Monday, March 3, 2008

double knit mother bear

double knit legs, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

My fav LYS is participating in the mother bear charity which sends knitted teddy bears to kids in Africa affected by HIV/AIDS. I've made a couple so far, but I hate seaming of all kinds, so the pattern (available from knitty gritty for free or by $5 donation from the mother bear organization) kind of annoys me. But I also understand that they don't want all kinds of differently shaped / constructed bears because it means some bears might be seen as different / better than others.

So, instead I decided to slightly modify the pattern to be knit in the round. AKA zero seams. And since some of the other local knitters share my distaste for seams, I promised to write up my modifications. You may need to check the original if you aren't familiar with it already to understand my instructions.

Materials - various machine washable yarns, 2 circs and 5 dpns in appropriate size for yarn (you could do this just using the dpns, but I prefer 2 circs for the parts in the round)

To start I double knit the legs (as see above):

Leg 1: CO 20 stitches onto 1 circ. (double the normal amount) in bear's foot colour.
Row 1: * K1, Sl1 * to end of row
Repeat this row for DOUBLE the amount of rows you would normally work for foot (20 instead of 10)

Switch to pants colour (in my case I stripped the pants, so I was switching every 8 rows) and work DOUBLE the rows, continuing to K1, Sl 1 every row

When you reach where the legs would be joined take 2 dpns and holding them together, slip 1st stitch to back needle, 2nd stitch to front needle. Continue alternating stitches until all stitches are evenly divided onto the dpns. (My other tutorial for double knitting can be found here complete with a picture if you need visual aid.) Now you should be able to flip the leg "right side out".

Repeat for leg 2.

To join legs use circ 1 to knit across one side of one leg, then one side of the other. Now use circ 2 to knit across the remaining side. Continue working in the round using the 2 circular needles until it is time to switch to the sweater colour.
Switch to sweater colour, knit 13 rounds. For the next 7 rows knit back and forth across front of sweater, cut yarn and join to back, repeating back and forth for 7 rows on back of sweater. This will leave an opening for the arms.

Switch to bear's face colour and join to work in the round again. Work 20 rounds for bear's face and cut yarn, leaving enough yarn to later graft/kitchener head together (approximately 4 times the circumference). DO NOT GRAFT YET!

Use dpns to pick up stitches around one arm hole and knit arms in the round. Graft ends of hand together. Repeat for other arm.

Flip bear inside out completely. Sew in any loose ends, making sure to sew up the hole where the legs join. Flip bear back to right side out. Stuff and graft top of head together. Finish up bear (adding face, etc) as normal.

Taa daa!


Anonymous said...

Very cool! I might actually knit a bear now (I'm a slacker). The only problem I have is that a k1, sl1 pattern wouldn't be inside out: it would be attached to itself in the middle. I think you mean p1, sl1 across, which would make them inside out. Is that right?

gradschoolknitter said...

Nope, it's k1, s1 (wyib). It works, I swear. And it seems magical when you take it apart!

Lauren said...

This looks terrific! I can't wait til I clear off some UFOs and can try this technique. Thanks!

Doug said...

Don't tell Marco, but I'm going to learn how to knit. He saw this cap online that he really loved and asked me if I'd ask you to knit it for him. Which I would ask you, BUT it's our one-year coming up and I think it would be a great, very sweet gift.

Hold me Erin, I am about to take the plunge.

Susan said...

Thank you for posting this! I'm looking forward to knitting my first Mother Bear but all in the round adaptations I saw seemed needlessly complex, with provisional cast ons. I think this will work better for me.

Tracey said...

thank you! that is very helpful.