For the feet

These are Susan B. Anderson’s top-down Smooth Operator Socks. Actually they are my socks, but you know the drill. Anderson designed them. I knit them. And, in this case, Bad Amy is the yarnie whose work gave these socks their pizzazz.

I’d used the gold of the Bad Amy yarn set on another project and wanted to find a pattern that would make the self-striping yarn look its best, even without a gold toe and heel. Smooth Operators fit the bill perfectly. The design is meant to help self-striping yarn do its striping best. The pattern helps you to plan for two identical socks. I succeeded, except for the heels. And, more important than two perfectly matched socks, the afterthought heel assures that the striping isn’t interfered with on the front of the sock while a knitter is busy knitting the heel.

Honestly, I am concerned that these heels won’t hold up well. I prefer a heel with slipped stitches to help durability. But, for looks, this pair gets high marks. I am planning to wear them with sandals to try to avoid having to darn the heels. Hmm. That would be a neat trick. Darning, that is. I’ve never darned socks. I’ve watched videos on how it’s done. That’s as close as I’ve come.

My Smooth Operators followed on the heels of another recent sock escapade. My escapade started with this beautiful skein of Socks That Rock.

I go limp in the face of pink and spring green. And those blue splotches looked so good in the skein.

Well. That’s a fine howdy-do. I nominate these for the worst-pooling-ever award. I can’t and won’t fault the pattern, which is Churchmouse Yarns & Teas’ Basic Socks. It’s an excellent basic sock pattern. In fact, if you’ve not knit socks before and one to try sock-knitting, this is an excellent pattern because the directions are extremely detailed. Don’t hold these socks against that pattern.

Maybe if I scrunch them up a bit they’ll become less awful.

No. I will still wear these socks. It’s great yarn. If we meet up at Freddy’s you will know me by my socks. There won’t be another pair of these anywhere else except on my feet.

This next bit of footgear worked out much better. A different variegated yarn stood up well to a different Churchmouse pattern, Turkish Bed Socks. Mine are knit in Yarn Hollow Squish, an interesting fingering weight in 60% Wool, 30% Rayon from Bamboo, and 10% Nylon. I don’t know what Rayon from Bamboo is all about, but Squish is excellent yarn. I had a partial skein from a cowl kit that didn’t work out for me, so I repurposed it for these bed socks.

I’ve knit these before. They do not disappoint and look great in self-striping yarn.

Jutta

Meet Jutta. She’s another amazing knitted creation by Dutch toy-designer Annita Wilschut.

Jutta’s skin is knit in a discontinued Cascade Yarn Aran-weight: Longwood. I searched for a good long while for just the right shade of pinky beige skin that I had in mind. A friend of mine spotted one lone ball of Longwood “Dew” hiding out in a sale bin. Perfect!

Jutta’s overalls are knit in “medium weight” Socks That Rock, a Blue Moon Fiber Arts, special colorway:”Doodle Doodle Honey Cocka Valkyrie Fledge.” I know, you’re thinking I made that up. I didn’t. But it is great yarn despite its name. I am very proud of myself for deciding to use it–especially the contrasting colorway that gave Jutta’s hair such a distinctive look. Medium weight is basically a DK.

Here’s Jutta from behind.

The I-cord hair is fiddly to knit, for sure. But Wilschut’s very detailed and clear pattern teaches a way to knit multiple I-cords at the same time. I won’t spill the beans. But it’s very ingenious. After a bit I was knitting eight strands at a time.

Speaking of Jutta’s behind.

You can see that the detail is quite extraordinary. Butt, hands, elbows, knees, heels. Even a belly button.

Look close–the belly button is subtle, and knitted in, not sewn on top.

One distinctive feature of Wilschut’s designs is that there are no parts to sew together. They are knit in the round. Off the needles. Stuff. No hours and hours of sewing, as with so many toy patterns. The only sewing you’ll need is to attach ears to some of the critters and to sew up the stuffing seams.

Here’s a few photos of Jutta unstuffed.

The pattern even provides detailed eye and mouth placement. That is extremely helpful to the sewing and embroidery impaired among us. I’ve not used safety eyes before, but I decided to give that a try with Jutta. I am quite satisfied.

Here’s Jutta’s skin from the back view.

Even the placement of the I-cord hair is controlled by the designer. You knit what’s basically Jutta’s scalp in the hair color. And you place an I-cord strand on each garter stitch bump. So clever!

I’ve made Joris the dragon, Jacobus the boy monkey, Saar the girl monkey, Vera the bear, and Karel the bunny. And some of these stuffed buddies I’ve knit more than once. With each new knit I’m impressed all over again with this designer. If you decide to try one of her patterns, you’ll not be disappointed. And I’m pretty sure that my soon-to-be-two year old granddaughter won’t be disappointed with Jutta.