Are you familiar with our free Noro Bear pattern?
Both patterns are always very popular when I post them on Facebook, but they are intermediate patterns. The knitting is fairly straightforward, but there is a lot of finishing involved.
If you look closely, you’ll notice the bear has a nicely shaped head. This is accomplished by knitting the head in pieces and seaming them together, rather than just knitting a ball.
Enough people have asked about the assembly of the Bear’s head that I thought it would be a good idea to create a photo tutorial.
Don’t let this scare you! The patterns includes written directions for assembly and if you just follow them carefully you’ll be fine. But everyone learns and understands directions in a different way, so having a ton of pictures to follow can’t hurt.
At this point let me point out that my bear head isn’t meant to be pretty!
Have you seen those teaching socks where each part of the sock is a different color so you can better see and understand the sock anatomy? That is the approach I took with my bear head.
This tutorial might make more sense if you have your pattern and bear head pieces in front of you as you read.
Knitting the Pieces
When I knit my sample pieces I worked my increases by making a KFB (knit front & back) or PFB in the first or last stitch as indicated. If you haven’t knit your bear yet I suggest you work your increases one stitch in from the edge. That will probably make it easier to assemble since you’ll be working with a clean edge. I don’t think it should affect the look of your bear much.
The Back of the Head is worked in for sections. Again, if you trust the pattern and follow along you’ll be fine. Above are my first two pieces and I’ve purled across to join them.
Then you work one half, while leaving the remaining sts on a holder or needle. (The pieces were so small I just worked them all on a pair of double pointed needles.) You reattach the yarn and work the second half, but I didn’t take a picture of that.
Work through the remaining pieces. The next tricky part is the left side of the head (my orange piece).
The Right Side of the head is written out, but the left side just says to reverse shaping. Since the Right Side started on a knit row, start the left side on a purl row and all the shaping will fall into place.
It is important to place the markers when the pattern tells you to since you’ll be referring to them during assembly. I used stitch markers with lobster claws so I could easily clip them where I need them.
The first step in the pattern is to “Join sides of head from cast on edge to first marker.” Basically you’re sewing the chin shut.
Next you attach the head gusset. The pattern explains placement, but it’s logical to put the point in the center! Think of this part as the bear’s forehead.
Sewing in the second side of the gusset was a little tricky since I had to fold the head to get the pieces to meet. The bear is becoming three-dimensional!
Then you sew the seams in the back of the head. Again, you’ll have to account for the curve of the fabric. I squished mine flat so I could take the picture.
Then you’ll get ready to sew the top of the head shut by lining up the remaining markers. I used the lobster claws to clip the two halves of the head together. This is another place were you have to be prepared to work with the fabric wanting to curve and become 3D.
I found it helpful to clip a marker to the center of the gusset so I had a target to match up with the seam on the back of the head.
Obviously you have to sew the sides of the head shut, too. But leave the bottom open for stuffing.
And when all that sewing is done you’ll have a bear head! He just needs eyes and ears.
(Oh, look, you can see the sweater I need to finish seaming in the background.)
I haven’t even stuffed it and it’s standing up!
Watch how tightly you pull your seams when you’re sewing. The corners of my head were a little uneven and I had to fuss with them a bit. I guess the ears would help disguise that.
Well, there you have it. If you’re bear is all knit but you’ve been flummoxed by the head assembly you should be ready to roll now.
Have you made the Noro Bear and Bunny? Share your tips in the comments!