Acorn Hill Pony: Free Pattern

I am excited! This is “my” first pattern, offered free on Ravelry. Here’s the explanation for those quote marks around the my.

Acorn Hill Pony is originally a pattern attributed to a knitter associated with the Acorn Hill school, a Waldorf kindergarten and nursery now located in Silver Spring, Maryland. The school’s administrator, Janet Johnson, gave written permission for me to release the pattern. I’ve modified it just a bit. I’ve corrected a few errors in the original. And I’ve extensively re-written the pattern to conform to the sensibilities of modern knitters. So now knitters won’t have to deal with such directions as “increase on the 14th, 16th, 17th and 19th stitch.” I’ve photographed each stage of the pony’s construction and detailed the sewing up, stuffing, and finishing.

The school’s generosity in allowing the pattern to be released is greatly appreciated. They didn’t have a copy of it anymore in their archive–though the administrator remembered it. So it’s been saved for the school too.

Acorn Hill Pony is approximately 7.5 inches/19 cm long from nose to tail and 6 inches/ 5 cm from hoof to head. It is knit flat on needles 2-3 sizes smaller than typical for the yarn weight.  This is because Acorn Hill Pony is shy about having his stuffing show through his hide. All mine are knit with worsted weight, often in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride worsted. I typically knit mine on a size 5 needle.

The pony is knit flat, in one piece, with easy sewing up. My version of the pattern includes assembly instructions with photos. It is suited even to beginner knitters.

When your pony is bound off, this is how it will look laid flat, with legs splayed out.

Folded along his spinal ridge, pony starts looking more like a pony.

My ponies don’t like to be displayed without their stuffing, but here’s one more view.

This is pony sewed and ready for stuffing.

All right, I know you want to see the pony butt, so here it is.

I made my first Acorn Hill pony when my son was 4 and was attending a Waldorf preschool. The school supplied the pattern and asked us to knit the ponies, stuff them with unspun wool, and donate them to the school fair. Did I knit ponies? I knit herds of ponies.

And over the years, I’ve totally lost count of how many I’ve made. Hundreds. Definitely hundreds.

Here’s one of the originals, knit in about 1990. Still looking good, despite a few trips through the washing machine.

Even the pony tail is still hanging on.

You can read up on more Acorn Hill Ponies here, and here, and here. And, in case you doubt that I’ve knit zillions, here’s glimpses of a few very old ponies–long before my photos improved with Steve’s remedial efforts aimed at me.

I am so grateful that a talented knitter designed this pony. Please consider giving this sweet and simple pattern a try for a young one in your neck of the woods.

Modern Mukluks

It’s finally summer here in Michigan: hot and muggy and what am I knitting? Andrea Mowry’s “Wanderers: Modern Mukluks.” I purchased the pattern as part of a Craftsy kit that included Cloudborn Fibers Highland Worsted. I haven’t been super pleased with this company’s fingering weight, but the worsted was very nice to work with. Well spun, no knots, no thinned spots.

My only modification of the pattern was to add an inch of one-by-one ribbing at the top of each sock. Many of the Ravelry projects suffer from an unpleasant rolled top so many Ravelers before me have made the same modification.

The pattern calls for an afterthought heel. That worked well.

One itsy bitsy problem. Even though I knit mismatched ribbing, this is how much of the main color I had left.

Way too close for comfort.

What’s your strategy when you think you may run out of yarn? Do you knit faster? I’m more likely to not watch. I know it’s going to be close, so I just don’t look. I think I feel that what I can’t see can’t hurt me.

Golden

I just realized that I’ve been on a bit of a golden jag in some fairly recent projects. This one is “Little Lonely Cable,” a freebie by Joji Locatelli, available on Ravelry. Locatelli is a talented Argentinian knitwear designer who released this hat pattern free, back in 2013, to honor 3 years of support by Ravelers around the world.

The pattern is designed for DK weight. I knit mine in Shalimar Yarns Breathless DK. It’s a 75% merino, 15% goat mohair, 10% silk yarn and works up beautifully, with great stitch definition.

Here’s a look at the crown decreases. They are rather abrupt–by design, of course. The decreases create a garter stitch snowflake top. And that one lonely cable continues throughout.

Next up is “Linden Cowl” by Jo-Anne Klim of KBJ Designs. Klim hails from Penrith, New South Wales, Australia. My version of Linden Cowl is knit in Fleece Artist Woolie Silk 3-ply. Woolie Silk is, well, wooly silk. 65% wool, 35% silk. It’s also a DK weight.

I especially like the texture of this one. The lace is inspired by the shape of Linden Tree leaves.

Linden Cowl is an excellent fun knit. The yarn and the feel of this is so yummy that I kept the cowl for myself.

This next golden one is “Delfino,” another freebie available on Ravelry. This hat is designed by Luciano of LucianoLoop. She’s fairly new to her knitwear designer path.

I knit my Delfino in Anzula’s For Better or Worsted. It’s a worsted (obviously). And it’s yet another great yarn: 80% merino, 10% cashmere goat, 10% nylon.

Delfino passes one of my key tests for a good hat. It has a nicely behaved crown decrease and doesn’t come to a poked-out point.

