Monday, April 14, 2008

Knit Bears

I thought I'd start by blogging about some of my past projects. I'll begin by sharing some pictures of the teddy bears I have knit. I had just taught myself to knit, back in 2004, and went to Borders one day at lunch to look at knitting books. I saw "The Knitted Teddy Bear" by Sandra Polley and just loved all the cute bear patterns in the book! I didn't buy the book that day because I just barely knew how to cast on and the knit and purl stitch. I didn't really think I was ready to tackle knit bears on tiny needles! But, I couldn't stop thinking about the book and ended up going back and buying it within a week.

My first attempt at a bear was the Beginner's Bear which basically consisted of knitting 5 squares of garter stitch (I could handle that!) and then forming them into a bear. I used yellow and white dishcloth cotton! The squares were easy to knit, but then it was time to turn squares into bears. That didn't go so well. I don't have a picture of it, but my mom still has the bear, so I will try to post a picture at some point. I didn't really follow the directions correctly to sew the arms and legs on and my attempt at embroidering a face onto it gave it a Billy Idol sneer. It was not a pretty site. But I couldn't get rid of it since it was my first attempt!

Well, I thought, maybe if I try following one of the "real" patterns I'd have better luck. So, I decided to try the "Oliver" pattern because I thought he was the cutest bear in the book and he was small, and I like small projects! But, again I started knitting with cotton yarn, some kind of almost braided cotton yarn that I found on sale at Wal-mart. It was thinner than dishcloth cotton, but had NO stretch. And here I am trying to do increases and decreases on US 2 needles with cotton yarn. Also, this is my FIRST time learning increases and decreases as I'm knitting on tiny needles with non-stretchy cotton yarn. I don't know how many times the stitches popped right off my needles and I would pull it all out and cast on again because I did not know how to pick up stitches. It was definitely a learning experience! So, I plodded along and eventually knit all the little pieces of Oliver and was ready to assemble. I hate assembling. So, I spend hours (probably) sewing together little Oliver knit pieces and end up with this:

Looks more like a rat, than a bear, eh? I think I took up too many stitches when I sewed his little head together and also didn't stuff it enough. Who knows!

Anyway, I later went to a real yarn shop, got some merino wool and tried the pattern again and came up with a much better looking Oliver:

[This was also after I had knit several other bear patterns from the book and figured out the best way to sew them up.] This Oliver looks like the picture in the book, a cute little bear. Alas, I was having camera troubles then, so the picture isn't very sharp, but at least you can tell it's a bear!

But, the first knit bear to actually come out looking like it was supposed to was the "Christopher & Rosie" pattern. I will post about that another time!

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