Last night was our knitting group's second annual ornament exchange. The rules of our exchange are that each person must craft an ornament. The decoration does not need to be knitted, but it does have to be handmade. Last year, I tried my hand at needle felting and made this little reindeer.
I didn't really have any ideas for this year until I saw a little stuffed sheep pattern in the Spring/Summer 2013 issue of Noro Knitting Magazine. Once I saw this pattern, I knew that I could turn it into my ornament :)
I made two sheep, one for the ornament exchange and one for me :) In the process, I made a number of modifications to this pattern:
1. The smallest needles I have are #4's, so that's what I had to work with. I found that using my #4's with sock yarn created a knitted material that was too loose and showed the fiber fill through the loose weave. So instead, I used some stash Caron Simply Soft for the body of my sheep (natural for the white one and sticks and stones for the brownish one) and my #4's.
2. For the belly, the head, and the legs I used some leftover sock yarn. This yarn isn't very pretty, but added some fun, funky color to my sheep. I followed the directions as written for the belly, then switched to the Caron Simply Soft for the body.
3. I was afraid that the sheep was going to be too boxy, so after the last cluster round of the body repeats, I did a decrease row - I did a k2tog every 7th st (knitting the 7th and 8th sts together). This decreased 8 sts from the body. This gave me 2 less sts for the head (which I think actually looks better).
5. Lastly, I couldn't seem to pick up sts on the belly with my larger needles to start the legs. So instead, I cast on 6 sts and knit my i-cord legs separately. I left about an 8 inch tail when I cast on and made each leg (i-cord) about an 1 1/2 inches long, then I bound off. I cut my yarn leaving about a 30 inch tail. I used a tapestry needle and the 8 inch cast on tail to stitch the legs to the body. Then I used the 30 inch tail at the end of the legs to wrap around each one.
6. I didn't bother with the face details because they would have gotten lost in my striped sock yarn head. Instead, I added a little yarn detail and bell around the neck :)
The overall size is a little larger than the pattern, about 5 1/2" in length, but I think they're pretty cute! And in exchange, I got this beautiful embroidered snowflake ornament by expert knitter AND quilter Dagmar.
I love it! I'm thrilled to have a sample of her handiwork!! All and all, we had a great time (again) with our ornament exchange :)