This is something I made a while ago but forgot to post about. I’d been meaning to teach myself to knit in the round, on 4 needles, for a while. It’s a handy skill. Knitting in the round lets you make socks without seams, whip up simple bags, make leg warmers, anything tube based, really. It’s also a technique commonly used when knitting toys.
There’s a bunch of good tutorials on how to do it online, just Google ‘how to knit on four needles’ and find one to suit you. It’s tricky, but no where near as tricky as it looks.
The final kick into actually sitting down and learning the technique, for me, was reading about Gregory Patrick at Mad Man Knitting. Patrick had lost his job, his home, his way of life. He was stuck in the middle of nowhere, with no money and little hope. But he clawed his way out from homelessness, he made a career for himself, by knitting.
Now I sympathise, a lot, with homeless people. A lot of folk who end up homeless suffer from anxiety, or depression, or other mental health problems. The difference between a fair chunk of homeless people and myself (and you too, probably) is that when I was in trouble, I had family and friends to help me. Those folk who ended up homeless didn’t have that support network. Loose just a handful of people, those family and friends you rely on in an emergency, and it’s so easy to fall out of line with society. Once your out of it, it’s a massive battle to get back in.
But Gregory Patrick managed it. He’s got himself a home and a career to move forward with. It’s an amazing achievement, and he’s done it through knitting Teddy Bears. There’s something so lovely about that. In a society where men aren’t usually connected with knitting, let alone knitting small, comforting, sweet snuggly bears, this chap has built himself a new life on the back of it.
I wanted to support his achievement, but couldn’t really justify buying a handmade teddy bear, shipped from the US. Fortunately, Patrick also sells the pattern for making his bears on Ravelry. I got to make my supportive gesture, learn a new skill, and make a teddy bear, all in one!
This is the resulting fellah;
I’m really proud of him. Knitting isn’t my favourite technique, I’m a lot more comfortable with crochet, but it’s a skill I’m trying to develop as it’s so useful. My attempts at following knitting patterns haven’t always went very well (to say the least). Knitting this bear took me a fair while. I probably spent as much time unpicking and re-doing as I did knitting. The pattern was a really good one to learn with though. Simple and clear enough that I could follow it, but interesting enough that it was a challenge.
Being so small was good too. Knitting a jumper is a daunting marathon, one dropped stitch can ruin weeks of work. Knitting a bear with separate parts, even a major fu*k up is only going to ruin a couple of hours work. (That’s if you’re me and knit at a snails pace, replace hours for weeks and minutes for hours as appropriate).
The finished chap is so cute too, yeah he’s got flaws, he’s overstuffed and has wonky seams, there’s a few knits where there should be purls and vice versa, but I like him. I made him, from wool! From a ball of yarn, I made something recognisable as a teddy bear. I’m happy with that.