Wednesday, 26 April 2017

A Menagerie of Softies

Back in October 2015 I put together a post of selected doll patterns, and now I am (very belatedly) getting to the companion post I planned at the time: a post of selected knitted toys. In picking these out I've focused on picking out interesting and unusual (though still cute and lovable) animal toys. Bears and bunnies are to be had at any toy store, but it would be much harder to find, say, a hedgehog toy, such as the Huggable Hedgehog above, designed by Debbie Radtke.

The Voodoo Do You Love Me?, design, by Susan Claudino, is for the older, and possibly macabre, child. Or for someone who wants a dual-purpose pincushion.

The Monkey Jacobus pattern, by Annita Wilschut, is one happy-looking monkey, and would also be a great way to use up odds and ends of scrap yarn.

This is the jester mouse from Tails of Yore, by Alan Dart, which is a collection of mice toys in medieval-inspired costumes. It's worth a look at the Ravelry page for this pattern to see the others. My second favourite is the monk mouse, which might easily have replaced Christian Slater's character in The Name of the Rose.

This is the adorable and well turned-out Girl Elephant in a Frondy Frock, by Julie Williams. I'd recommend checking out Julie Williams' page on Ravelry, as her toys are off-the-charts cute, and always very nattily dressed.

Half the fun of making this Gingerbread Boy, by Sara Elizabeth Kellner, would be decorating him at the end.

This Opus the Octopus toy, by Cate Carter-Evans, looks like he'd be a satisfying, if slightly unwieldy, cuddle. This is a Knitty pattern, and therefore available for free.

The Giraffe, by Susan B. Anderson, is gawky in an appealing way, like the real thing. This pattern is available both on Ravelry and in Anderson's book Itty-Bitty Toys: How to Knit Animals, Dolls, and Other Playthings for Kids.

The Knitapotamus the Knitted Hippo, by Heidi Bears, would be the perfect gift for a child who wants a hippopotamus for Christmas (given that a hippopotamus could be kept in a two-car garage, and that the kid could feed him there and wash him there and give him his massage...). It would also be an excellent scrap yarn project.

This is the Rainy Day Turtle, by Barbara Prime. I seem to have a definite thing for animal toys in dapper little outfits.

This is the Dashing Dachshund, by Ella Austin. I should never have thought that a toy that looked like the offspring of a dachshund and an argyle sock could be so very cute.

Ducks in a Row, by Sara Elizabeth Kellner. This is one very cute and even quite realistic mallard duck. I never see one of these ducks without a smile, because they remind me of the time my then five-year-old niece Peaches and I were taking a walk by the river in the little town where my parents live, and I was telling her about the waterfowl. I pointed out the swans and the Canada geese and the mallard ducks, and I'd just explained that the particular duck we were watching, with a blue stripe on its wing, was a female mallard, and added, "The boy mallard duck has a green head," when this particular little factoid sent Peaches off into a fit of the giggles. This made me realize for the first time in my life that it is pretty ridiculous that a living creature should have a green head.

Lucy's Owl, by Rachel Gallagher-Miller, would be another fun scrap yarn project, because it could be done in any number of non-owl-like colours.

The Dickensian Mice, by Alan Dart, look like something straight out of The Muppet Christmas Carol.

The Striped Snake, by Sarah Ann Thompson, is quite a sporty-looking reptile, and will also come in handy as a draft-blocker.

Raoul Raccoon, by Alan Dart, is another quite well-rendered animal toy. A little too much for liking, actually. I live in Toronto where there is a large raccoon population, all of which seem to be well-fed and bold as brass. There's one in particular that likes to come to sit on the step outside the terrace door of my attic workroom and sit there for up to several hours at a time, staring in at me and watching me work. I call him Creeper Coon.

This is Lester the Leicester, by Natasha Sills, and I half expect him to break out in a little jig any second now.

The No Fool, Joe Cool toy, by Sara Hall, needs no introduction. I'd be inclined to make him a red scarf, flight helmet, and aviator googles so that he could imagine himself taking on the Red Baron.

The Peruvian llama, by Alan Dart, is adorable on its own, but its little serape and Peruvian hat puts the cuteness factor right over the top.

I love this Crackin' Good, Humpty Dumpty toy, by Alan Dart, with its hilariously horrified air.

The Felted Woolly Kitty Kat, by Marie Mayhew, has some definite cattitude.

Here's another cat, but this time it's a teddy-style cat rather than a pillow-like cat: Ginger Tom, by Sue Stratford. This pattern is available both on Ravelry and in Stratford's book Knitted Cats & Kittens.

