Iron Yarn Challenge

DSH, of La Tejedora Crafts, has many fun ideas. Her last one was the “Pot luck cowl“. That turned out wonderfully. She also came up with the “Iron Yarn Challenge”. If you have ever watched Iron Chef, you have the basic idea. We would each be given a ball of the same yarn, with which we would each make something with it. Then we would “get together” (probably via google meet) and share our creations with each other. No grand prize or anything like that, just joy in creating and sharing. The challenge yarn was Lana Grossa yarn – orange, black, & fluffy.

Having absolutely no idea what to make with this yarn, I started by looking up the company:

“The company LANA GROSSA was founded in 1972 and has established itself as the leading supplier of top quality, high fashion hand knitting yarns. From its main distribution centre in Gaimers heim the company offers a range of products exclusively manufactured in Italyโ€™s leading spinning mills, bringing together Italian flair and creative designs which meet the demands of the fashion knitting market.LANA GROSSA is the market leader in Europe with 1200 clients in the specialist trade. Our products have been well established for many years in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Luxembourg”

Although the information was interesting, it didn’t help me in deciding what project to make with the challenge yarn. After a little more thought, I started typing search criteria into Google. After multiple searches I found Lil’ Teddy Bear Pattern on Ravelry

This pattern required two types of yarn, one fluffy and one flat. My choice of Yarn B was Caron Simply Soft in a tweedy brown.

Because I already had the fiber fill for stuffing, the only other things I needed to have to finish this project was the eyes and noses.

Jumping right into the project, and not paying any real attention, I knit the first body in yarn B (flat). Upon finishing and beginning to move onto the next part, I realized I was supposed to use yarn A (fluffy). Luckily it didn’t take very long to knit it up. As each body part was finished, I put them onto the stitch holder so as to not lose them before the whole bear was finished and ready to be assembled.

Then came the head, the legs, the arms, the ears, & the tail. Once all the pieces had be knit they needed to be sewn closed, leaving a small opening for stuffing. The instructions stated to stuff the limbs, being careful to not over stuff. Unsure how to judge that, I did my best.

The eyes and nose are installed during the stuffing process. There needs to be a little stuffing before they are attached, but not too much. Once the features were installed the rest of the head could be stuffed and sewn closed. The ears didn’t need to be stuffed, just kinda shaped and sewn on. That was pretty easy except for the fact that I had misplaced the second ear. DANG IT!

The rest of the appendages were easy to stuff and sew closed. The part of this construction that took a considerable amount of time was “combing” the furry fibers to the surface. As the yarn is worked, much of the fluffiness is trapped in the actual knit stitches or on the inside of the bear. To work them to the outside, a glass headed sewing pin and large yarn needle were alternately used. First the glass headed pin to “grab” the fibers, or begin little loops. Then using the much thicker & stronger yarn needle to work the fibers all to the outside. The yarn needle wasn’t sharp enough to start them working to the outside, but was much better for the actual fiber manipulation. The sharp pin was too “catchy” to smoothly work the fibers to the surface. Why would I take the time to do this? Let me show you:

Each of these pictures has one appendage that has been “combed” out and one that has not. Legs, Ears, & Arms all look way better when they are fluffier!

I did, eventually, find the second ear and got it installed. The next step was to attach the legs. As I was having trouble getting the correct placement, I decided that if I had the tail in place it would be much easier to correctly place the legs.

Once they were on, the bear reminded me of Nessarose, Elpaba’s sister, in the book “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West”.

With the arms attached, this little cutie was almost finished. DW asked who the bear was for. When I said that it wasn’t intended for anyone, He said he wanted us to keep it. (did I mention that the bear was cute?)

Next came the little details, the fingers and the toes. I liked how these turned out the least. But I did like how they made the bear look finished.

Because DW wanted the bear, he suggested one last detail (perhaps an inappropriate one)