Monday, July 23, 2007

Gnome Fever

Hi Knitters,
I gotta fever and the only cure is more gnomes. Remember SNL with Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken and the cowbell? My husband and I laugh so hard just thinking about it. Gnome fever it is over here! I have seen other Alan Dart patterns in the English knitting magazine, Simply Knitting but this pattern compelled me to knit immediately. This is one of my favorite knitting publications. If you haven't seen this mag you should give it a shot. I always pick my copy up at Barnes and Noble.
A couple of weeks ago I was out running and the knitting podcast I was listening to was either the Continental or SSK or something else. I can't remember but the women were talking about Simply Knitting and how great it is and also about Alan Dart. He is a knitted toy designer and wow is he a talent. This last issue has a pirate he designed and the detail work is fantastic. I admire that because anyone can knit a basic toy. It's that added detail that makes it unique and he has that. The podcasters were going on and on about the Alan Dart gnomes and now I can see why.
Are these not the cutest things you have ever seen? I think so! The other thing the podcasters were talking about was the Bumper Book from Simply Knitting where the magazine editors took the best patterns from the magazine and created a book compiling the best of the best. I looked for this several times and tried to order it online to no avail.
There I am in Barnes and Noble with my son getting the new Harry Potter book and lo and behold this compilation book is in the magazine section right behind a new issue of Simply Knitting. They changed the name to The Big Book of Family Knitting. There were only a few copies (you better hurry, Renee!) so I was glad to get my hands on one.
Right away I found the gnomes in the book, skipping everything else. I was enchanted. I ran home and starting knitting away on my first gnome. The only thing I don't have is the furry yarn for the beards. This is a Sirdar Foxy yarn which I finally found here. I ordered that up and I just got an email that it has been shipped. Yippee! I never envisioned myself ordering fur yarn of any sort but for this beard I'd order anything.
This is the cover if you are looking for this book/magazine. The other patterns are all beautiful, sweaters, hats, bags, booties, toys, pillows, etc. There are many things I am going make from this collection. There is even a Fiona McTague monkey pattern in here that is wonderful.
Here is my progress so far. He's cute already. The pattern calls for a dk weight but I am using a worsted weight Cascade 220 instead. I am using US size 3 needles, not my beloved dpns, straights only. Once again, just like Mousie, Mousie, this toy is knitted flat and then seamed together. This time I am knitting it flat just like it says and then seaming. I am regretting that choice now but will follow through until the end. Knitting in the round is so much easier and it looks better but oh well.
I stuffed it so it looks like he has big bottom. I love knitted fabric because you can make it take shape however you'd like. I used plastic pellets for stuffing the bottom and the boots then I filled in the rest with poly-fill. Alan suggests creating a muslin bean bag and then inserting that into the toy but I don't think that is necessary at all. The knitted fabric is so dense it can hold those pellets in no problem. Why create more work? I'll keep you posted on my progress here as soon as I get that beard yarn. That sounds so wrong.
Okay, one more fun order I just received today is from another favorite of mine, kpixie. Ugh, I love this online shop too much! I happened to be sitting at my computer this weekend when I got an email from kpixie about updates. I ordered the new Interweave Felting mag, which is excellent. If you are interested in the whole felting movement grab this issue. There is more information packed in these pages than you will know what to do with. The ads are just as good, too. I am loving that bag on the front. The rings are knit around brass rings then felted. I get so into stuff like this when weird things are knit right in a project. You will see some of this kind of thing in a few designs in itty-bitty nursery. But then when I was clicking around I found what I had been wanting for months and months.
Yes, I scored two monster hat kits from Insubordiknit! I have wanted one of these forever and a day and they are always sold out. I feel so lucky and now I get to try some of her hand spun yarns. I cannot wait. I am starting later today. You knit the hat and then you sew the needle-felted monster face onto the hat. Oh yeah, I am going to have some fun! I haven't even looked at the pattern yet but I'll let you know how it goes.
Oooh la la, just look at that yummy yarn. My fingers are itching, gotta go!
best, susie