Stuffed

A lot of my patterns are for tiny things that need to be stuffed before they’re finished. I’ve tried a lot of different materials over the years, and I’ve talked a bit about how I stuff things in individual patterns. But I wanted to put everything in one place so it’s easy to point folks to if they have questions.

Plastic Pellets

Plastic pellets are my very favorite way to fill tiny things. I got a big bag of the weighted pellets and have filled an astonishing number of projects from it.

They give my knits a heft I really enjoy (there’s nothing better if you want your project to stand up on its own). They’re easy to work with and inexpensive. They don’t smell funny or mold or attract pests. And they’re big enough they don’t work their way out through your fabric over time.

I tend to use a fat straw and a spoon to funnel them in there, and I find they give me a much more even surface than stuffing does.

Now, some folks get awfully snarky about plastic. So I’ll just say right up front that you can totally use or not use whatever you like. No one will make you use plastic. But I’ve tried a bunch of non-plastic options for these projects, and none of them do all the things plastic does. And I don’t actually think plastic (especially plastic that you use and keep using for years, rather than use once and throw away) is inherently evil. Sometimes it’s the best choice for the job at hand.

So if you want to know what I like best, it’s plastic pellets. But there are other choices!

Wool roving or polyester stuffing

Traditional stuffing is my second favorite way to fill tiny things.

I like wool roving best, because it comes in more colors and I think it stays inside my knitting better. I’m pretty sure my cats prefer it too, they seem to play with the wool filled toys the most. Plain old polyester stuffing works too, but it seems to only come in bright white, and I find it tends to send creeping tendrils out through my fabric over time, so it’s not my favorite. But it will do in a pinch.

Stuffing will give you a softer, lighter, more cuddly project than plastic pellets will, so it can be a great choice if you’re planning to use your project as a toy.

Smelly stuff

If you want your projects to have a scent, you can work some smelly stuff (like lavender, catnip, rose petals, chamomile, or cedar chips) into your filling.

The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to fill one of the tiny cotton drawstring bags intended to be used as reusable tea bags with whatever I want to use for scent. Then I fill my project part way with whichever filling I’m using, tuck in the bag with the smelly stuff, then finish filling the project.

Most of the stuff you would use for scent is kind of grabby, so it can be hard to get it into your knitting if it’s not contained. And some of it is pretty tiny, so it has a tendency to work its way out of your fabric over time if you don’t put it in something. The tiny drawstring bags solve both those problems.

Hot stuff

If you want to use your projects as microwaveable hot packs, you can do that! But it’s really important to pay attention to the materials you’re using.

First, make sure you’re using all natural yarns (wool or cotton are great, don’t use anything with nylon or metal in the yarn). Then, fill it with something you can microwave and which will retain heat.

Most of the recommendations I see are for dried rice or beans or lentils. Different materials have different properties (heat retention, smell, weight) and most have the potential to mold or attract pests over time, so it’s always a bit of a balancing act to find what works for you. I don’t actually use hand warmers, so I don’t have a lot of personal experience with them, but I found this post where someone reviewed a bunch of different options that might be helpful.

But overall, my favorite way to fill any sort of stuffed project is plastic pellets. I’ll use wool roving if I need something to be soft and cuddly. I’ll use polyester stuffing if nothing else handy. If I want to put smelly stuff in there, I tuck it in a tiny bag first to make it a bit more manageable. If I want hand warmers, I head to the kitchen and see what’s lingering at the back of the pantry.

I’m absolutely sure there are other options (glass beads, emery sand, metal balls, yarn scraps). But these cover the vast majority of projects I’ve made or seen other folks make, and I think they’ll almost certainly work for you!

P.S. You’ll see I’ve occasionally linked to specific products on amazon. Full disclosure, amazon is garbage. We all know that. But it is also convenient and makes life easier for a lot of folks. So, amazon links are affiliate links, because if I’m going to send traffic their way, I’m damn sure going to get back the couple of cents they’ll give me for doing that.

If you don’t want to buy stuff on amazon, that’s great! I encourage you to search out similar things from your local stores. But it’s the best way I’ve found to get the most information to the most people in as convenient a way as possible. So I’m going to include them. But I am always in favor of finding an alternative if that’s an option for you.

Besotted

This was the very first bit of tiny nonsense I ever knit. Everything before this had been at least a little bit practical. But this? This was unabashedly ridiculous.⁠

It was also just what I needed.⁠

Because you see, I was having a bad time when I knit the first of these. I’d broken my leg. I couldn’t get comfortable to knit for more than twenty minutes at a time. Everything felt impossible.⁠

So I knit these. I knit piles and piles and piles of these sweet, silly little distractions.⁠

I almost didn’t write a pattern, because I truly wasn’t sure anyone needed any such thing. But when I posted pictures online, folks were absolutely besotted. So I wrote them up. And they’ve been one of my most popular patterns ever since. ⁠

I am truly delighted that you love them as much as I do!⁠

They’ve shown up as decorations or favors at weddings and baby showers and birthday parties. They’ve been tucked in lunch boxes and book bags and coat pockets on hard days and happy ones. They’ve found their way into envelopes and through the mail to folks who needed a little surprise. They’ve shown up on Christmas trees and garlands and mobiles. They’ve been filled with cedar chips and lavender and tucked into sweater drawers and filled with catnip and terrorized by rampaging kittens.⁠

