These dainty-sized sheep are a hoot to make. An hour of knitting. Two hours if you fall asleep while you’re knitting. Half an hour of sewing up and stuffing. And you have yourself a sheep.
They make great donations for bazaars and fundraising shops. I confess that mine haven’t exactly jumped off Hillman’s Brush Creek Mill River’s Edge gift shop shelf. But a number have sold. And I’m good with that.
This easy sheep pattern is available in two books inspired by the Waldorf Schools: “A First Book of Knitting For Children” by Bonnie Gosse and Jill Allerton and “Toymaking With Children” by Freya Jaffke. There is much to learn about the Waldorf Schools. And they made a long-lasting impact on my family. Knitting (and crochet) are part of the curriculum from the youngest grades. The toys in the books can all be knit by children. On some days that’s just what this adult wants.
Sometimes I knit these sheep and tuck them into a knitted shoulder bag. Depending on the age, sensibilities, or gender of the child, the sheep might be gifted in what I dub an “explorer” bag or “trapper keeper” or purse.
The bag is an easy double-knit rough creation befitting a critter of the barnyard. My apologies that I’ve never worked out a true pattern for them.
I cast on an even number of stitches in the thickest yarn I have on hand, using needles somewhat smaller than typical for the thickness of the yarn. I use the double-knit technique, where you work two layers of fabric at the same time with one pair of needles. If you’ve not tried this fun technique before, it’s basically a combination of knit one stitch, move the yarn forward and slip one stitch, move the yarn back and knit one stitch, across the row. The public sides of each layer face out and the non-public sides face in and what you end up with is a pouch with stockinette on each of the sides. Don’t forget to move the yarn or what you’ll end up with is an almost-pouch sewn together at the point where you goofed. Here’s a great Purl Soho video showing the technique worked in two colors of yarn.
I work double-knit to the depth of pouch I want and then bind off all but 3 stitches on each edge. I work a flap and a buttonhole, back and forth (no double-knitting). Then I put one set of the three stitches on double-point needles and work I-cord to the length strap I want. Repeat for the other strap and just knot the two straps together.
Sometimes these pouches carry a sheep. But not always.
They can be a bit habit-forming for this knitter.
Returning to the sheep I started with, they’ve been known to hang out in some unlikely places. These put in an appearance at a charity auction circa 1990.