A Note on Gauge
When knitting toys I always use needles that are a mm size smaller than that recommended for the yarn. You don’t have to get the gauge exactly right but at least knit up some garter stitch using smaller than usual needles, until you get a fabric that you can only see pinpricks of light through.
More About Closing the Holes
The Hug Monster pattern uses a technique called Short Row Shaping. This involves turning the knitting around before you’ve knitted to the end of the row, so making the knitted fabric 3 dimensional. However, when you turn the knitting, you leave a small hole. There’s a special blog post on how to close the holes and get a smoother finish just here.
Right Side and Wrong Side
All knitted fabric has a “right” side and a “wrong” side, even garter stitch, which looks pretty much the same on both sides. When you start the first row of your knitting the right side of the work is facing you. Take a note of where your cast on tail is (it will be on the right if you use “double cast on” or the left if you use “single cast” on or “cable cast on”). That cast on tail will then tell you which is the right side. Obviously the right side should go on the outside.
M1, M1L and M1R
M1 is a method of increasing which doesn’t show any sign of the increase on the right side of the fabric. It’s important to use this increase (even though you need to some fiddly moves) so that your Monster’s hands come out smoothly.
There is a left leaning M1 (called a M1L) and a right leaning M1 (called a M1R). If the direction of the M1 is not specified in the pattern it is assumed you are being asked to knit a M1L
Firstly here’s what the experts say about the M1:
http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/increases This excellent video resource shows how to do the M1 increase. Click on the “Knitting Increases” Link under “Videos” and scroll down to the videos for M1L and M1R
http://wikiknitting.com/wiki/Make_One has useful step by step photos
Here’s my description of how to make a M1L increase.
Make one stitch by picking up the bar between stitches on the left needle from front to back then knitting through the back loop
And the M1R increase
Make one stitch by picking up the bar between stitches on the left needle from back to front then knitting through the front loop
How to Pick Up sts at the Edge of Garter Stitch
Picking up stitches along a garter stitch edge is not often done, so I’ll explain it here. Just as with any stitch pick up the needle is pushed through one of the holes in the knitting, then the yarn is looped around the needle and pulled back through the hole. The hole in the garter stitch fabric is not the first one from the edge, but the second one, as seen in the photo below.
How to Cast On 1 st Over a Gap
You’ll need this when making the thumbs on the monster hands.
Hold the yarn in your left hand as shown above. Take the needle in your right hand. Put the tip of the right needle under and then up and above the front strand between your thumb and middle finger, then pull the yarn to tighten.
This is called the Backward Loop Cast On or sometimes Single Cast On and it is little more than just making loops.
My top tip would be to practice this cast on method a little first so that it feels fluid and comfortable and then attempt it mid row.
Stuffing a large toy can be quite a challenge, especially when that toy is a big round ball. Believe me the human eye is very good at spotting when something is not quite round. Take your time over the stuffing, use small handfuls of fiberfill and start by stuffing the hands. When you stuff the body start from the middle and push the stuffing evenly towards the sides. When you have finished stuffing the monster should feel firm with no areas that collapse in when you touch them.
Sewing the Bottom Seam
The following way is an excellent method for sewing the top and bottom of garter stitch knitting, it leaves a nicely hidden seam. The basic method involves weaving the yarn in and out so that it goes directly over the existing stitches in the knitting. Here’s a diagram:
- Sewing Top and Bottom of Garter Stitch
The important thing to remember when using this method is not to pull the yarn tight as this will just make a nasty mess. It’s a delicately balanced operation, but simple with practice.
Ideas for decoration
Hug monsters can have hair, an eye patch, a dodgy mustache, buttons, a bow tie, a hat, a ray gun, a football helmet…I’ve even been asked to make one with two sets of eyes (one on the front, one on the back). The only limit is your imagination. This blog post might give you some ideas too:
Just buy some felt and go nuts.
If you have any questions or comments which are not covered either in the pattern or here, please contact me through the NattyKnits Etsy shop and I’ll do my best to help you.