Last of the batch knitting

When lockdown started, I inexplicably decided to knit a batch of animals. I think it was because I had a few to gift, and it seemed like a good idea? And I really like having a knitting project on the go, so I don’t need to think ‘what should I make next?’ when I feel in the mood to make something.

And then Julie released the patterns for smaller animals too… so I think since lockdown started I’ve made and clothed 2 big rabbits, 3 small rabbits and one fox. Also one set of clothes for a bunny I had already made, one extra dress that doesn’t suit anyone, and one extra pair of dungarees for the bear. Oh, and another dress for the smallest of the bunnies, as I prefer the dresses with arms – so I knitted a completely new dress when the pattern was released as I made a hash of unpicking the one I’d already knit. And one basket, 4 carrots, 2 doughnuts and 3 bags. Oh. And 2 small pocket bunnies for the pockets of the larger ones. Actually. That’s quite a lot.

This is some of them. I think this photo was taken before I made the bags. And before I made the fox.

I made a spare grey body, arms and legs when I made the other 2 bunnies, but didn’t give it a head. I wasn’t sure what it should be, but I had half a plan for a silver fox. Then I got stuck in to other stuff, so it sat about headless for ages.

Last weekend I made the tail.

Yesterday I finally made the head and ears and sewed it all together. BUT.

I looked at it this morning and just didn’t like it. I couldn’t work out what it was but it just wasn’t great. In the end I decided it was the ears. They were a mess, really. Luckily, the pattern has more than one way to make the ears. So I made a new one. And removed the others. Then I took off his nose and mouth too. Then I sewed on a new ear and decided it was better (if long), started making another and ran out of grey yarn! Pfft. So there’s a strip of slightly bluer yarn on one ear, but you can hardy tell. And I gave him a new face. He’s much better now.

I’d already made these trousers (forgot to include them in the inventory up there) and this jumper was made in Athens, when I lived there a couple of years ago. It was my first cable project and has been waiting for the right body ever since. Now he’s all set – he has ears and a face he likes and a warm wooly jumper for winter. And I’m happier too. Theres nothing worse than making something, finishing it, standing back for the big reveal and thinking ‘huh. Well that was a waste of time’. So. We’re all good.

I’m building up to trying sock knitting next. Seems like a thing people do? I was going to use Winwick Mum’s tutorial. I’m not sure if I’ll like it or not, but I probably won’t know until I try. I’m still too worried about knitting a human-sized jumper that costs a fortune in yarn and doesn’t fit, so sock knitting was a lower-risk way of tackling that sort of thing. That said, I also have various odd balls of yarn knocking about, so was wondering about knitting some toys and donating them. Hopefully people won’t mind odd coloured toys? We’ll see.

So that’s where we’re at. I don’t really mean to keep knitting the same things over n’ over but… I dunno. There’s something comforting in the repetition. And in the fact that when something goes wrong, it’s not so hard to fix. That sounds like a good thing right now, right?

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Background projects and progress

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I started the Almina shawl (Ravelry link) in March 2019, and finished it in February 2020. That’s a long time to knit a shawl. It’s knitted on 4mm circular needles, with Cascade 220 wool. I bought the wool a long time ago to knit a jumper with, but given my terrible issues with trying to knit anything to scale, and having no idea what I’m really doing, I decided against making proper clothing.

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The wool is actually a charcoal grey. I thought I perhaps should never knit anything in such a dull colour again – because if you’re spending so much time with something, surely you should knit with something colourful and joyous… Like the golden yellow in the pattern example? But now it’s done I actually love it. It’s too heavy to wear outside the house I think (!) but in this grey, it’s perfect to throw on to keep you warm. I thought the triangular starting point would forever curl, but the stiff blocking in the top photo took care of that.

I knit far too tightly, but I know the yarn will relax eventually. I used the exact same stuff for the Guernsey Wrap, way back in 2012. Eeek! 2012. I haven’t progressed much as a knitter since then have I? I should be on clothing by now. Probably.

I must admit, I thought the wrap would never end. It seemed to take forever. There were times when I forgot it, and times when I was sick of it. But there were also times I was glad of it. Something to pick up quickly and carry on with. No real need to think about what to do, or where things were. No getting stuff out of cupboards as it just sat patiently waiting on the sofa. I took it away at new year on the annual trip I usually do with friends, and I was on the 2×2 rib by then.  What a joy that is to knit! So satisfying. Such a nice steady rhythm, no need to concentrate.

Now, after being so desperate for it to be over, I miss it. I didn’t realise how often I used it as a sort of guided meditation. There’s been a lot going on here, a lot to process mentally, and I think it’s helped having something ticking on in the background. Slow progress, but progress with every stitch.

There was the deer, too, which you can see in the photo underneath, on the left:

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I made her when Julie released the pattern – or at least, I made her head. I’d assumed I’d make a mess of it, but when that turned out ok, it took me 6 months to make a body and some clothes. She’s made of stash yarn, stuff that’s been knocking about for ages. I do like her dress and cardigan though, a mix of forest greens.

More recently I made the two unclothed rabbits on the right. The small one is Julie’s most recent pattern. I made them to gift, but due to the virus and cancelled plans, they won’t be gifted for a while. The mess in that photo was me trying to figure out what yarn would work for clothing – unpictured is the tiniest pair of rabbit trousers you’ve ever seen. Oops. I got there in the end, but now I have more time I think I might remake the jumper I was going to use. We’ll see. More photos another time.

I’m still trying to use up my stash yarn, so I’ll probably make some more animals while I look for the perfect Next Big Project. Animals are very satisfying to make. No big commitment, and I enjoy seeing their characters emerge. I also love that they’re knitted flat, and the patterns are so well thought out.

If you’re at home trying to work out what to do with your time, you could definitely do worse than use up some stash yarn, to try an animal of your own.