Old Navy Bumper Cars Yarnbomb


You’ve seen our epic yarnbomb of a 1950’s Chevy truck in Old Navy‘s San Francisco Flagship store (up til January 2015). Now get ready for the second epic yarnbomb: three yarnbombed bumper cars in Old Navy’s New York 34th St Flagship store.

How awesome is Old Navy to choose yarnbombing to celebrate #OldNavyStyle in a season full of fashionable knitwear for the people! We were so stoked that they asked us to do this second project on the same block with the Thanksgiving Day parade. It’s our little Miracle on 34th Street. Forget Santa’s lap–go snuggle your derrier into one of these vintage babies this Christmas. (And I know you want to but sorry, they don’t move around.) Be sure to tag us in your pics (@knitsforlife @thedappertoad @oldnavy) so we can see you!

For those of you who are interested in learning to step up your work to more ambitious yarnbombing projects, get your scroll on and I’ll tell you a bit about our process. It’s basically three steps: design, construction, and installation. But first, the pics!

Old Navy Bumper Cars Yarnbomb Old Navy Bumper Cars Yarnbomb Old Navy Bumper Cars Yarnbomb Old Navy Bumper Cars Yarnbomb

1. Design includes a sketch and engineering. Old Navy did the sketch and we translated it into knitting and did the engineering. You translate the colorwork elements in the sketch (snowflakes, letters, etc.) into charts. We input the charts into our Brother KH-270 knitting machine. While it sounds easy and is certainly faster than hand-knitting, it’s still quite a laborious process of mostly prep. Read more details about charting in this post.

bumper car yarnbomb
Final design for the Old Navy bumper car yarnbomb

To engineer how you’ll construct the yarnbomb, you break down the overall design into panels to seam together. We conceived of a few ways to do it and chose the one with the best stitch alignment and seam location. One consideration is whether you’ll knit rectangular panels or custom shapes. We braved knitting rectangular ones to cut to shape on site. The fear of unraveling fabric is great within knitters, but a simple whip stitch around cut edges secured them nicely and we conquered in the end.

These @oldnavy #yarnbomb installations are teaching us all kinds of courage. 🙀🙈✂️

A video posted by Lorna Watt (@knitsforlife) on

Old Navy bumper cars yarnbomb
One of our sketches for getting measurements from afar.

Once the panels are mapped out, you take measurements to get their dimensions. We did all our nail-biting over the fact that we didn’t fly out to take the measurements ourselves. Instead, Old Navy’s team sent tons of photos, we sent back diagrams of our required dimensions, and they took careful measurements. Since knitting is fairly forgiving, we could bring back-up panels, and we were on a 2-week timeline, we figured the risk was low enough that it would work out, and it did!

The final engineering step is to translate each panel’s dimensions to a stitch and row count based on a swatch of knitting in the same yarn, gauge, and tautness as the installation. Calculate thrice, knit once!

2. Construction, as every knitter knows, is the fun part. The Brother KH-270 knitting machine is like a cross between a circular knitting loom and a weaving loom. It has an input for the colorwork to tell the needles which color to select for each stitch, and a bed of needles over which you manually pass a carriage for each row. Each bumper car comprises 11 panels, so with the sign we had 34 panels to knit.

Yarnbombed Truck
Knitting a panel for the yarnbombed truck on the Brother KH-270 machine. We goofed.
Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb pieces
The bumper cars yarnbomb comprised 34 individually-knit panels.

3. Installation is equal parts sewing and ingenuity. This step is also a huge consideration during the design stage. It seems every installation we do these days requires us to dream up a new installation technique. First there was the staple gun (no, it doesn’t hurt trees). Then there was fishing line and plastic canvas. Now we turned to decals, Velcro and hot glue. (Here’s a great deal on bulk Velcro tape.) First we applied a vinyl decal layer in places where the bumper car paint job might show through the knitting too much, muddling the color. Next we applied sticky-back hook Velcro tape around edges and center areas to hold the knit panels. Finally we hot glued around the borders a huge crochet chain, made on a jumbo 16 mm hook with yarn held triple. Sounds easy, but that’s a lot of layers for a lot of edging. Elsewhere the panels are mattress and Kitchener stitched together for the best-looking seams. Voila! It’s crazy that even though this project only used 1/4 as much yarn as the truck project, it took the same amount of time to install!

