Copyright © 2005-2008, Kimberly Chapman. All knitting graphics/patterns/instructions on this page were created by Kimberly Chapman. You may link to this page, but please do not steal/hotlink the graphics or copy the patterns to other sites without my written permission. Feel free to print graphics/patterns/instructions for personal or non-profit use, but absolutely no for-profit reproduction is allowed, including selling of finished items (except for registered charitable causes).
If you want your knitted toys to squeak, I recommend ordering squeakers from SitStay.com, a dog-supply store that is the only place I've ever found that sells squeakers. The prices are good (especially if you buy in bulk), the shipping is exact-cost, the service and speed is excellent. They are fairly flat and come in two sizes, 1.5" diameter and 2 1/8" diameter. They are all plastic and have a good volume.
I've found the best way to put bells safely in a knitted toy so they still jingle is to seal them inside of another container. Even then, cheap bells will click more than jingle if they can hit against each other, and no matter what you do, cheap bells will be quite muted under layers of stuffing. My method is to take an old film canister or similar sealable plastic container, carefully cut out small holes in the sides (I use an X-Acto blade), wedge the loop of the bell into that hole, feed a twist-tie through the hole on the outside of the canister, and twist tightly to hold it in place, then put the whole thing in the centre of the toy's stuffing, as shown in this diagram:
To add many bells to a large or long toy, secure the bells along a length of craft wire, then bind the wire to a solid cardboard tube (the tubes inside rolls of foil and cling wrap are excellent). Ensure that there are no sharp points of wire to poke through any part of the toy. Note that if you use cardboard, however, the toy should not be machine-washed as the tube will disintegrate. Insert the tube assembly into the toy with plenty of stuffing on all sides.
You could spend money on various sizes and shapes of yarn containers that feed out of a hole in the top, or you could save your money and engage in some enviro-healthy reusing instead!
Simply take a plastic food tub (fully cleaned and de-greased, of course) of an appropriate size to your yarn ball and make holes in the lid as needed. The example shown below is a 27-oz yogurt container that was otherwise not recyclable in my area since it is #5 plastic. It was the perfect size for a Fun Fur ball, which is an eyelash yarn prone to tangling especially when grabbed by a toddler. I bent the side of the lid out gently to slide a single-hole punch over, then punched one small hole for fine yarn and grouped about six punches together for a big hole for thicker/novelty yarn. Then I took one of my miniature files (an emery board would do just as well) and gave the holes a quick sanding to make sure there were no snaggy bits of plastic remaining (this may leave extremely fine, almost hair-like bits of plastic but I've had no trouble with those shedding or snagging). If you don't have a hole-punch or can't get it over the edge of the lid or want your hole more central on the lid, just cut a hole with a sharp blade instead.
Be sure to feed your yarn through the hole in the lid BEFORE you start knitting. This does trap your yarn in the lid until you cut it, but worst comes to worst the lid can act as a detangler if left dangling on your yarn. I suppose if you wanted to be able to put yarn in and out of the container during a project, you could make your lid more accommodating by making slits, although some yarns might not be held as well or might snag. But if you've got a supply of unrecyclable food containers, you may as well give it a try since it won't cost you anything beyond a bit of time!
If you like this idea and happen to also be a beader, you'll probably like my tutorial on making your own bead spinner out of reused materials.
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Page last updated May 6, 2007.
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