01 December 2018
'Tis the Season
I purchased issue #138/October 2015 of Simply Knitting magazine when I was at Unwind back in April. There was a silent auction to benefit a local charity. I think I bid $1. Nobody bid against me. The magazine came with the yarn pack to make a cute little knitted holiday polar bear.
The pattern is by Alan Dart, who is well-known in the United Kingdom for exactly this type of knitting pattern. He has many, many patterns for cute little knitted people and animals as well as a fan group on Ravelry. If you have a large stash of scraps, Mr. Dart's pattern oeuvre could be just the thing to clear out the bin of mini-skeins. I should give you fair warning, however. While the knitting is technically, rather quick, the finishing is not. If you are looking for an opportunity to practice sewing seams, this is a great project. If you would rather knit mindlessly, look elsewhere.
I eliminated some sewing. Since the legs are worked sole upwards, I plunged the live stitches through the bear body and bound them off inside the bear. The arms are worked in the other direction, which meant picking up stitches through the bear body. The ears were supposed to be attached to the hood. Instead, I picked them up through the head, worked in the round (adding an extra round of height) and then bound off using Kitchener grafting. I combined the hood and the trim piece on the front of the jacket. This meant for some unorthodox knitting, including a provisional cast-on for only part of the element as well as stitches in both directions that needed to be plunged into the jacket and bound off inside. And I added holes in the hood so the ears can peek through as well as joining the hood at back with Kitchener grafting rather than an obvious seam. The advantage of all the picking up and plunging down is that the arms and legs are attached very firmly. I like to think this is a toy that is not coming apart easily.
The final bear is cute. I stuffed him with cotton lint leftover from medicine bottles. There are several people on Ravelry who have worked this pattern with a fuzzy novelty yarn for the jacket trim, and that's a very successful choice I would embrace if working the pattern again. There's also a lady who made two, working a red skirt for the second bear so as to have a Mrs. Santa version. I've finished my bear just in time for the holiday season.