Old Navy Bumper Cars Yarnbomb 1
The fun Old Navy bumper cars before yarnbombing.
Old Navy Bumper Cars Yarnbomb
After installing the bumper car yarnbomb with a super cute knit sign.
Old Navy Bumper Cars Yarnbomb
After installing the bumper car yarnbomb.
Old Navy Bumper Cars Yarnbomb
Jumbo crochet chain edging.

Technically, there’s a fourth step: sharing! We love photographing, posting, and tagging our work. But the best part about it is that we can see how much fun people have interacting with the #OldNavyStyle yarnbombs. Our friends in New York were the first to hop in for a ride!

Yarnbombed Bumper Cars Polaroid

Remember if you go see it to tag us in your pics so we can see you! (@knitsforlife @thedappertoad @oldnavy)


Lorna & Jill


Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb


Now until January you can see our most ambitious yarnbomb to date: a 1950 Chevy truck in Old Navy’s San Francisco flagship store on Market & 4th. We had a hard time resisting shopping in this 3-story wonderland while we worked, but fortunately you don’t have to!

Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb

Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb

Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb

Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb

Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb

We are so proud of this project, since we pushed the limits of all our skills to make it perfect and amazing, as was the marketing team’s order. We took the Brother KH-270 computerized bulky knitting machine off our wish list for the project and Jill did all the construction while I lounged on my honeymoon, har har. The machine has 114 needles in the bed, so we were limited to panels 36-inches wide, which we hand seamed with the invisible mattress stitch. Elsewhere panels are joined vertically with the invisible kitchener stitch. Hook Velcro tape and a little hot glue hold each panel to the truck at the edges and in the crevices.

Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb

Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb

Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb

Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb

Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb

Yarnbomb Truck 23

One of the most difficult parts was breaking down the piece into flat panels. While it seems straightforward enough, it took quite a bit of prototyping and testing to arrive at the correct gauge and adhesive methods.

Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb

Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb

Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb

Another difficult part was programming the color work into the machine. While the computerized knitting machine definitely constitutes an upgrade from the Ultimate Sweater Machine that was our previous workhorse, it’s a 1980’s machine with 1980’s technology. You enter the color work chart stitch by stitch on a keypad with directional arrows and an enter button, using a TV as a monitor. No fancy functions like copy and paste or scaling exist. So you can imagine us sitting for hours for entering those gigantic snowflakes, “boop boop booping” along across the 13,000 stitch grid for the large snowflake alone. Not to mention getting Gothic font right!

Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb

Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb

Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb
“Oops! We knit it backwards.”

We are also tired! Take a look at these stats to see why: 35 hours on design, 45 hours on construction, and 60 hours on installation during 4 graveyard shifts; 250 ft Velcro, 30 skeins of Caron One Pound yarn.

Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb

Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb

Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb

Old Navy Truck Yarnbomb

But there’s no rest for the weary! Our next stop is another installation at Old Navy’s New York flagship store on 34th Street. It will go up on Nov 20, so stay tuned.



New Patterns

New Knitting Pattern: Knit Snake Yarnbomb

Last month I told you about the new crochet pattern for our fun Snake Yarnbomb design. As fast as our little fingers could go, we’ve knitted and purled and sewn and photographed and typed to get you the knitting pattern version of the same popular design. With no further ado, I’d like to introduce you to the Knit Snake Yarnbomb!

