Acorn Hill Ponies ( & Unicorns)

Pretty sweet, don’t you think? I’m especially proud of this knit because the pattern on Ravelry bears my name, with attribution to and permission from the original Waldorf school designer. Here’s the Rav freebie: Acorn Hill Pony. My lead version is knit in Blue Sky Fibers Extra, with a mane worked in colorful wool oddments from a Lorna Miser slipper kit.

This version is knit in purchased handspun. The gray was simply labeled Emily, which I figured was the sheep’s name. And the sweet pink/brown handspun is from Alpena Michigan’s Spruce Shadow farm.

The original Acorn Hill Pony is attributed to an unidentified knitter associated with the Acorn Hill school, a Waldorf kindergarten and nursery in Silver Spring, Maryland. In May of 2017 the school’s administrator, Janet Johnson, gave written permission for this pattern to be published to Ravelry, with my modifications and an extensive re-write of the original pattern to conform to the sensibilities of modern knitters.

In this next version the Spruce Shadow pink/brown colorway is the body. The Lorna’s Laces yarn again provides the mane and tale.

Here’s the herd. For the pink and the gray version I decided to experiment with safety eyes. That’s not “Waldorf-approved,” but they still worked out well.

At one point I had a lot of extra pink wool yarn from the Merino Sheepskin Company. Apparently my inner Barbie kicked in. Pink ponies tumbled off my needles.

Here’s a look at how this quartet took shape. As you see: easy peasy. All one piece.

The sewing-up takes very little time. I typically seam them looking at the right side, leaving a stuffing hole in the belly.

Here they are looking a little scary. I don’t usually use safety eyes mostly because that’s not a Waldorf thing.

When you look at the projects on Ravelry, you’ll see that it’s the stuffing that has tripped up a few folks. When my son was in Waldorf school I stuffed with unspun wool. That got pricey. For decades now I’ve stuffed my animals with polyfill. But–whatever stuffing you decide to use–you are going to need a lot of it. Experienced toy knitters know that. I think it trips up some of the newbies. There are quite a few Acorn ponies on Rav with front legs that don’t hold the weight of the pony’s head. Either that or some knitters planned on having a trick pony who is bowing to the audience. Bottom line. Stuff firmly. And shape the “gesture” of the horse you want before you sew up the belly.

A few Wolverines snuck in to this next herd.

These Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride ponies were donated together for a local nonprofit gift shop. Here’s a look at the herd-in-process.

This next pony’s a recent version all in Lamb’s Pride Worsted. Purple Pony has pride-of-place in my Grand Rapids knitting room. I’ve knit half-a-million of these ponies over the last 35 years or so. They are so popular that Purple Pony is the only one that hasn’t yet been gifted or donated.

By now you may be weary of ponies. I got the idea to change my pony into a unicorn because some of the Ravelry knitters had done that. Cool! (Plus my granddaughter loves unicorns.)

It has been a joy to see the creatives among us play with this pattern. Ravelry’s knitters have saddled the pony. They’ve embroidered and appliqued his hide. They’ve knit a basketful of ponies. And they’ve even knit a herd of longhorn cows!

The Acorn Hill school’s generosity is greatly appreciated. They let me rescue and reinvigorate a wonderful critter pattern. And the school was grateful in turn because they’d lost the pattern over the years. I was able to restore the original pattern to them, along with my update.

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