Good deeds from neighbors

Sheep_purses

My small city downstate has an active Next Door community. There’s lots of good deeds done for one another. And yes a good bit of grousing, teasing, bartering, selling, and advice asking and giving. My grandson and his mom and dad were flying to Michigan in January and I needed to outfit my car with a carseat. I asked on our Next Door site if anyone had a used one for sale. A few people came forward and then came a neighbor I didn’t know, a mom of 3-year old twin girls, to tell me her daughters had outgrown theirs and I could have both for free.

For free. Yipes. Since Isaac has two sets of grandparents in Michigan and both of us needed a carseat, this was incredibly welcome and amazingly generous. The seats are in great shape, Graco, and not out of date. (Who knew that carseats have expiration dates now?)

On Christmas Day all the Michigan grandparents were gathered together and 50% of the Michigan grandparents are…you guessed it, knitters. To thank our Next Door neighbor, who we’d never met before, we decided to knit something for the twins. I had the pouches already in progress and Cory and I each knit a sheep.

The sheep pattern is an old Waldorf School standby.  The pattern is from A First Book of Knitting for Children, by Bonnie Gosse and Jill Allerton. I’ve linked to the older edition, but the new one contains the same pattern.

2sheep

In my lifetime of knitting, I’ve knit zillions of these little sheep. Simple, with just the right “gesture” for a sheep. In fact, my son knit one (with me) when he was a Waldorf pre-schooler.

And here’s a look at the pouch, which is of my own design.

TwoPurses

Here’s how I knit it. And you’ll have to forgive me. I’m no pattern writer. Cast on 30 stitches, chunky wool, size 9 needles. Knit 35 rows, using the double knitting technique where you knit a flat tube.

Here’s how you work each double-knit row: Slip the first stitch knit-wise, bring the yarn to the front and slip the next stitch purlwise, bring the yarn to the back and knit the next stitch, bring the yarn to the front and slip the next stitch purlwise, bring the yarn to the back and knit the next stitch. And just keep doing that across the row. Do that for every row. What you’re doing is knitting both the front and the back stitches of a flat tube, by (basically) working every other stitch. The big unfixable mistake will be if you forget and purl one of those stitches that you are supposed to be slipping. Because if you do that, your tube won’t open into a tube because the front and the back will be stitched together at that point. I tried to find a good video on the technique. This one is accurate.

Once you’ve knit about 35 rows, separate the front and back stitches. I use a double-pointed needle and put one stitch from the front on one needle held in front, then the next stitch needs to go onto a second needle that you can hold in back. Continue alternating front and back until you have all the stitches separated. If you didn’t goof and remembered not to purl instead of slip, you will be able to reach into the flat tube and open it up.

Bind off the front set of stitches. I put two stitches on either side (one from the back set and one from the front set of stitches) onto a yarn stitch holder or a safety pin to use later for the straps. Working on the non-bound off “back” stitches, knit the top flap anyway you feel like it. I kept it as garter stitch for 4 stitches on each edge, with stockinette in the center. Make a buttonhole (I made a 3-stitch) where you want one. Then I changed to all garter stitch, knitting two together on each edge until I got down to about 5 stitches. Bind off.

Attach yarn near the two stitches you’ve saved on the sides. Put those two stitches on a double-pointed needle and pick up one stitch from in the vicinity of those two. Knit the three stitches, then move all three stitches forward on your double point and knit the three stitches again, starting with the same first stitch. Continue knitting this “I-cord” (knitting the stitches and then sliding them forward to knit again) until your strap is as long as you want it to be. Repeat this for the other side. I just tie the ends of the two I-cords together. Add a button. Easy peasy.

My neighbor let me know that her girls loved their sheep-in-a-pouch. And Isaac was quite at home in his pink carseats.

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