Pattern: Magic Friends (click here for Ravelry link) from Knitter’s Stash, September 2001, Interweave Press
This versatile pattern is for a simple double-knitted toy that can become a bear, a cat, or a bunny — and anything else you can think of, probably — with a few changes in the features.
My purple bear is on the left,and the bunny from the pattern is on the right.
It is actually a very slick piece of design work. Usually in double knitting, in order to get a tube of stockinette st, you have to
** K1, then slip 1 with yarn in front **
which requires a yarn position change on every st and is a bit slow at best, for Continental knitters, and a complete headache at worst, for throwers.
However, this bear is double-knit in reverse stockinette st — partly in order to keep all the fuzzy on the outside. Any time you are working with fur, sequins, poms, or what-have-you, the tendency is for the texture to remain on the purl side of the fabric. But this bear is purl-side-out, which keeps the fuzzy where you want it.
And since the purl side is on the outside, all you have to do is
** K1, then slip 1 with yarn in back **
or in fewer words:
** K1, slip 1 ** merrily along, with no yarn position changes! What genius!
While I generally am considered to be a fast knitter, even I was a bit surprised at how fast this bear went. I started it late on a Sunday afternoon and it was completely finished by Wednesday.
The original pattern used a single strand of shiny fake fur yarn and US size 9 needles, to make a 12″ tall bear. I combined a strand of shiny fake fur with a strand of a fuzzier yarn, for a cuddlier fabric. I bumped up to US size 11 needles, and I used up very nearly the entire ball of the second yarn (= 96 yards). I wound up with a 16″ tall bear. And it was a gift for a 1YO, so I crocheted and embroidered the facial features directly onto it, with a little scrap yarn.
I recommend this pattern because it is quick to knit, and very clever in its design and construction. It’s interesting enough to keep you engaged – especially if it’s your first double-knitting project – without being tedious. And the book is readily available on Amazon. Of course, the name “MAGIC Friends” bugs me a little bit, but I can overlook that part because the rest of it is so darned clever. And if you haven’t tried double-knitting before, it is a great, low-risk project to try something new!