Monday, December 31, 2007

"Monk" Bottle Bag Finished

(update 1/3/08) Well, I gave the bottle bag with a bottle of Two Hands Angel Share Shiraz (I believe it was 2002) that I had gotten as a special birthday present last year and had been saving (I rarely drink anything as I may get a call at 2 in the morning and need to rush out to the ER or some such thing ... so I hated to open such a fabulous bottle of wine for only one glass) SO, I saved it and gave it ... to one of the priests at our church on New Year's (to share, of course). I don't think he knew I had knit the bottle bag, but he seemed to like the wine it held. *sigh. When will I ever learn that people simply don't appreciate knitted gifts??? It's definitely back to toys for me!!!

Here is the bottle bag with the knotted rope belt: Front View I've thought about felting a small head to cover the bottle top, but decided against it. It's only holding a bottle of sparkling grape juice at present, but will hold the real thing before it's given away.
Here is the back view.
Here is the bag with the top folded down.

Wow! That's Efficiency for You!

WOW! I am so excited! It's just past 8:30 in the morning and I've already:

A) Fixed my husband's email program so he can now access everything again!

B) Re-established the Home-Care services for my parents for this Friday instead of next Monday


C) Made sure (before the dreaded enrollment period ends) that both my parents have Medicare Prescription Drug Plan coverage.

PHEW! O.K. My work is done for today. I can go knit! YEA!!! YIPPEE! If this is any indication of how well the New Year of 2008 will be rung in, then I'm going to like it a lot!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Jane West Gets a New Hat

Remember the smaller Pilgrim Hat for the felted turkey? Well, I found someone else who absolutely LOVES it! Certainly changes her personality! Doesn't Jane look grand? Maybe she'll go have some tea now! (I might have to knit her an entire outfit, she looks so good!)

Start of Felted Monk Bottle Bag

Here is the front view of the felted "Monk" bottle bag
Here is the side view
It didn't come out exactly as I had planned ... but maybe it will do for now. I still need to make an i-cord with the three knots in it (for vows of poverty, chastity and obedience). I will make holes in it under the "hood" area and thread the cord through there. (I think I'll do that. I have to make it and see if it looks right.) I guess I'll use the white Lopi Lite I have in my stash, as I know it felts reliably. This bag I made exactly like the snowman, only omitted the decreases and knit it straight up. I then increased and worked several rows of seed stitch in-between stocking stitch. Kent thinks it looks like the grim reaper!

New Hats for Snowman!

I felted something I had lying around and turned it into this: A hat that covers the ears for the snowman (well it would cover his ears, if he had any!) ... reminiscent of the postman in the film "Jingle All the Way." Or maybe it could be like a Napoleon-style hat if I bring up the sides a little more ... Here is snowman in a felted sombrero! All I need are a few inches of ball fringe to trim it with.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Simply Knitting Snafu

Look! How exciting! A free audio book of Persuasion! Unabridged, too!
See all the great freebies this month?? Of course, Persuasion is the BEST! From the description, I thought it might be on an enclosed CD ...