Knit Snake Yarnbomb Knitting Pattern

This whimsical yarnbomb knitting pattern is a fun and easy way to brighten up your neighborhood. Brighten up your favorite bike rack at the library, your office, the grocery store, or anywhere people need a surprise and a smile.

knit snake yarnbomb knitting pattern

The yarnbomb knitting pattern works up quickly by using yarn held double on size US 11 (8 mm) knitting needles.

knit snake yarnbomb knitting pattern

The pattern is worked from the top down. You’ll make two lips, then join them and continue working the body. The mouth, eyes, optional fangs and forked tongue are worked separately, then sewn on.Knit Snake Yarnbomb Knitting Pattern

You knit the body as a flat rectangle, which you’ll then sew onto the pole. We recommend installing in broad daylight so people can tell you how much they love your work–because we guarantee they will! Play around with colors and invent your own embellishments. Express your imagination!

knit snake yarnbomb knitting pattern web 3

Share your projects on Ravelry and tag them @knitsforlife on Instagram and Facebook. Be sure to include hashtags like #yarnbomb, #yarnbombing, #streetart, and your city so people can discover who made it!



Lorna & Jill


New Patterns

New Crochet Pattern: Snake Yarnbomb


We love yarnbombing street art that transforms everyday objects into surprising characters. While we expected kids to love these crochet yarnbombs, we were surprised how much these characters took adults out of their daily doldrums by adding a little fun to their lives too. Now with this yarnbomb crochet pattern, you can help fill the world with whimsy and bring a smile to the faces in your neighborhood. Purchase this Snake Yarnbomb Crochet Pattern on Ravelry, Etsy, or Craftsy.   Snake yarnbomb crochet pattern This new snake yarnbomb crochet pattern includes instructions for a ridgeback or flat body. It also suggests how to adjust the pattern for extra small or large poles. We’ve found that most public works departments use poles of similar sizes, so these should fit most bike racks, meters, and signposts. If you want to learn more about how to make custom fitting yarnbombs, be sure to take Ishnknits’s excellent self-paced online yarnbombing course here. Snake yarnbomb crochet pattern The snake yarnbomb crochet pattern is worked from the top down. You’ll make two lips, then join them and continue working the body. The mouth, eyes, optional fangs and forked tongue are worked separately, then sewn on. You crochet the body as a flat rectangle, which you’ll then sew onto the pole. We recommend installing in broad daylight so people can tell you how much they love your work–because we guarantee they will. snake yarnbomb crochet pattern Play around with colors and invent your own embellishments. Here are some other snake and worm yarnbombs we’ve crocheted and knit in all kinds of colors on all kinds of bike racks. Snake yarnbomb crochet patternSnake yarnbomb crochet patternSnake yarnbomb crochet pattern Snake yarnbomb crochet pattern Snake yarnbomb crochet pattern You can get inspiration from our other crazy yarnbombs. But most importantly, express your imagination! Have you ever tried yarnbombing? Tell me about your yarnbombs and feel free to ask a question in a comment below. xxxo, Lorna & Jill


Another Window Display Made Entirely of Yarn


As soon as we met Sonia who owns the hip local yarn shop Stash earlier this year at VK Live Seattle, we knew we’d be taking over the world together. Our first challenge, dream up a window display made entirely of yarn to show off one of their products, Simplicity HiKoo, a luscious soft DK-weight merino/acrylic/nylon blend from Skacel.

Immediately our imaginations conjured a breezy Pacific Northwest fiber wonderland where alpacas and blackface sheep frolicked over every hill. What a surprise when few miles out of town on our drive up, the stately Cascades turned to rolling pastures of sheep with guard alpacas, just like our sketch!

Our jumbo crocheted alpacas and miniature flock of sheep bounded across the pasture and right into our hearts, so we had to share them with you. Both crochet patterns now await you as instant downloads in my pattern store.

