Knitting Toys 101: Decreases & Norwegian Colorwork

Continuing the Knitting Toys 101 series we are now learning about the common decreases you may encounter in knitted toy patterns. I’m also sharing my favorite two new knitting books. Finally I am comparing the first fox I made to my current one, proving that practice makes better (not perfect).

Apple Picking

I have a new weekend mantra around my house and it goes a little something like this:

Get stuff done. Have some fun

Me

I needed to enact this new policy because a certain man that I married has a tendency to forget to have a good time. For this weekend’s mandatory fun activity we went to the mountains and picked apples! I can hear my grandaddy’s voice in my head now! “Why in the world would you pay someone your hard earned money to pick THEIR apples?” He also loved using the word “behoove”, no one ever uses that word anymore.

Regardless of the fact that we paid to pick someone else’s apples, we all had a great time. We brought our beloved dog Jersey-boy and he was perfectly behaved, which means he can come camping with us next month (another mandatory fun adventure). We also bought two dozen fresh apple cider doughnuts. OH. MY. GOODNESS. They are as good as they sound. Truth be told, that’s the real reason we drive two hours, one way.

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Knitting Decreases

Let’s jump right into the topic at hand, knitting decreases. Decreasing allows us to continue to shape the fabric for our toy. Even though many knitted toy patterns are knit flat we can still achieve a rounded shape through increasing and decreasing. I have written out the instructions below but I also have a tutorial in my video.

There are four common decreases that you may come across in a knitted toy pattern:

  1. K2TOG – Knit 2 Together – work two stitches as if you are knitting only one. Insert your right hand needle from the front to the back of two stitches. Wrap your yarn around your needle and pull the loop through both stitches. Decreasing two stitches into one.
  2. P2TOG – Purl 2 Together – work two stitches as if you are purling only one. Insert your right hand needle into the front of two stitches, wrap the yarn around the right hand needle and pull through. Decreasing two stitches into one.
  3. SSK – Slip Slip Knit – take your right hand needle and slip a stitch from the left hand needle as if you are going to knit Do that one more time. With the two slipped stitches now on your right hand needle take your left needle and insert it into the front of the two stitches and knit them together, decreasing two stitches into one.
  4. P2TOG TBL – This one is a little tricky and will likely be better if you just watch the video to see it. The basic premise is that you are purling two stitches together but from the back of the work. Trust me and just watch the video. It is now one of my favorite stitches!

Again I would like to recommend the Vogue® Knitting The Ultimate Knitting Book to all new knitters. You won’t regret having this resource on hand.

If you haven’t seen the other posts from the Knitting Toys 101 Series you can find each one here:

Colorwork Books

I recently purchased two new gorgeous knitting books, Alice Starmore’s Charts for Color Knitting and Knit Like a Latvian. I am super interested in learning more about traditional colorwork, from Norwegian to Swedish to Russian to Latvian, and everything in between. They all have their own unique motifs and colorwork patterns which represent their cultures.

Whether it’s the mesmerizing geometric shapes of the Middle East or the snowflake patterns of Scandinavia, each design is unique and beautiful. For my little fox dress I chose two different Norwegian patterns and then added a few simple borders.

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Norwegian Inspired Colorwork

Norwegian Fox Colorwork Chart

I ultimately chose colors that I typically do not use and felt slightly nervous about combining them together. Thankfully, I really like how it turned out. The acid yellow, jade green, aquamarine blue, and chocolate brown contrast and complement each other in a way that makes me so deliriously happy.

Originally, I liked how the design looked on paper but was unsure how it would turn out as a knitted dress. Thankfully I couldn’t be happier with the busy repeats and bright colors. I feel that it perfectly compliments my little rusty orange friend. The Norwegian Fox is my second colorwork chart design and I’m fairly certain it won’t be my last.

My first colorwork design, Autumn Acorns, can be found here. You will also find links to the patterns and my modifications for the dress.

Old Fox vs. New Fox

It’s always encouraging to see your own progress. Sometimes we find it too easy to just look at the mistakes and imperfections of a current project. Once I completed my new little fox I remembered that I made one just a few short months ago.

Pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits

Comparing the two I can see the improvements and I hope you can too. I believe it’s most evident in the shape of the head, which is due to stuffing. The knitting is exactly the same. By adding stuffing to the appropriate places can really change the entire look of a knitted toy.

Finally the new fox has better eye placement. I tend to like far apart, wide set eyes on toys but for this one I believe it looks better a little closer together and a little further down the snout. I also think the wider embroidered nose looks better.

But the biggest difference is the size! My new fox is approximately two inches taller! My theory is that I was so tense while knitting the first one because I was relatively new to knitting toys. I used the same yarn, same pattern, and the same needles! Crazy!!! Tension matters!!

You Can Knit Toys

Now that we have covered the cable cast on, how to knit and purl, common knitting increases, and now decreases, you are well on your way to being able to make beautiful hand knit toys. I hope you enjoyed this post about knitting decreases! Please let me know where you’re from and what you would like to see next!

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8 thoughts on “Knitting Toys 101: Decreases & Norwegian Colorwork

  1. So so sweet, those dresses always get me, the details are beautiful!! Apple cider donuts…that’s twice in the recent past that I have heard about them. Now I need one!

  2. What do I want to see next? Uhm, anything you do, please! I absolutely love all your projects and would totally love to just knit and crochet away and along with you! <3

  3. All your knit and crochet animals are so amazingly beautiful! I always love seeing when someone explains stitches succinctly and clearly. Confession: as a European, I can’t get used to the American way of knitting ….

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