Next on my list of things to finish for Xmas are a flock of knitted dinosaurs for my niece. The pattern is Prehistoric Pals from Knitting at Knoon (there are lots of cute toy and children's garments patterns on this website) and is much easier than it might first appear. There are lots of small pieces and sewing involved, but the shaping is simple and well thought out. I used Galway knitting worsted for all the dinosaurs. At this point I have completed three of the four dinosaurs, with one still to go. The last one was what was called a brontosaurus when I was a kid, but is now something like brachiasaurus.
The snowpeople I made a while back, using a free Knit Picks pattern, were finished in a way I hadn't thought of trying before. The bodies were knitted, stuffed, and then felted, so the stuffing provided a little resist and allowed the felting to keep it's shape a bit better than an un-stuffed body would have. After finishing the stegosaurus it seemed that a little felting wouldn't hurt this little guy, either. The polyester fiberfill stuffing showed through the knitting a little more than I liked, and the details, such as the spikes along the back, could use a little more firmness. So I decided to risk a little felting on the finished stegosaurus. This photo is before felting.
This one is the "after" shot. The difference doesn't appear to be that big on the photo but it's just what I was after. The knitting tightened up and got just a little fluffier at the same time. The seams are less obvious, and the pikes along the spine really firmed up. The legs are a bit sturdier, as well.
To do the felting, I put the entire, finished dinosaur into a zippered pillowcase protector, and added it to a load of laundry set to hot wash/cold rinse, with laundry detergents as usual for a load of wash. Once the load was done, I took the dinosaur out of the pillowcase and shaped it a bit (tugging the spikes into nice points; shaping the face and tail, etc) and let it air dry.
While they are in process the dinos don't look like much; I got lots of puzzled looks from my fellow commuters on the ferry while making them! Here's the T Rex before the legs and face were done (who knew that a T Rex head was shaped almost exactly like the heel of a sock?). In the first photo on this post he's in the background; done but not yet felted. He's in the washing machine as I write this post.
Once all the pieces are together, and the eyes embroidered, the dinos really come together. They're very cute in a slightly goofy way; I think they will be perfect for a dinosaur-crazed three year old, don't you? I think this fellow is just asking for my little niece to take him home and play with him.
Monday, 12/15 - A quick addition to yesterday's post. The dress for my niece appeared to have been lost in the mail (gulp) but mercifully turned up in a pile of other packages from my sister-in-law's family in Wales. The dress not only fit, but Madi loved it, so there is hope that she will actually consent to wear it come Christmas Day!