Knit Window Display
Fiber-themed window display made entirely from yarn at Stash, a local yarn shop in Oregon.
Knit Window Display
Fiber-themed window display made entirely from yarn at Stash, a local yarn shop in Oregon.
Knit Window Display
Fiber-themed window display made entirely from yarn at Stash, a local yarn shop in Oregon.

As our motto goes: the right craft for the project. So we knit some parts and crocheted others. In total the two of us spent about a week on design and construction and three hours on installation. Keep reading for the story of our process, and be sure to follow our Instagram feeds to see all the fun as it happens! (Lorna & Jill).

But first, let me introduce you to these two new animal crochet patterns:

Alpaca Picnic

This alpaca crochet pattern hits all the spots that make alpacas special: quirky leg joints, great hairography, and big Ewok eyes. Lifelike and whimsical, these guys are totes squee-worthy. We named them Pedro and Tina, for obvious reasons.

The small crochet alpaca doll uses Simplicity yarn held single with a small hook. The jumbo crochet alpaca toy uses the yarn held double with a larger hook. It’s practically a body pillow! I guess Jill and I just can’t get enough of jumbo projects. We encourage you to experiment with this doubled-up yarn technique in any pattern where fit isn’t a factor.

Alpaca Crochet Pattern Alpaca Amigurumi Doll
Alpaca Picnic crochet pattern on Ravelry, Etsy, and Craftsy.
Alpaca Crochet Pattern Alpaca Amigurumi Doll
Alpaca Picnic crochet pattern on Ravelry, Etsy, and Craftsy.
Alpaca Crochet Pattern Alpaca Amigurumi Doll
Pedro and Tina waiting in the wings for their big scene.
Alpaca Crochet Pattern Alpaca Amigurumi Doll
I ripped out twice as many stitches as I made to get this #fabulous body.
Adorable alpaca family
Our models.


Miniature Sheep, Assembly Not Required

In order to fill the pasture with flocks of sheep, we needed an expedient yet adorable design that didn’t involve sewing many parts together. Since no such pattern existed, we designed it. Voilà! An amigurumi style design with no assembly or sewing required.

In this project you’ll practice two clever crochet techniques that add versatility to your repertoire. Invisible color changes and skipped stitches introduce body parts instead of sewing separate pieces together. With these simple tricks, you’ll discover a whole new world of possibilities in your crochet projects.

This project is like potato chips: you can’t make just one. In fact, we made a whole sheepnado! Good thing you can make 10 sheep with a single hank of Simplicity.

Miniature Sheep Crochet Pattern
Miniature Sheep Crochet Pattern on Ravelry, Etsy, and Craftsy
Miniature Sheep Crochet Pattern
Miniature Sheep Crochet Pattern on Ravelry, Etsy, and Craftsy
Miniature Sheep Crochet Pattern
Miniature Sheep Crochet Pattern on Ravelry, Etsy, and Craftsy


Making of the window display

We “machine knit” the pin wheels, clouds, and grass on an Ultimate Sweater Machine, with the pin wheel sticks “machine knit” on an Elna 2400. I put machine knit in quotes because it sounds easy, but there’s no electricity and it still required full days of work, which is why some even refer to it as “hand loomed”. The Ultimate Sweater Machine put up a good fight, but after the Squid Tree, Monster Benches, Banana Tree, and plenty of snakes, we finally wore it out. Time to replace carriage plate number 4. At least it gave Jill a blister before it went down for the count.

Here is the knit window display from sketch to sneak peek to installation. We were surprised how close to the sketch it came out!

Knit Window Display sketch
Sketching out our ideas
Knit Window Display props
We mounted all the props on our peg board yarn wall to see how they would look.
Knit Window Display
Fiber-themed window display made entirely from yarn at Stash, a local yarn shop in Oregon.

