My Brindle Pony

Yesterday while I was at work, I decided to crochet a pony. This isn’t such a crazy whim to follow through on since I’m currently working at a yarn & fabric store here in Montreal and Sunday afternoons aren’t so busy.

I had just finished making some crocheted flowers for the shop and had an appetite for more crochet.

Work #selfie from yesterday. Crocheted flower hat & corsage.

I’ve been curious about amigurumi for a while, but somehow I have never tried it. After cruising some patterns on Ravelry, I found this pony pattern, grabbed a 3 mm hook and some random oatmeal fingering weight wool and got to work.

Amigurumi workshop

When I got home last night, I grabbed some left over aqua blue Fleece Artist I had from knitting a shawl for my mom a while ago.

Brindle Pony

Today, I continued working on the pony while hanging out on my front balcony, sewing each piece on after I was done crocheting it. I just finished it up this afternoon.

Brindle Pony

The only thing I found a bit strange was that each piece is made separately, and then sewn together. My understanding of crocheted toys was that each piece could be picked up and worked off the next? Maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

Brindle Pony

Pattern: Pony by Stephanie Jessica Lau
Materials: Mystery Oatmeal Fingering, Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 in Aqua
Start Date: June 15, 2014
End Date: June 16, 2014

Quite a quick little project.

Can’t have enough dodecahedrons

After finishing my new favourite socks, I found myself with two partial balls of rainbow Regia sock yarn in addition to the extra ball I had originally bought. Clearly that meant that I had to make another dodecahedron. Especially since I wanted to see if there was enough yarn in each stripe for one point. Turns out there is! With maybe a half a metre left over before the next colour change.

As you may have guessed, I really like this pattern. Though there’s no crazy folding, I find it’s the closest equivalent to origami in knitting. Precise stitch numbers, decreases and division of stitches gives you a perfect geometric shape—very origami-ey to me.

I wasn’t too sure about this dodecahedron as I was working on it’s deflated self. The idea of knitting a rainbow child’s toy seemed brilliant to me, but really in practise it seemed like I was recreating any generic toy available at nameless-giant toy store. It wasn’t until it was stuffed and finished that the magic really happened.

Pattern: Celestine
by Norah Gaughan
Materials: Regia Nation Color 5399
Start Date: March 6, 2010
End Date: March 11, 2010

Instead of working as stated in the pattern for the last point (stuffing the toy, picking up stitches along all sides of previous points and knitting the last point), I cast on 11 provisionally, picked up stitches along the 4 other sides of the previous points and knit it un-stuffed. Trying to knit something already stuffed was no fun last time, so I thought I’d try something else.

This worked out pretty well. One side gives a decent enough gap to stuff, grafting’s not such a big deal as it’s not such a big seam and it’s kind of like when sewing a stuffed toy where you leave a little gap to stuff through and stitch it closed after. I dare you to try and find the grafted seam. Actually I don’t even remember where it is any more so if you think you’ve found it, I couldn’t tell you if you were right or not.

The biggest challenge working with a rainbow of colours was making sure I didn’t end up with two points of the same colour next to each other. Originally I worked in the usual rainbow order: red, orange, yellow, etc. But when I got to the 3rd level of points, I ran into trouble. I ended up knitting and ripping 3 or 4 points before finally figuring out on paper what colour should go where. And at this point I switch to reverse rainbow sequence (purple, blue, green, etc) to get things to work out properly. This yarn has 7 colours in its rainbow, so there’s only one red and one purple point. It’s still sufficiently rainbow-ey for my tastes.

I’m not sure exactly how this worked out, but somehow the points on this dodecahedron are quite noticeably pointier than the first one. It could be that my stuffing skills were better this time around. I really spent time stuffing each point individually before stuffing the center of it. Or it could just be a gauge thing. The Regia is quite a bit finer than the Opal I used before.

Have I mentioned yet that I have a bobbi bear in mind for my next toy project? Who wouldn’t want (to make) a 2 foot teddy bear? I think it would be fun in some Cascade Eco Wool…

Green stripey dodecahedron ball

Sparked by my recent rediscovery of how awesome origami is and making awesome bunny toys, I couldn’t resist casting on to make my very own dodecahedron star ball.

Before I knew it I was ready to stuff the star and add the last point.

My only modification to this pattern was to start with a crocheted provisional cast on instead of the usual long tail. This isn’t a huge change, but since stitches are picked off each previous point when starting the next one, it just makes sense. Why not use a provisional cast on? There were some resulting holes at the edge of the picked up stitches but the yarn ends from the cast on were nearby and put to service when they were worked in.

Pattern: Celestine
by Norah Gaughan
Materials: Opal Rainforest 6-ply
Start Date: February 21, 2010
End Date: February 26, 2010

I found knitting the last point was the least fun. Once the bulk of the star had been stuffed and the stitches were picked, it became quite difficult to manoeuvre and knit. I’m quite sure that the knitting became distorted as I was working on the point. Especially when I was knitting around the stuffin. When making this again, I’m going to do the crazy, more work thing, knit the last point separately and graft it to the rest of the stuffed star, stuffing the point as I finish the seam of the last side. Maybe it’s a bit overkill, but I swear the last point is a bigger than the rest.

