February critter call

This trio gave me the giggles at every step of the knitting. They are Cheezombie Garden Slugs. I splurged and knit mine in Noro Silk Garden. I love the resultant color-changing nature of their skins–or whatever is the proper name for a mollusks’ outer gelatinousness. Their donut lips and eye stalks are knit in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted. The three bodies together used less than one skein of Silk Garden.

Think of all the gardeners you know, or all the people who don’t garden for that matter, and that’s who’d likely get a kick out of these guys. Their bodies are knit all in one piece. One seam. Sew on the lips. Done. No fiddly little bits to deal with.

These slugs tend to fall on their faces and take a bit of a nap unless you weigh down their tail ends with something. I broke down and bought a small bag of polybeads to bolster this trio. The beads worked well. Except for the part where static electricity took over and stuck them in all the wrong places as I stuffed them into the tails. I was picking up beads from the floor, the table, and even my shirt for a few days.

I gifted this trio of slugs to a trio of sisters, my nieces. They were delighted. My nieces that is. Maybe the slugs were delighted too I suppose.

Next up. Another Annita Wilschut Olivier. Knit in worsted weight this is a large pup.

I’ve knit Olivier twice before, check them out here and here. He was basically a scrap yarn pup in my first knit and turned out super cute even though not all his limbs ended up precisely the same size. Knitted critters can be quite forgiving of that. So can children. The next time I knit him in super colorful Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride worsted. It’s a great look.

This time I used Jamieson’s Shetland Heather, an Aran-weight. A good friend gifted me six 50-gram balls. Olivier consumed just over 200 grams,

His color scheme worked out really well. He’s been gifted to an adult and she couldn’t be happier with him.

The goofy little tail is probably my favorite body part.

There’s finally been a few sunny days here in southwest Michigan. Thirty one days in January and the sun shone on only one of them! Sunshine makes a knitter think spring. So do Claire Garland’s Sitting Hares. I knit mine in DK Schachenmayr Merino Extra-fine 120.

Sitting Hare is an easy garter stitch knit. Just a touch of short row shaping give them a subtle hare-like gesture. A quick fun knit.

How about one more look at that slug trio?

Some knitters knit these slugs by the basketfuls. I may need to knit a great big glob of them in a bunch of sizes. Changing the weight of the yarn and the needle size would do it. Maybe I’ll even knit a few slime paths to trail behind them. Such silliness. Critters definitely bring out that goofy inner child in a knitter.

Even more toys

Meet Joris. Joris is…let’s see…a dragon. At least I think he is one. Joris is an Annita Wilschut pattern available here. Wilschut says that “Joris is a weird creature. He’s got 6 points or maybe horns on his head. So, he looks like a dragon, but he does not dare to say so. He’s afraid people may get scared.” So, a dragon. A dragon with keen sensibilities about what we people are able to tolerate in our knitted critters.

Joris’s toes and fingers are a bit fiddly to knit. But the pattern directions are spot on and very clearly laid out. If you want a Joris, as long as you’re proficient with double-pointed needles (that’s what I use) or magic loop technique, go for it!

I knit this Joris in Limbo Mexiko Color, by Schoeller + Stahl. It’s a DK weight. I just let the colors fall where they happened to fall. I must say that the muzzle and face colors worked out remarkably well!

Here’s a closer look at his spikey horns.

A seriously excellent dragon. I’ve knit him once before and blogged about Joris #1 here.

This is going to be an all-Wilschut blogpost. I am such a big fan of her work! This is the first time I’ve knit what I call my blue pup and what Wilschut calls Victoria.

I am super-pleased with how Victoria turned out. (Do be sure to pick up the errata on the pattern page, though: On page 5 of the pattern, the directions should be “close the round and knit 5 stitches” (not just “close the round.”)

Victoria is one of Wilschut’s early releases. It’s a tad less clear in some places than I’d have hoped. Unfortunately I knitted a back leg backwards at one point. My pup is wearing a collar because his neck turned out to be quite messy. I couldn’t get the pick-up of stitches to be as neat as it should have been. I think her collar is cute though. And her head being cocked to one side is so endearing. The perfect gesture for this pup.

