Allow me to present, Miss Cranberry Wensleydale, of the Cheddar Wensleydales!
Project: Cranberry Wensleydale
Designer: Heather Ordover
Available: a mere $1.50 on Ravelry
Yarn: leftover Tosh Light in Alizarin
Materials: itty bitty safety eyes
I haven’t made a little knit toy just for fun in a long time, but that’s exactly what this was! Someone suggested I should stuff it with catnip. They would be mistaken.
Heather Ordover’s pattern is straight-forward. After the nose is complete, there is no shaping until the bum. I opted for the “knit separately, then sew on” version of the ears, and I ended up sewing them on upside down (I think), but they looked cuter that way, at least to me. I also bought and used safety eyes for the first time. They are SO much better than flat sewn eyes — they look right the first time, and don’t have to be redone a hundred times because the first 99 made the animal look demented.
Also? Cranberry Wensleydale is the best cheese.
Some “friends” of mine showed me this adorable FREE pattern, and I just couldn’t resist! I cast on right away for my very own version of Oink (by Susan B. Anderson of Spud & Chloe).
I used leftover yarn bits — Wool of the Andes for the body, Shine Worsted for the nose tip & ear-insides, and Gloss for the black embroidery.
Now we shall pause to admire pink pigs adorable curly tail!
I was in too much of a rush to use a pink bouncy ball, but it is an awesome idea.
The wings on the pattern are awesome too! The omission on my pig is primarily due to the fact that I knit too late at night, and tried two very different techniques for making the wings. I, uh, tried to make the 2nd one i-cord style, after being annoyed with knitting the first one in the round. The two wings came out radically different sizes, and I just couldn’t stay up and make a third wing. Plus I couldn’t decide where/how to put them. Plus my pig was so cute already!
Introducing …. my very own toy Gromit! I stayed up (too) late Friday night to finish, even though I had an agility trial the next day (which means rising at ungodly early in order to drive two hours to the trial, arriving there by 7 AM). The satisfaction of leaving this sweet little toy dog completed instead of in parts was well worth the delayed bedtime.
Pattern: Border Collie
Designer: Joanna Osborne and Sally Muir
Available: in Knit Your Own Dog (available for $8.49 on Amazon)
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette (leftover Cream, Merlot Heather (I think), plus tiny scraps of Semolina, Edamame, and Ash)
As I mentioned in my review of Knit Your Own Dog, the pattern is made up of a billion tiny pieces, all worked flat. After I seamed and stuffed the first leg, I thought it would be fun to show the bits that go into a toy Border Collie. Right next to the penny is the left rear leg. Above the leg, you can the top of the head. The rest is just a big muddle!
In this photo, the legs and body are all seamed and stuffed. I used
pipe cleaners chenille stems to provide structure for the legs. (I learned from making some cool amigurumi last year that this is absolutely necessary.) The ears are still waiting to be sewn on, and the original tail is looking awfully big … I ended up chucking it and making a smaller version than called for in the pattern, to better match my dog. I’m very impressed with how the designers achieved a very dog-like shape. Often knit toys approximate real shapes with blobby shapes and imagination — but this one looks like the real thing!
For the eyes I pulled apart two strands of Edamame and Semolina, and re-plied some of each into a single strand of greeny-gold yarn to match Gromit’s eye color. Simple French knots make surprisingly convincing eyes. I embroidered the nose with satin stitch … I’m still not 100% satisfied, but I have decided to call it done after cutting out the stitches once or twice and starting over. The collar is made out of Ash — again, to match the real Gromit’s awesome collar (a D Dogs Designs original).
My friend Donna took some glamor shots of the samples for my Aviator scarves (up for publication through Knit Picks IDP). She is a professional photographer, specializing in dogs and dog sports, and I suspect she found the (inanimate) knitted items rather not a challenge in comparison. I had asked her to do the shoot in exchange for “something knitted.” I offered her a choice of the two sample scarves, but she thought they were “too nice.” Later on, she joked that I should knit her a new dog (her Border Collie is sometimes a bit naughty!), and it occurred to me that I could knit up a little sheep for her!
Pattern: Loopy the Sheep
Designer: Amanda Berry
Available: for $3.25 on Ravelry
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted (about half a ball each of black and white)
The pattern is easy to read and complete — I found no errors of any kind. The designer did a great job with photos showing how the pieces go together. The directions to make the loopy fleece were clear. I did modify the pattern to make almost all the parts in the round instead of flat, because I didn’t want to seam those little hands and feet. Conversely, I chose not to seam the ears — I liked how the stockinette curled.