New Patterns

New Crochet Pattern: Monkey Business


This past spring Jill and I turned a preschool gate into a knit and crochet banana forest with a cheeky amigurumi monkey stealing a banana. Our current yarnbomb installation is always our favorite, because we never want to let it go. Fortunately we’re learning to write things down when we improvise new designs, so we can make more for ourselves!

Monkey Business Crochet pattern
What’s better than a crochet monkey? Two!

This amigurumi monkey crochet pattern was just too cute not to share, so we worked her up in two sizes: like a baby and a mother. This new crochet toy pattern is just one set of instructions, with guidelines on how to use it for a crochet monkey toy in a variety of sizes.

Monkey Business Crochet pattern
Get up to some monkey business with this new crochet pattern for a monkey toy in two sizes.

Any yarn weight works for this project. The small crochet monkey uses a small hook, yarn held single, and single crochet stitches throughout. The large crochet monkey uses a larger hook, yarn held double, and half double crochet stitches. You can use this simple trick on almost any pattern where gauge and fit aren’t critical.

Monkey Business Crochet pattern
Amigurumi might as well be Japanese for : build lots of character with super simple crochet shapes.
Monkey Business Crochet Pattern HR4
For best results, always stitch a catch light in the eye! >*-*<
Monkey Business Crochet pattern
Learn to crochet an amigurumi monkey in seven easy pieces.

Want an even smaller crochet monkey? Experiment with smaller hooks and thread or lace weight yarn for a miniature plushie.

Want a jumbo crochet monkey? Break out the jumbo hooks and bulky yarn held double for a play room pillow pal.

For our monkey yarnbomb gaps in the fabric were ok, so we went up a few hook sizes from what’s appropriate for the total yarn weight.

crochet Monkey yarnbomb
See how much monkey business will your new crochet toy will get up to.

Hopefully by now we’ve hammered it into your head to take some judicious liberties with your amigurumi patterns for more creative results. In other words, have fun and be sure to get up to some monkey business!

Purchase my new Monkey Business crochet pattern now on Ravelry, Etsy, or Craftsy. I look forward to seeing your projects!




Banana Tree Yarnbomb


One of these days Jill and I will learn to do small-scale.

But not this day! A Bay Area volunteer group commissioned us to yarnbomb their community health and fitness festival at a San Mateo elementary school, so we had to pull out the big guns for the kids. The festival had a bumping DJ, an obstacle course, healthy snacks, free blood pressure and cholesterol testing, tile painting for a school mural, and a free photo booth. It was so rad!

We helped celebrate healthy eating with a sneaky monkey in a wildly botanically incorrect banana tree.

Monkey in a Banana Tree YarnbombMonkey in a Banana Tree Yarnbomb

Find all the gory construction details in my and Jill’s Ravelry projects. The trunk and leaves are machine knit on the Bond Ultimate Sweater Machine. We tried out a new technique with the leaves: we sewed machine knit panels onto plastic fencing cut-outs, kind of like using craft plastic canvas, but less dense and thus lighter. It worked! Another favorite new material we used in our Winter Olympics-themed window and our Vogue Knitting Live Octopuss exhibit is fishing line. Sturdy, cheap, and transparent, it’s great for getting objects to strike a pose.Monkey in a Banana Tree Yarnbomb

At Vogue Knitting Live Seattle we started hand knitting the bananas to pass the time, but 15 hours in, realized we should have crocheted them. It didn’t help that we improvised on the world’s most confusing knitting pattern. :-/

Knit bananas

We learned our lesson for the giant monkey, which is crochet amigurumi style, and took me about 6-7 hours to make.  Soon you can get into your own monkey business because I’m writing up the pattern in two sizes: small with yarn held single and large with it held double. Keep up with new pattern announcements via my newsletter.Crochet monkey

To check this yarnbomb out in person, visit the Turnbull Learning Center on Indian Avenue in San Mateo. We hope it will last as long as the squid tree, which is going on 7 months now! The installation is inside the gates, but perfectly viewable from the outside.Monkey in a Banana Tree Yarnbomb

Someone suggested we yarnbomb kids’ bedrooms, and we love the idea! What kind of fantastical creatures and shapes would you put in your kids’ rooms? Let us know in the comments!





New Patterns

Free Crochet Pattern: Draft Dodger


My latest custom order was so fun and simple, I can’t resist sharing the tiny 10-line pattern with you all. Drunk past midnight at the Beach Boardwalk like a member of the Lost Boys after a reunion slash wedding, I picked my phone up out of the sand for like the fourth time and started reading emails. “Woah guys, what the hell is this? Someone just messaged me on Etsy asking for a draft extruder! What the hell is that? *kapow!* Oooooh, look over there, someone’s launching some leftover fireworks. Let’s go in the ocean right now. It’s not even cold! Hiccup. Geez, I seriously love you guys…”

A sunrise and several liters of water later, I remembered something about a confusing custom order inquiry. How wonderful is the internet to connect us with people all over the world, and muddle through translations to eventually communicate. The inquiry referred to a German post about a Türzugluftstopper, that is, a draft dodger. Mystery solved!

