I decided to start this project earlier this week, as I am sort of between projects and these animals have been calling my name for so long. After browsing through Noah's Knits, I decided to try a goat. I also thought I would try it in the round (all of the animals in both books are worked flat and seamed together. I was using a size 6 (4.0 mm) needle and everything went well until I was supposed to cast on additional stitches for the neck. I went through the entire process of sewing up the pieces that needed it, but it was very quickly apparent, how the wrong gauge can throw your entire project off. My semi-finished piece looked like a cross between a goat and a giraffe, plus the size of the ark needed to house animals knit in this gauge would have also needed to be very large (considering the number of animals I wanted to make that are so much larger than a goat), so I frogged the whole thing. The next day, Mini Knitted Safari arrived and I discovered that all of those patterns required DK weight yarn as well. Since I had already invested so much money into the worsted weight yarn, I decided to try an excessively tight gauge on size 2 1/2 (3.0 mm) needles. I also changed projects and cast on for the brown bear from Mini Knitted Safari.
As it only vaguely resembled a bear once it was sewn up, I despaired that this project would never get off the ground, but with some judicious stuffing and resewing of seams to adjust the outline, plus extensive use of my felting needle, it now resembles a brown bear and meets my "cuteness standards". With my tighter gauge it measures approximately 3" long x 2 1/2" tall. Still a little big, but definitely more appropriate than my much larger goat. I will detail the construction of this cute creature as well as the changes I made to the pattern, below.
My youngest child has some amazing creative talents herself and has decided to join me this year in creating an ark worth of animals, only her's will be sculpted out of polymer clay (her preferred medium). We will be trying to keep up with each other (for the most part) and will do the same animals as the other individual. I have some grand ideas and hopes for this project as we progress throughout the year, including making the ark (knitted, of course, unlike the ark 'pattern' in Fiona Goble's book, which is made from cardboard). I hope you will join me on this journey of discovery and creativity.
Needles: Size 2.5 (3.0 mm)
Yarn: Wool of the Andes - Brown Sugar
Possible typo on Row 21; I knit 8 sts instead of 11, to keep it in line with future increases.
Adjusted seam down front breast, cinching in 2-3 sts down entire length to front legs.
Extensive needle felting around the neck to create a neck.
Eyes and nose felted on in Wool of the Andes, black and chestnut respectively.
Tail, instead of running tail through remaining stitches, I folded the stitches in half along the cast on and sewed them together to create an oblong tail rather than circular.