I’m not much of an embroiderer, as I’ve often confessed. For Victoria I took the easy way out and used both safety eyes AND a safety nose. I had one size nose in my stash and it fit Victoria perfectly.

I knit my blue pup version in Schachenmyr’s Extrafine Merino. It’s a DK weight, which is very close to the sport weight that the pattern calls for.

Next up is Nellie Hippo and Elephant Floor. Again I used Schachenmyr’s Extrafine Merino DK. The pattern can be knit in any weight yarn, of course. Well as long as you don’t run out. One pattern provides the directions for both critters.

Mine are definitely a pair, knit in reverse-colored sundresses.

Ok. Everyone at once: “What’s with the ears?” I know. A tad odd. No two ways about it. I’ve made my peace with Floor’s ears and suggest that you can too. She’s a fun knit.

Same for Nellie. Fun. And knit all in one piece–just like all the Wilschut patterns. When the knitting’s done you aren’t left with a pile of pieces to sew together. Knit. Stuff. Enjoy.

Here’s the pair snuggled together thinking about what matters most in their world. I heard them discuss that it doesn’t matter if you have warts on your muzzle or stupid ears. You don’t pick your friends by how they look. They decided being a friend and having one is what it’s all about.

Yep, more toys

It’s June but the toy production here is more like Santa’s workshop in the final push before Christmas. This sweetie is another Annita Wilschut pattern, Frog Kikker. That pattern name is a total lingual stutter because Kikker is “frog” in Dutch. I’ve taken to calling him Froggie Frog.

I knit Froggie Frog in Merino Extrafine 120 by Schachenmayr, a DK weight. You have to keep your knit wits about you to get those joints turning correctly. But the directions are spot on correct. Watch especially for directions that tell a knitter to knit a certain number of stitches beyond the end of a round marker.

Especially since Jutta posed nude in my last post, I decided Froggie Frog should take his swim trunks off. He was unphased by the request and doesn’t understand one bit why Jutta objected.

Totally cute critter.

Next up is Wilschut’s Piglet Knor. Google translates “knor” as “oink.” Sounds right to me. Some knit this oinker in a different colorway for different sections. That was loads of fun in Olivier. But this time I decided to go for a bit less color.

Hard to accept that shocking pink as a bit less color, though. The upturned snout gives Oink a bit of an attitude.

And the curly tail. Well, every oinker needs a curly tail.

Next? The best monkey on Ravelry: Jacobus. I’ve knit Jacobus (and Saar) before and dressed them in Wilschut’s patterns. This time I decided to let the yarn dress Jacobus. Adriafil KnitCol (DK) did quite a nice job of it.

The yarn’s self-patterning features make it look like Jake’s wearing a jumpsuit.

And now, in profile.

Such a nicely shaped jaw line. Oh. Muzzle. I guess that would be a monkey’s muzzle.

All great patterns. And wonderfully fun to knit. I know. Do you think I’m a bit of a Wilschut fangirl?

Jutta and Olivier

I am totally tickled with MY Jutta. Yep, I’ve decided I’m keeping her for me. My plan is to fill my new craft room with creations that make me smile. Jutta, another Annita Wilschut design, definitely fits that bill.

I knit Jutta in a mix of yarns, maybe the most prominent being Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash Solid in the creme shade I used to knit Jutta’s body. I likely shouldn’t have used such “soft” superwash for the body though. A more rustic or at least a non-superwash would have been better. Despite being knit at a tight gauge the stuffing emphasizes all the increases and decreases and even made the head a little too heart-shaped. She’s still super-cute though. And her clothes cover a multitude of knitting sins.

Now that I think more about it, possibly Jutta’s most prominent yarn is the Adriafil KnitCol that I used for the more colorful strands of her hair. The hair is a mix of KnitCol and Schachenmayr Merino Extrafine 120 (the brown strands).

