Monday, October 1, 2012

Ivy, the Christmas Hooligan

Last week I told you about the Single Ornament Swap on the Itty Bitty forums.  While what I shared wasn't a fail, it certainly did not conform to my standards for the swap.

So I chose a different pattern.  Still a toy pattern, perhaps a little larger than the usual Christmas ornaments, but perfect for what I was looking for.

I chose to knit Ivy, the Christmas Hooligan.  Now, Ivy is not an only child.  She actually has a sister, Holly, and a brother, Steve.  They're mischievous monsters according to Rebecca (Rebecca Danger, that is...more about her in a minute.).  I've been wanting to knit one of these happy hooligans for quite some time and this gave me the perfect excuse.
I chose Ivy because I liked her hat.  Between the hat and the scarf, I didn't feel the need to add a mouth.  I intentionally didn't make a mouth because I felt that it gave her an air of secrecy and magic.  With her hat pulled low and her scarf slung high, she's looking out for dear Old Santa Clause - she doesn't want to get caught being naughty! :)

Ivy was a treat to knit.  She is small and straight-forward.  I had her knit up in no time (which was good because it was getting down to the wire - I had already attempted one ornament, picking another took me awhile!).  She's knit with Cascade Fixation in green and red.  Fixation is a combination of 98% cotton and 2% other.  I believe the "other" is an elastic of some kind.  The yarn has a bit of sproing to it.  It's not my favorite to knit with because of it.  The strand is a bit too coiled for my taste.  But, for toys, I really appreciate the density of the fabric.  When knit on small needles, it pulls in nicely, leaving no chance for holes.
This was my first time trying "safety eyes."  I've seen them used before in toys but never purchased any myself.  I've always just embroidered the eyes.  But I felt the need to stay true to the pattern this time.  I found these in a JoAnn's in the doll section.  I'm sure Hobby Lobby or Michaels sells them as well.  I've also heard mention of purchasing them on Etsy or look them up on Amazon - the internet can be a wonderful resource for these types of things.  I know that at one time Rebecca Danger had them in her store, I'm not sure if she still does.  They're a useful notion, although I can see times where I wouldn't want to use them.  Using safety eyes requires placing the eyes before you're finished creating your toy.  Because you need to push the backing onto the eye, behind/inside the knitted fabric, this cannot be done once the toy is sewn up.  Personally, I like to see the toy finished and faceless before I decide on a personality for him or her.  And if I have to place the eyes ahead of time, if I mess up on placing arms or legs, my poor toy may be a little cockeyed.  But it's always good to add a new tool to your belt, so I tried them and will use them in the future, just not exclusively. (I think Ivy looks pretty smashing with her little belly-button and little black eyes.)

And finally, I just have to mention how much I love Danger Craft patterns.  Rebecca puts out such beautiful patterns and all her monsters have such unique personalities.  I've favorited nearly all her patterns and even purchased her book - the Big Book of Knitted Monsters,  and yet this was my first pattern to knit.  She's got a wide range of toys - animals and dinosaurs, monsters and friends - they're all so cute!  She has a new book, Knit a Monster Nursery that I really would like to own.  Her patterns are quite popular.  After knitting Ivy, I'm sure to knit more.

And once I got Ivy outside and strung from the tree, I realized how perfect she would be on a Christmas tree.  She looked quite at home in my backyard, although perhaps a little lonely without her friends.  Inside, where it's cozy and warm is certainly the best place for her to be!