While I was knitting the crown, I thought that ditching the cables so suddenly caused the crown to get disorganized. But I was wrong about that. It looks great.

So, it’s Jojo Locatelli from Argentina, Jo-Anne Klim from Australia, and Luciano from Montevideo, Uruguay. With the incredible assist from Ravelry, every knitter’s work is enhanced by having access to designs from, well, from everywhere.

Jutta

Meet Jutta. She’s another amazing knitted creation by Dutch toy-designer Annita Wilschut.

Jutta’s skin is knit in a discontinued Cascade Yarn Aran-weight: Longwood. I searched for a good long while for just the right shade of pinky beige skin that I had in mind. A friend of mine spotted one lone ball of Longwood “Dew” hiding out in a sale bin. Perfect!

Jutta’s overalls are knit in “medium weight” Socks That Rock, a Blue Moon Fiber Arts, special colorway:”Doodle Doodle Honey Cocka Valkyrie Fledge.” I know, you’re thinking I made that up. I didn’t. But it is great yarn despite its name. I am very proud of myself for deciding to use it–especially the contrasting colorway that gave Jutta’s hair such a distinctive look. Medium weight is basically a DK.

Here’s Jutta from behind.

The I-cord hair is fiddly to knit, for sure. But Wilschut’s very detailed and clear pattern teaches a way to knit multiple I-cords at the same time. I won’t spill the beans. But it’s very ingenious. After a bit I was knitting eight strands at a time.

Speaking of Jutta’s behind.

You can see that the detail is quite extraordinary. Butt, hands, elbows, knees, heels. Even a belly button.

Look close–the belly button is subtle, and knitted in, not sewn on top.

One distinctive feature of Wilschut’s designs is that there are no parts to sew together. They are knit in the round. Off the needles. Stuff. No hours and hours of sewing, as with so many toy patterns. The only sewing you’ll need is to attach ears to some of the critters and to sew up the stuffing seams.

Here’s a few photos of Jutta unstuffed.

The pattern even provides detailed eye and mouth placement. That is extremely helpful to the sewing and embroidery impaired among us. I’ve not used safety eyes before, but I decided to give that a try with Jutta. I am quite satisfied.

Here’s Jutta’s skin from the back view.

Even the placement of the I-cord hair is controlled by the designer. You knit what’s basically Jutta’s scalp in the hair color. And you place an I-cord strand on each garter stitch bump. So clever!

I’ve made Joris the dragon, Jacobus the boy monkey, Saar the girl monkey, Vera the bear, and Karel the bunny. And some of these stuffed buddies I’ve knit more than once. With each new knit I’m impressed all over again with this designer. If you decide to try one of her patterns, you’ll not be disappointed. And I’m pretty sure that my soon-to-be-two year old granddaughter won’t be disappointed with Jutta.

Knitting comfort food

I believe it’s true that most long-term knitters have certain patterns they return to over and over. You just know that you’ll be satisfied when you cast off. You know it will fit. You know there aren’t any errors in the pattern. You can put your knitting brain into gear and just cruise.

Wonderful Wallaby by Carol A. Anderson of Cottage Creations is a pattern like that. Comfort food. This pattern is so retro that you won’t find it available for download anywhere. Head to your local yarn shop. Or buy it direct from Cottage Creations and they will m-a-i-l it to you. Yes, mail as in an envelope with a stamp. That still works!

I knit this one in Plymouth Encore. Easy-care works better for the young ones. I’m a big fan of the garter stitch hood. And I love the kangaroo pouch. Everyone can use a sweatshirt. My pattern booklet includes sizes for a two year old to the very portly. It looks like the newer booklets include one for kid sizes 2-12 and another for adults.

Bayfront Cap by Melinda VerMeer is more comfort food for me. I’ve knit at least six in the last few years. This yarn has some issues with thick and thin that didn’t quite do the pattern justice. As you can see, you knit miles of ribbing. And about when you are beginning to think maybe this is a tad too much ribbing,

…you get to this beautiful crown decrease. So pretty. So well thought out. So not suffering from PHS (Pointy Hat Syndrome.) Bayfront Cap is a wonderful knit.

Here’s another knitting recipe that always works up right: Katharina Nopp’s Wurm.

Mine is knit in Stonedge Fiber Mills Crazy. Crazy is basically a DK weight that’s constructed of a number of colorways. No knots, just spun together. No two skeins are the same.

I call this my Earth Wurm. Wurm is a yarn eater.  I always need more than the 175 yards of sportweight the pattern calls for. I guess I like extravagantly slouchy Wurms.

And then there’s what some now apparently call the Dairy Queen Hat. But it’s no Dairy Queen Hat. It’s Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Snail Hat. I’ve knit mine in exactly what the pattern calls for: Sheepsdown, sold by Schoolhouse Press.

I use size 10 needles. And I’ve made several over the years. You need to be very brave (or very cold) to wear the snail hat.

I very much enjoy knitting it. Just because no one eats the jello salad anymore–you know the one, with all the colorful layers–doesn’t mean you don’t make it anyway. (I still sort of like that salad, by the way.)