The good thing about knitting the same project back-to-back is you know exactly what to expect and how to improve upon your first attempt.
This time I was prepared to spend about half the total time on the finishing and because of that, I enjoyed the process much more. Expectation management is the key. That was what I was trying to express in my last post.
I don't want to scare anyone away from this project, because even though there are a lot of pieces to sew together, it's still a quick project to complete: 2-3 hours for knitting and 1-2 hours for finishing.
As for improvements, the second time around I used a woven stitch to graft the head to the body instead of a whip-stitch. It looks so much nicer this way that I went back and restitched the brown bear even though the ribbon hides the sloppiest of sewing.
I also changed the ears a bit. The instructions say to fold the ear in half and stitch. The direction of the fold is not specified. The first time I folded it in half to match a photo in the book. This time I folded it lengthwise which I think is a better shape. You just need to play around with it to find what you like best.
Source: Simple Knits for Cherished Babies by Erika Knight
Yarn: Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool
Color: 98 Natural
Needles: US 3
Size: About 8" tall from ear to toe
I think this bear would look great knitted from handspun and I have plenty of natural roving that would be perfect for it. So next time I need a baby gift, a spinning wheel may be involved.