My Prize-Winning Topsy-Turvy Toy

Oh, hi, knitters! It’s so nice to see you again. Unless, that is, this is your first visit to the Knitting Daddy blog. In that case, it’s nice to see you for the first time! I hope you enjoy you stay and come back for another visit next week. I especially welcome those of you who have found this blog based on hearing about it on a podcast or from a friend. Please leave a comment and let me know how you found me — it’s always fun to hear from new readers.

I’m a day later than I want to be posting this — I try to get new posts up by Wednesday morning. You know how it can be — sometimes, life just happens. Hopefully, I’ll get back to my regular posting schedule next week. This week, I’m going to talk about my prize-winning topsy-turvy toy. But before we get into that, let’s take a look at what’s been going on in my knitting world this week.

Bunny & Lamb: Bunny

One the one hand, the Bunny & Lamb is a cute little bunny, holding a carrot.

Bunny & Lamb: Lamb

On the other hand, the Bunny & Lamb is an excited lamb, wanting to give you a hug.

This Week In Podcasts

Increasingly, the podcast review segment is proving to be a popular aspect of my blog. I’m glad you enjoy my reviews and I’m thrilled to share the great things I’m hearing in the knitting podcast world with y’all. Please keep in mind that the shows I talk about on the blog are just a tiny slice of all of the great knitting podcasts out there — I wish I had time to listen to more. If you know of any great knitting podcasts, please let me know about ’em! Also, in my reviews, I tend to just pick one or two topics that are discussed on a podcast episode — there’s usually lots more knitting goodness than I mention here. This week, I listened to episodes of Knitmore Girls, Yarniacs, Knitting Pipeline, 2 Knit Lit Chicks, Curious Handmade, Ewe University, and TwinSet Designs. I’m falling behind on my CraftLit listening, but I hope to catch up next week.

In Knitmore Girls Episode 279 (Effekthaufung), Gigi and Jasmin have a great discussion about pilling, pill prevention, and eliminating pills.

In Yarniacs Episode 61 (Catch Up!), Gayle and Sharlene continue their discussion on knitting inspiration, this time focusing on the differences between being inspired by patterns vs. being inspired by yarn.

In Knitting Pipeline Episode 169 (Think Like A Quilter), Paula talks about her Kindness of Knitters Blanket (which she has completed) and how to take the long-view of knitting when working on complex, time-consuming projects. So often we’re looking for a quick knit, or are itching to complete whatever’s on our needles and we miss the satisfaction that comes from working on a project that may take months, or years, to finish. It’s great advice, applicable beyond knitting as well.

In 2 Knit Lit Chicks Episode 67 (Kind Of An Annoying Dingbat), Barb and Tracie talk about their upcoming Mother Bear KAL/CAL. They also go through a whole slew of book reviews. I don’t know how they stay on top of all of those! I’m still working on Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and am enjoying it even though I’ve had to set it aside for a bit while other things pile up on my life.

In Curious Handmade Episode 25 (Seeking balance and sharing knitting journeys), Helen continues sharing stories from different people and how they started knitting. That is always so much fun to hear, and I love telling my own knitting origin story. I was also pleasantly surprised to hear my name on the podcast, as Helen gave the blog a shout-out since I mentioned her podcast in last week’s blog. Thanks so much, Helen! Especially because she gave me a shout-out, this is the must-listen podcast of the week.

In Ewe University Episode 22, Dr. Kelly talks about creativity. It’s an interesting discussion about how creativity is a personality trait that spans many different kinds of people. It’s not specifically tied to IQ, e.g. Dr. Kelly also shares some great tips for how to increase your creativity. I’m already starting to incorporate some of those tips in my daily life. She also announced the April Valedictorians, and I’m thrilled to share that my Bunny & Lamb project that I finished just-in-th-nick-of-time for April was selected by the random number generator to win. Remember at the beginning of this post when I talked about my prize-winning topsy-turvy toy? Well, this is the prize I won — a skein of yarn from January Yarns! I’ve already picked out my yarn and it should be arriving soon. Dr. Kelly had some very kind things to say about my knitting, and especially because of being mentioned in the show, this is the other must-listen podcast of the week! Thank you so much, Dr. Kelly — I always look forward to your podcast!

In TwinSet Designs Episode 39 (The Wolf Closest to the Sleigh), Jan and Ellen catch us all up with what’s been going on in their lives since they last released a podcast a month ago. They’ve been busy! It was great catching back up with them — it feels like hanging out with friends when I listen to their show. They also announced that the first TwinSet Summer Camp is a go! I wish I could be able to attend, but I fear I will simply not have enough vacation time this year to take the time away from work. They also had a very informative discussion with Dr. Yarn about yarn substitution, full of very good advice.

