This is designer Annie Watts’s Sputnik the Magnificent, a “floppy huggable” cat. Pleasantly floppy. Huggable for sure. And endearingly cartoonish.
I knit my Sputnik in a light fingering weight (Purl Soho Line Weight) left over from my Library Blanket. This character’s colorwork is obviously what convinced me to break my (new) rule about not knitting critters that turn into sewing projects. The sewing was all easy stuff though. The head and body is all one piece knit in the round. The ears and limbs are also knit in the round so it’s just a matter of sewing the end of the “tubes” to the body. The pattern is spot-on correct and clear.
Sputnik even looks magnificent from behind. To create a pelt that won’t show the stuffing, I knit Sputnik on US size 1 needles.
Sputnik definitely needed a companion. Strelka the Valiant fit the bill. Watts writes that Strelka “may be small but he’s brave and scrappy.” Brave and scrappy helps Sputnik feel more confident. In fact, the two have become constant companions.
Strelka is also knit in Purl Soho Line Weight. The construction is exactly the same as Sputnik’s. Strelka is just a bit thicker through the body and shorter.
The back sides of these critters are totally well thought out and totally cute.
I am quite proud of my Strelka the Valiant. He’s knit from a pattern by the talented designer, Annie Watts, of Wattsolak Designs. Watts blog here, where her pattern is available for purchase. And Strelka is also available on Ravelry. My Strelka is knit in Big Bad Wools Pea Weepaca, a half ‘n half baby alpaca/merino fingering weight mix. As with any stuffie, Strelka needs to be knit at a tight gauge, so break out your size one needles.
Watts says that Strelka “may be small, but he’s brave and scrappy.” Just so. But not that small. He stands a tad over 13 inches.
Here’s Strelka from the back.
All together now….”Great tail!” (That’s a version of what just about everyone says when they see his backside.)
Strelka is protesting that the next photo is just too frightening for this blog. But, here’s Strelka in pieces.
This is a great pattern that’s totally error-free. I’ve already knit Watts’s Sputnik the Magnificent. But Strelka the dog is better than Sputnik the cat because this time I made a sensible colorway choice. The pattern needs a strong contrast between the two colorways. Subtle doesn’t work too well.
Meet Sputnik, the Magnificent. He’s designed by Annie Watts of Wattsolak Designs. Next time I knit him, I will choose more contrasting yarns. My Sputnik is a little more subtle-featured than is ideal. He’s knit in fingering weight yarn on size one needles, so at times the work is a bit fiddly. But what a hoot to see his stripes and especially his face emerging from the colorwork.
Watts has a wonderful collection of patterns of all sort, but I’m totally drawn to Sputnik and her toys. When I next have time to knit a stuffed buddy, Strelka the Valiant just might be it. But Watts’s Izzy Gator is also in competition for my knitting attention. Such clever designs!
I’ve learned something about something about something about, hmmm…might it be color temperature? Anyway, who would have thought that these two colorways would melt into each other the way they do? It was news to me. I work under an Ott Light, where a yarn’s true colors stand out. I was quite far into the project before I realized I should have chosen a different set of colors.
I am still very fond of Sputnik, though. He looks magnificent sitting under the Christmas tree. Here he is, showing off his tail.