Thursday 28 May 2009

Knitted penguins and an icy escape (blog 6)

Against all the odds the Flutterby flock made it to Melbourne in their bubble and had great fun staying with their Australian cousins Shee-Baa and Lam-Baa. But all too quickly the time had come for them to move on again. Now they were bound for Ireland where their woolly cousin lived with Little Bo-Peep at Carol's blog Wee Cute Treasures. (Do pop in as Carol makes the sweetest little dolls).


And so, with the long journey to Ireland ahead of them, the three friends walked to the south coast of Australia where they played happily on the golden sands. Some picnickers had left a table and a gingham cloth and these they quickly made into a little tent, a useful shelter from the sea breezes.


As night fell the threesome huddled together inside their makeshift tent. A strong wind was picking up and as they drifted off to sleep they were lulled by the sound of the rolling waves.


As dawn broke the unhappy sheep woke to find a thick fog had descended and icy water was lapping round their shelter. During the night their little table-tent must have been carried away by the waves and now, surrounded by ice, it looked as if they were heading for Antarctica.


Shivering and cold Chalky wrapped this red and white Manchester United scarf around his neck. Charcoal put on his green scarf with the yellow stripes that reminded him of the fields back home and Rose chose her white scarf with a hint of sparkle and used the gingham cloth as a blanket. The scarves didn't help much. The shivering continued. What were they to do?  


"Need any assistance?" came a voice.
They turned and saw a penguin looking down at them from a passing iceberg. Then four more penguins appeared beside him.


"Where are you heading?" asked the first penguin.
"Ireland", Chalky replied.
"You'd better jump on board. We're going that way on our 'Pole to Pole' Expedition. We'll be passing Ireland as we travel north so we can drop you off".


It was an opportunity not to missed and without further encouragement the Flutterby flock clambered onto the penguins' iceberg. It was soon decided that the gingham cloth should be raised as a sail and with a strong wind behind them the voyage progressed full speed ahead.


It was a long way to Ireland from the Southern Ocean but with the penguins as navigators the sheep were confident they would arrive safely.


And so we leave them sailing toward a distant horizon.

Blog-trotting continued.......... 13th August

Knit a penguin


Measuring a little over 5 cm my penguins are short little fellows but very easy to knit. No shaping is required! Don't be put off by the number of illustrations as each step is very easy to follow.
You will need small amounts of DK yarn in white, black and dark yellow.
I used 2.75 mm needles (US size 2) to give me a nice firm knitted fabric. I didn't want to see white filling peeping through the black stitches.


Body and head: Using white yarn cast on 13 stitches and knit 12 rows. Then knit 1 row yellow and finally 6 rows black. Break yarn 15 cm from knitted piece and remove stitches onto this length of yarn using a large sewing needle (see above). Gather tightly to form top of head and secure firmly.


With wrong side facing over-sew the edges and then turn right way out. The penguin at this stage should fit snugly on your& forefinger.


Stuff the penguin to match the size he was when on your forefinger.


Neck: Run a length of black yarn under each black stitch just above the yellow row. Pull to form a neck and secure. You should find a small amount of filling will pop out at the bottom (see above). You don't need to replace this unless you feel your penguin isn't fat enough.


Legs: Pinch together the base of the penguin (front to back) and secure with a couple of white stitches in the centre to prevent filling falling out. Do the same from side to side but don't pull too tightly. Secure and break off yarn.


Beak: take a piece of yellow yarn approx 25 cm (10 in) long ans tie round sewing needle as shown above. Pull tight.


Do this three more times (pulling tight each time). Remove the needle. You have made a tiny beak which should have two tails of yarn attached.


Thread one of the yarn tails onto your needle and positioning your beak (2 rows a
bove the yellow stripe) push the needle through to the back bringing it out just below the yellow stripe. Fasten off securely. (NB. The area at the back below the yellow stripe won't be visible when the penguin is finished so you can use this area to fasten off your stitching). Thread the second yarn tail onto the needle and thread through to the back as before. Now use this yarn to create two yellow eyes on either side of the beak (see above).


The cloak (makes wings and tail): With black yarn cast on 13 stitches and knit 15 rows. Break yarn 15 cm (6 in) from work and thread yarn onto needle. Pull the yarn to gather the cloak so it will fit round the back of the penguin's neck (from shoulder to shoulder). Stitch down neatly. Pinch together the bottom of the cloak (at the centre point) and place two stitches here to form a little tail which will be large enough for him to rest on when he is standing. Stitch the tail to the back of the penguin


Now lift the cloak at each side to make the wings protrude slightly and secure each one at the bottom. You have finished! Hopefully you will have made .......


a cute little penguin.

Tuesday 26 May 2009

Bubble trouble (blog 5)

For several days the Flutterby flock spent a jolly time with their cousin Billy and his friend Miss Kitty in North Carolina, USA. But all too quickly the time came to move on again as they'd been invited to Still at Home which is Ann's blog in Melbourne, Australia where woolly cousins Shee-Baa and Lam-Baa live.


Ann's young son is a budding artist and loves to draw maps. His map of the world (above) was carefully studied by the Flutterby flock before they started their journey.


Carrying their belongings the threesome trudged off and searched for transport.


They stopped for a while to watch a hand making pretty rainbow coloured bubbles.


