Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Muggle-Warmers

Here's a preview of what will not be in the Knitty.com December issue. Rejected again...
Here's a copy of my very kind, gentle rejection email:
Hi, Ruth!Thanks so much for your submission. It's very clever! I think you've done a great job. We receive many more submissions than we are able to publish at Knitty, and that means we must make some hard choices. Unfortunately, that means we won't be able to use your submission this time. But I really like your style! Thank you for taking the time to prepare it and send it in and hope we'll see something from you again in the future! Best, Amy

No biggee. It just means you guys get a free pattern! In the pattern I sent to knitty, I used horns instead of ears. I'd been given permission from the author of Dominknits to use her horns (she had the best ones of all the horns I looked at/for). I don't feel comfortable using them here, so if you want the horns, go buy her book (buy it anyway, it's really cool!). When you get to that part, I put the yarn on the DPNs and increased/decreased until I had the right number of stitches to start her horns (I think it was 23 or 24) and then went off her instructions from there. In the version I'm giving here (for free!), I just did hat decreases to make some ears.
I'm opening an Etsy store (shocker, I know) and I'll be putting some Muggle-Warmer kits in there. It'll be yarn, the pattern and a finished warming bag!

Here they are - Muggle-Warmers....
MUGGLE-WARMERS

It was a dark and stormy night…
Cold as a witches tit with monsters in the closet. Those closet monsters and their cold witch are no match for….

MUGGLE-WARMERS!!! (cue hero music)

I thought of these monstery folks when I was contemplating the chilly winter we had last year. I remembered those microwaveable warming bags. They are filled with feed corn, rice or buckwheat . (I’m including a super quick pattern for these, too. It’s 10X cheaper to make your own.)

The Muggles are a great thing to use to pre-warm the bed for little ones. They are snuggly and warm and just the right size for sleepy hugging. They can be made with any worsted weight yarn, but I highly recommend using something soft and washable - kitchen cotton would be a nice choice, too, all those crazy colors, y'know! (You can also put the bag in the fridge for awhile in the summer. Makes the sheets nice and cool.)

There’s a felted version and a knitted version. You can use up some of your leftover yarns (novelty or otherwise) for more decoration.
I searched far and wide for the perfect horns. I found them in the book Domiknitrix by Jennifer Stafford. She has graciously allowed me to use them in this pattern. She is a wonderful human being and her book is perfect. Go buy it!

Materials :

Mr. Muggle:
Yarn: Cascade 220 (100% Peruvian highland wool; 100gr / 220yds)
MC - Heather Blue; CC - Heather Green, one each
1 pair - US 9 (5.5mm), 32” circular
4 - US 9 (5.5mm) DPN

Mrs. Muggle:
Yarn: Cascade 220 (100% Peruvian highland wool; 100gr / 220yds)
MC - 9478 Pink; CC - 4192 Pale Pink, two each
1 pair - US 10.5 (6.5mm), 32” circular
4 US 10.5 (6.5mm) DPN
Microwave Warming Bag (see instructions below to make your own)
Scrap yarn for face (preferably in similar fiber content to finished piece)
Novelty yarn (for hair) (optional)
Three buttons

Gauge:
Mr. Muggle - 20 sts = 4” on US size 9
Mrs. Muggle - 16 sts = 4" on US size 10.5

Seed Stitch:
Odd number of stitches:
Row 1: *k1, p1*, rep ** across. Repeat for every row.
Even number of stitches:
Row 1: *k1, p1*, rep ** across.
Row 2: *p1, k1*, rep ** across.

Pattern:
Mr. Muggle:


Using CC, CO 75. Seed Stitch 6 rows.
Row 7: BO 10, knit across.
Row 8: BO 10 stitches, purl across.
Row 9: (RS) knit across
Row 10: (WS) k2, purl to last 2, k2
Repeat rows 9 and 10 until piece measures 6 inches.
Garter stitch for 1 ½ inches.
Place Marker. Pick up 7 stitches from garter stitch rows. Place Marker. Cable CO 56 stitches. Place Marker. Pick up 7 stitches from garter stitch rows on other side.





Begin knitting in the round (initially, you will knit back towards the cast-on stitches).
First Round: Slip marker (sm), Seed Stitch the 7 stitches on the side, sm, k2tog, knit 54, sm, seed stitch 7 stitches, sm, knit 55.

Body Knitting:


Knit in the round, keeping seed stitch sides, [(Knit 55, Seed Stitch 7) twice] until piece measures 6 inches from beginning of circular knitting.
Knit 6 rounds of seed stitch (There will be a stitch at the end of each round that will be extra. Just knit it and start seed stitch pattern over. This is the “belt“.)
Using MC, continue Body Knitting until piece measures 8” from seed stitch rounds.
Final round: Knit 47, put 24 stitches on waste yarn. Turn piece inside out and using 3-needle bind-off, BO 47. Turn piece right side out and put final 24 stitches on waste yarn.

Left Horn:
Transfer stitches from waste yarn to DPN’s. Knit the two stitches closest to the BO center together - 23 stitches. Knit St st for 8 rounds. (If you find you have more or less then 23 stitches, then use the 8 rounds to increase/decrease as needed.)
Begin left ear:
Using CC:
Knit in the round. Decrease 2 stitches on either side of ear EOR. When you have 4 sts left, thread the yarn through the stitches and pull tight. Using darning needle, pull hanging thread into the ear.