Each pin wheel is a pair of simple stockinette stitch squares each in a contrasting value of the same color. Simplicity has such a fresh color palette with dozens of colors to choose from. We cut a square of plastic fencing from the hardware store and cut it again like this, clipped the knitted panels front and back, machine sewed a V in each cut space before cutting the knitting so it wouldn’t unravel, then hand sewed all the front and back edges together with the plastic fencing inside. We then sewed each arm of the pin wheel in place and added a little unstuffed crochet sphere. We first tried out plastic fencing for the leaves in our Banana Tree yarnbomb, and found it to be a strong yet flexible canvas for props.

Knit pinwheels
Each knitted pinwheel stands about 4 feet tall.

For sticks, we tried shoving a dowel inside an Embellish-Knit i-cord maker while cranking out an i-cord around it. Turns out this works! However, with just 4 stitches, it was stretched too tight for our desired dowel thickness so we went another route. I’ll have to do a post on magically knitting i-cord around smaller dowels in the future, because it’s amazing! Instead, I made a long skinny rectangle on the Elna 2400 and seamed it up the side.

Machine knitting a wooden dowel
A machine knit strip of Simplicity HiKoo yarn covers each pin wheel stem.

For each cloud, we traced the shapes on big pieces of (actual) newspaper, knit a double-tall panel on the Ultimate Sweater Machine, pinned it folded around both sides of the canvas, and seamed all around, stuffing along the way.

Machine knit clouds on a wall of yarn
Our yarn wall is so big, it has its own weather system.

Installing, we realized shoving stuffing under the grass panel is a quick and easy way to make hills. Feeling creatively blocked and masochistic the week before, we chose to papier mâché the “mountain” on an upside-down basket augmented with tons of crumpled up newspaper (and named it Gregor Clegane for all the trouble and mess).

paper mache mountain
The sheep couldn’t wait to try out their papier maché mountain.

Of course we do all the fun parts first and save the drudgery for last. Though, there’s plenty of drudgery in ripping out alpaca stitches, making 21 sheep, and hand seaming all those edges! I suppose rather we save the boring, mindless part for last. I told you we wore out the carriage plate on this part. Well, it was over 45 square feet of fabric, using 5 One Pound balls of acrylic yarn (that’s almost 2.5 miles). Sonya called it “five pounds of love.” The needle bed is too narrow to knit it in a single panel, so we had to seam two narrow panels together, each still maxing out the needle bed with its extension attachment. Can you say co-azy?

What a relief amidst all that carriage-pushing to play a little. I’m sure you understand the fatalistic feelings that gave us such a chuckle while making this little animation:

Fishing line and a staple gun are our new best friends. They join us on every installation now. Since fishing line stretches a little over time, we hang things a tad above where they’ll end up. Another trick this time was sticking toothpicks in the sheep to anchor them on every hillside. We were surprised that, even taking our time, this install only took 3-4 hours to install.

As if hanging out with Sonia and Liz at Stash wasn’t enjoyable enough, we entertained ourselves by installing a pair of yarnbombs out front before we started. Everyone who stopped and hugged them lifted our spirits while we worked!

Worm and snake yarnbomb
Stop by Stash to check our our latest yarnbombs too!
Worm and snake yarnbombs
Alpaca-approved bike rack yarnbombs

Photographing windows presents a challenge by virtue of being windows: reflections are such a bitch! Seriously during the day the clouds didn’t even show up in photos. Not until nearly 10 pm could we get good shots, but thanks to Jill’s amazing photo skills we can share the final fiber-themed wonderland with you.

If you’re near Corvallis, Oregon, be sure to head over to Stash for a few hanks of Simplicty and an alpaca or miniature sheep pattern. They’ll be waiting for you!


Lorna (& Jill!)