I'm so depressed.
Yes, quite.
Here I was, getting all prepared to finally clean out the "computer room," which has really become my stash room ... and I was all excited because the latest issue of Britain's Simply Knitting magazine came in today's mail ... and guess what was a freebie?? A BBC audio "book" of my favorite Jane Austen book Persuasion!
I thought, "WOW! Now I can clean my stash while listening to my favorite book! What a stroke of luck!"
So, at first, I thought it might be on an enclosed CD. They've done that before ... like the other month when they sent a sample CD of The Bumper Book of Knitting (which locked up my computer the first time I tried to use it, by the way ... but it was free, you know). Anyhow, I turned the magazine upside down and shook it a bit. I checked inside the plastic casing in which it arrives each month. Nothing. There was no CD enclosed. I then turned to page 9, as I was directed to do on the first page of the magazine, and discovered that it was an audio download. Well, that was still o.k. I was, after all, going to clean the "computer" room and, as the name suggests, there is a working computer in there. So, still bristling with excitement, I quickly logged onto the website address they provide and there, I was met with the fateful words, "Must be a resident of the UK."
I selected "United States" from the drop-down menu anyhow, just in case, I mean ... maybe they wouldn't notice. US ... UK ... it's kind of the same ... Alas. They did notice, after all, and directed me to the US website which had no such free download at all.
I could always join the site for $14.95 a month, I read ... I was even given an opportunity for a discount for the first three months ... but I don't want to do that. So, instead, I'll listen to Sophie Kinsella's The Undomestic Goddess, which I bought on eBay last summer and was saving for wintertime ... sigh. It's a good book, but it's definitely not Persuasion.
This is merely one of the disappointments I've had at not being a resident of the UK when it comes to fabulous offers in Simply Knitting. Don't get me wrong: I'm glad to be a US citizen born and bred, but gosh! We don't have any knitting magazines like Simply Knitting. I think more people must knit over there than over here.
All our magazines are stuffed with the usual amount of sweaters, scarves and did I mention sweaters? Yes, there are shawls and neck warmers, too. (*yawn) There's hardly a mention of toys ... ever! If you thought Knit Simple was going to be the US version of Simply Knitting, well, just take a look at it before you subscribe. I think you'll be as sadly disappointed as I.
*sniff ... sniff. At least I got the stitch markers.
Back to cleaning.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Nean the Bean's Sockless Sock Monkey Knitting Pattern

Sockless Sock Monkey posing for the camera ...

Here he is, relaxing.

A small wave to all his fans out there!

UPDATE: May 14, 2009: If you'd rather have a pdf version of this pattern for easier printing, you can now find it on my website on the Free Patterns page. Click here to go there now.

UPDATE: January 15, 2008: Arms are now finished and sewn on ... he's just waiting for me to finish his red-felted fez!
I am not really a perfectionist when it comes to my toys. If you end up with an extra stitch here or there, or one less here or there, it really won't matter in the end.

Nean the Bean's Sockless Sock Monkey Knitting Pattern

copyright 2007-2009 Anita M. Wheeless

You will begin by knitting from the bottom of his leg, starting with his foot. Using cream colored double-knitting weight yarn, and knitting back and forth on size US 3 (3.25 mm) double-pointed needles, cast on three stitches, then turn. Or, if you prefer, cast on one stitch and then knit one/purl one/knit one all in the same stitch, then knit the next row. After choosing either of these beginnings, continue as follows:

Knit front and back in each


Knit front and back in each again. You now have 12 stitches.

Divide by knitting four stitches onto each of the three double-pointed needles.

Join and knit in the front and back of each again. (24 stitches) Be sure to place a stitch marker at the beginning of the round so you can keep track. I like to use the little colored ones that look like baby safety pins.

Knit 25 rounds with the cream yarn, then cut the cream and join the brownish-marble color (or whatever you choose for the main color) and continue knitting in the round for 50 more rounds. Yes! 50 more!!!

When you finish knitting the 50 rounds, I cut the yarn (having left a good-sized tail, but you will not use this tail for anything again, so you may choose how long to make it) and let that leg rest on its three DPNs. Then, take out another set of size three (3.25 mm) DPNs and repeat this entire process for the second leg. The only difference is, do not cut the yarn when you finish the second leg.

O.K., now comes the leg joining part. Once again, the foot-joining mini-tutorial on MochiMochiland's blog is great. But I will try to explain it a little here.

I took my first leg that I had finished (that was still waiting on the three double-pointed needles) and divided the stitches as best I could onto just two of the double-pointed needles. I did the same with the second leg that still had the ball of yarn attached. Take the first leg that you knit (the one with the cut yarn) and hold it out in front of you. The tail should be hanging down on your right. Divide the stitches onto two dpns and set it down for a moment.