Suddenly a huge wobbly, mischievous looking bubble came drifting down to greet them ....


and in an instant swallowed them up.


The enormous bubble blew along the ground tossing the sheep around this way and that.


And then it started to rise


The three woolly friends watched in dismay as the ground quickly disappeared beneath them.


Up and up they rose into the wide blue yonder


and ever onwards into the night.

Will the bubble burst and will the captive friends ever reach Australia?

To be continued....

Thursday 21 May 2009

Following the woolly trail (blog 4)

The Flutterby flock had a really fun time with their cousin Daisy in Belgium but sadly it was soon time to say goodbye and continue their blog-trotting tour.

After collecting their belongings the woolly threesome found a colourful woolly trail and decided to follow it. On and on and on it went. They were just beginning to think the trail would never end when round the corner they were greeted by a fluffy old ram who was standing amidst a tangled heap of colourful wool.


"Greetings all. Welcome to my woolly-muddle rug shop" he said.


"Can I sell you a rug? They are very comfortable to sit on and you all look like you need a rest".


There were some lovely rugs for sale, and they did look very comfortable.


Sitting on the largest rug the three sheep showed the fluffy old ram their map and told him they were walking to North Carolina in the USA to visit their cousin Billy at Cats, Crafts and Penguins. A red woolly arrow marked the place where they were heading.
"You can't walk to America from Belgium" the ram laughed, "it's much to far. How will you cross the ocean?"
But before the sheep could answer and before any further discussion could take place, the large rug began to wobble and shake and .....


....all of a sudden the three friends, still sitting on the rug, found themselves airborne and travelling higher and higher into the night sky. They were soon flying as high as the clouds and the ground was a long way below them.


In his excitement foolish Chalky took one step too close to the edge of the rug and slipped. He held on as tightly as he could but was slowly losing his grip. His two friends rushed to help him but he was disappearing fast.


Quick thinking Rose took a woolly rope from her handbag and Charcoal hurriedly tied one end round his friend's front legs.


He heaved and heaved on the woolly rope but Chalky was a heavy sheep and Charcoal couldn't drag him back onto the rug.


Suddenly Chalky slipped further and was swinging too and fro. Charcoal edged perilously closer to the edge to take a look, he could just see his friend hanging below. Taking an enormously deep breath Charcoal gave one huge tug on the rope and.....


.... suddenly Chalky's head appeared over the edge of the rug, then his front legs and then his body. Everyone sighed a sigh of relief as a very frightened Chalky was dragged back onto the flying rug.


Very shaken from his fall he lay quietly and rested.


As the rug sped ever onward the woolly threesome sat side by side. Where was the rug taking them? Was it carrying them to see their cousin Billy in North Carolina?


Meanwhile, it's my birthday this weekend and on my doorstep this morning I found this scruffy little brown paper parcel addressed to me. I immediately recognised the chalk writing and the pink wool (from Rose's handbag). Tucked into the wool was a little rolled-up map of the USA.


This is it. The red woolly arrow points to the State of North Carolina.
I won't know what is inside the parcel until my birthday but it smells deliciously like Belgian chocolate!!

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Finding Daisy (blog 3)

After several happy days spent with their woolly cousin in Tasmania the blog-trotting threesome are again on the move. This time they are heading for Cats & Quilts in Belgium where Sabine always has lots of creative craftwork to show us. Sabine's little sheep named Daisy is eagerly awaiting the arrival of her three cousins.


Daisy the sheep has placed a little flower on a map of Europe to show the woolly travellers where she lives. She says she will be waiting for them inside a big ring of daisies. I hope they can find her.


The friends measure the distance from Tasmania to Belgium with a length of yellow wool. It looks a very long way to travel. But they are not deterred and set off in search of suitable transport.


Charcoal finds a discarded plastic bottle and climbs inside, he thinks it might carry them across the ocean.


Chalky and Rose find a net bag that once held fruit in the supermarket. It might make a blanket to keep them warm inside the bottle.


The three friends consider the possibilities of travelling to Belgium using a net bag and an empty bottle.


Suddenly Chalky discovers something green and rubbery with a hole in one end. Being an inquisitive sort of animal he puts his nose into the hole and immediately the rubbery smell makes him sneeze an enormous sneeze .... and ..... well, you might be able to guess the rest!


Several more giant sneezes into the green rubbery thing and a balloon slowly takes shape. A plan is hatched. The net bag is quickly wrapped round the balloon.The bottom is cut from the bottle to make a plastic basket and pink wool ropes join net to basket. And there it is... the chums have made a perfect little hot air balloon (or should that be 'hot sneeze' balloon). Chalky wastes no time in climbing into the plastic bottle basket with everyone's luggage. There's not much room inside. 


Rose gets in beside chalky and confesses its a bit of squash and suggests that Charcoal might like to remain in Tasmania. But Charcoal disagrees and quickly squeezes in beside the others. Suddenly a gust of wind makes the balloon wobble and they're on their way.


"We're off to Belgium!" shouts Charcoal excitedly as the balloon starts its ascent.


Higher and higher it goes.


Up, up and away


This is the last picture I received from the intrepid blog-trotters. It shows a crumpled net bag, a burst balloon and an empty bottle basket. But as this sorry sight is nicely placed inside a ring of daisies I remain hopeful that the sheep will have arrived safely with their new friend in Belgium!
To be continued.......