Friday, April 29, 2011

Totoro Pictures

... because the daft program refused to upload the pattern with the pictures included.

John and Len love Totoro.... and so does the cat.
Here are some detail shots that I included in the pattern but that Word and/or Blogger punted.

Totoro for the Masses

King of the Forest Pattern


The Really Big Totoro

Designed by Robin Zillman Jacobson

    Here is the exact pattern I used to knit this giant sized Totoro for my daughter. One of the things that most bothers me about many of the knitting patterns in magazines is a lack of consistency. If you follow the pattern to the letter and knit every stitch as written then you should get something that looks just like the picture, right? I took notes the whole time I was knitting this and I can promise that if you can get gauge, and use the same yarn, you'll get a big fluffy Totoro just like in the picture.

Skill Level: Medium

Size: Large

Finished Height: 22"

Finished Width: 25"


3 skeins of Homespun from Lion Brand (98% Acrylic, 2% Polyester; 185 yds/169 m) in color 312 Edwardian, and 1 skein of Homespun from Lion Brand in color 300 Hepple White (5)

Small amount of smooth black yarn for embroidering eyes and nose. (I used Lamb's Pride Worsted in Black)

Size 8 (5.0 mm) 24" circular needle, or size to obtain gauge.

Size 8 (5.0 mm) set of double point needles.

4 stitch markers.

Tapestry Needle

3 - 20oz bags of Fiberfill.

Gauge: 16 ½ sts and 24 rows = 4" in St st.

Note: The yarn Ryan, my daughter, chose is a fluffy, very soft, boucle' yarn in a bulky weight. It is knitted at a very firm gauge so the stuffing doesn't poke out, but this yarn is a little difficult to work. It splits like mad and has no give at all. For an easier to knit version I would try Lamb's Pride Bulky by Brown Sheep.



CO 20 sts on circular needle. The bottom is worked back and forth in Stockinette Stitch.

Row 1 (WS): Purl

Row 2 (RS): K1, M1, Knit to last stitch, M1, K1.

Repeat last 2 rows until you have 48 sts.

Work in St st 14 rows ending on a WS row.


Turn to right side.

K 48, PM (this marker will become to beginning of the round, Marker 1), Pick up and knit 14 sts along strait edge and then pick up and knit 28 sts along edge of increase rows, PM, Pick up and knit 20sts, PM, Pick up and knit 28 sts along edge of increase rows and 14 sts along strait edge, PM. (152 sts)

Knit for 13".


Round 1: SSK, K to 2 sts before 2nd marker, K2tog, slip marker, K to 3rd marker, slip marker, SSK, K to 2 sts before 4th M, K2tog, slip marker, k to end of round.

Round 2: Knit all sts slipping markers as you come to them.

Repeat these 2 rounds until 24 sts remain between 1st and 2nd marker. (116 sts)

Nose decreases, to be worked at the same time as head shaping. After the 4th marker, K 22 sts, K2tog, SSK, K 22. (110 sts)

Decrease 2 sts every round 12 times, until 20 sts remain between Marker 4 and Marker 1.

Switch to double point needles when necessary.

Continue rounds 1 and 2 until only 2 sts remain between markers 1 and 2. (44 sts)

Place 22 sts on each of 2 double points. Stuff the body, you'll need a lot of stuffing at this point. Kitchener stitch the head closed. Weave in ends.



CO 16 sts. Divide sts 4 per needle. Join in the round.

Knit 4 rounds.

*K1, M1, K6, M1,K1*, repeat. (20 sts)

Knit 1 round.

*K1, M1, K8, M1, K1*, repeat. (24 sts)

Knit 3 rounds.

*SSK, K8, K2tog*, repeat.

Knit 3 rounds.

*SSK, K6, K2tog*, repeat.

Knit 3 rounds.

Continue decreasing in pattern until 4 sts remains. Using a tapestry needle, thread through sts, BO.

Sew ears to top of head over the points left by Kitchener stitching the head.

Hint: This yarn is a right screaming pain in the arse to sew with. You might try using a smooth yarn in a similar color for sewing the arms and ears in place.


CO 32 sts. Divide sts evenly on to 4 double points. Join in the round.

Knit for 6".

Decrease rounds.

Round 1: *K1, SSK, knit to last 3 sts on next needle, K2tog, K1.* Repeat.

Round 2: Knit.

Repeat these 2 rounds 3 times. (20 sts)

Then repeat only round 1, 3 times. (8 sts)

BO by passing tail through all sts. Weave in end.

