Knitted puppets

This is Vivian Ickenroth’s The Child. Maybe the Mandalorian’s little chum-in-the-cradle is Yoda. Maybe not. Anyway, he’s a new Disney hit and I’m guessing my 7-year old grandson will enjoy acting out stories with this puppet.

“Judge me by my size, do you?” Knit in DK yarn, this Yoda’s  size is 26 centimeters, just over 10 inches. I only know the real Yoda dialogue though. “Patience you must have, my young padawan.” Check out all the pieces you will be patiently (or impatiently) sewing together for this one:

Plus one more of that center-placed green piece with the nose. More on that later. “No. Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.” It’s worth the effort to knit this guy.

Now, for that extra piece. To keep The Child’s head properly stuffed I knit the entire head piece a second time, leaving off the nose. I sewed that extra head piece to the inside of the “real” head piece all around the head except I left the bottom open at the neck. I sewed just inside the outside piece edge so that when the head piece was folded in half and sewn there would be less bulk to deal with. I stuffed the head through the neck opening.  After folding the head section, I smoothed the stuffing away from the fold a tad. That created a nicely shaped head with a finger pocket in the middle. Then I seamed the bottom of the neck, inserted it into the cloak, and sewed the head in place.

I knit my Child mostly in Valley Yarns Haydenville DK, using Fawn for the cloak and Sage for the skin. The skin color is a decent but not exact match to the original. The inner ears are some fingering weight oddment I had in my stash. And the collar and cuffs yarn was a splurge: Lana Grossa Fusione, in tan. The remainder of the ball will make a great teddy bear.

Sometimes children need some help learning to have fun with puppets. You can repurpose a box to construct a puppet stage to help the process along. But the puppeteer can also just duck below a table. That works. Or simply slip a hand into the puppet and make it come alive and the magic will happen. If the adult works the puppet? Many children will soon be talking to the puppet not to the parent. “Always two there are. No more, no less. A master and an apprentice.”

This next puppet is Keyboard Cat by the otherwise anonymous “YoursTrulyKnits” “the artist formerly known as YouTubeKnits.” I’m guessing there’s a lawyer story behind the name change. Keyboard Cat was and remains an iconic early YouTube sensation, a cat playing a piano. This cat doesn’t need any props to be fun.

Mine is knit in the now-discontinued Classic Elite Arietta. It’s an unlikely combination of 80% merino and 20% yak. I decided to knit this in a DK weight instead of the light worsted the pattern calls for because I wanted to downsize it for my now 7-year old grandson’s birthday package.

When I finished knitting my cat and showed him off to a knitting buddy she asked where his tail was. Indeed. So, adding a tail was my only modification.

Purr-fect!

Rounding out my puppet package is Dinodude Puppet by Gari Lynn Strawn. I’ve linked to what used to be a freebie pattern even though the Ravelry page has fairly recently changed to inform that the pattern is no longer available online. Maybe the situation will change. Or maybe you’ll be able to figure out the Professor’s Wayback Machine internet archive better than I can.

Strawn informs that Dinodude is no dinosaur. He’s a “giant green anole.” OK. That made me feel a bit more creative with my modifications.

I guess I can see the Anole likeness, even with my mods.

I might have gone overboard with the teeth, though. The teeth are my add-on. More on the why of that in a moment. He’s definitely got that inflatable anole pouch on the underside of his neck. And the eyes are the star of the puppet just like the real-life critter. Clearly I’d have done better with a more vibrant green.

The body of the puppet is Classic Elite Arietta, again. The pattern called for a size 8 needle and an Aran weight yarn and gave no gauge. But it soon became apparent that even the largest hand would drown in the puppet at that gauge so I brought it down to a size 5 needle and a DK weight yarn. That worked well. If you acquire this pattern, I have more details on my Ravelry project page where I worked out what I think are a few kinks in the directions.

The reason my anole grew a set of teeth is because the directions for knitting the mouth just didn’t work for me. Once I finished my version of the throat and mouth, I had a major mess where the crimson meets the green. To hide that area of the puppet, I knit a strip of teeth. I cast on 58 stitches with worsted weight yarn and immediately worked a picot bindoff. Bind off one then repeat this to the end of the row: put the stitch back on the left needle, cast on 1, bind off 3. Repeat until you run out of stitches. I sewed the teeth strip in place, from both the inside and the outside of the mouth. No messy edges. Well, mostly no messy edges. Open your mouth and say “ah,” anole-dude.

I think that the teeth compete with the eyes for best feature on this puppet.

The arms hung unpleasantly, to my way of thinking. So I knotted them close to the body and that made them stick out in a more expressive way.

The Child wanted to pop back in to tell you “Truly wonderful the mind of a child is.”

It’s been such a hoot knitting these puppets! Here‘s some others I’ve knit.

Olivier

Only a little bit ago I was, well, little bits. Now I am Olivier as designed by Annita Wilschutt. She-who-will-not-be-named says I used to be Dream in Color Calm, Dream in Color Classy, Kelbourne Germantown, Classic Elite Tapestry, Classic Elite Legend, The Fibre Company Cumbria, Swans Island Nature Colors Worsted, and a few other amnesiac balls of something-or-other. Pre-Olivier, I was a bunch of leftover balls of yarn.

Being a bunch of leftovers taking up space in a too-full closet is not a happy situation in this house. She’s listened to Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up audiobook. She’s even watched Kondo’s Netflix series. The leftover balls watched with interest while she folded her underwear in odd little packets and put them in new little fake bamboo plastic baskets. They muttered to themselves while she undid all those potato-sized balls of her store-bought socks. She tried to fold her T-Shirts into neat packages to stand them on their end. But her T-Shirts wouldn’t cooperate. That gave all the balls a good belly laugh. They stopped laughing after she listened to Margareta Magnusson read her book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death-Cleaning. When she started culling knitting books from her shelf, the balls knew this was getting serious.

Oh, here’s the back of me. Everyone comments that they like my tail.

You can see that the oddballs’ fears were unfounded. She didn’t dump them in the wastebasket. She didn’t bundle them into a fresh ziplock bag and donate them. She didn’t even ask her knit buddies if somebody wanted some leftover balls. Instead, she spread out a 2-gallon size zip-lock bag of worsted leftovers and started sorting through them.

The balls found themselves rearranged because, at first, she was looking for the tons of Classic Elite Tapestry she must have thought she had. There were 3-4 balls left, but not near enough. What the balls understood, from her mutterings, was that she was trying to find all the same yarn so I wouldn’t turn out kind of lopsided. Something about trying to keep to the same gauge, I think. She settled for finding the same yarn for most of the paired body parts.

In the end, she seemed to settle on working out colors that she thought would look right together. I told her I was proud of her because it worked out well. She can use some encouraging because she feels that her color sense isn’t always on-target. One of my legs is a little fatter than the other. But that’s true of her legs too.

This is my ballerina pose.

Here’s me trying to look up at her pleadingly. I probably knew then what always comes next when she writes these stories.

Every piece of me is knitted onto another piece of me. She didn’t have to sew me together. She just left a hole on the seam of my butt and stuffed me through that. It is a painful to remember this phase of me.

It, well, it sort of makes a body think. What was. What will be. What is.

I’ve been sleeping in Isaac’s bed lately. This is-part? It’s the best!