The Robot pattern is finally finished and is available in the Natty Knits Etsy shop and on Ravelry. It will soon be part of the Knit Picks Independent Designers Program.
Here are some hints and tips to help you get the best from your pattern.
A Note on Gauge
When I knit toys I always use needles that are one or two sizes smaller than recommended for the yarn. You don’t have to get the gauge exactly right, but you can check it by knitting a garter stitch swatch and holding it up to the light. If the gauge is tight enough you should only see pinpricks of light through your knitting.
I used Patons Canadiana for most of the Robots I knitted, it is 100% acrylic and comes in an impressive array of colors. I’ve also knitted some Robots in Knit Picks Brava Worsted, which is very similar to Canadiana.
More About Short Row Shaping
The Robot pattern uses a technique called short row shaping. A short row is made when you turn your knitting before the end of a row. This means that some sections of your work will have more rows than others. The sections with more rows will arch, creating a three-dimensional shape. Each time you turn your knitting before the end of a row you create a loop of yarn under a stitch and a small hole in the fabric. So, when you knit back over a stitch that has a loop under it, you must knit into the loop at the same time as the stitch above it to close the hole. There’s a special blog post on how to close the holes and get a smoother finish just here.
The repeats in the To Knit Body section are repeats of the first set of instructions, but with added stitch markers. Repeat 1, will actually be the second time you knit rows 1-10.
Pick Up Stitches
The Robot pattern contains a number of places where stitches are picked up through sideways stockinette stitch. As with any stitch pick up, the needle is pushed from front to back through one of the holes in the knitting, then the yarn is looped around the needle and pulled back through the hole. Pick up stitches through the center of a stitch. All the pick ups in the Robot pattern are made in every other stitch of the sideways stockinette stitch.
When you make pick ups through the foot for the legs, check that you are picking up stitches through the same column of stitches on each foot. This will keep your Robot symmetrical and help him to stand up.
How to PM Between Stitches
In this pattern, markers are placed to show where to pick up stitches for the arms. The markers go between stitches and they stay static in the knitting. When you place a marker it looks like this:
I always prefer to use a scrap of yarn as a marker because it won’t pull the knitting out of shape and it’s easy to remove. You can find more information about static stitch markers here.
3 Needle Bind Off Grafting
The arms and legs of the Robot are attached to the body using an unusual technique. I call it 3 Needle Bind Off Grafting. I wrote about it in depth in this blog post, which has lots of good photos.
Stuffing and Standing Up
Don’t overstuff your robot, the more squishy his stuffing is, the more likely he is to be able to stand alone. Too much stuffing will make the bottom of his feet too round or make his body too heavy to support on his legs.
The only sewing in the Robot pattern is one seam in the body and each hand and foot. However it is a tricky seam. Each seam begins with the weaving stitch for sewing together the cast on and bind off edges of garter stitch. Then the seams switch to fake grafting for sewing together the cast on and bind off edges of stockinette stitch. Here’s how to use both techniques:
To seam the cast on and bind off edges of the underside of the feet, hands or body, use the weaving stitch. Lay one piece of garter stitch fabric above another. Notice that each row has linked upper and lower loops. Sew through the upper loops on the bottom piece and the lower loops on the top piece, as shown below. You are creating sewn stitches over existing loops.
The tension of your sewing needs to be just right, neither too tight nor too loose. As you practice this stitch it becomes easier to judge the tension and make an invisible seam.
Lay one stockinette stitch piece above the other. Notice how each stitch forms a V shape. You make the seam by sewing Vs between the top and bottom pieces.
Sew from back to front through the middle of a V in the bottom piece. Then sew behind both arms of the corresponding V in the top piece and then from front to back into the original V.
Pull the yarn gently until your two stitches form a sewn V that matches the size of the knitted Vs.
One of the great things about knitting a Robot is customizing the face. There are many iconic robots in popular culture and as you can see from the photo below, it’s very easy to suggest a type of robot with just some felt features.
It would also be easy to modify this pattern to add an i-cord antenna or a control panel for the tummy, knitted using intarsia color work.
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.