Reading blogs today, I see Sock Summit is on everyone’s mind. I did not go but it looks like it was an absolute blast. My grandmother lives in Oregon and while she is not a knitter, she knows very well of my mania. Even she had heard of “some big knitting thing” in Portland and asked me about it. I explained. Socks, huh? I remember that’s what Stephanie Pearl-McPhee had written her web hosting person said. No one besides other sock knitters believes socks are so popular that they get their own convention.

While I did start another pair of socks for my mom on the bus this morning, one inch of ribbed cuff is hardly worthy of a sock post, so I will to show off the finished hippo toy here instead. She has been done for ages:

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Pattern: Happy Hippo by Stephanie Gildersleeve, as published in Knitter’s #49, Fall 1997
Yarn: nearly 2 skeins Cascade 220 Superwash, 100% superwash wool, color 844 for the hippo; very old mercerized cotton that I got from my great-grandmother for the tutu
Needles: size 5
Started 3/9 and finished 6/13/2009

I worked the hippo pattern as written except I added 8 rounds to the body. I made that decision after finishing and stuffing her limbs; she needed a bit more length to make the legs look more in proportion. I also changed the order of sewing her together. The pattern asks you to stuff all stuffed parts, then sew the heads to the body, then sew on the eyes, then sew on the other parts. After seeing how rough our niece was on her Viking hat, I really wanted the limbs, ears, and eyes sewn on very securely with the yarn tails woven in also very securely, so I put her all together before I stuffed the body and head and grafted her together. Reminder to self: final yarn tail is tucked into left ear.

So Gwendolyn (what? you don’t give toys in progress a name?) accompanied me to the park one day in June and agreed to pose for photos. Here she is just finished with a pirouette:

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She checked out the view of Conservatory Valley in Golden Gate Park:

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But that was such an unflattering angle that she requested another pose:

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Finally, we had a near scandal when Gwen decided to sunbathe in the buff:

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I saw our little niece in June at Mr. MmmYarn’s family reunion (was supposed to be a celebration of his finishing chemo; instead, it was a celebration of his life) but she was overwhelmed by so many family members and had pretty much forgotten me because she hadn’t seen me in so long and wasn’t ready to meet yet another stranger, which means neither my presence nor my gift was well received. I wasn’t hurt by it. I know I will see her again and she will be small enough for a stuffed toy for a few years yet so I will try again next time.

I really, really like the head:

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