March 14, 2010

Peep!

My friend Lauren is a candy person.  I have a sweet tooth, but I like my sugar mixed with fat or starch, like in ice cream or cake.  Lauren likes the pure stuff: gummi bears, sweet-n-sours, merangue, licorice and Peeps.  Oh, how she loves a Peep.  She especially likes a stale Peep. I've been sending them ever year since she moved to Paris.  Yes, the French may  have macarons, madelines and Maison du Chocolate, but America is the home of Just Born candy and the Marshmallow Peep.  And what do I have?  Two knitting needles and a skein of novelty yarn:



Pattern: My own (see below)
Yarn: Patons Be Mine
Needles:  4.5mm

I found a few Peep patterns on Ravelry, but none of them were quite right, so I found a picture of a Peep online and uploaded it to microrevolt.org, which is a neato site that can convert any image into a knitter's grid.  And then I started knitting. I wanted the Peep to have depth, like a real life Peep, so I knit a front and back panel and 5 stitch wide side panel, then sewed the bottom to the side, then sewed the top.  I stuffed it with a natural cotton stuffing, which is sure to get hard and packed down, but I love cotton. 

I haven't made many toys before, but this was fun!  I mean, I knew it would be silly, so I think that took a lot of performance pressure off of me.  Still, I'm really proud of how it turned out.  A little wonky, like a real Peep, but sweet.  And I figured it out on my own, which is unusual for me.  I tend to be a pattern follower, but going commando worked out for me this time.  The yarn is a weird, ribbony novelty yarn, which I don;t usually use.  I lean towards natural fabrics, but nothing could have been better for a squishy Peep.  It's super soft and plush feeling.  Lauren will be in town next weekend, and I can't wait to surprise her with this little goofball.

Edited to add Recipe for Peep (bunny version):

Materials

Yarn: 1 skein Patons Be Mine (95 yards of bulky weight 100% nylon novelty yarn), or other similar yarn

Needles: 4.5mm (or needles 2-3 sizes smaller than generally recommended for the yarn)

Gauge: Unimportant, but the resulting fabric should be sufficiently dense that the stuffing won’t show through when Peep is stuffed.

Other: Small amount of cotton or nylon stuffing (I used Sweet Dreams 100% Cotton Stuffing, and estimate it took less than 1/20th of the bag to stuff the Peep); small amount of black yarn for Peep eyes and nose.

The Peep is knit in three pieces: front, back and side panel. Because the yarn I used was fluffy and bumpy, I knit my Peep entirely in garter stitch, and one cannot tell. If you’re using a smoother yarn, you might want to work your Peep in stockinette. Or not. It depends on your aesthetics.

Note: I worked all increases and decreases one stitch in from the end of the rows (i.e. in the 2nd stitch and the penultimate stitch) in an effort to achieve smoother edges.

Body (make 2 panels):

Cast on 15 stitches. Knit 1 row.
Increase 1 stitch at each end, every other row 3x (21 st).
Knit 8 rows straight.
Decrease 1 stitch at each end of the following row (19 st) Repeat every 3rd row, 2x (15 st).
Decrease 1 stitch at each end of the following row (13 st).
Knit 1 row straight.
Increase 1 stitch at each end of the following row. Repeat every 2nd row 2 (19 st).
Work 5 rows even.

Begin ears:
Decrease 1 stitch at each end of every row 4x (11 st).
Increase 1 stitch at each end every row 2x, then every other row 2x (19st).

Divide ears:
Knit 10 st, turn and b/o 1 st. Knit to 2nd to last stitch, increase 1 st, knit 1 st.
Knit 1 row even.
Decrease at beginning of the next row and every 2nd row until 5 st. remain. Bind off.
Return to live stitches for other ear, reverse shaping & bind off.

Side panel:
Cast on 5 stitches. Knit until side band is long enough to wrap around the entire circumference of the Peep (I knit about 12 inches, then started sewing the side panel to one of the fronts, then knit more of the side panel, then sewed more of it to the front panel, etc until I had only an inch or so more to knit on the side panel). Sew the long edge of the side panel strip to the edge of one of the Peep bodies (I used a back stitch, which was almost invisible due to the fluffy nature of my yarn; you may wish to use a tidier method if you are using smoother yarn). Sew the short ends of the side panel together to complete the side body of the Peep.

The side panel, now side body, of the Peep will be floppy and limp at this point, but have no fear! It will stand erect once stuffed (OK, I’ll try to keep it PG from here on out).

Sew eyes and nose onto second body piece using black yarn.

Repeat stitching process on second panel, making sure that the Peep’s new face is facing up. I started sewing at the bottom, where any ugliness or extra bulk caused by securing yarn ends, etc., would be less noticeable. Once you’ve sewn approx. three-fourths of the final piece to the side panel, you should begin stuffing the Peep. I tried not to overstuff, because I wanted my Peep to be a bit flat, like an actual Peep.

Continue sewing and stuffing until you have finished to your satisfaction. Weave in ends

4 comments:

littlebirdbigcity said... Best Blogger Tips

So cute! Good job, I would much rather have that than a real peep. Those things are icky.

Oiyi said... Best Blogger Tips

She is going to love it! And bravo for coming up with your pattern.

craftivore said... Best Blogger Tips

So funny and cute! She'll love it. Needless to say I think you should add the pattern to Ravelry even if it is rough.

Erin Joy and Sarah Jane said... Best Blogger Tips

Good enough to heat (or hang from your dorm room door...) He he he