Yesterday I released my newest design, the Backyard Bandits. It's one of my favourite patterns - I feel like I got all the details right, it's fun to knit, and the finished toys have so much personality. It also feels wonderful to be able to share something with you. As much as I enjoyed the contract work I've done this year, it's been hard keeping it all secret.
I wrote about the background of the design previously. Now I'll tell you a little about the actual pattern. I would rate it intermediate level, mostly because of the intarsia you use to make the faces. While the intarsia is not really difficult, you're also making strategic decreases to shape the face, at the same time. So you need to really focus while knitting it. I've included some close-ups of each animal, so you will have a better idea of how the faces look. However, the rest of the toy pieces are all fairly simple and quick to knit.
The toys are knit from worsted weight yarn on 4 mm needles. You can use a combination of yarns to get a scrappy rag-doll look, as I've done with the fox. Or you can use a single yarn for the main colour, as I've done with the raccoon and badger. The finished toys are 11-12" tall, not including the ears (the fox is a little taller because his legs are longer). The toys sit well, because of how the body is shaped, and where the legs are attached. You can even put some plastic beads in the body to give it a nice weight. The fox and raccoon both have large, fat tails, which you can brush out to make even fuzzier.
The pattern comes with two little bonuses. First, I've included instructions for a cloth bandanna, which the toys are wearing. It takes about 5 minutes to make, and doesn't require sewing. Second, at the request of my husband, I designed a roasted chicken toy (we recently read Fantastic Mr. Fox to our boys, so this seemed to him like the perfect accessory). The chicken's wings and legs are made with small and large bobbles, but clear instructions for both are included in the abbreviations.
I hope you enjoy the pattern, and I look forward to seeing new projects popping up on Ravelry!