Thursday, January 20, 2011

Knit a llama llama, a drama llama

I've started a knit version of Coquena the llama and am using llama yarn, of course, progress toward an eventual fiber menagerie.  I measured my crochet gauge, which was 7 stitches and 7 rows to the inch. Then I knit the foot after finding TechKnitter's Disappearing loop method of casting on in the middle.  It is an excellent method. To avoid the time and effort knitting a gauge piece for gauge's sake and knitting it in the round I just planned to measure the gauge in the column of the lower leg. Turns out that using the same mm needle as the size crochet hook I'd used (and same yarn, but different color) also yielded 7 sts to the inch, but 9 rows to the inch instead of 7. To compensate for this I added 2 rows for each 7 rows which made the row count for the lower leg 22 instead of 17. (14 + 2 + 2 + 3 + 1; 2 for each block of 7 rows, 3 rows to finish off the original 17 in the pattern, plus one additional row because 3 is nearly half of 7 and I add 2 with every 7. I'm sure I have not accounted for that in a very clear way, but that's all that comes to mind in way of explanation at this time.)

Poor Frenchy, assembling her for a pic I see one arm
is incomplete and the other not stuffed!
Didn't notice this llama already named French Silk before I named my crocheted version. I based her color pattern on this llama with a painted coat. And then when the yarn arrived the combination reminded me of the chocolate pie with that name.

Unless I change my mind I'm planning to pattern the colors on the knit llama mostly after one called Macarena. She and a few others I saw in photos have very dramatic white faces with black eye patches and rust colored bodies. It's a very dramatic look I just have to attempt.

Poor French Silk, my unfinished crocheted llama llama.  She's in pieces. All Nearly all of her pieces are completed, but sewing together is often a place where I cast on something new instead.

Drama llama's leg is definitely coming out smaller so far.
I'm really excited about knitting a llama llama. I'd much rather knit anyway, and crochet, especially crocheting stuffed toy tight, is very hard on my hands. Also, whenever there are duplicate pieces to work I knit them simultaneously using a pair of circular needles. I cannot crochet two pieces of anything at the same time. It worries me that the duplicates might not match exactly and it just seems slower to do them one at a time.  Since this is a stuffed animal and not a garment I am very hopeful that the knit version will be simple to engineer and will very closely resemble the crochet original, only smaller, probably. I am a little concerned about the way that single crochet produces a much denser fabric than knitting. I don't think I'll be able to stuff a knit version nearly so tightly as a crocheted one.

Crossing my fingers! Well, figuratively crossing them; they're actually busy knitting or typing about the knitting.  Honestly, I kind of like the white ring around the ankle on the knit leg. What I was doing was putting in two knit rows with "waste yarn" to make it easy to remove the unaltered foot (without extra rows to compensate for the comparative shortness of knit stitches) and replace it with one reworked to a taller proportion. I'm kind of leaning toward not only leaving the white ring, but making all the other feet to match this one. It's a decision I'm going to postpone for a bit. I have not yet mastered or even attempted a knitted loop stitch. There's a pattern for it in a book I have. Besides that, the only other concern I had about knit construction was with starting in the middle of a tight circle. Presto! TechKnitter's disappearing loop method pops up. Thanks so much TK!

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