They’re basically the perfect way to turn a few dozen yards of yarn and a few hours of knitting into a tiny token of good will that you can hand out as needed.⁠

And really, we could all do with sharing a bit more good will!⁠

The pattern is called Palpitation, and it’s one of the six patterns that will be returning next month.⁠

I’m spending some time over the next few weeks introducing the returning patterns and talking about some of techniques I use in creating them. ⁠

For these, I want to talk about what I use to fill tiny projects. I’m putting together a big post on that which will be up shortly. In the meantime, if you have questions about filling tiny things, leave them over on instagram (I have comments turned off on the blog) and I’ll try and answer some of them in the upcoming post.⁠

And if you happen to have knit these, post a picture on instagram and tag it with #tinynonsense. I’d love to see what you’ve done with them!⁠

Wrap up

I wanted to do a little wrap up/what comes next post, now that the sale is over and the patterns are down. This is the slightly longer/link infested version of the post over here on instagram and twitter (because dammit, I’m wordy, and those both have character/formatting limitations that I smash right into on a regular basis).

1) All the patterns are down! Some time later this year* six will come back. A few others may appear from time to time, but generally speaking, they’re staying gone. I don’t ever intend to go back to having hundreds of patterns available. (Ahem…and while most folks have been truly lovely about me saying I need to run my business in a way that is sustainable for me, one of this week’s writing tasks is coming up with a civil, or at least civil-adjacent copy/pasteable response to have on hand for the handful of folks who have been…less than lovely. So that’s fun.)

2) There will continue to be new patterns! Not at the same rate, because trying to crank out patterns twice a month is unsustainable in the long run. But there will be new ones (the little spools will be the first new one to come out, likely late next month), and oh, oh am I excited for them!

3) In addition to patterns, there will also be a patreon. I’ll talk about it over the next few weeks, but the general idea is that some of the new patterns will have bonus content. If you want the bonus content (or you just like the pictures I take & the words I write & you want to help support all the stuff I share online), you can join the patreon.

4) I’ll open patreon signups soon, likely early next month (mailing list folks get first dibs on early bird spots). But trying to exist in the fire hose stream of dreck that is general social media is increasingly unappealing. I like the idea of making some things for a more focused group of folks. Patreon seems like the way to do that. And I’m feeling ever more confident that this is the right choice, in large part because of how the sale went. Which brings us to the last point…

5) The sale went well. Really well. Like the sort of well where instead of panicking & scrambling & being worried this was a terrible idea, I feel happy & calm & chill & excited for what comes next.

And oh yeah, the kind of well where we got to donate TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS to a local abortion provider.

And then donate ANOTHER THEN THOUSAND DOLLARS to a local trans organization.

And then give away A THOUSAND PATTERNS to folks who didn’t have space in the budget for indulgences.

Because when good things happen, we spread it around. And you folks made a lot of good things happen!

You’ll hear more from me over the coming weeks (seriously, I’m not going away, I’m just going to be sharing stuff at an ever so slightly less frantic rate, so that I don’t, you know, die), but here’s to more good things to come!

*Henceforth and forever more, assume any date or time range I give for something happening in the future has a great big, flashing ‘Assuming Neither I Nor Any Of My Most Important People Are Felled By One Of The Various Plagues Or Disasters We’re All Constantly Dodging’ disclaimer on it. Actually, go ahead and do yourself and everyone you interact with a massive favor by putting that mental disclaimer on literally everything. Because we’re all trying to survive a series of intersecting and intensifying catastrophes, and boy oh boy is it a mistake to think you can hold yourself to the schedule or level of certainty that was (just barely, maybe, possibly) feasible a few years ago. And if you try too hard for too long, you will break. It’s way better to extend everyone a bit of grace. Even if you don’t need it now, you will one day, and it’s better to get in practice now.

And down!

And with that, the ravelry and payhip shops are down! For the first time since April of 2009, I don’t have anything anywhere for anyone to buy directly from me.

At least I don’t think I do. It’s possible I missed something (fourteen years of work in the form of hundreds of patterns across several sites gets a bit…unwieldy to ever say anything definite about). And I’ll be on the lookout for those over the coming weeks. But I *think* everything is down.

I’ll do a big wrap up/what comes next post in a few days.

The short version is that most patterns are gone and are not coming back (though anything in your ravelry library stays right where it is).

A tiny handful of patterns, six to be precise, will be back (probably in September).

There will be new patterns too (also probably in September).

The patreon will launch later this year (yup, you guessed it, probably in September).

More info in the wrap up/what comes next post mentioned above (probably either late this week or early next). Then after that, I’m going to be awfully darn quiet for a little bit.

Not the usual kind of quiet where I’m still checking my email most days and I’ve diligently worked ahead and scheduled content for instagram and twitter and the blog for every day or at most every other day.

The real quiet.

The kind where I’m Actually Not Working.

For Many Consecutive Days.

For the first time in I don’t know how long.

And then? Well then, in the not too distant future, we’ll do something grand!