Woobie Woes ~ when toys attack….

As soon as I saw this pattern – Woobie Kitty by Kris Carlson – I wanted to drop everything and knit one for my 6-year-old granddaughter. Keira let me know right away that her Woobie should be knit in black and red. She even named it Ruby Kitty before we bought the yarn: Cascade 220 Sport Superwash; a fabulous yarn when washable is a must. Could not talk her out of the kitty (the zebra and the bunny seemed more interesting), nor could I get her to choose colors other than black and red. Red is okay, but I really, really dislike knitting with black.

The knitting looked simple enough. Even a 340-stitch picot hem wasn’t all that intimidating. In my opinion, the picot was a must and added to the nature of the Woobie. The recipient should have the best rendering of the pattern, right?

Picot hem was going great until the second decrease round. Made note to self, “There are critical points in a pattern that require one’s full attention.” I knit the second round of decreases too soon so they didn’t line up correctly. I tried to fix the error by dropping down, but couldn’t see what the heck I was doing. Again, I really, really dislike knitting with black. I ended up with a mess, so I ripped all the way back to approximately the 3rd rnd from the cast on; second go, was a breeze.

Finally got from this

Woobie mess 1

to this –

Woobie 50

After working alternating red and black stripes, all was well……  for a while. Had decreased to 140 stitches: exactly what I was supposed to have before increasing the decrease rate. Decreased to 108 stitches, but oh! wait! I had 107. Searched for a dropped stitch without any luck. It all looked good, but I can be really dense sometimes. I started ripping back. Stupid, stupid. This was for my favorite little girl in the world. It had to be as perfect as I could make it. Never mind that perfection is rarely achieved by humans and never in my hand knits. So I had mess #2 on my hands.  Folded it all up in a pillow case and took off to the gym for a swim. With a clear head it was easy to see I should simply do a single decrease instead of a double on the quarter of the blanket missing a stitch. The pattern does not note that the stitch-count gets thrown off by one stitch: I’m pretty sure that is what happens as noted by another knitter on Ravelry. I hadn’t even made a mistake. I hope I have taken this lesson to heart.

Fortunately I was able to take this mess and without much trouble get from here

Woobie mess

Good kitty

to here

Keira and woobiea

and finally, all ends well….









Ears could easily be made to look more like cat ears by attaching more of the back side of the ears to the head to shorten them and push them forward; however, recipient insisted Ruby Kitty was fine as is and would not release her for cosmetic touch ups or the addition of whiskers.

Technique notes:
Tips (not a how to; you can google that) on working a crochet-chain provisional cast on when there are a lot of stitches (technique allows for interruptions or breaks):

  • for waste yarn, use smooth cotton string (comparable to lace-weight yarn in thickness)

  • using waste yarn and crochet a lose chain of 5 or more stitches than required for the cast on

  • use a crochet hook that is at least 1 gauge higher than project’s knitting needles

  • when ready to remove waste yarn and knit with live stitches, place provisionally cast-on stitches on a dpn (smaller gauge than using for project) 20 or 30 at a time to begin working with stitches.

Using cotton string makes it easy to see the crocheted chain and where to insert the hook or needle for casting on stitches. It’s also easy to unzip the chain and leaves no fuzz behind.

Note on short rows: have never knit short rows w/o either a wrap & turn or a “shadow” stitch. Pattern directions could have been clearer on “knit in the stitch below,” i.e. which stitch below? The right side of Ruby Kitty’s head looks good; the left side is pitiful.