There were a number of cute dragon patterns on Ravelry, but I think The Little Purple Dragon, by Loly Fuertes, is the one that reaches peak dragon cuteness.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Blue and Bridge Day and Other Knitting Fables

Marjorie, Maureen, Marcia, and Rosemary enjoyed Mondays, which was Blue and Bridge Day, almost as much as they enjoyed Thursdays, which was Pink and Political Protest Day, or Friday, which was Green and Grooming Day. The one fly in Marjorie, Maureen, and Marcia's ointment was that Rosemary was still stubbornly refusing to drop the Rose from her name and go by Mary.

When Taylor's new boyfriend asked her to wear a cami and knickers set to bed, she designed what she was sure was a perfect compromise between his taste in lingerie and her own tendency to feel the cold.

Cara, who believed that clothing should always be an expression of who one really is, felt her new outfit spoke eloquently of how much she enjoyed her weaving class as well as of her childhood adoration of Big Bird.

Destiny only got halfway down the runway before she felt a terrible draft coming from somewhere.

Angelica's friends wondered if they should tactfully point out that she had taken the Fringe Festival's name too literally when designing her outfit for it.

Vladlena had found it difficult to choose between making a cowl, a shawl, a pullover, a cardigan, or a coat, and kept changing her mind as she worked, but in the end she decided her indecision had given her design a certain organic flow.

Summer had had a slight tape measure mishap when knitting her new tunic, but since she was also prone to having laundry mishaps, she figured the two would balance each other out.

Felicia's new sweater design had two influences: The Pillow Book of Sei Shōnagon, which Felicia had recently read, and Felicia's own propensity for needing to take naps in places without cushioned surfaces on which to rest her head.

Cassidy's design concept had something to do with her love of the little plaid school uniforms she'd worn and the sleeping bag sleepovers she'd gone to as a child.

Makenzie's new look was a tribute her to her favourite movie heroine: Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Knitscene Summer 2017: A Review

Knitscene has released its Summer 2017 issue. Let's have a look at it.

Blocker Tank. Wearable and sporty little tank. Though I would not wear it over a t-shirt as it is styled here.

Coney Island Shawl. I'm not sure the striped garter section and the lace section really work together in one wrap, though I like them when I consider them separately.

Crossover Tank. Not a bad little piece for summer, though I'm not sure this drab colourway is doing much for the design.

Fern Stole. A lovely piece. And the stole size is so useful, as it can be worn as either a wrap or a scarf.

Foglia. This is my kind of design: a simple, flattering shape with just that little bit of an unexpected twist in its details that makes the look interesting and distinctive.

Hannah's Racerback Tank. And this is very much not my kind of design. It's baggy and saggy and unflattering. I would have given this piece a much less dashing name, such as "Hannah's Butt Curtains".

Jammer Shorts. If I had been told in advance that someone was designing a pair of knitted jean-style shorts for this issue, I would not have had high hopes of them, but these aren't bad at all -- in fact, I am even considering making a pair for myself. They've got some good detailing and shaping and they look good in all four of the photos Knitscene has posted on the pattern's Ravelry page.

Joni's Lacy Cowl. Not bad, though that mesh would make me feel as though I was wearing a grocery shopping bag around my neck.

Kricka Top. I absolutely love the stitchwork, which is apparently a stitch called Indian Cross-stitch, but an oversized cropped pullover is going to work on very few women -- it's not a happy look even on this professional model.

Meadow Tank. I love the idea of knitted lace being made separately and then applied to a knitted body, and this is a very attractive execution of the concept.

Pivot Tank. I like this one, though I'd suggest just one tweak, which is to finish the neckline with ribbing as has been done with the other edges. It looks unfinished as is.

Rau Sweater. Very pretty. The leaf detail makes it.

Reed Market Bag. Rather a nice shoulder bag for summer. I'd interface and line it to keep it from sagging.

Sara's Cabled Hat. Cute little cabled cap.

Spearmint Shawl. The dropped/twisted stitch effect in this one looks a bit too much like runs for me.

Time-Out Tank. This one's eliciting a "meh" from me, but I think the problem is the styling. The pale pink shorts worn over mint green tights are definitely not helping this design (although for that matter I'm at a loss to think of a knitwear design they would help). The yarn choices are also a little blah. This would be a perfectly good tank done in a fresh, crisp summer colour combination and worn over jeans or khakis, or a print skirt in the same colours.