The thing with knitting toys is that it's completely addictive. The process of producing something from your needles that is cute and will be instantly loved is satisfying indeed but the almost instant gratification in making these relatively small items is the real hook. A few days of pleasurable knitting - toys are often knitted in stocking stitch - an amount of careful, but not difficult construction et voila! you have an adorable addition to the family.
I had immense fun making Terence the Tap Dancing Dinosaur - a design by Rebecca Danger. The knitting was quick, though at times a little tricky and as you 'stuff' along the way, the finishing wasn't too laborious either. I used safety eyes, washable fibre fill and our Naturally Soft Merino (washable at 30 degrees) to ensure Terence will be able to be cleaned and cherished for years to come.
The only modification to the pattern that I made was to secure the striped section to the body using mattress stitch instead of a running stitch as Rebecca suggests. I have to admit to being a little obsessive about things being symmetrical and straight so for me, the best way to ensure the striped section lined up correctly and securely was to use mattress. Whilst I say this, I'm conscious that mastering mattress stitch took me a very long time! Particularly lining the first stitches up so that the pieces exactly match, and then also neatly joining pieces that are not oriented the same way (for example a cast on edge to rows - as with the bottom edge of the stripes). I will say, however that if you can perfect this method of joining knitted fabric it will liberate your seaming and produce the most professional result.
Freddie and Terence on their first outing to 'Show and Tell' at school
It's worth mentioning that I, like so many knitters are completely motivated during the knitting of an item and then find their enthusiasm waning as the dreaded finishing looms near, but it's actually here that requires the most care. I've learnt over the years that the care taken over these final processes - whether it be blocking, seaming, embroidering or sewing in ends can make the difference between your lovingly crafted item looking homemade or handmade. Creating a beautiful item by hand is what makes our craft so appealing - learn to love the finishing - it'll be worth it!
(posted by Max)