It was another great week in knitting podcasts, and I know that the week ahead will continue to delight my ears.

This Week In Ravelry

When I first started this blog, I was changing things in my queue and my favorites on Ravelry pretty often. This segment of my blog was intended to talk about what I’ve been finding in Ravelry in the way of patterns and what-not. As I’ve become more active in the community aspects of the site, most of my Ravelry time is spent in the various groups and forums in which I participate. So my queue doesn’t change much anymore. As a result, I will likely be phasing out this segment as a regular feature of my blog. Don’t worry — if I come across something exciting on Ravelry, you know I’ll share it with you here. But while this segment is away, it is probably safe to assume that my Ravelry activity consisted of doing my best to keep up in the handful of groups and forums that I tend to frequent.

This Week On My Needles

My needles have been busy this week! I knitted another dishcloth (that I haven’t photographed) using my favorite basic dishcloth pattern — Gramma’s Dishcloth (Grandmother’s 2nd Favorite) by PJ Allen. Again, I used Lily’s Sugar ‘n Cream on US 6 needles. I’ve got a handful of balls of Sugar ‘n Cream and other kitchen cotton in my stash that I’m trying to use, and this is a perfect project for it. I started this dishcloth while camping out overnight in the line for Free Comic Book Day at my local comic book store — Acme Comics. I finished about half of the dishcloth while in line, and the rest of it Sunday evening. As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, this is the perfect project for portable knitting.

Blueberry's Adaline

I knitted a few more (of the seemingly endless) rows on Blueberry’s Adaline this week. I’m looking forward to getting to an interesting part of the pattern again. I’m so unenthused about this project, I took a picture of the wrong side of the work and didn’t notice it until I went to post it on the blog. Oops. It’s stockinette, the right side looks like knit stitches and is prettier. The lace pattern still shows up OK in this picture, though.

Also, while in line for FCBD, I knitted a few more rows on Blueberry’s Adaline! That project has been on the back-burner forever, it seems. It’s hard to be motivated by it, because I’m in a tedious section of stockinette over hundreds of stitches per row. But, maybe if I can just make myself do a row or two pretty often, I’ll get back to some interesting parts of it. I did manage to take a picture of it, finally, too.

Fairy In A Tulip

The fairy lives inside the tulip, here she is peeking out over the petals.

Finally, while in line for FCBD, I finished the Flower Fairy in a Tulip project for the IBK May KAL. I was absolutely amazed by how much I enjoyed this project. It was much quicker than I anticipated — probably less than 7 hours total, and I’m not a fast knitter. Much of the time was spent on the details that make this toy so cute. It also helps that the flower portion is knit out of bulky yarn (I used 2 strands of worsted held together to achieve a similar bulk), which knits up quickly.

Fairy In A Tulip

When you coax her outside, the flower petals turn into a beautiful dress for the happy fairy.

Fairy In A Tulip

A close up of the face reveals how a little attention to the finishing touches like the eyes and braided hair can really pay off by breathing life and personality in your doll.

Fairy In A Tulip

The fairy even has wings! That was a great finishing touch. You could leave them out, but they really add another touch of whimsicalness to the toy.

The fairy proved to be a great piece to use up scrap bits of yarn. It felt so good to be knitting from my stash on this one instead of having to go back to the store for more yarn again. This pattern can be found in Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys: Magical Two-in-One Reversible Projects, by Susan B. Anderson. So far, this is the third toy I’ve knit from this book. I’m on track to knit them all, thanks to the wonderful KAL going on in the IBK Group on Ravelry. You should totally join us.

My Prize-Winning Topsy-Turvy Toy

The final item that came off my needles is the focus of this week’s post, my Bunny & Lamb. By virtue of a random number generator, it won a prize in the Ewe University April Graduating Class. When Dr. Kelly told me I won a skein of yarn, I told her that my project will now forever be referred to as my “Prize-winning Bunny & Lamb.” I guess this makes me a prize-winning knitter, doesn’t it? One more thing to add to my knitting resumé!

Bunny & Lamb: Bunny

Bunny has a big tail!

Bunny & Lamb: Lamb

Lamb has a cute little bobble tail!

I talked about this project a bit on last week’s post, but it wasn’t quite finished when I put that post up. Since then, I did all of the finishing work, and I think it came out great! I think the carrot looks like a cute handbag for the bunny. I also spent a decent amount of time and patience working on the embroidered faces to get them to come out just right. I used to rush through face embroidery, but especially after attending Susan’s workshops on toy building, I’ve worked to be more patient with the embroidery and spend the time and effort it takes to make it “just right.” In the end, it’s really worth it. I also owe a big thanks to my wife for helping me find the yarn for the carrot and the floss for the faces. Picking out colors is not in my wheelhouse, so it’s especially nice to get some help with that from time to time.

