Tuesday, January 31, 2017

FO: Fuzzy Mitten 2016 Mystery Knit Along

Yes, you read that title right - 2016. This little guy was started with everyone else last April while this pattern was still a mystery. I was a little underwhelmed with what the mystery turned out to be (not that it's not cute, I was just hoping for an animal), and I set this aside in a sad state of slightly-but-not finished. I pulled him out for my Year in Yarn post and took a picture of him like this:
Headless, hairless, naked, and with only one ear sewn on - he was a sad sight every time I happened upon his project basket. Taking this photo and taking stock of just how many unfinished wips I had from last year really seems to have done the trick though, because I had an immediate desire to start finishing things up. This project being the closest to completion, I grabbed him first. I sat down with my yarn and a personal Harry Potter movie marathon and finished him up :)
The pattern itself is Wood Elf by Barbara Prime (Fuzzy Mitten Designs) and it is now available as just a regular pattern (it hasn't been a mystery since last April, lol). The actual pattern gives options for the elf's hair and the clothes include a romper, cape, and boots with leaf motifs. It's all cute, but being that I'm not much for actual dolls, and I don't have any kids, it felt a little silly to be making an elf. Also, Barbara gives you the option in the body pattern to change yarn colors for built in "undies", but since I was hoping for an animal I felt that was unnecessary. Now I slightly regret that decision, lol. The romper and cape just felt a bit "kid-ish" to me, which is one of the reasons I never finished this project. I always planned on making my own pattern to give him what I saw as more "elf-ish" clothes (more on my clothes a bit lower in the post).
All the yarns were from my stash. I used Patons Canadiana in Flax for the body, Vanna's Choice in Chocolate for the hair, I Love This Yarn Sport Weight in Green for the shorts, and Golden Sun Bamboo in Tan for the belt. I loved the Canadiana for the color, but I regret using this yarn now. The yarn is sold as a worsted weight (and is even listed as one on Ravelry), but I ended up with a very loose fabric in the body that I'm not happy with. The Vanna's Choice not only looks more dense, it also does not show holes when you put stuffing behind it. There are no gaps in the Vanna's Choice yarn sections, so I know this wasn't a case of too loose of knitting. This yarn just seems to have more stretch to it and be a little thinner, leading to more visible space between the stitches. It's a great skin color though, so it's kind of a bummer. Live and learn.
For his shorts, I used the romper pattern and changed it as I went. For anyone interested in making shorts for their elf, this was my pattern:
  1. CO 40 sts and knit garter stitch for 3 rows
  2. K2, yo, k2tog until last 2 stitches, K2
  3. Knit in stockinette for 23 rows beginning with a purl row. 4.Follow decreases in the romper pattern and bind off, etc.
  4. Pick up stitches for legs as pattern says and follow until just before bind off. Add 1 row knit all, 2 rows purl all, then bind off.
  5. Knit 20” i-cord and thread through yo holes at waist to tie.
I'm really happy with how the shorts turned out. For my shorts I used sport weight yarn and used size US 2 needles and it turned out a good size. The belt was just the best earthy tone fingering weight I had in my stash and I knitted a 4 stitch i-cord until it was long enough to tie. Originally I had planned making a vest as well, but I am just happy he isn't naked anymore, lol, so I'm calling him done. Maybe someday I will decide to accessorize him further, but he's good until now. He's an elf, after all. I don't think he's very worried about his attire. 
Isn't the belly button adorable?! And the nose?! I love how Fuzzy Mitten patterns always have extra special touches like those (he also has thumbs!). She doesn't cut things out to keep it super easy, but the patterns are explained well enough that even if you haven't made anything similar before you should be good. This toy is quite a bit bigger than Barbara's usual designs. I bet this would be great for a young kid, so this one is going in that collection of "toys for future children".

So, that's my elf :) I call him Pan (which helps with the only wearing shorts thing, lol). I'm glad to finally have this one wrapped up, and I definitely plan on participating in the Mystery Knit Along again this year!

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