Here is the raccoon I just finished in a fuzzy furry yarn Sensation Angel Hair from Joanns. You can see the body is similar to the cat body with a head that is like the owl but without a beak.
The big change is short rows. I added 2 set of short rows to form a nice curvy butt like the possum. I think it is hard to see on the furry yarn so here is a shot of the short rows I knit right before binding off the body of the raccoon in yellow yarn.
See how it adds a nice curve and short rows are so easy to do. Toys are the perfect place to play with short rows and see the dimension it adds to your knitting. I am not sure that dimension is the word I am looking for here –but short rows are the difference between a boxy looking 80’s style sweater and a modern fitted sweater.
And it bears repeating it is so easy to knit these. Rather than explain how to make a short row and take iffy pictures with my camera look here http://www.socktopus.co.uk/2011/02/short-rows-shadow-wraps/
Socktopus has tutorials for 5 different short row methods along with her own unvention. And I can’t explain it much better than her. And I think the shadow wraps unvention is the best. It is my current go to method of short row — I like it much better than wrap and turn.
As long as you are making a toy you can try all the methods and compare. It doesn’t matter if you try out lots of different short row techniques in one toy the child hugging it won’t care. A toy is small and quick and loads more interesting than knitting a square swatch that will end up in your knitting basket and forgotten. That is what is great about knitting toys you can swatch and try out stitches to your hearts content and then give it to someone who will love it with all their heart.
So here is a raccoon I made last year and you can see how I used short rows to create the bandit eyes that are the most recognizable feature of the raccoon. See how it looks like the lizard ridge blanket http://knitty.com/ISSUEfall06/PATTlizardridge.html
1837 have knit lizard ridge and who knows how many people have it in their queues. It is a stunning blanket based on a Barbara Walker pattern stitch. I wonder if Laura Aylor dreamed that her blanket would become so wildly popular when she first knit it for her daughter. Her original idea was to knit this afghan slowly a square at a time and give it to her daughter as a going away to college present. But the beautiful colors and the pattern stitch mesmerized her so much that she finished it and gave it to her daughter on her 15th birthday.