Pattern by Joanna Johnson
Available on Ravelry- $4.00
Available as part of children's illustrated book
Skills Needed: Knitting in the round, increasing, decreasing,
mattress stitch, picking up stitches, kitchener stitch
Featured in Knit Picks City Tweed DK Yarn
1 ball each: Kitten, Tarantella, Cobalt
I think the first thing to say here is that I LOVE THIS PLATYPUS. Really, it's not every day you come across a pattern for a platypus, and to come across a cute platypus that also has a storybook to go along with him? Amazing. For more about the children's picture book Freddie's Blanket, please see the review here. This knitted stuffed animal is not complicated and works up fairly fast. However, there are small details that Ms. Johnson included that really make this stuffed animal special. The overalls are completely removable, so if you want to make a wardrobe for your little platypus of different colored overalls you could. The front pocket on the overalls is charming. Also, his hands and feet have "fingers." I do not know what the correct terminology is for platypus anatomy, so please forgive my ignorance, but this attention to detail ensures you don't have brown blobs sticking off your stuffed creation- they truly are hands and feet. Notions you need apart from yarn include stuffing (I used poly-fil), felt for the eyes and two buttons for the overalls. I wish my little Freddie had a better photo shoot, but he is already taking a nap with my youngest son, so these pictures will have to do. I feel they do not do his cuteness justice. I like to think the same thing about pictures people take of me.
I used a different yarn than the yarn perscribed in the pattern, so the colors are a little different- but close. Also, I used one needle size up, settling on a set of size 6 dpns instead of 5. I have mixed feelings about this decision. I chose the larger needles because my yarn choice had a little more weight than Ms. Johnson's. However, the stitch is just a tinsy bit large for my taste. It's not that stuffing is going to eek out of Freddie's little platypus pores, but I feel it made the overall fabric that creates him a little loose. If I make a second platypus, which is likely to happen, I will probably move down to the size 5 needles. In addition, I ran out of the body color, kitten. I had just enough for the actual body, but Freddie's tail is supposed to be the same color as his body. My Freddie has a tail to match his arms and legs. I don't think anybody minds. It is perhaps a result of my larger needle choice.
As a side note- My Freddie turned out to be a little bit chubby; his overalls are snug. They fit my portly platypus, but perhaps I should have done a little measuring once he was stuffed so I could make him couture overalls.
Summary: This cute stuffed animal is worth making. It is fairly priced and the pattern is very detailed and easy to follow. There is also a pattern included for May, a little girl platypus with a dress. The hardest part was the kitchener stitch, which once you catch the rhythm, really is not hard at all. The whole thing is worked seamless except the overalls, which are worked in front and back pieces and sewn together. If you have a small child in your life, I'd recommend making this cutie for your cutie.
Available for $5.99 on
Skills Needed: Knitting in the round, simple cable, stranded colorwork, i-chord, felting
Featured Yarn: KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Bulky
I actually finished this project quite some time ago and was using it to house yet another of my knitting projects. Then it hit me, I should definitely include this bag on my projects page because I use it all the time. There is a small amount of finessing that has to go in to this project, the color changes can be a little annoying if that's not really your thing and the felting takes time. However, if your willing to take the plunge, this is my favorite yarn bag. Because it is felted, it really slows down the amount of push through by needles or loss of stitch markers, yet it still maintains a knitted look. Don't get me wrong, I am a hoarder when it comes to totable bags, I have so many sizes and materials that are filled with all kinds of knitting dreams and nightmares. However, for whatever reason, I always make sure this bag is in use- and by in use I mean containing an active knitting project and not one I've promised myself I would get back to...someday. I think it is because the bag is also something I made. If I get discouraged, my project bag reminds me that what I'm knitting can be finished, can be useful and can be beautiful. It's like a living knit testimonial.
I do remember I completely frogged this project on my first attempt. I was going through some very emotional things in my life and my husband kept a weary eye on my progress, politely asking if perhaps I was doing something wrong. Of course I pish-poshed his concerns away and plunged forward, toiling for hours on what was inevitably me knitting my emotions instead of knitting the pattern. Once I realized my husband was correct, I started over and the project was actually easy to knit. I think the difficulty in this project might come in paying attention. While it looks simple, there are quite a few things going on with this bag. None of them are too challenging in themselves, but miss something and you will be a very sad knitter. When I finished the green bag, I made a brown one for my mother. She is a crocheter, not a knitter, but I have seen her brown version of my bag in use on many occasions. The second go around was much faster than the first. Duh, right?
Summary: I would say perhaps the pattern price is a little high, but considering how often I use this bag, I think it has proved itself worth the money. Felting it is a must, it is a shapeless blob otherwise. The stiffness and density felting gives this bag makes all the difference. The pattern is well-written and there are many small skills involved in this bag that are fun to learn/brush up on. It makes a really spectacular project bag.