Wrap-me-ups

These are, you must admit, the cutest thing since sliced bread. Wait, no. Don’t admit that. That’s supposed to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. They are as cute as a bug in a rug. No. That’s not right either. That’s supposed to be as snug as a bug in a rug. But that expression always sounds rather ominous. Especially to yarnies whose fear of bugs in rugs and other woolens is legendary.

They are as cute as a bug’s ear. There. That’s at least a proper homely expression. But what on earth does it mean? Apparently, the origins of the expression should have us saying that something is as “acute” as a bug’s ear. Ok. That at least makes a kind of sense even though I’ve not really met a bug with ears, not exactly anyway. And whatever they have that passes for ears is not something that’s at all cute but possibly bug hearing is still acute. There’s nothing acute about these little critters though.

This knitter is digressing. Again. These are “wrap-me-up toys” by Susan B. Anderson and I couldn’t be more pleased about how they worked out. Evelyn, just turned three, likes them. Here’s a closer look at the individual wrap-me-ups. They are knitted in my favorite go-to toy yarn, Brown Sheep’s Lamb’s Pride Worsted.

Here’s the kitten, up close wrapped and then unwrapped.

Here’s the puppy. I’ve named him Clifford, given the red yarn I used. I didn’t have a full stash of Lamb’s Pride colors and sort of just found colors that worked OK together.

The body and legs of each of the animals are knit the same. What distinguishes one from the other are the tails and ears, the facial features, and in the case of the pig the nose.

The animals are knit in the round, on needles a few sizes smaller than what you’d normally use for the weight of the yarn. Once the critters are stuffed, it’s hard not to have some of the “ladders” show between the needles and some of the increases and decreses. You’ll see that more in the next two animals, who posed for you with their construction details showing. Here’s the lamb, first wrapped and then not.

 

All of the animals are meant to have eyes that look sleepy (or asleep). The yarn button in the blanket is just a bobble added on after the blanket is complete. I made an I-cord loop on one corner that fastens over the bobble when the animals are in wrap-up-mode.

And here is the pig.

I was running low on some of the four colors I used, so I went off the reservation on a few of the blankets. But mostly I was still true to Anderson’s pattern.

Admittedly, these were a tad fiddly to knit. The good thing? There are no separate pieces to sew together. The legs, ear, and tails are all knitted onto the stuffed animal body. That’s good for the sewing impaired, but it also contributes to the fiddly quotient.

Evelyn loves to cover up her stuffed buddies, so I figured she’d like these guys. But I also know that she sometimes likes to tote her toys around, so I decided to keep on knitting. I knit a fairly large (13″ by 18″) blanket that the whole bunch could gather on. I used some Sirdar Bigga, a discontinued super-bulky superwash wool, and size 17 neeedles. The largest size double points I have are size 11, so I worked up the applied-I-cord border on 11s.

As I approached each corner of applied I-cord, I knit 10 rounds of unattached 4-stitch I cord. That gives Evelyn a nice finger hold as she carries the blanket around.

Here’s how I I worked the applied I-cord. First, I picked up an entire side of stitches on a spare circular needle. I cast on 4 stitches on the doublepoints. Knit 3 stitches on the doublepoints. Slip the 4th stitch purlwise. Bring the yarn forward in a yarn over. Knit the first picked up stitch from the circular needle. Pass the yarn over “stitch” and the slipped stitch over the picked-up stitch. Then slide the stitches on the double point and repeat. The slipped stitch and yarn over work together to hide the white color-blip (from the main section) that would otherwise appear when applied I-cord is worked in a contrasting color.

Next, I found a perfect basket and lined it with the Bigga blanket.

Totally toteable.

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 want 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.

Sock Yarn Hippo

My hippo is knit in  Zweger Garn Opal 4-ply sock yarn, held double. There are currently 361 of these hippos on Ravelry’s project pages. This guy is one-of-a-kind, though.  You have to imagine he’s gotten out of the river and rolled around in the mud, followed by rolling around in leaf litter. And somehow he also got into the mustard.

This is one of the animals in Susan B. Anderson‘s Itty-Bitty series. Hippo is from Itty-Bitty Toys. There’s lots of cute critters sprinkled throughout Anderson’s Itty-Bitty work, which currently includes Itty-Bitty Nursery and Itty-Bitty Hats. She’s left Itty-Bitty land for the moment and has created a kid’s book, with knitted patterns, for the “Spud and Chloe” line of yarn. Those are the “sweet yarns for real life,” with “luxe yarns in mod colors,” that are  “all carefully selected to let you create dreamy pieces” people. I suppose the little girl is the Chloe of the pair, but I prefer to think of her as the Spud half of the duo. Obviously, I haven’t read Susan’s book, otherwise I’d know for sure. Some of the patterns in the new book are cute as a bug’s ear. (That’s a compliment, not an insult.)