Acorn Hill Pony (& Unicorn) Revisited

This is a Acorn Hill Pony, a Ravelry freebie offered by…by me. My favorite yarn for knitting the pony is Lamb’s Pride Brown Sheep worsted, as in this strong yellow version.

I only take partial credit for the design because I didn’t originally design it. Acorn Hill Pony is originally a pattern attributed to a knitter associated with the Acorn Hill school. It’s a Waldorf kindergarten and nursery in Silver Spring, Maryland. In May of 2017, the school’s administrator, Janet Johnson, gave written permission for me to publish my modified pattern on Ravelry. I modified the pony some and extensively re-wrote the original pattern to conform to the sensibilities of modern knitters.

The school’s generosity is greatly appreciated. Some good came to the school as well because Johnson told me they’d lost the pattern in the intervening years since it came into my hands around 1990.

My assorted Ravelry project pages on the pony show the 45 versions I’ve knit of this little guy in the past decade.  I knit many many more in the pre-Rav days. I’ve knit these for assorted school bazaars, birthdays, and baby births.

The pattern has now been downloaded 1388 times. And there are 30 Ravelers (not counting me) who’ve knit the pony. A few have knit baskets full of them! It’s been great fun to see how others interpret their ponies. They are finished with more realistic straight manes. They’ve been embroidered, and appliqued. They’ve been posed on logs, on antique china cabinets, in gardens, and with babies holding them. One German knitter changed the pony into a unicorn and, inspired by her, I recently decided to do the same.

I’ve been so pleased that other knitters find this pony fun to knit and fun to modify!

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’s 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.

Here’s a recent set of ponies that are headed to a local fundraising shop.

Deconstructing them will give you a sense of how easy they are to assemble. In fact, if you decide to braid the mane that takes about as long as the knitting and sewing up!

Here’s the pink herd looking a little naked and chilly.

Here’s the herd a tad deflated, in their pre-stuffed phase.

And here’s how the herd looked just after they’d trotted off the needles.

Here’s more on the ponies. And more. And more. And even more. Maybe you’ll want to give them a try the next time you need a quick-knit stuffed buddy for a little one.

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.

Evolution of a pony

kaloula

I had 1/3 of a skein of this great hand-dyed Grande Merino worsted, from Karen Bradley of Kaloula Yarn, left over from my Portuguese Fisherwoman’s Shawl. It would likely have been enough for a hat. Probably. But the long runs of color could have made selection of a pattern tricky. I thought of Wurm, but slouchy Quaker Rib Wurm is a yarn hog.

I decided to return to a pattern I’ve knit something like 200 times since first being introduced to it in 1990 when my son attended a Waldorf preschool: Acorn Hill Pony.

First stage, some flat garter stitch skins slightly resembling ponies.

ponies

Next step, sewing and stuffing. The ponies begin to take shape.

pony_limp

I sewed them up on the drive to the lake this past weekend. For awhile, they perched on the dashboard.

Once stuffed, they need to get their braided tails and manes. That’s a modification I made to the pattern. Noro Kureyon is a big favorite for that.

Kureyon

The braiding takes about as long as the knitting.

One,

purple_ponytwo,

Gray_pony

three,

Blue_pony

makes a herd.

ponyherd2

You can check out more Acorn Ponies here, and here. Such a fun nostalgic knit. Thanks, Waldorf!

In May of 2017 I confirmed that the Acorn Hill kindergarten and nursery, now in SIiver Spring, Maryland is the original source of this pattern. They generously allowed me to repair a few errors in their one-page mimeographed pattern, add my not-so-Waldorfian manes, and update the directions to suit a modern knitter’s sensibilities. They even provided written permission allowing me to post the updated pattern as a Ravelry freebie, here. So, the knit goes on!