Story Time Yarnbomb at the San Mateo Library


A few months ago I tried out my new Addi Express knitting machine on a few bike rack worm yarnbombs. The Very Hungry Caterpillar yarnbomb from the popular children’s book was so loved by patrons at the San Mateo Public Library, that when it recently got shaggy I knew I had to replace it. My sister Jill and our new intern, Magine, dreamed up a new installation to span all 6 bike racks with characters from kids books. That required we expand our search to include any tube-shaped character, and we found 5 more! So, pop quiz: how well do you know your kids lit? The answers are in the photo titles of this Flickr album. story time yarnbombWe used both knitting and crochet on each character, spending about a full week of work for 2-3 people. Yeah, call us crazy–it was for the kids! First, we machine knit a body on the Ultimate Sweater Machine. This machine has no electricity or pattern capabilities so it’s faster than hand knitting, but still quite a slog–kind of like churning out a novella on an old-timey type writer. Next we sketched out the elements of each character from images by breaking its main features down into basic shapes, just like in cartooning. We crocheted all the details and painstakingly sewed them together in the studio. This time we learned our lesson about working for hours in the sun and purchased some PVC pipes of the same diameter as the bike racks in order not to have to assemble all the details in the field. You don’t think about it at first, but the eyes for example must be placed where they’ll go on the tube when it’s fully stretched, and guesstimating that will quickly make you go either grey or bald.  Pipe also works great for test swatches to calculate the number of rows and stitches in each body. Finally, we installed on a Friday evening after closing so the racks would be empty–which they almost never are. Yay for cyclists! Now comes the fun part! We can’t wait to see all the pictures of kids playing with the characters, and hope the library dreams up a fun contest for kids who guess them all or read all the books. story time yarnbomb Alice in wonderland yarnbomb James and the Giant Peach yarnbomb Harry Potter basilisk yarnbomb Richard Scarry's Lowly Worm yarnbomb The Jungle Book Kaa yarnbomb The Very Hungry Caterpillar yarnbomb IMG_5506 The San Mateo Public Library is just off of 3rd Ave and El Camino in downtown San Mateo, California. I hope you get a chance to see them while they last. Be sure to tag your photos #knitsforlife so I can see your fun snapshots! xxxo, Lorna


New Buttmunches Yarnbomb: Monster Benches at the Ferry Building

When my sister, Jill, and I aren’t working on publishing new knitting and crochet patterns or a commissioned installation, we do what we love most: yarnbombing. If you haven’t checked out our new zine called Fuse that’s all about what yarnbombing it is and why/how people do it, get with the program here!
Ever since our big Squid Tree yarnbomb in San Mateo, we’ve wanted to design a new character-based yarnbomb in a great spot. We got the perfect chance when CCTV-America asked to film us installing a yarnbomb for their new show about creativity called Full Frame: introducing our newest monster bench yarnbomb we’re calling Buttmunches!
The best part of yarnbombing to us is seeing what happens to it once we give it to the public. Jill considers it a social experiment to discover how people interact with our yarnbombs, whether they steward, steal, destroy, or hug them. These Buttmunches generate so much love so far we can’t stop stalking them on Instagram! Here are few highlights:

Buttmunch yarnbomb monster bench ferry building

Our inspiration was to find a picturesque site in the city where both locals and tourists could enjoy our work. We love the way the waterfront is transforming into a new, vibrant heart of the city and wanted to show it some love. The Ferry Plaza is also sentimental to us since we have fond memories from the 80’s of taking the ferry to the Embarcadero to have lunch with our grandfather who worked at PG&E. Our mother also worked near the Embarcadero, and we’ve been going there since we were kids. I usually walk around areas on Google Street View looking for objects to transform into silly things with yarn. We think it a noble endeavor to make grown-ups smile. The benches had a gorgeous backdrop on all sides, and the idea of giving them a local bite, as it were, just came to me. Some objects shout at us, others need intense psychotherapy to coax it out.
ferry plaza benches
We started yarnbombing guerrilla style, but our laborious yarnbombs are easy to steal or damage, so we prefer to get permission and confirmation that the site will enjoy it and become a kind of steward of the work. Many artists are forced to create guerrilla style public art because they have no other recourse. This becomes the distinction between public art and street art: one is welcomed, while the other refuses to be forced out by economics or government. Cities like Oakland and San Mateo are not only becoming new art hubs because of rising big-city rents. They’re attracting artists with welcoming attitudes in local government and business. We asked to do a free public art installation all over SF, but got turned down again and again. The company who manages Ferry Building also manages a property in San Mateo that we’ve worked with, so we suspected they’d be amenable to an installation, and they were!