Stuff lightly and sew in place on body, about an inch below where the decreases start for the head. Exact placement is less important than making sure both arms are at the same height.


In white, CO 20 sts on circular needle. The tummy and eyes are worked back and forth in Stockinette Stitch.

Row 1: Purl

Row 2: K1, M1, K to last st, M1, K1.

Repeat these 2 rows 5 times. (30 sts)

Row 1 & 3: Purl

Row 2: Knit

Row 4: K1, M1, K to last st, M1, K1.

Repeat these 4 rows 5 times. (40 sts)

Knit 10 rows.

Row 1: K1, SSK, knit to last 3 sts on next needle, K2tog, K1.

Row 2 & 4: Purl.

Row 3: Knit

Repeat decrease rows until 30 sts remain. Then repeat only rows 1 and 2 until 20 sts remain.

Next row: P1, P2tog, P to last 3 sts, P2tog, P1.

Repeat Row 1. (16 sts)


Sew tummy to front of body placing the bottom edge 1" above the base of the body.

Using dark grey, duplicate stitch the chevrons at the top of the tummy piece. Work 3 chevrons in the top row and 4 chevrons in the next row.

Note: Sounds simple enough to do right? Not so my friend. The stitches are hard to see and the yarn does not lend itself to embroidery at all. What I did was draw on my chevrons freehand with a water soluble marker in a light orange color. I had to wash off the chevrons a couple of times before I had the proportions I wanted and then I went about doing the duplicate stitch. The edges ended up a bit jagged and it didn't come out a smooth a texture as I would have liked but I'm happier with the look of it than I would have been if I'd tried to use a different yarn. You might try a satin stitch to fill in the outlines of the chevrons instead. I would have but my satin stitch is even worse looking than my duplicate stitch.



Note: I knitted the eyes and they came out a little thick and look a bit like Gir from Invader Zim. This may also be due to a lack of skill at embroidering on the pupils.

You may consider cutting out a piece of felt in white for the eyes or embroidering them on using satin stitch. Here is the knitted version.

CO 4 sts.

Row 1: Purl

Row 2: K1, M1, K2, M1, K1. (6 sts)

Row 3: Purl

Row 4: K

Row 5: P

Row 6: K

Row 7: P

Row 8: K1, SSK, K2tog, K1

Row 9: P1, P2tog, P1

BO last 3 sts.

The eyes form a very slight tear drop shape, sew them on point side down on either side, and slightly below the point of the nose.

Using a small amount of black yarn embroider pupils in center of the eye.


Totoro's nose is more of a sidewise oval than a typical cat nose. Using black yarn satin stitch a 1 ½" wide by ¾" high oval across the tip of the nose.

Embroider a small circle for the mouth between the nose and the top of the tummy.

Have every member of your household pose for pictures with the big cool stuffy, including your cat. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter! A Time For Food, Fun, Dying and Chocolate

Have you ever wondered what to do with the left over colored goop after you're done dying Easter eggs? Wonder no more. I present to you Easter Egg Sock Yarn.

I took some lovely Knit Picks Bare and stuck it in the dye cups with out pre soaking to prevent the color from creeping. I let it soak for about an hour until all of the color had been absorbed in the dye bath.
Then stuck it in the microwave for about 7 minutes to heat set it. Rinsed, dried, and look what I got.
These are going to make some awesome socks.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again!

So.... after many years of not blogging, and signing up for Ravelry and then not using it, I'm going to try blogging once again. I find that I do indeed have something interesting to say and perhaps some useful information to impart. The cool cat pictures are a bonus. I can't promise to post regularly but here's a look at whatI'm doing right now.

Socks. I always have at least 2 sock projects going, one for at homeand one for in my purse.

Last summerI taught my partner Leonard how to knit on a cruise in Alaska and I was so proudof him. He took to it like a fish to water. He had 2 hats done by the time we got home. His current knitting obsession is knitted toys. Here's the kitty from Nicky Epsteins Knitting: Block By Block and the bunny from Susan B Anderson's Itty Bitty Toys. Right now he's working on a second bunny in rainbow stripes.

Easter! Or as Leonard calls it "Zombie Apocalypse Day." Isn't the bunny cute?

I'm also making my daughter Ryan a Giant Totoro. I'll post pictures and the pattern tomorrow or the next day. And then link it to Ravelry. They have a group just for folks like me who love Studio Ghibli.