Now, knit across the leg that has the yarn still attached (this is the front of the leg). When you finish knitting all the stitches on the front of that leg, add three more by the backward loop method. You'll need these three to continue his body. The photos of the sock monkeys that I saw did not look very much wider than the two legs, so that's why I only added three stitches in the middle. If you want his body bigger, you could add more stitches here. After you've added the stitches, keep knitting across onto the front of the other leg (the one with the yarn tail). I wound up with a tiny hole where my tail of yarn was. As MochiMochiLand suggests, you may want to wrap this around the needle. I didn't. In fact, I had my leg facing the other way, with the tail of yarn on the left rather than on the right facing his "crotch". That's probably why I got the hole! Alas, it's just a little birthmark on my monkey and I don't mind. I certainly wasn't going to rip it out and start over!!! In any event, keep knitting the stitches. You'll wind up on the back side of this leg and then when you've finished those of his back leg, you'll need to add the three for his body again (or however many you've decided you'd like for his body) ... then continue knitting across, this time knitting the stitches from the backside of the other leg. When you've made it around, you can divide all these stitches back onto just three double-pointed needles again so that you can continue to knit the rest of his body in the round. Yes! It's just that easy! You will end up with quite a big gap between his legs. This is needed later for stuffing him, so please don't sew it up yet!

So now we continue on with his body. Continue to knit for 80 rounds more. YES! 80 rounds!! I decided not to make any decreases for his head because I don't think that a real sock monkey has any decreases there. It is, after all, a sock. At this point, join the cream-colored yarn and cut the brownish one. Knit for 15 rounds more. Before I began the decreases for the top of his head, I stuffed him as much as I could. Stuff his legs using the hole between his legs. Push the stuffing all the way down to his feet. When you've stuffed him adequately, then begin the decreases for the top of his head as follows:

k2, k2tog all the way to the end, then knit one.

knit the next round

knit one round more

decrease again by knitting three, then knitting 2 together all the way around.

knit for two more rounds

decrease again by knitting 2tog, k2 to the end and you will have three left, so knit these.

Knit again

k2tog all the way around

k2tog all the way around again

k2 tog all the way around yet again

k2 tog all the way and then knit the last one.

You are finished! I went ahead and embroidered his eyes here so that I could have a better idea of where I wanted his mouth.


The arms are exactly the same as the legs above, only make each separately. Before binding off, decrease by knitting two together all the way around. Then, bind off each leg, stuff and sew the open edges of each one. To place on his body, fold the sewn together part down (as if making a little under-arm area) and stitch securely to his body (one on each side) so that they hang down. I'm sure the arms could also be knitted in the round, joining them to his body as for the legs; however, I wanted my monkey to have more floppy arms that hung at his sides rather than those that stick straight out like a gingerbread man's arms.


Cast on 54 using cream.

Divide by knitting 18 stitches onto each of the double-pointed needles.

Knit 4 rounds

First decrease round: knit 2 together, knit 3, knit 2 together, knit 3, knit 2 together, knit 3, knit 2 together, knit 1


Second decrease round: knit 2 together, knit 3, knit 2 together, knit 3, knit 2 together, knit 2


Third decrease round: knit 2 together, knit2, knit 2 together, knit 2, knit 2 together knit 1

Cut cream and join red.

Knit 2 rounds

Decrease: knit 2 together, knit 2, knit 2 together

Knit 2 rounds more

Knit three off the next needle, then slide three onto the other needle (removing a needle) so you are working with only two needles. Graft his mouth together. If you are unsure about grafting, try this video demonstration (with talking!) I discovered. It's wonderful! I used black dk-weight yarn and the straight stitch over the graft to make his mouth. Stuff this piece and sew it securely under his eyes. You might want to look at a photo for proper placement.

Ears (make 4)

Using size 3 (3.25 mm) straight needles, cast on 18 stitches

Beginning with a knit row, stocking stitch two rows

Begin increases by knitting one, increase in next stitch by knitting front and back, then k14, then increase in the next by knitting front and back, then knit one. You will now have 20 stitches.

