Worry Eaters with Missing Limbs

Three crocheted worry eaters in bright yarn, each featuring a missing limb

Here’s our latest shipment of worry monsters for Knit for Nowt! They all feature a missing limb – by Clare’s request in the case of the crochet ones, and because there were only enough fabric strips and felt hands/feet pre-cut for three limbs each in the case of the sewn ones!

There’s a strong demand for these modified therapy dolls to represent limb loss, disability, or the marks of physical abuse.

Phyllis is on a pants-knitting kick. Even the large pattern only takes a couple of hours to make and just about any spare DK yarn will do. I think these were all made with Sirdar Snuggly – one of our very favourite yarns, so soft and easy to knit with, but way too pricey to use for the bigger makes.

Two sewn worry monsters in bright fabrics, each with a missing limb
A batch of knitted underpants for use with play therapy dolls

What can I sew for Knit-for-Nowt?

Screencap from the Knit-for-Nowt website showing the faces of Mojo the worry monster

The charity I’m crafting for at the moment, Knit-for-Nowt, has a growing collection of sewing patterns on their website for worry monsters, worry eating animals, and play therapy puppets. As the name of the group suggests they also have loads of knitting/crochet patterns. Donated items are passed on to child therapists, childcare and support teams, schools, and play workers across the United Kingdom. Following the lockdowns of 2020/2021, demand is greater than ever. Almost 1000 requests are in the queue right now, with each receiving a box containing several handmade, donated items from across the Knit-for-Nowt range.

Sewers can have a go at Mojo – a worry monster with a pocket on its tummy and a flip-book of different expressions for a head.

My detailed tutorial for creating a tall, leggy worry monster with a zip mouth is there, as are a cute pair of animal-shaped monsters for use in body-image work: one is plump, the other slim.

Adaptable sewn happy/sad hand-puppets for female figures and male figures are infinitely customisable with hair and clothing. There’s a further “ethnic” pattern using the basic male/female ones and adding Islamic head coverings and some amazing ideas for depicting beards and hair. It’s no mean feat to design a puppet wearing a hijab when you need the face visible on both front and back! Therapists need puppet sets depicting family groups and professionals like police, medical staff, and court officials. Check out the particularly gorgeous photo of a group of “people who help us” professionals all wearing a tiny, tiny knitted Covid-19 face covering!

See the full range of sewing patterns for Knit-for-Nowt here.

Knit-for-Nowt Box 21 September 2021

This week’s shipment of worry eaters and other therapy-doll bits to Knit-for-Nowt! The knitted underpants tie in with the NSPCC’s Pants Rule. Therapists use them with dolls to illustrate and talk about privacy and good/bad touching, about telling an appropriate adult when something feels wrong, and in their work with children who have suffered sexual abuse.  The underpants can be knitted in various sizes to fit the Knit-for-Nowt worry monsters (patterns here and here) and go particularly well on long-legged worry eaters which are easy for children to dress and undress by stuffing the flexible limbs down the knicker-legs!

Helen’s working on a design for a set of easy-to-make finger puppets with different facial expressions to help therapists and children talk about feelings. It’d be great to eventually get the set printed on fabric so they’re easy to cut out and sew, along with ones for “family” and “people who help us” (professionals children may encounter like police officers, solicitors, doctors, etc). There’s a lot of work to do in Adobe Illustrator before that happens, though! There are tons of paper resources out there for this sort of work with children, and a few sets can be bought on Etsy, but I didn’t really find any free templates or downloads for sewing these types of finger puppet. This one is a basic one with a happy face on one side and sad on the other, hand-embroidered on stiff felt using DMC Perle.

Phyllis added a caterpillar worry eater to her range this week. Knit-for-Nowt has a new range of patterns available for knitting/crocheting Animal Worry Eaters. She improvised this one based on the Knit-for-Nowt “Candy the Caterpillar” (crochet) pattern, which uses a double strand where Phyllis used a single strand.

If you’re a knitter feeling creative and lucky, the charity is running an animal worry eater lucky dip until November 2021. All you have to do is make a worry eater using one of the new animal patterns. Enter as many times as you like!

Worry Eaters, Finger Puppets & Accessories

Our mid-September 2021 box of handmade therapy items for Knit-for-Nowt. Two sewn worry monsters, one crocheted worry pig, some felt and crochet finger puppets, and a pile of knitted underpants and face masks.

This weekend the charity opened up to take new requests and had almost 1000 on the waiting list by Monday! Each request receives multiple items, so obviously they need loads of donations to meet demand! 

If you’re able to knit, sew, or crochet worry eaters, hand or finger puppets, or any of the other items urgently needed by Knit-for-Nowt, please do get in touch with Clare via the form on the web site. You’ll find patterns, pictures and ideas there under the “More” tab on the right of the menu.