Knitting for 600 Monsters Strong

April 11, 2013

I used to wonder about people who knit, crochet, or sew for charity. I wondered where they found the time to knit some “extra” projects, where did they get the yarn, and what made one charity good enough for someone to spend that time knitting for them. I also wondered if I was a good enough knitter. Since people are vastly different, the answers are sure to differ.

Then I met the group 600 Monsters Strong through facebook. A friend who also knits posted a link for their call to action. The joy in this call to action was 1) it was something I could do, 2) it wasn’t political in nature, 3) it went ahead to say move forward and stop focusing on pointless arguments, 4) it grabbed my heart and looked fun.

“A group started (but that grew beyond) with a one goal: knitting and crocheting 600 stuffed toys for the children impacted by the December 14th, 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.”

To me, this says, ‘Let’s do something positive.’ They posted this idea on facebook and ravelry and were soon overwhelmed with questions, responses and shortly thereafter, monsters.

“Why monsters?” one might ask. Wouldn’t monsters scare the children? Not necessarily. I think of it this way, while you often fight fire with water, “fight fire with fire” is a cliche for a reason. They’re meant to be soft, cuddly and lovable. And each monster does have a few rules. Eyes were not to be X’s or even glued on googly eyes. They were to be felt shapes, crocheted, and sewn rounds are acceptable. Red is discouraged for this group. Monsters should be 6” to 10” in height to be cuddly. The link above leads to the rest of the rules and suggestions, as well as a list of approved patterns.

I chose the “Gotta Love Me Monster” pattern. It was cute and the pattern was free. Most of the patterns with a charge are $6.00. The “Gotta Love Me Monster” was based on a circular needle, but I am already comfortable with double-pointed needles, so I read the pattern through and decided it should translate from circular needles to dpns well. Yeah for me, it did.

Next, I located my leftover Angel Hair Sensations yarn in multi-color which I used to knit Francine, “The Third Sock Monkey, Meet Francine” I had the most of this yarn, as well as the Vanna’s Choice Barley(brown) yarn I had left over from knitting each of the sock monkeys.

To knit this monster, I cast on 72 stitches first and began a somewhat long process of knitting 35 rounds and marking them on the pattern with tallies. This monster began very pretty, but after 8-10 of very similar rows, he was starting to get boring to knit. However, I trudged on, sure the end result would be worth it. I do, however, become easily bored with repetitive actions. I did think this monster might have benefitted from a waistband, but he was not designed that way, so I marked the tallies and took him to school to knit during breaks. As a substitute teacher, I sometimes get time to do nothing. I knit during those breaks. It helped to break up the knitting for this section and make it go smoothly. I knew he’d be cute when I was done, so I continued. Plus, some child, somewhere, would be comforted by my creation.

Once I finished the body section, I began the decreases and the knitting become more interesting for the next 37 rows. These rows became easier to knit in part because they required my attention and in part because they became smaller every other row. Somewhere around rows 58-60, I realized my multi-color yarn would run out. I was not buying another skein of yarn for two reasons-1) I was tired of this color, 2) I was sticking to my resolve to turn this monster into a stash buster. I resisted the urge to sew it together then, and create the ears and arms and feet. But what is a poor, stubborn girl to do when the main color runs out?


I changed the design/color of the yarn. I tied the brown barley Vanna’s choice yarn I would use for the appendages and continued with the last ten or twelve rows. I decided to make the eyes a different color. Then I knit the body flap, which is a simple rectangle sewn onto the bottom once the body is stuffed. I continued knitting the appendages which knit up much quicker than the body. However, the three needle bind-off was a new practice for me. I felt stumped with the first one, but found a video online…I do not recall which one, but a simple Google search for 3 needle bind-off should help you find assistance for this. Essentially, you place one knitting needle through two knit stitches as if to knit and knit them off as one, then you bind the resulting row off giving you a tougher seam. However, to fully understand it, I recommend getting better instruction, or searching out a couple of videos.

Once the ears, arms and feet were bound off and stuffed, and the body was stuffed and sewn, I would sew the small pieces to the body close to the areas designed for them. By this time, I had mostly discarded the pattern and sewed them on where they looked good. When this was finished, I added the eyes, sewn in circles of yarn in deep blue and a smile in the same color. Then I took this monster’s photo and showed my boyfriend, who thought he needed something. Oddly enough, I had the perfect two-tone green novelty knitting ribbon yarn in  green tones that worked with the monster and I gave him a little belt, which defined his waist.


In the end, he was a fun monster to knit. I may knit him again. I do recommend the pattern as written for the “Gotta Love Me Monster.” I do not recall finding any errors in this pattern either, which was impressive. If there was an error, it was quite minor and easily resolved. I hope you have enjoyed this blog about my knit monster. I hope the child who receives this monster finds great comfort in this simple gift.

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