Saturday, December 16, 2006

Frequently Asked Questions - Take 1

Thank you all for your kind compliments about Sheldon! I'm very pleased that he's been so warmly received. I would love to see pictures of your finished Sheldons and to start a gallery here, so please e-mail them to me (smartypantsAThistorytoolsDOTorg) if you have them! I can host the pictures myself or you can send links to your blog posts -- whatever you prefer.

I've had a few questions about the pattern that I'd like to address here for general edification.

1. Substitute yarns.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Sheldon has been successfully test knit in Sirdar Dream Baby DK. Truth be told, I think you could knit Sheldon in yarn of just about any weight you like, so long as you adjust the needles you use to ensure that the fabric you're knitting is nice and tight to prevent the stuffing from showing through. DK and sport-weight yarns are the most likely to be good substitutes, but I've heard of someone knitting Sheldon in Lamb's Pride Bulky, and why not? It's crossed my mind to make Sheldon in some Rowan Denim that I have left over in my stash, just to see what happens with the shrinkage factor. We'll see if that comes to pass. . . Doubled-up fingering weight yarn on size 3 or 4 needles would probably work. A lot of common 100% cotton yarns will probably work, too, though I'd recommend the smoother ones (like Takhi Cotton Classic) over the fluffier, softer ones (like Blue Sky Cotton), just for the sake of durability. Go ahead and raid your stash and see what kind of results you get. And if you find a good substitute, please let me know!

2. How much yarn does it take?

As written, the pattern takes almost all of one ball of Knit Picks Shine in the main color and probably less than half a ball of the contrast color. If you have partial balls, you can fiddle with it to make it work -- do the shell bottom or shell attachment panel or attached I-cord in the contrast color to make the main color stretch farther, or mix and match three different colors in the different pieces. Heck, the shell could even be striped, with all the contrast color bits done in a different color for each row of "cells," as long as the main color that divides the shells stays the same. Knock yourselves out!

3. Why is the blue turtle so zaftig?

Michelle, who knit the blue turtle, used Boye Balene size 3 needles, which she says run bigger than a standard size 3 needle. I suspect she also knits a bit looser than I do. And she claims he snuck some of her chocolate when she wasn't looking. Incidentally, Michelle also stuffed the body with some rather soft, silky stuffing that I picked up at JoAnn's called Soft-Touch Polyfill Supreme by Fairfield. It may have made the body a bit bigger and fluffier than the other stuffing I used, which was your average bargain-basement polyester stuffing.

4. Why does the little dark green turtle look different?

The green turtle in the group picture, which Jamie knit, appears to have a rounder head than the others, and he's also smaller. This is just an effect of Jamie's having knit the turtle at a gauge a bit tighter than my own and having stuffed the head fairly firmly. You can actually get a pretty wide range of head shapes depending on how you choose to stuff it.

5. Why no tail?

While designing, I messed around for a while with a tail for Sheldon, but I didn't like any of them. His bottom is small, and all the tails I tried out looked kind of large and silly. Plus, I didn't really like the idea of making a hole in the shell for the tail as well as for the arms and legs. So I decided that he could get by just fine without one.

I think that's all I have for today. Again, thanks for all your compliments. Happy knitting!

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Errors in Sheldon Pattern (edited)

The Sheldon pattern in Knitty had a few errors that have since been corrected. They now appear in red type.

I created a diagram that was not published with the pattern, so I thought I'd include it here. The diagonal lines indicate the increases, and locating them can be helpful in figuring out where to place the eyes and limbs.

Friday, December 8, 2006

A Note to Non-North American Knitters

I know that not everyone has access to Knit Picks yarn. I'm going to start compiling a list of possible yarn substitutions for Sheldon and post it here in the future, so if you have a suggestion, I'm all ears. Meanwhile, the wonderful Nicola Hickson of London has test knit Sheldon in Sirdar Snuggly Baby DK, and he came out fabulously. She used 4mm. needles and got a tension of 22sts and 28 rows over 10 cm, 1 ball each of colors 350 and 242. Thanks to Nic for test knitting and for sending in this great photo!

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Sheldons of Many Colors

I took some photos of multiple Sheldons that Knitty decided not to use, so I include them here for your enjoyment. These were test knit for me by Michelle Lim, Cristi Brockway, April Simmons, Jamie Slegel, and Lynnea Motter. All the turtles were knit using Knit Picks Shine Sport. Michelle knit the blue turtle, which is done in aquamarine and turquoise. Cristi knit the pink turtle in blush and orchid. April knit the turtle in red (cherry) and purple (orchid). Jamie knit the green turtle in grass and green apple. Finally, Lynnea knit the green and purple turtle in grass and orchid. Thanks to all of them for their great work!

Thanks also to my model in the third picture, Ella Johnson, who is my adorable niece.