Sunday, November 23, 2014

Lions and Tigers and Bears

...Oh My!

Since the beginning of October, I've been participating in "Knit-A-Longs" over at Ravelry. These are not really competitions per se, but rather fun opportunities to knit up something in a selected category and show your finished objects with the chance to win some awesome yarny prizes in random draws. The topic of three KALs I have entered are all "toys", as many knitters are making stuffies for Christmas giving.

I wanted to see if I could modify the bear pattern I used to make my Hudson the Polar Bear and Oreo the Panda into different animals - and came up with the idea of a set called "Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!" (if you don't know, a reference to The Wizard of Oz). I drew out schematics with ideas of adding nose pieces, paws and tails to transform the bears into more feline shapes.

I also wanted to knit all three toys from my very own handspun yarn, so step one was to shop for fibre. Luckily our local yarn shop sells 100% Corriedale wool fibre in numerous colours by weight! So I picked out butterscotch yellow, grey, black and white.

I started with the butterscotch and spun up a ball of single ply yarn using my Turkish spindle.

It knitted up so nicely - and it was great to be able to spin as much as I needed! Here are the arms getting stuffed and sewn together to make paws.

Then I thought the raw fibre would make the perfect mane and tail tuft... so I used a crochet hook to weave it into my knitting.

Here's my first toy - Butterscotch the Lion! He was so much fun to do and I love the way the mane turned out.

The next toy I wanted to make was a tiger from the same bear pattern - but I had to figure out how to make him the right colour with stripes! I found this fibre online called "Tigger" (how purrfect is that?).  I began to spin it up, but wanted more of an orange result than it first gave me...

So I pulled the fibre apart into separate colours and spun it up individually, using just the orange and brown. As I knitted, I added in a few stitches of brown yarn here and there to make the tiger's stripes.

So here is Raja! I also used the white fibre for inside his ears, behind his eyes, on his muzzle and paws. I also used the brown yarn for the tip of his tail and around the outside edge of his ears.

The last of my set need to simply be a bear so I spun up some lovely grey and more white wool fibre.

The result? Greyson the Bear; again heavily modified from the initial pattern with the addition of white inside his ears, white face, muzzle, tummy and paws. He also has a tiny little grey tail. All three toys also have movable limbs - something the pattern didn't feature.

So here they are together: My "Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!" set!

So much fun to create, and I love having them on display in my Studio knitting nook!


  1. They are adorable!! I esp. love the lion!

  2. You are SO talented! Amazing and oh, so cute!!! Love them :-)
    And I am so jealous of your spinning! Very nice!

  3. Oh my goodness Maureen, you are Amaaaaazing! I love the mane on the lion, just brilliant! Your parcel has been posted hope you receive it soon. Karen.x

  4. Your work is spectacular!!! I love the designs you came up with and how you brought each animal to life!!! I especially love the Lion :) Soooooooo cute!!

  5. OMG! I am so envious of your talent! I love these knitted animals and how clever you are with the use of the wool! now you just need a grand baby to two..maybe just save them! :)

  6. Oh good golly, you are amazing! Still amazes me that you are "newbie" to knitting and even spinning your own yard. You are rocking this knitting thing, for sure!!!

  7. They are all so adorable. Great job.

  8. You are a born designer; that lion, particularly, is AWESOME!

  9. You are amazing! Not only did you create these adorable animals, but you spun your own yarn too. Love every one of them!

  10. They are so adorable! You are amazingly talented. The lion is my favourite - I love his mane!


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