My current figure that I'm working on is Joseph (of the non Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat variety). He's a rather drab looking figure after spending so much time on my wonderfully brightly colours Wise Men. On the plus side, he's knitting up incredibly quickly by comparison because he doesn't have any added extras.
I feel like I'm really getting the hang of the faces of these characters now. As usual, the Jean Greenhowe instructions are perfectly clear, but things like embroidery take more than a little effort on the part of the crafter. I think Joseph's facial features are the best so far. He's certainly the first one who hasn't had his eyes and nose unpicked several times before I give him up as done.
For his eyes I've found that if I do the first stitch over one knitted stitch and don't pull it too tight, then do the second stitch over two it makes the eyes look a lot more even. Plus it makes it easier to make sure that they're level (at least one of the Wise Men has slightly wonky eyes).
I'm still struggling a little with the noses, possibly because I'm overthinking them or because the pink yarn is very thin and really needs twice as many stitches to give the nose any sort of definition. But even on Joseph this worked out well. I worked it over a little square of four knit stitches, first across, then diagonal, then up and down, then across again, plus one tight stitch on either side to help make it stand out. Doing this meant using rather more stitches than the pattern actually called for, but it helped pull the nose out and it looks a lot neater than Balthazar and Melchior's noses. I have to remember this for the shepherds.
I've also just about finished my planning for adapting this basic figure to make an angel. Since I'll be making the donkey I feel like I need an angel for the whole nativity story. I may even make a figure to act as an innkeeper. I'm getting a little carried away with myself, perhaps once I've finished the actual ones in the pattern I'll be fed up with them all, but it's a nice idea. As long as I get them all done before Christmas and I'm well on track right now.