Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Oliver Bear

Fall is here! And for me that means Allergy Season 2. Moving to a new climate has brought out seasonal allergies I never knew I had. In between sneezing and coughing, I needed a little comfort project this week.

Hand Knit Wool Teddy Bear Resting Against the Side of a Basket

In my basket of extra sock yarn, I have a ball of light gray wool that lost its label long ago. It’s super soft and a little fuzzy. But it’s a little too thick to play well with fingering weight yarn, and a little too thin to play well with sport weights. I needed a small project to use this yarn by itself.

I started looking through my copy of The Knitted Teddy Bear by Sandra Polley, and couldn’t resist Oliver. The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn and US-2 (2.75 mm) knitting needles; I used my slightly thicker yarn with US-1 (2.25 mm) needles for a denser fabric.

The knitting was quick and easy — but the finishing! Sewing those tiny pieces took a lot of focus, although I admit I’ve had little to spare this week. I broke up the hand sewing into small blocks of time so I could get each element just right, particularly his face and ears.

Detail of Hand Knit Light Gray Wool Teddy Wearing a Red Sweater

I didn’t have any stuffing on hand, so I cut thin strips of cotton quilt batting to use for stuffing. It’s the first time I’ve stuffed a toy with cotton, and I like how Oliver is holding his shape so far. He’s still squeezable, and he doesn’t have any wisps of polyester filling creeping past his seams as my plushies usually do.

The pattern also includes instructions for a wee sweater to fit Oliver. I used US-1 needles again with Ella Rae Lace Merino in colorway 209, which is red blended with deep browns and grays. I like the way the color and texture of the sweater complement the fuzzy light gray teddy bear.

Hand Knit Light Gray Wool Teddy Bear in a Red Sweater on a White Background

Oliver has round black buttons for eyes. His nose and mouth are embroidered with black yarn. I just noticed I never stitched claws onto the ends of his paws, but he doesn’t seem to mind. To secure his sweater, I added a little black star bead that shimmers like hematite.

Because I used a smaller needle size, my teddy bear is a little smaller than in the pattern; this Oliver is five inches (12.7 cm) tall when standing. He’s been great company as I’ve been curled up sipping tea in between doses of medicine, when he's not frolicking amongst the fabric scraps.

Hand Knit Wool Teddy Bear Resting in a Basket Full of Cotton Fabric Scraps

What types of projects do you like to make when you’re feeling under the weather?

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