Bunny & Lamb: Bunny

Little details like this carrot are what sets Susan B. Anderson toy patterns apart from the crowd. I almost didn’t knit this carrot, because it felt optional, but I’m glad I did because it adds a great finishing touch of personality to the toy.

Bunny & Lamb: Bunny

Paying attention to the face embroidery can really help make your toys expressive — it’s what makes or breaks the feel. Here, the bunny looks a little sleepy, a feeling which is reinforced by her floppy ears.

Bunny & Lamb: Lamb

Combined with his upturned ears, the lamb’s happy face embroidery makes him look excited!

When I got the Topsy-Turvy book, this was the toy I wanted to make first. Blueberry really enjoys bunnies and sheep/lambs, so I knew she’d get a kick out of it, and I really liked the way it looked. As it turned out, I knitted the Egg To Alligator first and didn’t get around to this one until now. It was so much fun, and I love turning it inside-out and back. The construction is pretty straight-forward, and the pattern (like all of Susan’s patterns) is extremely well-written. I did modify the bunny haunches to make the 2nd one symmetrical instead of identical to the 1st one. Other than that, knit the pattern as is, and you’ll have a delightful toy when you’re done.

Blueberry’s birthday is at the end of this month and I’m saving both the Bunny & Lamb and the Flower Fairy in a Tulip to give her as birthday presents. So there’s a good chance both of these toys will appear in the blog again once she gets her hands on them and I can take some pictures of her playing with them. It will be fun to watch her explore the transformative aspect of the toys!

I finished this project on the last day of the month, which was my goal — it counts against one of my 2014 Knitting Goals to participate in at least one KAL. I was also able to squeeze it in for the Ewe University April Graduating Class thread on Ravelry, where it won a prize. I may have never been valedictorian at any of the schools I attended, but it’s nice that one of my knitting projects has received that honor. Thank you again, Dr. Kelly!

So there you have it, I am a prize-winning knitter of a prize-winning knitted toy. That’s just fun to say.

What about you? Have any of your knitted items won prizes — either by way of random number generators, or through a judging process? Share your stores about your prize-winning knitting in the comments!

Until next week, keep on knitting for the ones you love!

-greg

Twitter: @KnittingDaddy
Ravelry: KnittingDaddy

12 thoughts on “My Prize-Winning Topsy-Turvy Toy

  1. Congratulations Greg on being a prize winning knitter! Also, thank you for your podcast recommendations. I started listening to podcasts recently so when I was checking out the various ones you mentioned, I listened to Fiber Hooligan. I went back to his episode with Susan B. Anderson and you had called in!
    Thanks again and happy knitting!

    • Hi, Carla! Thanks for the comment. I’m glad that you’re enjoying the blog and checking out some of my podcast recommendations. The Fiber Hooligan episode with Susan B. Anderson was the first time I heard of Fiber Hooligan, and I was thrilled to get to talk to Susan and ask her about the inspiration for stuffing toys with tennis balls. It was also very kind of Ben and Susan to let me talk a little bit about how/why I started knitting, and why charity knitting holds such a special place in my heart. It’s a great podcast, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed keeping up with all of the great guests Ben has on the show. Happy knitting to you, too!

  2. You are a bona fide valedictorian at Ewe U! I agree about the topsy turvy inside out toys — it is addictive to just keep turning them inside and out. They are amazing patterns. Talk about creativity! Right now I’m very behind on podcasts (Craftlit) 🙁 but should be able to catch up now that school is almost done. Knit on!

    • Hi, Dr. Kelly! I feel so special to be a Ewe U valedictorian! The topsy-turvy patterns are indeed so creative. Even after knitting a few of them, I still am in awe of what the process must be to design one! Talk about creativity! I’m a few weeks behind on CraftLit, myself. I’m hoping to catch up during the weekend. I’m pretty caught up with the rest of the podcasts I listen to — even my non-knitting ones. I might be able to work in an audiobook soon! Enjoy a less hectic routine now that school is almost done — happy knitting!

  3. As you know, I was your co-valedictorian – such a thrill! I received my award today, and it made my day.

    I just love your toys. The tulip fairy is just adorable. I know your daughter will love her and the topsy/turvy lamb/bunny. You’re doing a beautiful job on the Adaline. I’m sorry you’re finding it less than motivating. I’m doing a sweater right now and I’m in the middle of a large stockinette portion – I know it can be tedious, but it’s good for tired days or TV knitting.

    I’ve been listening to many of the same podcasts