Monday, 24 June 2013

Puss in Boots Knitting Pattern

Back at Christmas a relative sent me some money to put towards something for myself and after a bit of debate I treated myself to some of Jean Greenhowe's knitting pattern booklets (as well as Terry Pratchett's Snuff). I'd been singing the praises of Jean Greenhowe's patterns to a friend for a couple of months but didn't yet own any myself so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to rectify this situation.

I spent a lot of time choosing which booklets to get and in the end I selected Knitted Animals, Knitted Toy Collection, Knitted Hedgehogs and the MacScarecrow Clan books. The Knitted Animals book was chosen partly because it had two patterns for cats and I knew I wanted the first thing I knit to be a gift for the cat-loving relative who had funded my purchase.

The patterns in question were Puss in Boots and the Kitten. I went with Puss because he looked fun and quirky and like more of a challenge. He was actually knit up and finished before Grandma Humpty Dumpty but I didn't want to show him off until I'd sent him off to his new home.

Until these books arrived I'd been knitting toys from the Knitted Toys book by Sharon Welch who has a similar style to Jean Greenhowe but I still went through a period of adjustment. Different authors phrase things in different ways or lay out their patterns differently and that can take some getting used to.

I originally knit all his bits and pieces first then sewed him together but I've since found a better way to work is actually to follow the instructions and if it says to sew something up then do it when you're told to save confusion.

My first bit of confusion came when I knitted the tops of Puss's boots. His body, legs and head were all knitted in one piece with everything else added on. I thought I'd found a mistake in the pattern and did a knit row when I should have purled. The purl row was actually to help define the scalloped edge once you'd folded the rectangular shape it was formed from. It's not a huge difference though.

I also made a mistake in that I didn't read all the making up instructions for the body before I started doing them so I sewed up the back of Puss's head when I should have left it open to anchor the details of his face in the stuffing. Luckily Puss has his jaunty little hat so I was able to pull the threads up there and hide the ends beneath it. Not a bad save, I think!

I love his hat and the feathers. They were one of the bits of magic you often find in Jean Greenhowe patterns. As you knit it you can't see how on earth it will become whatever she says it is. Then you follow the instructions and it just works! The feathers just seemed like a mess as I was knitting them, but when I sewed them up they took shape straight away!

My lack of embroidery skills show on his face. I'd have liked him to look a bit happier. I'm getting the hang of embroidery gradually though so I'm getting there slowly.

I haven't heard what the relative thinks of him but I'm pretty proud of him. And the fact he turned out so well boosted my confidence and prompted me to carry on knitting patterns from the other three books I ordered (and I've just chosen two more to splurge on).

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