest” themed costume party on the horizon, I decided to knit an arctic fox head to wear as my headpiece.

    Inspiration

    Examining photos and drawings of foxes helped me determine the basic shape of the piece. For the simplest components possible to make up the fox head, I settled on a narrow tube (snout) connected to a sphere (head), with flat triangles (ears) attached to the sphere.

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  • Yarncrafting Costumes: Knitted Light-Up Wings

    When our Marketing Team asked me to turn myself into a yarn hero, I was so excited for the opportunity to create a whimsical super hero costume with wings! I decided to become a “moon fairy," whose superpower is bringing light to the dark places.

    gali wings 1

    In plotting the costume, the moon crown I knitted last year was the perfect choice for headwear. Always happy to re-use a costume piece!

    Knitting Wings

    Next up, I wanted to design wings. For an ethereal look, I chose to work with LB Collection Wool Stainless Steel in Azalea. Knitting the fine yarn on larger-gauge needles created a lacy, airy fabric using just simple garter stitch.

    For inspiration, I looked at photos of butterfly wings and sketched out the wing shape. Each of the two wings would be composed of two separate wing pieces, with a long tail on the lower pieces. I drafted a rough pattern and wrote down the details as I knitted. These notes were especially important since I wanted to create matching wings!

    Constructing

    Construction presented an interesting challenge. How would the lacy, floaty knitted fabric hold its shape? Armature wire to the rescue! Often used in sculpture, this wire is soft enough to manipulate by hand, while sturdy enough to hold its shape. After knitting each wing panel, I threaded armature wire around the perimeter of the panel and bent it in to the desired shape. I used the long ends of the armature wire to connect the panels to each other.

    Now, how would I attach the wings to my body? For a comfortable way to wear the wings on my shoulders, I made straps out of silvery grey elastic. These straps were then sewn to a matching shade of felt, to blend in with the wire frame of the wings. I added a felt sandwich to the wings using hot glue, thus hiding the messy knot of armature wire where the wing panels all connected.

    Pink LED strand lights woven around the perimeter added some extra fairy sparkle. A pocket made of felt held the battery packs for the lights. And so my wings were ready to light up the night!

    Check out this short video so you can see them in motion!

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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!

    octopus-costume

     

    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.

    octopus1-in-progress

     

    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.

    octopus-lights

     

    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.

    octopus-closeup

     

    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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