(I left a long tail to pull through. I used it to sew shut any holes I’d made. This is no mistake of the horn pattern, just my own relatively amateur knitting.)

Right Horn:
Transfer stitches from waste yarn to DPN’s. Knit the two stitches closest to the BO center together - 23 stitches. Knit St st for 4 rounds. (If you find you have more or less then 23 stitches, then use the 8 rounds to increase/decrease as needed.)

Begin Right Ear:
Using MC:
Knit in the round. Decrease 2 stitches on either side of ear EOR. When you have 4 sts left, thread the yarn through the stitches and pull tight. Using darning needle, pull hanging thread into the ear.

Finishing:
Block your monster. After it’s completely blocked, and using bits of colored yarn (for washing purposes, you want to use yarn similar in content to the yarn used to knit the piece), sew on a face. Using novelty yarns, you can add hair, a mohawk, whatever).

Using CC, single crochet around open edges of the Muggles. At the ends of the tabs, crochet 5 chain stitches, slip stitch to other side of tab. This makes your button loop. Wrap bottom around the back of piece and, matching up the seed stitch “belt” with your tabs, sew your buttons on the front.


Look at the back of your Muggle. Sew a button to the center of the “belt” in the back. Make another crochet chain loop on the bottom edge of the piece that will correspond with the back button.

(If this Muggle-Warmer is going to a child under 3 years old, take extra care in securing the buttons. The Muggle-Warmer should never be used in a crib with a child under 18 months old.)

Mrs. Muggle:

Using larger needle, knit the same as for Mr. Muggle until you get to the seed stitch belt.
Knit 6 rounds of seed stitch.
Using a darning needle and waste yarn, thread all stitches onto waste yarn. Do not remove knitting needle.

Mrs. Muggle’s skirt:
Switch to CC.
Next 4 rounds: Purl every stitch.
Round 5: Knit into front and back of every stitch.
Round 6-10: Knit.
Round 11: Rep round 5.
Round 12-15: Knit.
BO loosely.

Go back to waste yarn. Thread knitting needle along waste yarn (I used a smaller needle for this). Using CC, begin knitting in the round again. Continue on as for Mr. Muggles.

Finishing:
I made Mrs. Muggle’s face before I felted her. Bad idea. I ended up using some other felting projects I had that had gone awry. I cut out eyes an lips and sewed them on to make her face. A perfect use for those felting projects gone wrong and stuffed in a closet.

(If this Muggle-Warmer is going to a child under 3 years old, take extra care in securing the buttons. The Muggle-Warmer should never be used in a crib with a child under 18 months old.)

Microwave Warming Bag:
Measure your finished monster. Get some muslin (or any scrap cotton fabric) and fold it in half, right sides together. Using the measurements from you finished monster, measure the same onto the fabric. You can draw the lines right onto the fabric. Cut the three sides of the fabric (don’t cut the folded side). Pin the front to the back on the three open side and sew these three sides together about a half inch from the edges, leaving a two inch opening at the top. Pull fabric right side out through the opening. Fill with your filler of choice. You want to fill it enough to be full and puffy but not enough so it’s hard and unhuggable. Sew opening shut.

Filler:

Rice, Feed Corn, Buckwheat, Flaxseed, Lavender. I use a combination of Feed Corn and Lavender. It makes a lovely scent when warmed.
You can hand sew or machine sew, just make sure the stitches are small enough that the filling can’t come out.

Schematic:

Resources:

Here’s a link to a very comprehensive tutorial on Microwave Warming Bags:
http://www.diamondthreadworks.com/microwave_heating_bags.htm
Domiknitrix by Jennifer Stafford
So there you have it!
Not giving up, Ruth!

9 comments:

Me7of11 said...

Now I MUST learn to knit!

uberstrickenfrau said...

How cute! I've been wanting to make a warming bag and wasn't sure what kind of stuff you could stick in it before it goes bad , does microwaving it over and over burn rice and corn,etc?? Too bad they didn't take your pattern, it's so very clever.

5elementknitr said...

Thank you, uber., you're sweet!

The tutorial listed under "Resources" tells all you'd ever want to know about warming bags and then some! I don't think it ever burns. Though I suppose anything's possible (like if you accidentally set the microwave for 30 minutes instead of 3?)

Chris said...

Ah, rejected by Knitty - welcome to the club! :D These are cute!

Yarnhog said...

Your muggle warmers are adorable! And they are clearly big kid-pleasers. (I wonder if my rejection letter will read the same?)

knitnzu said...

Ruth! Those are incredible... funky, functional, fun... maybe after xmas I'll make one!

kmkat said...

Those are absolutely great! You are one clever lady. I'm thinking that a 6"x12" warming bag would be great to warm up the sheets at the foot of my bed. Oh, great, another project in the queue :)

Romi said...

OMG! I *love* these! Thank you so much for the awesome pattern. :)

Sharon said...

Girl, you rock! This is a wonderful idea and so cute.