So, when Knitty came out with the winter issue, I knew I wanted to knit norberta, the little dragon. Here's the first one, that I followed the exact pattern (although with 1 strand of worsted versus 2 strands of dk -- any time I can deal with one strand versus 2, I'll do it). I had a few problems. Her eyes are a bit big (but I like them), and the bump on her head's not very pronounced, although I shoved some extra batting there.
The belly is VERY VERY Round. There's not really much direction to match pieces together -- there's not any obvious "corners" to match, except the neck decreases. On this piece, I hadn't figured out to use mattress stitch, and my stitching's rather crude...
And then there's the spikes. I didn't really think much about the sewing, and she's got crooked scales. The scales are REALLY long compared to her body. These came to her nose, which is one reason they look somewhat gathered.
This is NorOberta. She's made with Noro Kureyon, and made in this order: head/tail, arms, belly, spikes, wings, legs. The last leg was made with the end of the skein, using the "other end" of the skein (so it went to the red at the end of the leg, to half-match the other leg). I assembled her stockinette side out (although that's just a personal decision), and sewed both sides of her belly to her head/back/tail at the same time, making a few stitches on one side, then a few on the other.
Some of the changes I made include: extending the tail, working only ONE set of short rows (skipping the knit rows and short rows), and shortening the spikes. Even though I shortened the set of spikes by 2 large spikes, I ended up having to pull out a LOT of them. This one has NO tail spike, and only 4 large spikes, 1 'mini spike' on the small of the back, and one small spike. I pulled out the 2 large and 2 small spikes along with the tail spike and re-knit one small spike when I was assembling her, as the first modification I had made STILL made her spikes too long.
I ended up sewing a running stitch of cotton up the back (taken out when I was done), which made positioning the spikes straight MUCH easier. I also chose a garter ridge on which to start sewing the arms down, and only half-sewed the wings down, to make them look 'flappier'. Oh, and I made the knees better-defined by changing the rows from k7, kfb 4x, k7 to k6, kfb, kfb, k2, kfb, kfb, k6, etc. until I got to the decreases, which I left the same. I think this gives her more pronounced knees. The eyes on this one are safety eyes.
On both dragons, I had issues with stuffing showing through the garter-stitch leg bits. Noroberta wasn't even stuffed as much as the original Norberta. Next up, doubling the stitch count, and going down to a 3 for the body, and maybe a 2 for the spikes, which is the needle size that Brie suggested -- she was knitting Norberta with worsted on 3's, and had a babier-dragon than I had. We'll see how well that goes... some arrangements will have to be made to stretch the body while keeping the proportions the same, although I have a feeling I won't see ANY stuffing through those stitches!
If I were to knit another Norberta on 6's, I'd make the same considerations, but probably start the tail with 2-3 rows of 3-stitch i-cord, increase every stitch to get 6 sts, 2-3 rows of knitting 6 sts flat (or maybe in the round on dpn's or 2 circs), then increasing every other stitch to 9 sts, work for 1-2 rows, and then k2, kfb (or something similar) to get 12 sts, knit 2-3 rows. Then, if I had decided to work in the round until now, I'd start knitting flat. This would give the tail some stability, and give you somewhere to better attach the belly.