All crafty endeavors this week have been turned towards finishing Alex The Mouse, because I need to have him finished before I can move onto the next project which is a (deep breath) deadline knit. I don’t usually decide to take on deadline knits, so my gift knitting usually extends only to my very immediate family, but for some crazy reason I have it in my head that there is a something that I need to make for a someone. If people could have more flexible birthdays and special occasions I’d probably do a bit more of this kind of thing.
Alex The Mouse is getting himself together quite nicely. His simple colourwork body is jazzy enough that he feels confident in walking around without even a stitch of clothing on, which he takes on trust as he has not yet got the eyes to see the triangle emblazoned stranded knitting that his body is made of. It will all happen in time, as though he is not yet fully assembled, he does at least have his limbs knit and is now just waiting on a bit of finishing to his second ear, and the all-important tail.
Ella Austin‘s lovely pattern uses some clever construction tricks to minimise seaming. The head and body are contiguous, marked only by a change of yarn colour working together with the shaping to give a definite neckline. The ears are joined with an applied iCord edge to cleverly hide the edge stitches of the shaped pieces, whilst also enhancing the shape of the rounded mouse ears. I worked the iCord of my ears slightly differently to how it is given in the pattern, to provide a slightly thicker ear edge and a bit more structure, cupping the ear as the iCord is worked.
I’ve attached the iCord across the sides and cast on edge (leaving the bind off edge for attaching to the head as my bind off looked better than my cast on) and also used a 4st applied iCord instead of the given three stitches, as so:
With front of ear facing and working r-l, c/o 4sts, *pick up and knit 1st through ear edge, slip stitches to opposite needle end to start iCord, then k3, k2tog tbl; repeat from *).
This is basically a 4st version of the Apply On the Fly iCord I used for my Emberwarm Shawl pattern. There’s a short tutorial video available to show it in action which helps demonstrate why it works for me – knitting that last k2tog through the back loops helps to snug the stitches up to the fabric for a really nice finish, which I think it just suits my personal style of knitting a bit better.
I also knit the iCord a bit shorter (leaving the occasional longer gap between picked up stitches) to the edging to be shorter than the ear circumference it was covering, to cause the ear to ‘cup’ which I think helps to give the ear a bit more form and stability.
Picking up stitches through two layers, one in colourwork, proved a bit fiddly, so after sticking the needle tip into both layers and wrapping my yarn I pulled it through the back layer first, then after checking it was through that first obstacle, brought it through to the front. I also tacked the ear front and back together with a line of long running stitches in some sewing thread to keep them in place whilst I knitted, to remove later, which prevented the two ear pieces from shifting about and becoming misaligned.
If all goes to plan I will be able to get the second ear edged, the tail knit and the assembly all done tonight. If Alex is extra lucky I will even put the finishing touch to bring him to life into place: some lovely little mousey eyes.
Extra bit of mini good news: I finally got the name of my Facebook Page changed to reflect the new website, so please pop by and say hi on the Mimi Codd Facebook Page if you are passing by!