It's been a winter of shawls, socks, mittens, hats, sweaters, wash cloths, and afghan squares -- knitting for others, and myself. I'm a practical knitter to the core, but when the first flower patterns appeared in the Lion Brand Newsletter, an unexpected longing seized me to break loose. Knit a Morning Glory. For Pete's sake, have some fun.
In one of my many knitting baskets were several skeins of LB Collection Cotton Bamboo. The colors and subtle texture reminded me of the Morning Glories that had covered our front porch in true glory last summer. Before casting on with it, visions of indoor vines and bouquets appeared.
Reality set in quickly. Whole new brain pathways were forged in the details of this pattern. There would never be enough time in my life to knit a vine. Sliding a chopstick through the extended hollow stem, my single Morning Glory proudly mingles in my pencil jar. It pleases me with its presence. Which was exactly the point.
Not ready to leave the quiet whimsy of flowers, I started a petunia. Far simpler, it was just two needle knitting, with a five panel repeat. Adding another set of petals might make it a nice washcloth. Something I plan on trying out soon. Completed, my petunia graces a new knit shoulder bag.
Flowers were my warm-up for the hardy amusement and delight of knitting toys. On Mother's Day, relaxing out on the screen porch, an afghan over my chilled legs, coffee served to me by my dedicated husband, I knit two owl wings in Pea Green Vanna's Choice, a tiny beak in Rust, and reasoned out the crocheted wooly eyes. Attaching the Colonial Blue bow tie to my Wise Old Owl, the very last step, it was hard not to smile.
Tonight I'll be finishing my Cuddly Caterpillar. In between the flowers and the owl was the Cuddly Bunny, using a strand of Jiffy and Cupcake. Next on the list is Francis the Fish. All will make fine gifts and donations. Soon I'll return to my old staples, but then again, I might just wait a bit. Learn to crochet myself a frosted donut. Or a piece of candy.
Whimsical patterns, flowers and toys, are wonderful ways to enjoy and stretch as a knitter. Most require mastering three needle knitting, a fine rehearsal for a sock. The short rows in petunia's five petals are excellent preparation for turning heels. Thinking of knitting socks toe-up? Try the Cuddly Caterpillar, and move to the head of the class. Learn to make antennas, bow ties, stamens, leafs, and sepals and much, much more. Surprise yourself with the sweetness coming from your needle, the adorable creations that emerge. And when you put your needles down, grab a piece of chalk and a pebble. Play hopscotch. Blow some bubbles.
For those of you who crochet and worry about comparable patterns, you will find a treasure trove, just type in “toys” in the search box.
Editor's Note: All light green text above is clickable and will lead you to the patterns/flower designs identified.
I just love to have fun with my hobbies. I am often asked why do I knit/crochet toys. Well in a word, challenging. Often the skills that I need to knit/crochet a sweater are in the pattern for the toy or doll that I am making.
Take for example the Childbirth Education Doll. Not only do you have shaping, through increases and decreases. There is instructions for crocheting her clothes. So you learn about gauge and how to crochet a sweater and her pants. There are instructions fro 2 types of pants, plain and granny square. This would be a good starting point for working the larger adult sizes. Because if you can make the clothes for a doll you can crochet anything.
Also, Jean Greenhowe, has a book out called Knitted Toys. It is no longer in print however on ebay there are many available for sale, whether you want o buy now or participate in an auction. One of the patterns that Jean has is called Twin Dressing-Up Dolls.
From book description:
These super-sized boy and girl dolls, each 47cm 18.5 in tall, come complete with removeable sets of clothes. There are jackets, caps, scarves and mittens, plus a pinafore dress for the girl and dungarees (jean overalls) for the boy. Their one-piece undergarments, socks and shoes are all knitted in as part of the basic doll with added ribbed bands at the neck, upper arms and legs. The underwear also serves as a short sleeved sweater underneath the pinafore dress and dungarees. In addition there is a jump suit and flower-trimmed dress for the girl and track suit, pants and jerkin for the boy.
Twin Dressing-Up Dolls
As you can see with these dolls you would get loads of experience with knitting the clothing.
Also don't forget Alan Dart's designs! They are brilliant in many ways.
I can hardly wait to start knitting Pearl the Knitter. The details of her are fantastic! She has her own Knitting bag and a scarf still on knitting needles.