Toy Ostrich.

Shaping the ostrich's head.

The ostrich's body was fun to knit, and went without a hitch (check the pictures for a peek). The body is knit using two different yarns held together, so I decided to cast on using the sling-shot method (or double cast-on) for a firmer edge, which will be hidden in the seams anyway. Did you know that the sling-shot method casts on your foundation row and works your first row of knitting at the same time? So when you start knitting, you're actually knitting the second row. Works for me.

Now I'm starting the ostrich's head, and am having a hard time. The pattern's diagram for the head calls for two extra stitches at either edge, every first six rows. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to increase evenly across these rows (doing so would look awful...the cotton is thick and the increases will definitely show), or if I'm supposed to add on stitches at the end of each row (using the knitting-on method, which will look equally ugly and probably make sewing the seams a pain in the arse). The pattern only shows the diagram, without specifically detailing how it should be done. I've started and unravelled my work about five times. I'm stuck.

The head that launched a thousand headaches.

I knitted the blasted ostrich head!

After too many tries and contemplations, I shoved the ostrich head to the bottom of the "to do" list and knitted all other parts of the body (except for the feet and beak). Then I looked at the diagram and photo of the ostrich head closely, cast on stitches and just went at it. Voilà! It came out in less than ten minutes. When in doubt, don't think or sweat too much. Just knit, man.

[Incidentally, the pattern does call for adding on stitches at either edge, not increasing like I had considered.]

Skinny legs are not always a good thing.

Almost finished with my pal, Ollie the Ostrich. All the pieces are knitted (with the exception of the feet) and are ready for stuffing and assembly. I'm having fun knitting it all.

...but can I just say that sewing the seams to the legs and neck were a great, big, sharp pain in the ass? The legs and neck cannot be sewn inside out because they're too long and thin to turn right side out again after they're sewn. I had to do it on the right side of the pieces, practically blindly, using the mattress stitch. Tedious beyond words.


I'm almost through knitting my ostrich! All that's lacking are his legs and eyes. But! He's got his wings and beak, at least (check the pictures to see how he looks right now as I peck this out).

Important thing I learned: When sewing a toy it's always better to stuff as you sew the seams. Not afterwards, otherwise the stuffing appears uneven and a bit lumpy. I also learned that one should never, ever overstuff because, well, it looks like crap. There's nothing more unattractive than being able to spot stuffing through big stitches (the ostrich was knit on size 5mm's) that are getting stretched even wider from too much stuffing.

If I can find some black felt this afternoon for his eyes, Ollie should be well on his way to full stuffed toydom by tonight.

Ollie is officially a stuffed toy. Hurrah!

My knitted ostrich is officially a stuffed toy! I stuffed him, sewed him together, blocked him (by steaming gently), and embroidered a pair of eyes on his face using black embroidery cotton and the point passé plat (which I think is the straight stitch). Eight stitches for each eye. The first toy I ever knitted! I feel like such a proud mama. I think I deserve a prize.

 I knit this!

I'm liking the idea of knitting more toys. I have loads of patterns from all the children's catalogues I've gotten from Phildar, so I think I'll flip through them and use up some more of that leftover yarn I have overflowing my closet.