Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Lamb, Some Acorns and a Pumpkin Patch

Hi Knitters,
Well, I whipped up this little guy last night with my needles and then sewed him up this morning. It is the toy lamb from the spectacular Debbie Bliss's Essential Baby book. It is an adorable design.The toy lamb is about 4 inches high and maybe 5-6 inches long, just the perfect size for little fingers. The yarn is Debbie's, of course, Astrkhan in ecru and Cathay in black, one of each. The Astrakhan provides the perfect woolly texture for the lamb's body with no extra effort. I used US size 5 needles.
Here is the lamb in pieces. You knit the head and the top of the body and legs in one piece, twisting the yarns as you change colors and casting on and off at the ends of the rows. The markers are placed as guides for the finishing at the end. Then there is a gusset for the underside of the body and legs. The ears are knit separately and stitched on at the end.
I hate to say this, I really do, but to be honest I didn't enjoy knitting or finishing this toy lamb. Although I truly love the finished toy lamb, the switching colors, the number of ends to deal with and the finishing at the end were simply not that fun to do.
As I become more deeply invested in knitted toy design I am becoming pickier about patterns and techniques. I just don't think it has to be that painful along the way. It was a tricky sew up and I just kept thinking of ways that this could have been so much easier. The body and head could have easily been knitted in one piece in the round, stuffed as you go along. The legs could have been knitted in the round and the one end used for sewing the leg to the body. Snip, snap, quick! No pain whatsoever! Now the thing is that many knitters don't like knitting in the round and using double-pointed needles. For them this pattern is perfect, to each her own. I just happen to prefer less seaming and quicker knitting.
I love the Astrakhan for the body and I am going to come up with my own sheep pattern very soon! I'll put my knitting where my mouth is and see if I can make it work. Debbie is forever my idol and I love, love, love her designs but as I get older in my knitting and designing I can see ways to make things meet my own preferences. That's the fun of it, I guess.
I made a few more of these Betz White acorns, can't get enough already. We even found some double headers to stuff with felt. I have been giving these away to my daughter's teachers, principal and librarian at her school. We wrap them up in cellophane bags and tie on some ribbon. It is too cute.

Here is my not so little gang at the Epplegarten. We did our annual pumpkin/apple picking last Sunday but we were met with a dismal selection of pumpkins to choose from. I don't know if it was the summer drought or the early fall floods that did the crop in but something went wrong. We could not find one decent pumpkin to bring home. Just look at the crop behind them, it's sad. Now we will have to go to the local market and buy some for our yard.
That's not quite as fun as picking it fresh but the apples, especially the honey crisps, were in great shape at the orchard. We picked an enormous bag of apples to bring home. I've already baked up a huge apple crisp and I'm planning on some homemade cinnamon apple sauce later this afternoon.
Have a good Tuesday!
best, susie
p.s. See my son in the white shirt? He put my nephew who is 10 and not shown in a wagon and and pushed him as fast as he could running down a hill at the orchard. There were a lot of people around, too. There were no injuries but my sister and I acted like we didn't even know them. Is that bad? We had a good laugh about that.