Buttmunch yarnbomb Monster benches san francisco ferry building

Buttmunch went up on April 16. The whole thing stitched up about 3 miles of yarn, took 30 hours to construct, and 3 hours to install. We knit the bodies, arms, legs, and mouths on the Bond Ultimate Sweater Machine with Knit Picks Brava Sport and some value acrylic from the craft store. We crocheted the hands, feet, eyes, teeth, horns, and other details using more value acrylic from our stash. If you can believe it from looking at our yarn wall, we actually needed to buy orange for this project!

cctv america full frame yarn wall studiocctv america full frame yarn wall studio


One of the things we love about our new art studio to work in is having so much SPACE! Even though we measure and calculate gauge again and again, there’s always a nagging worry about how a yarnbomb will fit. This time, we just pinned it on the wall in the right proportions and were able to sew the deets on just like we were in the field. It rocked so hard we’re psyched to start another project!
Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset


@thedappertoad presents this special sneak peek of our next #yarnbomb at the #SF Ferry building.

A video posted by Lorna Watt (@knitsforlife) on

We’ll post a link to the show on Facebook when it airs, so be sure to follow my Facebook Page and Instagram!


Buttmunch yarnbomb Monster benches san francisco ferry building Buttmunch yarnbomb Monster benches san francisco ferry building
 When they get badly damaged or soiled we’ll remove them and surprise people with something new. Until then, we hope you get a chance to see them in person. Be sure to tag us @knitsforlife and @thedappertoad so we can share in the fun!
New Patterns

New Crochet Pattern: Monster Slippers


One of the first yarnbombs my sister and I made was a pair of elf slippers for a mailbox during the holidays. Mailbox feet became our most popular yarnbomb series, with everything from webbed frog and duck feet to monster claws. Everyone would ask, why should mailboxes have all the fun? And they’re right! Now you can yarnbomb your feet with my new Monster Slippers crochet pattern, available for instant download on Ravelry, Etsy, and Craftsy.

Monster Slippers Crochet Pattern

This beginner-intermediate crochet pattern includes instructions for slippers in shoe sizes kids 3-7, women 5-12, and men 6-11. I designed these slippers to use bulky yarn and a large hook so they work up quickly enough to make them for all your friends and family. (Or, just hog them all to yourself!) Each pair takes just 2 skeins of the main color in Knit Picks’ machine-washable Brava Bulky, which comes in a wonderful color palette. Pictured are Rouge & Canary, Cornflower & Orange, and Peapod & Fairy Tale.

Monster Slippers Crochet Pattern

Skid around in your undies à la Risky Business, or take precautions with anti-skid bottoms. Pre-made suede or anti-skid soles are handy to sew on, but I used glow-in-the-dark puffing craft paint for even more fun. Evenly cover sole with pinhead-sized dots and let dry.

Monster Slippers Crochet Pattern anti-skid slipper bottoms with puffy paint

If you subscribe to my newsletter, check your inbox for a crazy-huge exclusive discount on this new crochet pattern. If not, sign up here because more patterns are coming soon!

Monster Slippers Crochet Pattern

I’m so looking forward to seeing your creations and crazy action shots on my Facebook Page or on the pattern’s Ravelry page.



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!



New Patterns

WWJD: an Easter project Jesus would do


Cats wreak genocide on baby birds

Earlier this year a new study found that we’d been underestimating by billions the number of birds and small mammals our cute little kitties ravenously kill every year. Oh noes! Bad bad kitties!

