Saturday, 9 May 2009

Knitted sheep in woolly land

Far away in woolly land live two little knitted sheep.

Sheep1_1

Chalky is white with a curly coat and Charcoal is black with a grey coat.

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One day a fashionable little girl sheep named Rose came to live with them. She wore a beautiful fluffy pink coat and the boys were immediately smitten.

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Chalky changed his curly coat for a smart tweedy one and Charcoal sported his glitzy grey number but Rose, in her new rainbow striped poncho, was not impressed.

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Charcoal changed his name to 'Bumble-baa' and Chalky changed his to 'Baa-code' but Rose in her flowery coat was not amused. Poor Chalky and Charcoal, will they ever impress the gorgeous Rose?

A bright idea
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These little characters are very easy to knit and great fun to dress. Let me know if you post a picture of your sheep as Chalky and Charcoal would love to call in during their blog-trotting tour and link to your blog on one of their forthcoming posts. (They will visit just 10 blogs so please let me know ASAP if you'd like a visit)

AROUND THE WORLD IN 10 BLOGS

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The friends are hoping to find 10 blogs to visit

Pattern for the sheep
I used DK yarn for the head, body, legs and ears and size 2.75 mm needles (US size 2). This finer needle gives the required tighter fabric.

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Different yarns vary in the way they knit up but here is the pattern I used. Please adjust if necessary to suit your own requirements. I experimented with stocking stitch and reverse stocking stitch, both are suitable, its a matter of personal choice.

Body - Cast on 14 stitches, knit 16 rows. With a large sewing needle take the stitches off onto a length of yarn and draw up. With wrong sides facing stitch the long edges together. You should now have a tube. Turn to the right side, stuff and draw up the open end to make a fat sausage shape.

Legs (knit 4) - Cast on 6 stitches and knit 8 rows. Cast off. Roll up the knitted piece as tightly as you can to form a tiny sausage shape and stitch down the open edge (no stuffing required). Stitch the tops of the legs to the body as shown above.

Head- Cast on 9 stitches and knit 10 rows. Take stitches off onto a sewing needle and draw up. With right side facing (because head is too small to turn inside-out) neatly oversew the long edges together. Lightly stuff the head and gather the open end. To give the head a realistic curved shape push the threaded needle from the nose end through the head and out of the top. Pull until you have the required curved shape then fasten off. Decide which end is better for the nose and stitch the head to the body (see picture above).

Ears (knit 2) - Cast on 3 stitches and knit 2 or 3 rows. Remove stitches onto sewing needle and draw up, this makes the pointed end of the ear. Oversew down the ear to the base and stitch it to the top of the head (see picture above).
Now you can give the sheep a face. I used embroidery floss.
Now comes the fun part...dressing the sheep. You can create different coats from different yarns, in other words anything goes!
I used 3.75 mm (US size 5) to make a soft fabric.

Basic coat- Cast on 10 stitches and knit the required number of rows to wrap over the sheep's back from one side to the other. Cast off. Fold in half and with wrong sides facing. Stitch together the edges at one end to form the back end and a very short seam (about 1cm) at the front. This will fit under the sheep's head. You must leave an opening large enough at this end for the sheep's head to pass through. Turn right side out.

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I used a curly boucle yarn for the white coat (garter stitch) and a grey DK for the other coat (moss stitch).

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Needless to say there is now friendly rivalry between the boys.
Will they ever win the heart of the lovely Rose?

Have fun knitting your sheep and don't forget to let me know if you feature it on your blog then I can link to it next time I post.
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