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Archive entry for September 2007

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September 2007

Friendly Tortoise

tortoise.jpg

I do enjoy unusual knitted toys - and I had a succession of pet tortoises as a child (when it was legal...) - so this seems a natural choice. I am very pleased with the way he worked out, and he was not as fiddly to make as I had expected; probably about 2 evenings work in all.

Instructions

The tortoise is knitted in garter stitch (every row knit) throughout.

Shell

Cast on 11 stitches, and knit 1 row.
Then increase 1 st (work into the front and back of the stitch) at each end of the next and every alternate row until there are 23 sts.

[Editor's note: To increase, I work into the front and back of the first st, knit to the last two sts, then work into the front and back of the next st, then knit the last st. This avoids a stepped effect at the end of the row. If you increase in a different way - for example, picking up the loop between sts - then you may not have this problem. Make sure you know how the pattern instuctions intend you to work an increase by looking at the abbreviations. There is usually an implied difference between "increase in the next st" and "make 1".]

Knit 32 rows straight, then decrease 1 st at each end of the next and every alternate row until there are 11 sts remaining.
Cast off.

Make another piece the same.

[Editor's note: I embroidered the top half of the shell before sewing up. The tension of the embroidery encouraged the shell-shape of the piece.]

Join the two halves together leaving an opening for stuffing. Stuff firmly and sew up opening.

Embroidery on top half: outer circles in light brown chain-stitch with smaller dark brown circles inside.
See photograph.

[Editor's note: I am not very good at free-form embroidery, so was a bit worried about this - but it worked out OK. You can see that what I did was very lop-sided, but despite that it looks fine I think...]

Head

Start at neck edge and cast on 10 sts.
Knit 3 rows.
Next row: K2tog., knit to end.

Next row: Knit to the last 2 sts; inc in next st, k1.
Next row: Knit.
Repeat the last 2 rows 3 times more.

Next row: Inc in the first st; knit to the last 2 sts; inc in next st, k1. [15 sts].

Knit 5 rows.

Next row: K2tog; knit to the last 2 sts; k2tog.
Next row: Knit.
Repeat the last 2 rows twice more. [9 sts].

Next row: K2tog.; knit to the last 2 sts; k2tog.
Cast off 7 sts.

Make another piece the same. Sew halves together leaving neck end open for stuffing.
Stuff firmly to shape with seam at centre of head and face. Sew open end of neck to one end of shell.

Features: Eyes - black and white straight stitches; mouth - long black straight stitch.

Front feet

Cast on 4 sts.
Knit 3 rows.
Next row: Inc in the first st; knit to the last 2 sts; inc in next st, k1.
Repeat the last 4 rows once more. [8 sts].
Knit 3 rows.

Shape thus: Next row: k2, turn, k back;
Next row: k3, turn, k back; Next row: k4, turn, k back;
Next row: k5, turn, k back; Next row: k6, turn, k back.
Knit 2 rows over all sts.

Next row: Inc in the first st; knit to the last 2 sts; inc in next st, k1.
Knit 4 rows.
Next row: Inc in the first st; knit to the last 2 sts; inc in next st, k1. [12 sts]
Knit 3 rows.

Now dec. 1st at each end of the next 3 rows.
Cast off remaining 6 sts.

Make 3 more pieces the same. Sew each pair together, leaving cast off edges open for stuffing.
Stuff firmly, and sew open end to underside of shell on either side of the neck.
[Editor's note: Since the feet are shaped, make sure you sew the feet on pointing in the same direction (see photo for guidance). Needless to say, I made this error and had to correct it.

Back feet

Cast on 16 sts, and knit 7 rows.

Next row: Inc in the first st; (k4; inc in the next st.) 3 times. [20 sts].
Knit 2 rows; cast off.

Sew the short sides together to form a cylinder shape.

Make another piece the same.

Pads: Cast on 3 sts.
Next row: Knit.
Next row: Inc in the next 2 sts, k1.
Next row: Knit.
Next row: Inc in the next st, k2, inc in the next st, k1. [7 sts].
Knit 3 rows.

Dec 1 st at each end of the next and following alternate row.
Cast off 3 sts.

Make another pad piece in the same way. Sew pads to cast off ends of back feet. Stuff firmly; sew open ends to back on underside of shell about 1 inch apart.
[Editor's note: I misread this - or was not careful enough - and sewed the pads to the smaller cast-on edge - so take note here. I did not correct this error and it looks OK - but toys are more flexible like that....]

Mark claws with 4 black straight stitches on each foot.

Tail

Cast on 17 sts.
Knit 2 rows.
Next row: K2;k2tog, k2tog; k5; k2tog, k2tog; k2. [13 sts]
Knit 3 rows.
Next row: K1;k2tog, k2tog; k3; k2tog, k2tog; k1. [11 sts]
Knit 3 rows.
Next row: K2tog, k2tog; k1; k2tog, k2tog.[5 sts]
Knit 2 rows.
Next row: K2tog, k2tog; k1.
Draw thread through 3 sts and pull up.

Sew together along edges to make a cone shape; flatten slightly into a traingle, along line of increases; stuff lightly and sew the wider, open end to the shell at the back, (in line with the head), and so that the seam is underneath.

Edging around shell

Cast on 7 sts.

* Knit 2 rows.
Next row: K5, turn, knit back.
Next row: K5, turn, knit back.
Next row: K2 tog, k5.
Next row: Knit to the last st, inc in last st.
Repeat from * 28 times more.
Cast off.

[Editor's note: Again I altered the pattern here omitting one of the 5 st short rows, making the shell edge less frilly - this is what I did:
* Knit 2 rows.
Next row: K5, turn, knit back.
Next row: K2 tog, k5.
Next row: Knit to the last st, inc in last st.
Repeat from * about 32 times more, or to fit round shell..]

Sew straight edge around the seam of the shell, finishing on either side of the head. Work a line of light brown chain stitch over the join, then a second line in dark brown 2 sts away.

Using an oddment of bright coloured wool, cut into 3 strands and tie round neck. [Editor's note: ...or use a ribbon...]

Materials

Original pattern calls for 2oz of DK in French Mustard.
Small quantities of light and dark brown wools for markings on the back; scraps of black and white.

One pair of number 11 needles.

Toy stuffing.

Tension

Not given - but DK wool usually knits to approximately 22st to 4 inches (10cm) on No. 8 (4mm) needles over st. st.

Size matters

Tortoise measures 8 inches in length and 6 inches across width of shell.

A word on the wool.

I had some difficulty in finding what I thought a satisfactory colour. Eventually I bought some 4ply from eBay and used it knitted double. I use 4ply oddments for the embroidery.

Disclaimer
(well...almost)

In transposing any pattern it is always a risk that errors will be introduced, in spite of dedicated proof reading.
If you have any problems with this pattern, please and I will try and assist.

© Christina Coutts 2007

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