The directions for how to knit the I-cord hair strands are excellent, complete with photos. It’s quite an unusual technique that allows you to knit multiple I-cord strands direct to Jutta’s scalp. No sewing. If you’re still puzzling over the technique, maybe this will help:

The scalp is covered with rounds of staggered sets of 3 purls and 1 knit stitches. You take a small sized double-pointed needle and pick up a stitch in each of the 3 purl bumps, say for about 8 sets of bumps, all at the same “level” in the scalp rounds. Cut a length of yarn about 10 feet long (or longer). Fold the yarn in half.

Knit the first stitch at that half-way-point in the yarn. For the 2nd and 3rd stitch, knit them with BOTH strands of the yarn. For the 4th-6th stitches, do the same as 1-3 BUT with only one of the strands of the length of yarn you folded in half. You need one (folded) strand for each set of 6 stitches. Each half-strand is going to make a single 3-stitch I-cord. After you knit a row of as many pairs of 3-stitches as you can manage on your double-pointed needles, slide all the stitches to the ‘other’ end of the needle—like you would for any I-cord—and knit the next row on each cord, using the yarn that’s dangling from every third stitch to knit the first stitch of each set. Keep that up until you exhaust your length of yarn. Then start a new set of Icords. Very clever technique.

I couldn’t leave Jutta without embarrassing her with another naked shot. Love the butt! And here she is again, just to leave her looking more put together. I’ve knit Jutta once before.

Next up is Wilschut’s Olivier. I knit him in leftover oddballs of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted. I knit Olivier once before and used a mix of worsted weight yarns, with the result that some of the limbs “took” the stuffing differently that resulted in some limbs not quite matching size-wise. Using all the same yarn solved that.

Olivier is such an endearing pup! I’ve seen versions of Olivier on Ravelry where folks knitted him in very dignified all-grays or all-browns. Totally sweet and maybe someday I’ll knit a 3rd Olivier and work him up that way. But I’m feeling very buoyant just now and I wanted a multi-colored Olivier.

Such a fun knit!

The tail is the cutest thing since…sliced bread? A bug’s ear?

I decided I’d show you how Annita Wilschut patterns work up, all in one piece, with no sewing.

I know. A bit scary. If Olivier could speak to you he’d be saying “No, don’t show me that way.” But, pre-stuffing, is a great way to see why Annita Wilschut patterns deserve your full attention, knitters!

Wilschut’s patterns make you smile even before you complete them.

Olivier is demanding I show you him put back together. He’s eagerly awaiting being on display in my new craft room. And, in case you wonder, any visiting children will be welcome to play with him.


I’ve been on a major knitted toys kick lately. Seriously. I’m in the process of setting up a new knitting room for myself. And I’ve decided to indulge my inner child. My new room is going to have gobs (that’s a knitting term of art) gobs of knitted toys lolling about. Over the years, I’ve knit more toys than I can count. Lots of children have loved receiving them. But the current crop I’m knitting for me. It’s turning out to be great selfish fun.

So, meet Teddy Bear Vera. She’s another Annita Wilschut’s design. Such a cutie! At the risk of repeating myself–such a silly expression (apparently I want to repeat myself and what’s the risk)–one of the great things about Wilschut’s toys is that when you finish knitting there’s no sewing up. Well, except to close up the end bits that you stuff through. Seriously wonderful.

I knit this Vera in Adriafil’s Knitcol in the Fall Jacquard colorway. It’s a DK weight. I was planning on knitting Vera a hat or jacket, but this yarn worked out so well that I didn’t want to cover it up. She’s pre-dressed in an all-over jumpsuit.

I’d no sooner knit one Vera when I decided to cast on for another. Maybe there’s no greater compliment a knitter can extend to a pattern.

I knit my next Vera in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride worsted. The larger safety eyes I used give Vera a possibly over-concentrated stare. But one fun part of knitting toys is that even some of the goofs end up creating endearing qualities.

My second Vera merited a raincoat. It’s also a Wilschut pattern. Again I used Lamb’s Pride Worsted.

When I completed my second Vera, I decided the dark blue was a tad more somber than I wanted. So I chose the most outrageous color I had in my Lamb’s Pride stash for her jacket.

Brace yourself for more knitted toys in upcoming posts. I’m having a blast knitting them!