Next row purl

Next row knit one, increase in next, knit 16, increase in next, knit one (22)


knit one, increase in next, knit 18, increase in next, knit one (24)


Now we will begin our decreases: k2tog, knit 20, k2tog, (22)


k2 tog, knit 18, knit 2 tog (20)


*slip 1, knit one, pass slipped stitch over, knit to last 2, k2 tog

p2tog, purl to the last two and purl these together through the back loop. These rows will help shape his ears in the right direction.*

If you are not sure how to slip one, knit one, pass slipped stitch over, try this video demonstration from the same wonderful person who did the grafting stitch video or how to purl two together through the back loops, there is a nifty little demo from knitting here Both stitches are not that difficult to master and they are really useful when shaping.

Continue with these last two rows (from the first * to the last *), repeating them in that order, until you get down to only one stitch. Run a bit of yarn through that last stitch with a yarn needle and tie off. It wants to be sort of a point, so help pull it into shape so that it is rounded. I had to push my needle through the lumpish part where the last stitch was and try to sew it down, smoothing it out. I then repeated this entire pattern sequence three more times, for a total of four pieces. You will stitch two pieces together (a front and a back) for each ear. Stuff as full or as thin as you like, then run a gathering stitch around the ears, just under the seams and pull tightly to give it a bit of an indentation and a bit more roundness. I ran two gathering stitches, one under the other, on my monkey's ears. Attach the ears securely to each side of his head. Again, you may want to look at a photo for exact placement.


Using brown or main body color, cast on 12, divide by knitting four stitches onto three double-pointed needles (size 3.25 mm)

Knit 50 rounds. At this point, cut the brown and join the cream.

Knit for 1o more rounds, then knit two together all the way around and run a gathering stitch through these and pull tightly and knot off. Stuff tail. I turned it inside out (like when putting on stockings) to help me stuff it more easily. Then sew securely to his backside.

I omitted the red-lip rear end! If you like it and want it; however, make another piece exactly like the mouth and sew it on his rear area before adding the tail.

As always, if you run into any problems, send me an email at ! I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know if you make him. Thank you!

Monday, December 17, 2007

More of the Sockless Sock Monkey

I am so glad I left the hole where his legs were joined. This helped so much in stuffing the legs. I still need to distribute the stuffing better and then will sew up that hole and the holes in the bottoms of his feet.

NOTE: For the finished pattern, please see December 20th's entry or click here. Thanks!

I finished knitting up to the top of his head, but realized I better stop and stuff him as much as I can before I finish (or I probably wouldn't be able to stuff him at all)! Believe it or not, it took 80 rounds to get him this size after the join with the legs. I then cut the brown and joined the cream to finish the top of his head in cream.

After his head is finished, I will still have the tail, ears, mouth and embroidery of the eyes. The arms should be knit exactly as the legs, only knit separately and stitched on after. I'll keep updating as I progress.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Beginnings of Sock Monkey Pattern

Body after 22 rounds from when legs were connected.

Here are the two legs connected and the start of the body in the round. The photo is one of many images of sock monkeys. I found on the internet. This one came from a blog. I'm using the photo as a reference. There are so many variations!

I had already started my first leg with some Plymouth Encore dk in my stash at home when I spotted this yarn at my local yarn store. Isn't it just about perfect?? Of course, I had to buy some.

NOTE: If you searched for a sock monkey knitting pattern and you were directed here, the finished pattern is on this blog, just a little later (December 20th's entry)! You may click on the Sockless Sock Monkey Pattern under Nean the Bean's Free Patterns on the right over there, or you may simply click here to be redirected to the correct entry. Thanks!

I wish I could spend a lot more time knitting than I am able to, but last night at least I was able to finish both legs, connect them and start the body in the round. Here is what I have so far, if anyone cares to begin along with me:

Nean the Bean's Knitted Sockless Sock Monkey

copyright 2007 Anita M. Wheeless

Starting with a leg, and knitting back and forth using double-pointed needles size US 3 (3.25 mm), cast on three stitches using white or off-white or cream double-knitting weight yarn.

Turn and knit, increasing in each stitch by knitting in the front and back. You now have 6 stitches.

