February 7th, 2006

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Oliver's progress

While I was waiting for class stuff to download and print earlier, I worked some more on Oliver and actually have a picture to show of him!

Oliver (almost done) and George

Oliver is at the prep-stuffed stage. All of his parts are stuffed approximately how I want them, so I can see how they go together. His arms and legs are nearly ready to go. Once I figure out his eye and ear placement, I will secure his eyes and finish stuffing his head and body (and attach them together). Right now without his face embroidered or his ears secured, he looks quite mouse-like. His jacket does close, but I haven’t put the fasteners on it yet and it fit the first time around!

I’m pretty proud of my seaming job so far on him. I used a simple worsted weight yarn to seam with that is a bit lighter than the bear and a bit lighter than the jacket. And, for the most part you can’t tell! In fact, the jacket is nearly reversible. (There are four stitches on one side of the jacket that are visible on the wrong side, but other than that, I love my seaming job.)

It’s pretty hard to tell from the picture, but Oliver is stockinette stitch throughout, with the exception of the soles of his feet (reverse stockinette) and his ears and jacket (garter stitch). The soles of his feet were the only part where I felt the garter stitch side looked better than the stockinette side, so it looks like he’s wearing tennis shoes or something.

Oliver: Body - Lionbrand Homespun in Rococo, seamed in generic off-white worsted; Jacket - Lionbrand Homespun in Cobalt, seamed in Caron Simply Soft Brights in Berry Blue.
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A couple more points about Oliver

I mentioned before that his legs are short. They appear even shorter now that they are stuffed. While I know bears come in all proportions, he really looks like he was chopped off at the knee. His arms are longer than his legs and he has tiny feet. I double and triple checked the pattern when I made him. If or when I make Oliver II, I will probably substitute a legs pattern. The pattern for George's legs would work pretty well for Oliver, though it would give him about the longest reasonable legs that I would want. George's base pattern is slightly larger than Oliver's, so scaling George's legs would create a fairly lanky Oliver. The other option would be to simply come up with my own. The legs aren't really that complicated - they look like 2 "L"s stuck back-to-back with some shaping for the thigh, ankle and top of the foot. I should be able to create a longer leg, with larger foot pretty easy. But that will all have to wait, as there are still a lot of other patterns in the book that I want to try before repeating one of them. On the plate already: Sleeping Sam, Catherine*, and Robert.

The other point about Oliver, and actually the book (The Knitted Teddy Bear, Sandra Polley) itself. Polley says to use the same size needle for bear itself and its clothing. After having to redo George's sweater and taking a look at how I stuff toys, I've decided that it is probably best to go up a single needle size in making the clothes. This gives a bit more leeway on stuffing the bear and allows for a plumper bear. I automatically did Oliver's jacket in a needle size up and am glad I did. It's a perfect fit now, but wouldn't have fit done in the same size as Oliver. This could be a very interesting conundrum when I do Catherine - her dress is made of fingering weight yarn while the bear, herself, is made of dk/worsted weight yarn. All the bears until now how used the same weight for both bear and clothing. (I think there is another pattern in the book with differing weights for bear and clothes as well.) I think I'll have to look at the construction of her dress when I do it and just do the top, try it on and modify from there if needed. Catherine is a pretty large bear (and the largest in the book), so I would hate to have to redo the dress completely, a la George, if it doesn't fit. (I believe Polley used dk weight yarn, but it is much easier for me to find worsted, so I need to see if she mentions any needle size differences based on that difference.)

* My mother who never wants anything for Christmas or her birthday has been lusting after Catherine and the dress is a big part of that. So I will make her Catherine for her birthday or Christmas. I want to make all the bears in the book, so it really is just scheduling the bear, rather than doing it and not wanting to. I did tell my mom that she would get it when I got to it and that it wouldn't be near term. At least I found something she likes to give to her. :)
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Another postcard!

I got thehula's wormherder postcard. It's a cool picture, but not quite the conversation starter that the diver was. nuts_mom totally agrees that the picture on the diver postcard looks like it is of a dead guy and that it was a very cool postcard to receive.

Thanks, Breana! You made my day again, and we'll totally have to meet up when you settle in.

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Almost done with Oliver

Oliver's almost done! My seaming is much better this time around, especially my ladder stitch. It is much harder to determine where I sewed up the various parts after seaming. I had yarn issues, but will go into them later.

Oliver needing only his vest buttons in order to be complete:


Specifics on George:
Size 10 needles (10.5 for the jacket); Yarns used: Lionbrand Homespun in Rococo (body), Lionbrand Homespun in Cobalt (jacket), old generic off white yarn (seaming), Caron Simply Soft Brights in Berry Blue (seaming), Lion Brand Microspun in Ebony (embroidery), Red Heart Super Saver in Black (nose); Eyes are 12mm animal eyes.

The hardest part of this bear was his nose, but also the random gauge issues also gave me problems. The nose is a slightly better size than George's.

Here are George and Oliver together for a size comparison. While George can actually stand unassisted, Oliver cannot (Oliver's legs are a bit floppy. Oops. His legs are also tiny compared to his body, but that is how the pattern is written.).

Oliver and George