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Sophie and Sophie*

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20120410_SophieAndSophie.jpg
After a somewhat unhappy trip to the dentist, I promised my small person a treat for dealing with it so well.  It is funny what sticks in the memory of my child.  She has been asking me for a Sophie since I made this one for a close friend's new arrival over two years ago, not too long after she had turned two.  The dentist is conveniently close to a nice yarn store, and after fortifying myself with a latte from my favorite coffee shop (also conveniently close to the dentist) we headed over to Nina and I told her that she could pick out yarn for something she'd like.

I want a pink bunny, Mama.

The color of the year is pink.   I haven't really tried to influence her interest in color... but like most little girls, pink and purple have risen to the top of he list.   So we picked out a nice pink washable (and even affordable) yarn.  I thought she might let it go for a little while, but right after we walked in the door...

When are you going to start my bunny, Mama?

Followed by:

Mama, is that the head of the bunny?

When do you put the stuffing in the body, Mama?

Mama, you need to knit the bunny another leg.  Bunnies need two legs, Mama!

Mama, how come the bunny only has one arm?

When are you going to knit the other ear, Mama?  Are you working on it yet?

My bunny needs a face, Mama!  My bunny needs a face!

Ms. Z has been my constant coach and task master when it comes to her Sophie.  Even with all the wheedling and cajoling a very verbal 4 year old can muster I sill managed to take several months to bring Sophie to the finish line.  Since handing Sophie off (she refused to give the bunny a different name) she's insisted on bringing the bunny everywhere with her.  Sophie sleeps with her, she has to be belted in next to her in the car, she's been to pre-kindergarten for a day and she has had a busy life following Ms. Z around.  This is the first time a hand knit toy has been so well loved by my kiddo, even if for just a short period of time.  It's enough to make a Mama think that maybe she should get her act together and start working on that pair of striped knee socks she has the yarn for....

*My daughter's name is the Polish version of Sophie.
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Pattern: Elijah, by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: RYC Cashsoft Baby
Needles: US 2.5 (3 mm)


I have finished the sweetest little elephant.  And he definitely has kid appeal, because the second I finished seaming the second ear, Ms. Z wanted to make him her own. 

By now, I'm getting pretty accomplished with French knots -- and I almost feel good about how mine look.  In the past, I've considered French knots to be my embroidery nemesis.  I think I will be less concerned about them in the future. 

Elijah, like Sophie and Otto, comes from a well written pattern.  The only tricky bit,  in my opinion, is picking up the stitches for the ears since there are no easy to follow guide stitches.  My Elijah's ears are a bit off-center from each other, but I don't think the average toddler would notice, and I like to think it gives him a little extra charm.

Of the three patterns, I would rate the difficulty (from easiest to hardest) as Sophie, Elijah and Otto.  Most of the difficulty has little to do with the knitting, and all to do with proper stuffing and the embroidery.  That said, all of them are very approachable and knit up relatively quickly if you need a present for a special child in a hurry.

20091022_ElijahOtto&Sophie.jpg Here are my trio of toys enjoying a brief respite from the rain on my deck this afternoon.  Soon they will be making their journey to Madison, WI where they will be keeping company with a sweet, tiny new person.  What more could a toy ask for?

I'm pretty sure that I have enough yarn left to make at least one of these toys for Z.  I've been thinking about doing Sophie in some kind of patchwork manner (I don't have enough of one color left to make a whole toy), but have to think about how to do it so that it comes out cute and not just rag-bag looking.

Sophie

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20090909_Sophie.jpgPattern: Sophie
Yarn: RYC Cashsoft Baby DK in "Cloud"
Needles: US2.5 (3 mm) bamboo double points

Labor Day weekend was a lovely one for me.  A nice weekend with my family and plenty of knitting time while the kiddo enjoyed time with her grandparents and a whole array of new toys and books.  I, of course, brought about 12 more projects than I could possibly work on. And the only projects that actually saw any new stitches added were the Dragon shawl and Sophie.

Sophie is a lovely little knit -- and doesn't take that long to work up if you're dedicated.  I finished almost all of her in Ann Arbor (and the only reason she didn't get finished on the ride home was because I got drawn into a game of Civilization Revolution on my iPhone -- and it's almost as addictive as the desktop version).  She's constructed out of RYC Cashsoft Baby DK in the colorway "Cloud" and stuffed with polyfill so that she's washable.

I really love that the toy is made as one unit, with additional body parts added by picking up and knitting stitches on existing parts.  So much nicer than knitting pieces individually and then trying to sew them together neatly.  One full ball got me the head, body, both arms, both legs and about 1/3 of the way through the first ear.  And I used a little bit from a second ball for the rest of the first ear and the second ear.  I'm thinking that after I finish all three toys, I'll probably have enough left overs to put together a patchwork animal for Z.  Who kept coming up to me and letting people know "Momma is knitting!" and "That's a bunny!"

I was much lighter on the stuffing than I have been in the past -- I wanted my Sophie to be soft and squishable and easy for little hands to grasp.  This also had the side-effect of not distorting any of the body shapes in  bizarre manner.  And I absolutely love the final resul. 

The thing I was most worried about with this project was the French knot eyes.  French knots and I, generally speaking, do not get a long.  But we worked together just find on this project.  Must be the good karma that comes from knitting for a baby.

Overall this pattern was easy to follow and the instructions, including the images guiding the picking up of stitches, were quite good.  I think Otto will be next.  But not before I cast on for Ms. Z's second Zebra Striper sleeve. Can't forget my own baby as I'm knitting for someone else's!

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