Cat and bird meme

Fortunately, the country is also full of wildlife rescue centers. These are the places where sensitive nature-lovers like you and me deliver injured birds and other animals in the hopes that they’ll be nurtured back to health and released back into the wild.

Play the Easter Bunny for a fledgling this year

This time of year baby bird nurseries are aflutter, not with marshmallow peeps, but tiny robins, jays, towhees, and thrushes all orphaned, injured, or separated from their parents. When a family member in Seattle emailed me about a local rescue center’s call for knitted nests for baby bird season, I knew it was the perfect Easter craft to share with you all. Look how cute they are!

Knit Wildlife Rescue Bird Nests

How to knit a baby bird nest

You’ll enjoy every stitch, thinking of the little feet and feathers flopping around in your nest! The pattern is so simple that after just one, you’ll have it memorized and won’t be able to stop making more. Well, as you can see, I certainly couldn’t!

Here are the details from the call for nests from the West Sound Wildlife Shelter. Please click over and read for more information. Thanks to Barbara Johnson for the pattern. Ship your finished nests to West Sound Wildlife, 7501 NE Dolphin Dr., Bainbridge Island, WA 98110. Please note that they are not open to the public. If you live in the area and want to deliver your nests, call 206-855-9057 to arrange an appointment first.


  • To make sure the nest is tight and washable, use two strands of washable yarn (using two different colors to make counting stitches easier). Use three strands if the yarn is very fine.
  • Use double-pointed needles—just about any size, from 5 through 9, depending on the weight of the yarn. You can use circular needles if you prefer.
  • When doing K2tog, it seems to be easier to knit through the back loops rather than the front. If you’re still having problems with K2tog, try using a crochet hook to pull the yarn through.
  • Only decrease to the point where you have a small, easily closed gap in the bottom of the nest; otherwise there can be a bump on the bottom that can make the nest unstable.
  • Directions given are for nests that are about 4” across. Cast on fewer stitches for smaller nests. They knit up so quickly, it’s easy to experiment. (If the nest is much smaller, start the decrease with K6, K2tog.)
  • The yarn should not be fuzzy so toes don’t get caught.


  1. Using 2 strands of yarn, cast on 54 stitches; then divide evenly among 4 dpns.
  2. Work in stockinette (all K stitches) until the nest is approximately 3″ tall.
  3. Purl one row, and then start to decrease:
  4. Row 1) K7, K2tog—repeat to end
  5. Row 2) K6, K2tog—repeat to end
  6. Row 3) K5, K2tog—repeat to end
  7. Row 4) K4, K2tog—repeat to end
  8. Row 5) K3, K2tog—repeat to end
  9. Row 6) K2, K2tog—repeat to end
  10. Row 7) K1, K2tog—repeat to end
  11. See tip #4 above to determine if you want to continue in this pattern for one more row. Cut yarns, leaving a 6″ tail. Slide yarn on needle, draw tight to close up end (put a few stitches across the gap if need be.) Weave in yarn and cut off.

Knit Wildlife Rescue Bird Nests Knit Wildlife Rescue Bird Nests

Ready, set, stashbust!

I love how they turned out in this Lily Sugar ‘n Cream cotton yarn. I’ve had it for years and always rip out the projects I use it for. Something about the color pattern and stiffness of the cotton was never satisfying, but it’s such cute yarn that I hung on to it. What a perfect match for this project! I held it double and used 3.75 mm needles.

What part of your stash is this project perfect for busting?Knit Wildlife Rescue Bird NestsI hope you have some quality creative time (and chocolate and ham!) this weekend and can dedicate a little of it to this wonderful rescue center. Share your nests with me on Instagram by tagging them with hashtag #knitsforlife, or tweet them to me @knitsforlife!

Coming up next week is a fun crochet bracelet tutorial, so stay tuned by following me on Facebook, or your favorite RSS feed.

Happy Easter to you all!