After a long day creating digital art for her job at DreamWorks Animation, Megan Kreiner loves to unwind by making things with her own two hands. She learned to knit and crochet when she was young, and began designing toy patterns in 2012.
Beluga Buddy Toy is a knitted whale inspired by the designs from Megan’s recent crochet book, “Bathtime Buddies.” The adorable white whale is knit in the round on double pointed needles using Berroco Comfort Chunky. This machine friendly yarn ensures the toy can be loved for years to come, no matter where your little one carries it. You can get the pattern in Love of Knitting Spring 2015 and find a Berroco retailer on our website.
Did you make the Beluga Buddy Toy for anyone in particular?
My 17 month old daughter has been enthralled with her baby beluga board book in recent months and we sing the baby beluga song before bedtime. I often take my cues of what to design next based on what my children are inspired by at any given the moment.
What’s your design process like?
I start off with an idea and translate it into concept art and drawings. Then I move on to building the various crocheted or knitted pieces by developing the pattern (which often reminds me of computer coding). After the pieces are assembled, I then move on to detail work and embellishments (hair, clothing, surface details). Finally, I hand off the project to a publisher (or to my kids) so someone else’s imagination can take over to create a story around the finished toy. My primary goal is to create toys and characters that inspire imaginative play, which is why I strive to create books and patterns that are rich with extra details.
How did you decide on the yarn?
One reason I love toys is that they tend to come together fairly quickly. The trade off is that my toys tend to be more “pocket” sized. I’ve been intrigued recently in trying to make my patterns larger without increasing the number of stitches and time one needs to spend putting it together. For the beluga, the easiest solution seemed to be going with thicker and heavier yarns. I was so happy with how it worked out that I’m now looking ahead to designing more patterns that will utilize bulkier yarns for bigger, more huggable toys that are still fast to make.
What’s your favorite project you’ve ever made? Why?
One project that meant a great deal to me was a knitted version of “Toothless” that I put together after the terrible events at Sandy Hook Elementary School. A charity had put out a request for knitted & crochet toys to be given out and for comforting children who had experienced a trauma from all over the country. I was given permission by DreamWorks to design and send over a knitted baby dragon based on Toothless from our “How to Train Your Dragon” movie. I don’t know who ended up with the knitted dragon, but if the toy I made provided even a little bit comfort during a very dark moment, that means the world to me as both an artist and a mom.