With my desire to knit re-ignited by my twirly scarves I suddenly realised that it was my Dad’s birthday in the very near future. This presented a problem as he is a real pain to buy for, so I decided that something handmade was in order. He likes teddy bears, so I trawled Ravelry for a bear that could be made from my stash yarn using needles that I already had as there wasn’t time to order. OK, I’ll clarify a little, there was plenty of time as we are fortunate enough to have three online retailers that offer next day delivery, but I tend to spend days deliberating which yarns I should buy and there certainly wasn’t time for that! Finally, I settle on “Teddy” by Cassidy Clark which is available for free on Ravelry and is generally adorable. Also, this pattern would work with my stash yarn as I have a very large box full of DK in all sorts of colours.
Having settled on the yarn, Red Heart Bella in Camel, I turned to the pattern. I immediately noticed a problem, not with the pattern but rather with the person wielding the pattern. The cast on for the body called for casting on a small number of stitches using DPNs and I realised that there was no way in hell that my fibro fog brain was going to let me do that, especially as the DPNs I have in the size needed are heavy. I pondered for a while, searching Ravelry again, then realised that I could still make the pattern – I would just have to knit it flat. So, I grabbed my new Knit Pro Cubics (review here!) and got to work. The original yarn called for in the pattern is Knit Picks Crayon, a boucle yarn, so to emulate its squishiness I opted for garter stitch which, happily, also meant I didn’t need to translate the pattern into knit and purl. The results were surprisingly good, with only minor modifications needed here and there.
The only part of the pattern I couldn’t easily translate (I think I was quite tired and foggy that day) was the ears, which I improvised from another pattern. The pattern also calls for a snout to be made, but I managed to mess that up spectacularly – I weaved in the yarn from the wrong end so, much to my dismay, it unravelled! By this point, I was down to the last day to get this thing finished as I had been laid up with the flu, so I decided to proceed without the snout and do what I could to make him presentable. I also knocked up a bow tie in some random orange DK from a garter rectangle and some wrapped yarn, because every dapper bear needs a bow tie!
Sewing the bear was easy enough, but when it came to stuffing I realised that the needles I used were a size too big (even though I went down a size from the size given in the pattern), so there are some parts where the stuffing pokes through a little. It’s not too noticable though and somehow I don’t think my Dad will be chewing on the bear so there won’t be a choking hazard! I think I may have made a mistake on the legs, because they look a little small and I couldn’t persuade them to stretch any further. For the face, I used Stylecraft Special DK in Black and some creative backstitch to get a friendly expression. There is a couple of mistakes and one side of the mouth is smaller than the other, but overall I was pleased with the effect.
Overall, I think that this pattern is awesome and, yes, it can be done flat using the same instructions if you want to do it that way. As I said, it’s available for free so anyone looking for a bear pattern should definitely give this one a look. A feature I love is the tick boxes supplied so you can track your progress – I wish more patterns had that feature! I would strongly advise a gauge/tension check for poke-through beforehand as I think the boucle yarn adds a little extra chunkiness which may affect the results if you use smooth yarn as I did. I’m a tight knitter, so I was a bit surprised when I could see stuffing, but that’s what you get for not checking your tension! As for the yarn, Red Heart Bella is a lovely budget friendly DK yarn – this was my first time using it, but it was very soft and didn’t split during use. All things considered, I’m really pleased how this little fella turned out, especially as it’s been a long time since I knitted and assembled something in so many pieces!
Thanks for reading 🙂