An early Christmas gift from Loop to you; say hello to Otso, our new adorable free bear pattern!
Meet Otso, a lovely toy bear pattern to knit in The Border Mill for Loop. This delightfully versatile little friend can be knit either flat or in the round, and is designed by our very own former Loopette Sophie. You need just one skein of Loop Alpaca Tweed by The Border Mill, a blend of natural and hand-dyed alpaca fibre that has been reared, spun and dyed in the beautiful Scottish Borders especially for Loop! It’s a truly delicious, plump and textured yarn that we have loved from the moment we first saw and felt it! The colours Otso is shown in here are ‘Where Breezes Begin’ and ‘Captain Linneas’ Tripe, and we also have several brighter shades available too.
To finish your Otso, you will need some squishy stuffing, embroidery threads from Sajou to sew the face, and if you want to give your bear a little extra something, why not add a bell or a squeaker to Otso’s belly?
We caught up with the lovely Sophie to hear about her thoughts on the design.
I started with a little cartoon sketch of what I wanted the bear to look like – If I’m honest my first focus was it having a big squishy bum! Once I had the right shape the rest of the proportions fell into place, so this meant dumpy little legs, long arms for bear hugs (naturally) and big ears too.
The curvy shape of the bear is made with just simple increases and decreases, plus I’ve written the pattern with the option to knit Otso either flat or in the round. As it’s a smaller project, I think it’s a good one to practise your seaming with or alternatively to get to grips with magic loop. I found that I only needed a couple of evenings to finish it, so it’s a quick and easy last minute project for Christmas!
I loved knitting with The Border Mill for this design, the yarn is so luxuriously soft plus the heathered tweediness of the natural shades are excellent for a bear! That’s not to say that any of the other colours wouldn’t suit the pattern as well – I’d love to try a version in Hydrangea Dream or Green for Ondine.
The pattern name ‘Otso’ comes from the Finnish word for bear, and I think this little one has a charming time wandering around in the snow and looking at the Northern Lights. Of course, after all that adventuring, they are now quite happy to find themselves at Loop!
Thank you Sophie!
Now, are you as ready to cast on this huggable buddy as we are? To help you finish your Otso to the bear-y highest standards, check out Sophie’s finishing tips below!
Soph’s Top Tips for Finishing!
When seaming the flat version together, I recommend mattress stitch as this gives the neatest finish. Start from the top of the head and then sew together until you reach the top of the legs. Don’t cut this end and then sew the legs together from the paw up. You can then use the long length that you used for seaming from the head to close any gaps where the legs and body meet. Stuff as you go to make sure Otso is nice and squishy!
(relevant for flat and in the round)
Before you sew on the ears, the first step is to fold the them so the cast-on edges are touching and sew them together to make a semi-circle. Use the cast on tail for this, but don’t cut it short just yet (I’ll share my tip for finishing ends next!)
Weaving in ends
(relevant for flat and round)
Pin the ears in place at the same time to make sure they are level and sew in place using the cast off tail. To finish, weave the long ends into the fabric at the back of the ear as you normally would, then push the needle through the stuffing so it comes out of the fabric about 5cm away. Pull the needle through so the tail end is drawn through fully. Snip the tail end close to the fabric. This method means your ends and finished safely and hidden neatly in the stuffing of the bear.
When sewing up the arms leave the last 4cm open and sew in place by catching the stitch on the body and weaving through the edge of the arm shoulder – it should look almost like a raglan sleeve!
(for in the round)
Once you’ve knit the two legs separately, you’ll need to join them together for the body. You’ll still be working in the round and knit around the legs one after another. Arrange the stitches of first leg on the spare needle so the stitches are spilt equally, and make sure this is the same for the second leg that you’ve just finished knitting (Image 1). Knit across 8 sts on the front needle of the first leg (Image 2). Turn work to knit across the second half (8 sts) of this leg. Then knit across the next (8 sts) of the second leg (Image 3). Turn work to knit across the second half (8 sts) of this leg and place a marker for show the new beginning of the round for the bear (Image 4).
If you are embroidering the face, use pins to mark out where you want the eyes and nose. You can then build up details using satin stitch (long straight stitches) for the eyes and nose. Work the stitch vertically to give you a base and shape of the eye/ nose and then work over these stitches horizontally. You can also add a highlight detail to the eye by making a tiny stitch with some white thread. For the mouth, use back stitch and use the stitch to ‘draw’ the smile.
You can also have fun with embroidery – using daisy stitch and back stitch I added some detail to the belly ( you can find some embroidery techniques on the Rosemaling Mitts blog post!)
You could also add a patch with some fabric, I’ve added a little tweed square. First secure the fabric in place with sewing thread and then you can add some cute stitches in a contrasting colour.
Click on the image of your preferred version of the pattern below to download.
WORKED IN THE ROUND
And as if an adorable free patterns wasn’t enough, we are also giving away one skein of Loop Alpaca Tweed in ‘Where Breezes Begin’. All you need to do to enter is to follow @looplondonloves and repost our picture on Instagram and make sure you use the hashtag #OtsoAtLoopLondon, or use the hashtag in a post of your own. And for an extra chance of winning, leave us a comment below telling us who you’d love to knit an Otso bear for. Entries close at midnight Wednesday 14th December.
We hope you love Otso as much as we do, and we wish you all a wonderful time in these few weeks before the Holidays. Enjoy your knitting, we can’t wait to see all of your versions of Otso in the new year.
This pattern is the property of the designer, herein known as Loop Knitting Ltd. It is copyrighted and is for personal and non-profit use only. This means you can knit it for yourself, for a gift or charity. You may not sell anything made from this pattern. You may not reproduce this in print or for a website. It may not be translated, reproduced or circulated in another language without prior agreement.
Thank you and enjoy your knitting!
If you are planning a visit to Loop over the Christmas and New Year period. We have also listed last posting dates for Christmas if you are ordering from the online or London shop and want your parcel to arrive in time.
We will be at the Edinburgh Yarn Fair in March and we are just over the moon about it. We hope to see you there!
PS. We have been nominated for the British Craft Awards 2017! Please show us your support by clicking on the image above to vote for Loop as the Knitting and Crochet Retailer Of The Year. Voting is open until 20th December 2016. Everyone* who votes will be entered into a prize draw to win one of 5 £100 Amazon Vouchers (*Prize eligible to UK Residents only but anyone can vote!)