Sunday, June 15, 2008

Proof that I do actually finish things from time to time

Hi everyone, meet Bunny:

Not that Bunny. This one isn't wearing emerald green toenail polish and hanging with nihilists.

Bunny is a present for one of my nieces who just turned 2 a week ago (yes, I am late as ALWAYS)

Pattern: Rabbit from Baby Knits: 20 Handknit designs for babies 0-24 months by Lois Daykin
Needles: 3.25 mm/US 3 wooden DPNs
Yarn: Rowan RYC Cashsoft DK in peach for the body (1.3 balls), Rowan RYC Cashsoft 4 Ply and Cashcotton 4 Ply for the dress (.75 balls of the main color, and some 10-20 yards for every other color)

The pattern calls for everything to be knit flat, but I tried that for a single piece before converting everything possible to in-the-round. It saves seaming time and it's hard to see any different between the seamed piece and the rest of them. All of the increase and decreases are symmetrical, so it's easy to convert: Just switch the decreases to the right side version (e.g. P2tog->SSK) and eliminate the last stitch of every row.

The ears were the trickiest part, since they are in seed stitch, and decreasing while keeping the stitch pattern current is a bit tricky. I ended up with a row of knit stitches down the side of each ear, but it made the ears fold nicely so I call it a feature.

Other things I changed: I matched all the make-one increases because I thought they looked better that way and I'm a tiny bit anal-retentive like that. The pattern just specifies a generic left-leaning make 1.
In addition, I added 4 more seed stitch rows to each foot pad because they weren't long enough to fit nicely on the legs.

For once I hit the gauge spot-on with the recommended needles. You use the same size for both the body and the dress, since the body is knitted tighter so it can be stuffed. I changed the main stranded pattern on the dress from the one given in the book, because I only had 4 colors of 4 ply and I didn't like how it looked. I like mine much better. Hooray for graph paper.

It took me a while to sew up all the little pieces and then sew them to each other. Perhaps I was too aggressive, as I do not want her head ripped off (I fear 2-year-olds). More likely I just do not know the esoteric secrets of knitted stuff animal sewing.

This project also unfortunately reminded me of just how awful I am at embroidery. The nose is a solid mass of satin stitch (if you keep stitching eventually you'll cover all the surface, that's my motto). After a number of a failed tries at getting the backstitched mouth looking even, I surfed around and found chain stitch, my new best friend. It gave me enough control over the stitches that I could its expression look less psychotic and more benevolent. The pattern calls for embroidered whites on the eyes, but it looked horrid and I picked it all out and just went with buttons (VERY WELL SECURED, I ASSURE YOU).

This was my first stuffed toy and my first stranded knitting. I thought it'd be a good learning piece because my niece is not likely to care so much if my strands are a little too tight. Another unfortunate project epiphany: I suck real bad at American-style knitting, even after a few hours of practice. Oh well, I'll keep persisting. I haven't decided yet if I don't like it because I am clumsy at it, or because I just don't like it, so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

Why is my bunny orange? Because she eats lots of carrots, of course.

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