I’ll be the first to admit that that title was pretty weak, but in my defence, you try to think of a badger themed pun
Okay, so I’mgoing to give you some full honesty about making this badger – I straight up did not think that I’d be able to manage to complete any of the knits designed by the wonderful Claire Garland of Dotpebblesknits. I genuinely just bought her book (Magical Woodland Knits) so that I had something to aspire to and work towards, because all of her patterns are genuinely amazing!
(that and because it kept coming up in my recommended and the deer on the front reminded me painfully of Bambi, it was an essential buy on a bad day)
But then about a week ago, I was going through the book, having just finished four more blanket squares and began to create my own animal-pattern, and I was feeling stressed about it so I was taking a break, flipping through what I could only describe as being a bucket-list in the form of a knitting pattern book, and decided that I desperately wanted to give one of the animals a try.
And I had actually already picked out the badger pattern a few weeks prior – I’m not entirely sure why I was determined to make the badger, I think it was that it was the pattern that I felt I could use the wool the most for other projects as well? So I had ordered the wool to be delivered to Harris (I’M SORRY WOOL WOMAN IT’S NOTHING PERSONAL I JUST WAS IN SCOTLAND AT THE TIME) and I started it!
This time around, I did actually remember to take photos throughout the process (well… most of the time. Bear with me, I’m still getting used to it) but before I jump into telling you my full thoughts on the pattern, let me just tell you a little bit about Claire Garland, who created the pattern, first
First of all, you can find her on Etsy under the shop name Dotpebblesknits (socials are linked below!) She has authored a couple of books, the one that I used to create this badger is called Magical Woodland Knit which can be found on Amazon (where I got it) and I’m sure a plethora of other online stores. She also has a website, which I have linked here and basically she creates the most incredible life-like animals ever. I’m desperate to have a go at her latest pattern (a chicken) though I haven’t yet bought it because, unfortunately, the fox got my own real-life chickens about a week ago so I figured it would be in poor taste for me to make a chicken right now
(also before I settled on the badger, I did seriously consider making the fox, but I really dodged a bullet there by deciding not to, right?)
Her patterns are pretty advanced, just in that they require a lot of picking up stitches and shaping and the like (more details on what exactly I mean by that below) but they are the most satisfying knits in the world once completed, so if you’re interested in picking up your needles and making an animal and you’re at least semi-confident in your abilities, I cannot recommend her patterns enough
Anyway! On with the details of my badger-based adventure!
As I said above, I had actually been quite concerned over whether or not I would be capable of completing any of the knits from the book just on account of how complicated they looked from the photos
Take this photo, for example (and ignore how badly I picked up the stitches on the left hand side, I did actually sort that out after I took this photo): as you’ll see there’s a whole lot of stitch markers attached, and this is just the Badger’s head
(I still haven’t settled on a name for him yet – he’s definitely a him, though, I can sense that much. Hmmm… if you have any suggestions let me know)
While I had used stitch markers a couple of times before this, I had never used this many (there was much more on the body but I didn’t get a photo of them so just trust me that there was many on the badger all at once) or in this way. Previously, I had literally just used them for marking sleeve placement on bunny outfits and things like that
So to jump into some of Claire’s knits and suddenly be trying to use stitch markers like a pro felt very, very daunting to me. But, I got the hang of it pretty quickly (I know that sounds really dumb like “oh, I got the hang of placing a paper-clip like item go me!!!!” But it was stressing me out, okay?) and I had also had pretty minimal experience with picking up stitches, but I had my mum with me and she helped out when I got lost picking up stitches and again, I got the hang of it pretty quickly (though there were still sometimes where the parts I had picked up were quite scuffed and I had to go back and smooth them over, but overall I am pretty pleased with myself for it)
On top of that, this pattern was the first time that I experimented with knitting with fur-wool. And honestly, it was a complete nightmare at first because it was really, really difficult to keep track of how many stitches I had, especially when I was shaping – casting on stitches and increasing and decreasing
But again it was something that I got into the groove of after a little while and I’m sure you’ll agree with me that the effect the faux fur gives the badger 100% makes the pain of learning how to knit with it worth it
This would also be a good time to say that I used the wool recommended in the pattern itself, which was of the brand drops alpaca (flora, kid silk and brushed silk) and then James Brett Faux Fur and Luxury Fur
The wool itself was incredibly nice to work with – Norbert, as always, was acting up this past week, to the point that every time that I was really sensitive to textures. Like the reason I actually started the badger when I did, beyond just wanting a challenge, was because I couldn’t stand to use the wool I bought for the pig because the texture was so unpleasant to me at that time (it’s a thing, I know it sounds weird but yeah it sucks)
I wanted to point the ears out specifically just because I really, really loved making them
No reason in particular, I just found it really satisfying, especially in the photo I took with one ear sewn up and the other not, I just loved how the ears turned out and I think the pattern for them was really clever and also I love the shade of grey and white used and just
I don’t know why but I love the ears, okay? I’m a simple gal
Naturally, after ranting for three paragraphs about how much I loved the badgers ears, I have to include this photo I took after having sewn in both the eyes and the ears
Genuinely it’s just because I think it’s a really, really funny photo. I had just picked up the stitches ready to continue knitting the neck and paused just to take this photo of it looking as though it’s sneaking glances at me over the top of my computer
Overall I knit the badger over the course of about five days, though some days I didn’t make much progress on account of being in Scotland (post about that soon!) so I’ve been pretty busy doing other things while out here (walking, boat driving etc) and I also paused a fair amount as I designed my own patterns and things. I’ll put all the progress photos in a gallery below if you’re interested
But I really, really loved this pattern a lot, I can’t recommend Claire’s designs enough, I think that she’s really really talented and I can’t wait to give some of the other patterns a go too! One of the reasons in particular why I adore her patterns so much (which I probably should have mentioned earlier but I forgot) is because they are, largely, knit in one piece. Which is ideal for me, because while I’ve definitely improved with my sewing, I’m definitely still pretty unconfident. So the less I have the sew, the better!
Anyway, please do check out her designs, I think they’re incredible and I really, really loved knitting my badger (send me some ideas for names!) Also remember to check out my other stuff! My socials are linked below, as is my Buy Me a Coffee page if you’re interested in supporting me in that way