Monday, May 17, 2010
on the merits of toy knitting
This charming face belongs to a little bat. He is a bat snuggle buddy who has been washed and blocked and is waiting patiently to go and meet his new best friend. In the mean time, the Little Pea took him for a test flight:
Last week's toy was a bear made from organic cotton, using a Jess Hutch pattern. I'm still planning to combine the organic cotton and the basic snuggle buddy pattern to make some more floppy little snugglers for one or two of the other babies in my life.
I'm all the time downloading cute toy patterns and then finding myself dissatisfied with the finished product because the stuffing shows through no matter how tightly I try to knit it (last week's bear being a case in point). The instructions always say "knit tightly!" and tell you to use needles smaller than the ball band recommends, but pull and strain as I might, my stitches are never tight enough to hide the stuffing. And you know, getting carpal tunnel is not the reason that I took up toy-knitting. It's really not that fun to strain your finger tendons - and toys are supposed to be fun, not to make you mutter and curse under your breath.
This bat was actually an exception, since the yarn I used (Berrocco Plush) is super-nubbly and the stuffing couldn't make itself seen if it tried. Despite the no-felting, I am happy with it.
But generally speaking, I really prefer a felted toy. I like knitting things that will be felted because you can knit easy-breezy big old sloppy loose stitches, and in the end not one smidgen of stuffing will show. I like felting because it's approximate - like cooking, which I enjoy, as opposed to crafts like book-making or carpentry which require precise measurements and straight lines and other skills that I will never master. Felting is an even more laid-back iteration of knitting, which is already a pretty approximate, don't-overthink-it kind of craft to begin with. And really, I think that's the sort of attitude you need when making a toy.
Lately I've been thinking about making some more birds' nests, a great felting toy. I hope to share some more birds in their nests in a few weeks (trying to be realistic about my pace at completing projects these days). It will be done, some time. I'm not going to strain my finger tendons over it.