Tag Archive | mad man knitting

Finally, Some Finished Objects

I promise, I have been knitting. I haven’t had time to write about it, but it’s still happening. I’ve finished several projects recently that I’m tickled with, so I’m going to whiz through and show them off. Plus, it’s dark and stormy today and I don’t want to go anywhere.

The first is a big project I finished about three weeks ago. A friend commissioned an afghan for her newly-decorated living room. She gave me the colors and free reign on design, since she’d liked all the other blankets I’ve made. I had a pattern called Greenway in Comfort Knitting and Crochet: Afghans that I’d been wanting to make, so this seemed like a perfect fit. I’ve discovered I prefer crochet for blankets over knitting: crochet goes so much faster for me, and since I am not a fan of projects that take a long time, I need blankets to go as quickly as possible. I loved the pattern: it was simple but looks complex. And for a blanket, it did go quickly. But still, by the end I was cursing a bit each time I measured and it was too short. I was aiming for a 48″ square blanket, though of course it never ends up that way for me. It finished at 48″x55″, so not too bad. I used Bernat Super Value for the white and black, and Red Heart with Love for the red and orange. I’m not crazy about Red Heart in general but I needed something affordable and washable, and I really like the squishiness of the Red Heart with Love. My friend seemed delighted with the end result.

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After that I got to switch gears completely, and I whipped up a wee baby hat. An old friend of mine is expecting a second baby, and I wanted a yarny gift for the baby shower. Again, I’d been wanting to make the Pointy Elf Hat from More Last Minute Knitted Gifts and this was the perfect excuse. She didn’t know the sex, so I picked out some super-soft washable acrylic, Bernat Satin Solids, in a gender-neutral camel. I held the yarn double to mimic a bulky weight. I discovered newborn hats fly off the needles; I can’t wait to make another.

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Then it was time for some selfish knitting. I bought the pattern for The Teddy Bear that Saved Me by the Mad Man Knitter recently and was desperate to try it. (I know, I’ve been mentioning him a lot. He’s awesome. Seriously.) I even went to the nearest LYS and bought a skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca just for this bear. The pieces knit up quickly and soon I had all the bits of a bear ready to assemble. That brought me to my least favorite part of toymaking: assembling. I don’t mind the stuffing, but the embroidery and sewing together is so awkward for me. I did watch all his videos as I did it, and they helped, but the bear still came out a bit…wonky. His mouth is off-center and the eyes don’t exactly match. The ears are too big and make him look like a mouse (or an elephant. Whatever.) As I was finishing him up, he told me his name was Perry. Don’t know why, though my son said it was because his head was pear-shaped. He is cute, and I like him. But I want to practice a bit more before I start making them for gifts!

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I was craving simplicity after the bear, so I turned to hats. I made a simple slouchy beanie from my most favorite yarn ever: Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky. You can find the pattern here, but I did make some modifications.

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I love making hats. Love love love them. One wasn’t enough. I know it’s spring, I know it’s hot. I don’t care. My sister had said a while back that she needed a hat, and I know she likes forest green. I had one skein of dark green Cascade 128 Superwash in my stash. Then it was pattern-hunting time, so I got to browse Ravelry for a while until I found this Swirling Beanie. Love it! Want to make it again!

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So those are the results of my last month’s worth of yarn time. I’ve also been working on my two bigger WIPs, a shawl and a cardigan. Okay, not really the cardigan, but I’ve thought about it. And now I’m getting ready for a two-week vacation that includes 4 days on a train, so I’m planning out the projects I need to take with me. I’ve got seven in mind; I hope that’s enough!

A Teddy Bear Ode to Mad Man Knitting

So there’s this awesome guy out there who writes a blog called Mad Man Knitting. If you haven’t read him yet, do it now (or maybe when you’re done reading this post). He makes these adorable little teddy bears and blogs about it. His story is inspiring, and so is his outlook on life. He searches for, and spreads, kindness and love. His bears became hugely popular and the wait for one of his custom bears quickly stretched into months. I looked at them often, smiling at their little faces and loving the different colors. I didn’t want to wait that long, so I decided to try to knit my own joyful little bear. His pattern is available to order here but I didn’t know it at the time, so I used the Ruby Bear pattern from Ravelry instead.

I cast on with some camel Bernat satin, since I had plenty in my stash and it’s soft and washable. The pattern calls for knitting each piece flat but I hate seaming so I decided to knit it all in the round, except the ears. I knit the body first and couldn’t believe how fast it grew. I also couldn’t help but giggle at his little bum.

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I didn’t have much knitting time but I got all the pieces knitted in a few days. Today I sat down with my polyfill and got busy stuffing and assembling. I left the ends of the arms and legs open until they were stuffed, then cinched them closed.

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The next step was the hardest part for me. I’m not the best at sewing pieces together but if you don’t look closely at the seams, I think he looks okay. The embroidered face was a new skill for me too, and again, I’m grateful for the Mad Man because he has instructional videos on YouTube. I just wish I’d found the assembly videos earlier! Check them out here.

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I found a little red ribbon that looks perfect tied in a bow around his neck. And in honor of Gregory Patrick, the Mad Man Knitter who inspired me to knit a bear, I’ve named him Patrick. I really enjoyed making him, more than I thought I would. He’s sitting next to my computer now, and he makes me smile.

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