Grinning and Bearing It

Frankie Bear

Frankie Bear

Wow, Labor Day has come and gone, and we’re off and running into Fall already, making yarn plans and dreaming up new projects.  More to come on those subjects.  In the meantime, I don’t know where everyone else’s Summer went, but I spent my downtime reading my way through the Game of Thrones series (just finished Book 3) and working on those cute teddy bears for the 2KnitLitChicks MotherBear knit-a-long (KAL). Since last post, I managed to complete 5 more before the August 31 deadline. I had never made one before, so each became a learning experience.  First bear (Eric) was done from the head down, on 8″ double-pointed needles.  No joke, trying to manage such a small number of stitches for the arms and legs on those giant dpns!  Shortly after #2 (Albert), I went to a “Socktacular” event at the Li0n Brand Yarn Studio, and it occurred to me that I should try doing a bear from the bottom up on 2 circs (since that’s the way I like to do socks).   And since I liked doing the little garter-stitch paw, I had to re-learn the Emily Ocker cast on to start the circle and draw it closed so the stuffing wouldn’t fall out.  The paws were coming out a bit wonky, though.

Barry Bear

Barry Bear

By #3 (Barry) I had acquired not one but two sets of little 5″ dpn’s to make the arms and legs easier to knit.  And, although this project was supposed to be a stash-buster, I found myself acquiring several skeins of worsted-weight acrylic for “bear-work.”  Okay, it was sale yarn, but still…  Number 4 (Chip) and 5 (Donny) moved right along.

Oh! And then came a total revelation.  I was curious to see if YouTube had any bear making videos, so I surfed around and stumbled upon a fantastic way to make the arms that did NOT involve one of my least favorite activities, picking up stitches.  Are you ready?  It’s a raglan join.  I set to it immediately, and created bear #6 (Frankie).

And just to show the learning never stops,  last week Knitter Simona suggested a perfect resolution to the bottom-up paw problem — start with a provisional cast-on for the arm or leg, and do the paw at the end (towards the bottom, in other words, rather than starting truly bottom-up).  Thanks, Simona!

Chip Bear

Chip Bear

Donny Bear

Donny Bear

Albert Bear

Albert Bear

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