Labby the Second

I don’t usually repeat patterns: once I’ve made a thing once, I consider it “conquered” and it’s now too boring to do again. The exception here would be things like hats, which I often knit without a pattern and thus are almost as challenging the second, third, fourth etc time as they are the first.

Labby the Angry Cat would be another wonderful exception. He’s adorable, and I’m very interested in figuring out if he can be knit in the round instead of worked flat. I, thus, plan to knit as many of him as I can out of the cream Cygnet Superwash I have and go from there.

Project Details

PATTERN: The Angry Cat Labby by Ngoc Vu (links to Ravelry and Instagram)

NEEDLES: 3mm DPNs
GAUGE: 25×38 (10cm)
SIZE: 28cm

MATERIALS: 

  • Cygnet Pure Wool Superwash DK (2195 Cream)
  • Drops Fabel (111 Mustard) doubled up
  • 10g Drops Fabel (107 Blue) doubled up
  • Drops Fabel (300 Brown) doubled up
  • 2 plastic safety eyes
  • 1 plastic safety nose
  • Scrap of grey embroidery thread

STARTED: 13th July, 2020
FINISHED: 7th August, 2020

Pattern Amendments/Adjustments

  • For the body, follow the pattern as is, except join in the round and knit the purls.
  • I chose not to do the eyelids for Labby #2. (I may do them for future Labbies, depending on how well this one turns out.)
  • I placed markers 18st from the beginning and end of R23 to make it easier to see where the eyes need to go. That puts them 11st apart.
  • I attached the nose 5st between the eyes on R30.
  • I’m going to try embroidering some grumpy eyebrows or something.
  • For the arms:
    • At R43 of the body (page 6 of the pattern pdf), place marker 3st to left of left eye. Count 8st to the left and place another marker. (These stitches will be for the left arm.) Knit to first marker, slip 8st to holders.
    • Still on Row 43, place marker 3st to right of right eye. Count 8st to the right and place another marker. (These stitches will be for the right arm). Knit to first marker, slip 8st to holder, remove markers.
    • Make sure arm holes are symmetrical!
  • I used a 3-needle bind-off for the feet. This was a mistake. Future Labbies should have legs done the same way as the arms for a rounded finish.
Labby The Second's Head

14th July, 2020:

Okay, well. I want to say so far so good, but I’ve had to frog the arm holes because I wound up with one in the right place and the other under the nose. lmdho

Labby the Second also seems like he’s thinner somehow than the original Labby. I have no idea why. Maybe I’m misremembering?

Anyway, his body is working up just fine in the round. It’s the arms that’s proving tricky because I have to figure out where to leave the space for them.

15th July, 2020:

I’ve got one arm done. I kind of see why you’re supposed to knit them separately and sew them on: by doing it seamlessly, the arm sticks out. The same happened with Labby #1 to a lesser extent, but I don’t think it’s bad enough to warrant sewing in future Labbies. We’ll see what it looks like when Labby #2 is completed.

I was thinking there was a tail, for some reason, and that I’d need to figure out where the hole needed to go. But I can’t find reference to a tail at all in the pattern now, so maybe I imagined it? I could have sworn I’d said “I’m not giving Labby #1 a tail because I’m bored now” or something like that, but I can’t have done if there is no tail to begin with…

Labby the Second with one leg half done

17th July, 2020:

One leg complete. Both arms done. Labby’s mouth is still wonky and his nose still won’t stay straight.

The arms are definitely not sticking out enough to be a bad thing, so future sewing is not required!

Labby the Second looking a little unsure

30th July, 2020:

For some reason, I forgot to update that I’ve finished off Labby’s legs and he now just needs clothes. I did make a hat in DROPS Fabel (111 Mustard) but it was far too small. (Not surprising, given that the cream Labby’s made from is worsted weight and the Fabel is fingering.)

I think I’m going to try doubling up the Fabel (as I did with Mowbray’s sweater) in the 300 Brown for the hat and vest. I had considered measuring Labby up for a knitted beanie and sweater of his own, but I don’t think the hat would look right. His eyes are a bit too high up his head for that.

Labby the Second's brown booties with yellow stitching

2nd August, 2020:

Given Labby’s poorly feet, and after a couple of different attempts at a hat and vest that I didn’t like*, I decided to make him some booties. I did think about measuring him up for a fitting and working out gauge from there, but then I realised (after several nights where this was the thought that kept me awake, instead of whatever’s actually stressing me out to the point of a flare-up) I didn’t need to because the pattern already tells me how many to cast on. I just skipped to the part of the leg where it says to cast on 20 and followed it from there. /facepalm/

Close up of Labby the Second's brown booties
Close up of Labby the Second’s brown booties. I think I’m going for a kind of denim/redneck vibe.

*I think it best not to bother with the stranded knitting in the vest. Purled stranding is super difficult. I’ll stick with plain/stripes and do a bit of hand-stitching to jazz it up after the fact. For some reason I don’t mind that compared to seaming. /shrug/

Labby the Second in a denim jacket and boots

3rd August, 2020:

Labby’s looking spiffy in his denim jacket* and brown leather boots!

*Not actually denim or leather.

Close up of Labby's jacket
I’m not entirely happy with the stitching but it kind of looks like denim, right?

Now, he just needs the hat.

7th August, 2020:

Well, short of a redneck vibe, Labby’s got much more of an aviator vibe going on. At least, he did before I added the pompom. But he still looks cuter this way than without it.

I’m not entirely happy with him right now. His mouth is still wonky, his nose keeps spinning around, I kind of feel like maybe I should have gone with the darker blue for his jacket, and I don’t like the yellow of his hat. Brown would have looked better, I think.

Right now, I don’t feel like Labby belongs as a giveaway or gift as I’d intended. I see too many imperfections and improfessionalities.

I’ll see how I feel about him in a few days. I always have this post-project disappointment, as if all the joy is drained right out of me by the creation process. It’s kind of annoying. But I often realise after a few days that I’m just being nitpicky so we’ll see how it goes.

Thoughts

As many times as I’ve said I hate seaming, it turns out there’s merit in both methods for this project. Yes, knitting Labby in the round means almost* no sewing, but grabbing stitches for his arms is awkward. If I do another Labby, I’ll leave his arms until after his legs are completed.

* You still have to sew between his legs, although I might eventually figure out how to do that seamlessly too.

Also, using the 3-needle bind-off for his feet doesn’t look right. You need to rearrange the stitches for proper balance, and even then… I think it would look better sewn up instead.

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