Tag Archive | teddy bears

The Day of No Knitting

I didn’t knit a stitch yesterday. I know, isn’t that crazy?! I wasn’t sick, I was home all day, and yet I never picked up a needle. BUT. That does not mean I didn’t play with yarn. I spent the day organizing my inventory of finished objects and getting ready for upcoming shows. Everything is priced, tagged and bagged. I pulled out the heavy winter items, since they won’t be big sellers for a while. I updated my Facebook Items for Sale photo album. And best of all, I worked on my Etsy shop.

A while back, I blogged about my frustrations with Etsy and got a LOT of great feedback. One seller graciously offered to look at my shop and give me some pointers. Thank you so much, Leonor, your suggestions were detailed and on point! I also took the time to look through her shop, Felt Buddies, for some ideas. She’s got some amazing needle felted sculptures.

Anyway, one of her suggestions was to improve the quality of my photos. My photos were better than when I first started on Etsy, but I knew they would be even better if I used natural light with a real person, which is exactly what Leonor told me. Yesterday, I finally did. My daughter already looked nice because of a morning music competition, so I told her to put on a neutral top and come outside with me. Her hair was up, so we focused on cowls and scarves, and I love the pictures I got!IMG_4077IMG_4097IMG_4122IMG_4155She had the most fun sitting on the hood of the truck, even if it was a bit too much sunshine. It was a great exercise for me too, to see how much better the photos look when they’re not in direct sun. We had fun playing with poses and backgrounds, and I can’t wait to get her out there with all my hats! Thank goodness we’re on Spring break–we’ll have time this week.

I also took my teddy bears out for some fresh air. I figure maybe they want to be in someone’s Easter basket this year.IMG_1407IMG_4193So my Etsy shop is updated now, and I’m pleased with it. It’s still a work in progress but I like where it’s headed. Today I’m going to take my new baby hats outside for some photos and get them listed on Etsy too. And I’m always open to hear how you make Etsy successful for you!

Knitting for the Holidays

Okay, these people are freaking me out: “Only 16 Fridays until Christmas!!” Why? Why do we have to start that already? It’s still 90 degrees and sunny here, not even officially fall, and people are gunning for Christmas. Don’t get me wrong; I love Christmas. Love to decorate and buy presents and receive presents and eat lots of yummy food. But I don’t want to think about it year-round. And I don’t want to feel the gift-knitting-anxiety so early in the year.

I like to knit gifts for my people. I have a lot of people. That means a lot of knitted gifts. And the last year or two, I waited too long and tried to knit too many things. By the end of December, I was frantic. My love of knitting dimmed slightly, and I knitted each one with less love and more panic. This year, I decided to work differently. I had a potential gift list written out by May, I ordered the yarn this summer, and I already have three gifts knitted. That’s great, right? Right! I’m excited!

But then I see those things on Facebook where people are counting down and it just doesn’t seem like enough time to take care of all the knitting left on my list. Add in all the selfish knitting I still want to do, and here comes the trembly fear in the pit of my stomach. I’ve started to crave lists. Lists of presents, lists of yarns, lists of selfish projects….

Yikes! I have now thrown myself into gift knitting, and I started another today as soon I finished one this morning. I’ve got two more in my mental queue and I have no desire to go back to my current WIPs. At least not until I’ve made a bigger dent in my gift list. So I’m not really alleviating my knitting-anxiety. It’s just moved up earlier in the year. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe it’ll be worth it once December rolls around. I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, here’s a peek at the gift I finished this morning. He’s a Simple Medium-Sized Bear from The Best Dressed Knitted Bear by Emma King and he used up one whole skein of Knit Picks Brava Bulky in Sienna. The pattern called for knitting each piece flat, but I did the body and head in the round to avoid seaming. When I do the pattern again, I think I’ll also do the arms and legs in the round. He’s a good-sized fellow, a full 16″ tall, and he’s soft and squishy. I think he might get a little shirt too. I really like this pattern and its simple charm. I just hope the little boy who gets him likes him too!IMG_4918

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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