Crochet Draft Dodger

What’s more, they wanted a gigantic neon pink one! Yesssss. Lately I’ve been fawning all over the new neon Simply Soft shouting at me from the endcap at Michaels. I can’t stop thinking of things to make with it. Neon (screw orange–sorry, Janeway) is totes the new black. It comes in a few colors, but yellow and coral are the most day glo. That said, none of them can be called dull. Seriously, you can’t even photograph them because the glow doesn’t register on a camera’s color range. Eyeballs rock!

Neon yarn

Free Crochet Pattern Draft DodgerMeasurements for the draft dodger pictured above is 43 inches long and about 4 inches in diameter. Seriously huge. It’ll stop any draft like a neon ninja. You could stuff it with beans, but it’s so big that the weight of the yarn and polyfill seem enough to do the job.

free crochet pattern draft dodger 2

yarn: 1.5 skeins (450-500 yd) Caron Simply Soft held double

hook: 6.0 mm


R1: 6 hdc in magic ring (6)
R2:  inc around (12)
R3: hdc, inc (inc=2hdc in same st) around (18)
R4: 2 hdc, inc around (24)
R5: hdc around (24)
Repeat R5 to desired length.
R(x-2): 2 hdc, dec (dec=2hdctog, invisible style if you like) around (18)
R(x-1): hdc, dec around (12)
Rx: dec around (6)
Break yarn leaving a 12-inch tail. Thread through remaining sts and cinch to close. Weave in ends.

Be sure to link your projects on the pattern’s Ravelry page and share them to the Knits for Life Ravelry group.

Next to yarnbombing, my favorite things to make are custom orders. You people never fail to surprise me with your ideas! When people contact me on Etsy or Instagram with a vision of something they want to bring to life, my answer so far is almost always “yes!” Only once so far have I said no, and in that case it was because the project was better for a Fair Isle machine knitter, so I passed along some referrals. And so, in return for this you-can-barely-call-it-a-pattern, I’m dying to know: What do your friends and family always have you make? Let me know in the comments!




How to Electrify Your Weekend in San Francisco


San Francisco’s two hour lightning storm and tornado warning kicks off an electric weekend. In his museum-like Martinez basement, my amateur archaeologist grandpa kept local Native American artifacts he unearthed, and lightning makes me fantasize how it sung out to them. Last night in my sixth floor huge-windowed apartment I lay by lightning light reading of the local tribe on whose shell mounds my building sits. Dreams of dance, green spring hills, and blossoms led me to today – Friday – more thunderstorms, and a fittingly electric weekend. Here’s the line-up and a sneak peek into my new project; come find me!

Photo by Tom Robinson
Photo by Ed via ABC Inc., KGO-TV/DT San Francisco
Photo by ABC Inc., KGO-TV/DT San Francisco


Need a hero? Try Alonzo King. After an interview on KQED’s Forum, his modern ballet company’s performances live on my calendar. Give it a listen for some serious artistic inspiration. Describing his approach to this visual art form brings up words like “deeply rooted cultural traditions…new expressive potential…ballet as a science…geometric principles of energy…a new language of movement…a profound sense of shared humanity.” To say my excitement for rivals last night’s lightning storm is accurate.

The deets: Triangle of the Squinches runs April 12-15 and Scheherazade runs April 18-22

Photo by Alonzo King LINES Ballet
Photo by Alonzo King LINES Ballet


Yarn bombing a chair is my latest display of enthusiasm for street art. Snapping shots of stencils, slap-ups, graf, and murals while getting run over by locals is one of my hobbies. Amping up for another top secret project, Lo, my graphic designer goddess, and I will be students of the legendary San Francisco street artists at 1:AM, the First Amendment Gallery for street art and murals. I’m turning my love back on all of you soon with a tool to bring more adventure and creativity to our lives. But first – research! For three hours we’ll hear how graffiti’s changed through its history, practice lettering, and weild a spray can. Lo’s already been practicing her OG vector graphics skillz! You know you’ve always wanted to say something in color in public. Come join us!

The deets: Three spots are open in our Saturday 12:30 class. If you miss us, it repeats monthly. Other class topics include stenciling, toy modification, and team building workshops.

Photo by 1amsf
Photo by Steve Rotman


Get yer amigurumi on at this weekend’s 45th Cherry Blossom Festival, where your favorite hand made Bizzar Bazaar vendors pimp their hand made wares inside the beautiful sunlit building at New People. I’m looking forward to meeting Nerd Jerk, a fellow member of the San Francisco Etsy Street Team, and seeing her new neon plushies.

The deets: Both the festival and the bazaar are run this weekend and next, 4/14-15 and 4/21-22. Catch the San Francisco Taiko Dojo performance on Japantown’s Peace Plaza at 11:45 am.

Photo by Stephanie Cortez
Photo by Yuri Yoshida

Light up your tongue too!

Remember to squeeze in some time for noshes at Off the Grid (map & calendar) or catch up with one of San Francisco Magazine’s 10 food artisans to watch. Chocolate, cheese, bread, coffee, and charcuterie? Um, electrifying indeed!

Photo by Modern Luxury Media
Photo by Off the Grid SF

Yours truly,


For every hand made item you buy at, Knits for Life plants one rainforest tree with The Nature Conservancy.