Friday, July 10, 2009

Dying for some lace, settling for some toys

Given that most of my knitting time is sporadic at best, I've had to carefully select projects. They either need to be massively long basic rows like the November Ruffle Wrap or simple enough that I can always tell where I'm at. Unfortunately, I've really been itching for a good lace project. But the thought of repetitious lace doesn't do it for me right now and I just need to be realistic about anything too involved. My solution? Knitted toys.

I know apples and oranges, but they really have done the trick!! I've been cranking these suckers out like there's no tomorrow. They've really turned into great low attention span knitting projects. They are usually in small pieces that require enough shaping to make the simple stitches interesting. So its helping to reconcile the challenging with the realistic.

It all started when my aunt was flipping through my Charmed Knits book and spotted the Errol pattern. She, like me, is a big Errol fan and I had totally forgot that pattern was in the book. She hadn't knit in quite a few years, so she asked if I'd help her get reacclimated. I realized the easiest way for me to do this is by making it myself. I talked her through the pattern and we both knit up the parts separately. We then got together for a 'making up' party...during which we laughed hysterically at the wonky birds we came up with. This is my Errol:

definitely more penguin than owl

Pattern: Errol from Charmed Knits
Yarn: Cotton Ease in Violet and Lime
Needles: 6 and 7

and this is hers:

way more owlish if I do say!

I'm not quite sure what happened but we both ended up with crazy big bum pieces and large beaks. She opted not to use her beak and I opted to make my crazy bum piece into bird hips. Mine is also wonky because I didn't worry about gauge. I knew I was using a smaller gauge yarn, so I tried to proportionally correct my row counts, so he didn't end up crazy tall and didn't really work, but it doesn't really matter. Errol's wonky and Elliott really hasn't complained:

Elliott and Errol

After the wonky bird, I wanted to make something 'cuter'. I picked out the Grumpasaurus pattern and got to work with some stash leftovers.


Pattern: Grumpasaurus by Kat Lewinski
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Worsted in Wild Mustard and Oregano
Needles: 6

It came out great because this time I followed proper knitted toy technique and knit tightly and stuffed firmly. But it also came out 'spikier' because of the Lamb's Pride. And well, Elliott didn't want anything to do with it. Fortunately, Mr. Grump wasn't homeless for long...Daddy decided he was pretty cool, so he now is living comfortably amongst the Star Wars toys on B's desk.

So, given the success of Errol and the less than stellar reception Elliott gave Mr. Grump, I opted to recreate the Cotton-Ease-easy-on-the-stuffing knitted toy formula. In looking through Ravelry, I came across Fred the Friendly Monster and ended up making Melvin:

Melvin the Monster - Front

Pattern: Fred the Friendly Monster by Yvonne Boucher
Yarn: Cotton Ease in Taupe, Stone and Maize
Needles: 7

And almost as quickly as I was done with Melvin, I cast on for a Happy Sock Monkey courtesy of Rebecca Zelt. For those who know me, you know I have a thing for monkeys...and sock monkeys are high up on that list of cool monkeys. I have even had a fantasy of knitting replica socks then cutting them all apart to make a sock monkey...fortunately, I've found a more 'sane' option in this pattern. I also realized how much I liked knitting the Taupe Cotton Ease, so I'm making a more stylized sock monkey with Stone and Taupe Cotton Ease with Terracotta for the red bits. So far, I have one leg done and I'm about 1/4 way through the second leg.

Best part? ALL of this projects have been from stash yarn and most have been from remnants of other projects. Do you recognize my Celtic Tote in Mr. Grump? ;) So these have also been great projects for our 'reduced-income lifestyle'. I take that back...the best part is making fun things for this little man:

Elliott 52.3: Silly Man

Who (by the way) just happened to turn 5 months this week! Man, where did the time go?


jillian said...

All of those toys are adorable, wonky or not! Funny that he should prefer the less stuffed versions :)

Tami said...

I like the Grumpasaurus best.They are all cute. I need to look back through Charmed knits, I forgot I had it.

Congrats on Bean turning 5 months. Chloe will be 4 months at the end of this one. I can't wait to start feeding her cereal.

Anonymous said...

omg, the cuteness is killing me! Mr Grump is extremly cute. Love that lil smirk. The Bean is definitely the cutest, no doubt about it. Love that pic!

Kara said...

Oh, he LOVES his owl! So cute!

Kim said...

Mr. Grump looks great, all sitting up and smiling like a big kid! Great idea, knitted toys.

tiennie said...

Those are so cute but not as cute as your little man!

Hilari said...

what a little cutie! great knits too!

Octopus Knits said...

Such fun critters! Happy almost 6 months (by now) little guy!