Tag Archives: toys

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

Bearing Up…. While Stashing Down

Closeup of BearWell, here’s an idea for the stash-down.  Over the weekend I completed my first teddy bear for the Mother Bear Project.  I know, always late to the party.  Knitters have known about this for years, and my good pal Lidlady has created nearly a dozen herself.  She warned me that they are addictive, and she’s right.  I’m already working on a second one.

Go to the website to read about the project and see photos of all the kids with their bears.  You can buy the pattern (for knit or crochet versions, in-the-round or flat/seamed) on the site.  It is also available in the book, Knitting for Peace: Make the World a Better Place One Stitch at a Time, by Betty Christiansen.

Over on Ravelry, Barb and Tracie from the 2 Knit Lit Chicks podcast have started a Mother Bear KAL/CAL with some nifty prizes for randomly selected members of the group who post their finished bears between July 1 and August 31. If you’re looking for inspiration to make a bear yourself, try a Ravelry search for “mother bear” in the “projects” section and there are almost 2800 hits.  Each one is made from the same basic pattern, yet all are different, with distinct personlities.  Most have names, too.  My little guy is “Eric”  — suggested by Lidlady when I was taking so long to finish the paws that she named him “Slow-paw.”

Speaking of paws, I have not posted Part 3 of “Meet the Interns” — so here you go.  Meet Maxie (male, black) and Biscuit (female, grey/blue), the last of our little orphan tribe.

cat sticking out tongue
Mmmmm.... bears.... tasty!
I could knit a bear.... if I wanted to!