Ok, I have never done a KAL here before, so bear with me! One of the hardest things for me in teaching is to know how fast to go. I am a pretty quick knitter, so when in-person teaching, I always feel like I whiz through things to quick for some folks. So, for this KAL, I am going to take it pretty slow, since I don't know how much knitting time you get in a day, or how quick you all knit (although I already see a bunch of finished Basil's on Ravelry, speed demons!), and I want to keep my posts from being like 3 pages long.
I'm ready to go, here are my yarn and needles!
I am going with Lorna's laces Shepherd Sport on Us Size 3's, just like in the pattern sample. This time though I have picked Carol Green as my main color and Envy as my contrast color. It is going to be a greeny dino!
I had some of both yarns left over from something else, so I am starting with 32g of Envy and 66g of Carol Green. I think this will be enough, but I have extra yarn if I need it. I like to keep track of yardage by using a scale and weighing my yarn. I know some folks don't like that, but I have pretty good luck using this technique to keep track of yardages used (as long as I remember to weigh before I get started. Oh, and write that weight down). I use a simple kitchen scale, in pink to make it more fun. If you have never heard of this method before, you look on the yarn band where it will generally tell you something like "100g/220 yards." From that you can do the math and find that you will have 2.2 yards of yarn for every gram. Make sense?
Ok, so now that we got the weight deal cleared up, here's my criteria for picking yarn, in order of importance for me:
1) Colors! I look first for a yarn that has good bright, brilliant colors.
2) Is it washable? I know many people like to work with pure wools, but when making toys, I think washable-ness is a huge factor. I have changed on my opinion on this too after having a baby. Now it MUST be washable, if it is destined for a munchkin, as this dino is going to be. Yup, The Peanut is getting a dino at the end of this KAL.
3) Softness? Since I knit A LOT (although a lot less now with a baby than I once did), I like to make sure whatever I knit with is going to be soft on my hands. I personally feel like the softer the yarn, the more enjoyable the project. Since knitting is suppose to fun, this is a big factor for me.
4) Price/do I have some? This is the last thing I think about.....luckily many of my favorite toy knits yarns are quite reasonable and my stash is quite large!
If that doesn't help, my two favorite toy yarns are anything from Lorna's Laces (especially the worsted), and any of the Berroco Comfort yarns. But, the nice thing about toys is really anything you have will work.
Ok, on to the needles. I get a lot of questions on how to pick the right needles for your project, so here's how I do it.
First, I know that I am a very loose knitter. When I am working on a project with gauge, I generally have to knit on needles 1-2 sizes smaller than the pattern calls for. I always take this in to account with my toy knits.
The goal of your needles is to get a final fabric that is somewhat thicker than you would normally want for a garment. A garment you are going to want to focus on drape, a toy you are going to want to focus on the fabric not showing through the final fabric. So, you will want to check the yarn band for what the recommended size of needle is (mine is a US 4), take into account your personal knitting style (loose like me, or tighter, or...), and pick a needle. Remember, if your fabric looks to loose, you can always start over again with a smaller needle. Or, if you are finding it hard to knit, you can always go up a needle. I know I am on too small a needle when it hurts my hands to knit. AND, the "right" needle size if up to your personal preference of what you like for the final look.
I don't mind some stuffing showing through, so even though I am a loose knitter and my yarn recommends a US 4, I went with US 3's because I like how it works up in the end. Not too tight when knitting to hurt my hands, but tight enough for the finished fabric most of the stuffing doesn't show through. As I am typing this, I think a lot of knowing the right needle size comes from practice! So, be comfortable trying different yarns and needle combinations, and learn from each monster you make. This will help you be able to see what you like and what you don't, and change your knitting from there.
Alrighty, I think that is a pretty good start for today. Now that I am done typing, I am going to go get cast on..... Make sure an leave me any questions in the comments below! And, I made a Rav project for this guy too.