Knit the next row.

Increase in each stitch again by knitting in the front and back of each. You now have 12 stitches.

Divide these twelve stitches among the three double-pointed needles by knitting four stitches onto each.

Increase again by knitting into the front and back of each stitch. You now have 24 stitches total.

Knit for 25 rounds. Cut off white and join brown or brown/cream/mix (whatever you want his legs/body/head to be).

Knit for 50 rounds more.

At this point, you may either put all stitches on a stitch holder, thread a piece of yarn through the stitches to hold them or keep a set of needles in them and take out another set to knit the other leg. Whatever method you choose to keep the stitches open on this leg is fine. Cut the yarn, leaving a tail. Set the finished leg aside and start another.

When you've finished with the second leg, do not cut the yarn. At this point, divide your stitches so that you are only using one needle for the front and one needle for the back for each leg. Mochi Mochi Land has a great tutorial for this part. You will knit across the front of the leg that you just finished (the one with the yarn still attached)and when you get to the end of the stitches on that leg, add three more stitches in the middle using the backward-loop method. Pick up the first leg you had knit and knit all the way across the front. Then continue going around, knitting all the way across this leg's back. Again, add three stitches by way of the backward-loop method and continue across the back of the other leg. Great! The legs are now connected with a tiny bit of body in the middle!

So far, I have knit 22 rounds more. Obviously, it will be quite a few rounds more before he has a body and a head! So stay tuned for exact round counts.

Meanwhile, does anyone have a preference on whether or not I should decrease for a neck? If this were a "true" sock monkey, there would be no decrease. There are so many variations of sock monkeys floating around out there! Some have lots of cream on legs and arms ... some have less. In the final analysis, I guess you can choose how much cream to use. Just join on the brown sooner and knit the same amount of rounds that you would have knit in the cream.

I'd certainly appreciate comments and suggestions as I go!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Father Christmas Completed!

Here is a front view of Father Christmas
Here is a back view of Father Christmas
I finally finished Father Christmas. It took lots longer than I had anticipated and he is riddled with errors. If I ever make him again, I'm sure I'll do better next time. The pattern is very cute; however, the directions are very misleading. Here are a few things that might make it easier for you, should you decide to accept this mission:
When attaching the second leg: Transfer your stitches from three needles to two on the leg you just finished working. Knit across, adding in three stitches in the middle to connect the two front legs. You will need two more needles here. The front will be knitted on two needles and the back on two needles ... going across, if this makes sense. Check out mochimochiland for a great explanation of how to do this.
Also, it's important to note that the loop stitch is made by working three rows: the first and third row are simply knitted; the second row is where all the looping is done: It begins with a knit stitch, then works the remaining stitches with the loop (which is formed by wrapping the yarn twice around your index finger of your left hand, then inserting needle into them both, wrapping yarn around the needle and knitting all three), then knit the last stitch in the row. These instructions are quite UNLIKE those you'll find in the Ann Budd pattern!
For the collar, I actually cast on 50 (I'd probably do 45 next time); however the amount called for in the pattern would never go all around his neck. Perhaps the original design only has the collar in the back, as his beard is in the front? Not sure, but I like mine better.
For the arms, I knit them separately, changing to flesh-tone yarn before the last 8 rows. I knitted 26 rows in red/8 in flesh-tone yarn for both arms. I seamed them up the back. My collar is large enough to cover where the arms are sewn onto his body.
For the miter ... or mitre, if you prefer (bishop's hat) ... the directions were not good. I ended up dividing the stitches that I increased on needle two among the three needles after the initial 6 rounds, as if I had not, I would have run out of stitches on my first and third needles (as you continue to decrease) long before I would have run out on my second. Also, I stopped when I still had about 8 stitches on the needles and used the gathering stitch to pull them together.
Also, I chose Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and am quite disappointed. The yarn, although wonderfully soft and comfy, stretched the whole time I was working with it and shows the stuffing terribly. It's already got slubs in spots and nobody has even really played with him yet!
Let me know what you think!