I see more of these knitted shapes in my future. The next one will likely be out of my rainbow striping regia nation color. Hopefully it would work out that each point is one color. That would be awesome.

Miffy for me

So I while I was able to part with the first bunny I knit, it was only possible because I immediately cast on another one for myself. Here she is an (almost) exact replica of bunny n°1.

Pattern: Well-Dressed Bunny
by Barbara Prime
Materials: Tongue River Sock Yarn in sheep’s brown
Briggs & Little Sport in light green
Modifications: Worked with smaller yarn. Knit dress in the round with fewer stitches in the body and bib of the dress.
Start Date: February 8, 2010
End Date: February 27, 2010

When knitting this bunny, I used a crocheted provisional cast on for each piece. Since the pieces are seamed up and the pattern has you make a shoulder seam of the cast on, I decided provisional would be the way to go. Then I could graft instead of seam, reducing some bulk. For the tops of the feet, I used scrap yarn instead of casting off. Later I grafted these stitches to each other for a nice finish to the top of the foot. Since this is the visible part of the foot I think it’s worth the extra effort.

In the end when seaming up, I opted to string the yarn through all the held stitches twice and pull them snug together and worked the ends in. It worked pretty nicely on most of the pieces. When I get to bunny n°3, I think I’ll repeat this on all pieces except for the feet. I think grafting is the better call for both the top and bottom of the feet.

I used the same modifications for the dress as I did for bunny n°1. Casting on 54 sts and working in the round for the specified number of rows. Then working K2tog, K2, SSK as the decrease round before the garter waistband. The bib was worked with 4 less stitches.

The embroidered X mouth is inspired by the Miffy books that I had as a kid. If you want an actual Miffy pattern, they do exist. I might have to make a proper Miffy for myself.

The eyes and mouth on this bunny didn’t turn out quite as great as on bunny n°1. Well I’m actually pretty happy with the eyes. They’re almost a proper satin stitch. The mouth on the other hand. It’s crooked. The gray thread I chose makes the X seem slightly more sinister and I’m not entirely sure about the stitch I ended up using (kind of a ghetto improvised back stitch).

Oh and the head’s a bit more cockeyed and floppier too. Maybe that’s why Mr. Peabody suggested that this bunny’s name should be Flopsy. I’m not so sure though. I already had a fish called Flopsy, part of a Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail school of tetras. Any suggestions?

Flopsy Charity Bunny

Every year where I work has a fundraising auction raising money for Centraide/United Way. People bring in movies/cds and clothes to sell. But the more interesting items are services by coworkers, such as making your morning coffee for a month, or an afternoon of golf lessons. For a couple years now, I’ve volunteered my services as a knitter in the form of a smallish custom knit item like an accessory.

The first year there was quite a fight over it and it became kind of messy. In the end it went to my coworker Maria who asked me to knit a scarf for her daughter. So I made the Jelly Bean Scarf

I was on holiday when the auction happened this year. But it turned out that Maria won my knitting again. And again she asked for something for her daughter but left it up to me what I wanted to make. I had originally planned on making bunny slippers and had settled on the Fluffy Bunny Slippers from Stitch ‘n’ Bitch Crochet: the Happy Hooker but I had issues with the pattern, adapting it for a smaller size and couldn’t really find accurate measurements by shoe size.

Then it occurred to me. I could knit a bunny toy instead of slippers. I cast on friday night and by Saturday morning had all the pieces knit and was putting them together using the batting leftover from my Hawaiian Appliqué pillow kit from the class I took in Maui. I had enough for all parts but one leg and so had to pause until I could get some more from Mr. Peabody. I put together all the pieces I could while waiting for the extra supplies.

I also borrowed some green yarn from him to make the dress. The dress ended up being knit two and a half times. The first time, I knit it as written in the pattern. The resulting dress had almost an inch of overlap in the back. I contemplated just going with it and making it work but it was just too bulky and the rest of the bunny turned out so perfect. So I took it all out and cast on a second time with 15 less stitches in the body.

I tried it on the bunny when I got to the bib and found it was still a bit loose. But instead of taking out the entire dress and reknitting it again, I chose to take it back to the decrease round and worked 2 stitches in between decreases instead of 6 as stated in the pattern. I’m actually quite happy with this small design change as it makes the dress a little poofier.

This is only my second time knitting a toy. I made a dog way back when and stuffed it with scrappy red acrylic yarn. I tried my best to get everything on straight. The head is a little bit cockeyed and one ear is a little floppier than the other. But I figure it gives the bunny more character. The best part is the yarn I used, Tongue River Sock Yarn, really has a great feel. Like it’s actual animal fibre, which to be fair, it is.

Thus far the bunny has been very well received by my coworker. Currently she has her on display on her desk waiting for an appropriate time to give it to her. I’m excited to find out what her daughter thinks and ends up naming her though Maria has said she wants to convince her to name the rabbit after me so that she’ll remember who made it for her. I’m flattered, but I think toy names are too important to be influenced.