Update November 2020: The original 2005 book ‘The Knitted Teddy Bear’ reviewed here is out of print. However, a new version ‘Knitted Teddies’ was published in 2019. From reviewing the table of contents, it is the same set of patterns including those reviewed below.
As much as I love crochet, if you want to make a proper, distinguished looking teddy bear, you need to get out the knitting needles.
Sandra Polley’s book ‘Knitted Teddies’ has 18 different patterns to choose from, in all shapes and sizes. The pictures in the book are adorable, especially the group shots. Every bear has a suitable name too which is a lovely touch. Once you start flicking through the book, you can’t wait to start, and the only trouble is picking which bear to make first!
So far, I’ve made a large bear called Robert (pictured above) and a smaller friend for him called Douglas (pictured below). They have a completely different look to the crochet teddy bears I’ve made. These knitted teddy bears are far more serious, reminiscent of traditional old fashioned teddy bears.
This reflects the extra work that goes into them, because these bears are actually quite tricky to make. For a start, it takes a large number of small pieces to make most of the bears. These have a lot of increasing and decreasing for shaping, so you need to keep your eye on the ball.
November 2020 update: since I only own the original 2005 book version and not the current 2019 version, it’s possible my minor quibbles below re pattern format & close up pictures no longer apply.
I found that the pattern format added to the complexity. The patterns are lengthy and all in the same font. Sometimes basic parts are spelt out row by row, whereas more complicated bits are just summarised with the likes of “inc on the next and every following nth row” etc. This can leave you scribbling in the margins to figure out your row count.
I would also have appreciated some close up pictures to give guidance on assembling the bears. You just get a basic sketch here and there which is not much help. I was scratching my head at first wondering whether I even had the head gusset the right way round!
This said, most patterns use the same approach. So once you have made one bear, you get the hang of it. It’s natural to grow a little nervous as your pile of small knitted fragments grows. But once you follow the pattern carefully, the end result is a bear you can be proud of which was well worth the effort.