I'm still knitting Huggling Monsters! This time I've been playing with some fluffy squishy Cuddles Chunky yarn from King Cole.
It's not that I'm bored with my other Hugglings, its a bit like loving your cat, but still thinking another one or two (or more) would be lovely!
That's my excuse for fetching my needles yesterday evening and casting on with this super soft yarn.
I used 4.5mm/UK7/US7 needles , even though the recommended size is 6mm/UK4/US10.
I used this smaller size because I wanted a nice firm fabric which would hold it's shape and not stretch into a big soft squishy blob.
And I was very careful to pay attention to the pattern, even thought I know it really well now. Because this fluffy yarn is almost impossible to either stitch count or rip back, and as for counting rows, I don't even try! However I think it is well worth the extra effort, and I'm sure if I was using the correct size needles I would not be having these issues at all!
As this yarn has such a great texture, my usual method of placing a purl stitch into a knit row ( or vice versa) to mark where the eyes will go, was not worth even trying! So I used my favourite stitch markers, these sweet little shaped metal safety pin style markers are the best I've used, and I've tried a few others. I like the open hoop style for temporary marking of stitches or for slipping over the needles when necessary, but I've found to my cost they can slip out of the knitting. The plastic markers were my next purchase- they work well but don't last too long. But I digress....
Usually I sew up and then stuff the legs, arms and lower body- then using my placement stitches, I can confidently add the safety eyes before finishing sewing up.
Not so this time, plus I was not sure of which size eyes I'd like best. The solution was to stuff the whole Huggling, leaving a good size gap at the back of the head, then I could try out different size eyes before finally committing to them.
I also added the mouth first, I would normally add this and the nose last of all, after I'd fixed the eyes in place and finished sewing up, but I thought that adding the features at this stage would make choosing the eyes easier, I'd be able to see the whole finished effect.
I made the nose much bigger, I sewed about 10 horizontal stitches for the nose, then placed vertical stitches over them. I think this worked well and was very easy to do.
Maybe it's the designer/artist in me but I see a huge difference between the 12mm eyes on the left hand photos and the 14mm eyes on the right hand image. I was very glad I had decided to "try before I buy" with the eyes.
Having chosen the larger eyes, I removed about half of the head stuffing so I could carefully removed the stitch marker pin from the first eye. I wrapped a good amount of stuffing around the stem of the safety eye then added the washer to seal it in place. I didn't remove the stitch marker from the other eye until I had fixed the first one firmly into place. This was not due to any great foresight on my part,I had just noticed that the eyes fell out very easily when I was fiddling around taking the photos!
After the eyes were fixed I had a change of heart and gave Mr Fluffy Huggling a smaller mouth. I very nearly fell foul of the fluffy yarn when I removed the black stitches. It would have been all to easy to snip through the yarn thread as I unpicked the first mouth stitches.
So that's how I made a bigger huggling monster, from super soft fluffy yarn. He's bigger squidgier but just as ready to take my hugs to my friends and family!!