Adapted from PJ Rankin-Hults Designs
Hooked by Kris Miller
When Pam sent me the artwork for Knitting Sheep, I asked her if she heard me joyously screaming all the way from Michigan. If you know me at all, you know that I adore anything related to sheep (and I think you do too).
My very first adventure into fiber art was knitting. I might have been as young as 8 or 10 years old. I spent a lot of my summer vacation down the street at my best friend's house and her mother taught us how to knit. Maybe it was to keep us quiet and occupied for a while. I had these big plastic turquoise knitting needles and some thick yarn and I was off to the races! I loved the hours I spent working on my knitting. It wasn't perfect but my dolls and other toys had knitted blankets to lay on. I eventually graduated to knitting sweaters and blankets for big people. I couldn't imagine spending my time in any other way.
When I saw Knitting Sheep, my knitting memories came flooding back and I knew I had to hook it.
The first time I had my husband enlarge the pattern, we did it too big. "Holy smokes," I said, "that is WAY TOO BIG!" So we did it in a smaller size but my brain was still spinning over the bigger version....I wanted to try hand tearing my wool and this was the chance to do it.
I hooked hand-torn strips for the background, the floor, and the sheep bodies. The bench, slippers, scarves, knitting needles, and outlines were hooked with machine cut wool because I felt they needed a little bit better definition than a hand-torn strip could provide.
This is my technique for hand tearing: I measured in one inch from the edge of my wool and snipped. Then I ripped that one inch piece off. I folded it in half, made a snip in the middle, and tore off the 1/2 inch piece. If the wool got shreddy or didn't tear well, I simply took my scissors and hand cut right down the middle. I used a Hartman 8 mm hook so I could poke a big hole before I pulled up my loop. You could even try a 9 mm hook.
I'm going to tell you right now....I LOVE to hook with hand torn wool!
Here is the wool I used for my background. I drew an arrow so you could see that I tore across the stripe to get those wonderful pops of color. If I would have torn with the stripe, I would have gotten bands of color and I wanted it more homogenized and not full of striped bands.
If you are interested in purchasing this wool, I will be listing it on my website later this evening under the Wool Fabric tab. Look for Carnival. The nice thing about this wool is that it tears like butter (if butter could tear! haha I just mean that it is really smooth and easy).
Just a few more pointers about my rug....I wanted to hook turquoise knitting needles (just like my first ones) but they faded into the background too much so I opted for red. It's OK because I think the red accents give this design a bit of a Scandinavian feel. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do about the yarn...after all, the sheep are knitting each other! Regular yarn was too thin and it didn't show up well so I decided to use roving from my own fiber animals! The very light gray was from my goat Willow, and the darker gray was from my goat Aspen.
This is the smaller pattern version of Knitting Sheep, hooked by Ingrid Hieronimus:
Ingrid hooked the sheep with wool strips but rug punched the background with yarn. I was quite impressed with the technique of mixing of both yarn and strips and I love her color choices. She said she gets a lot of compliments on her rug!
You can find the smaller pattern here (most people buy this size):
And the larger pattern is here:
AND! If you don't want to hook both sheep or you are looking for a quick pattern to hook, look for the single sheep versions, also located under the PJ Rankn-Hults Adaptations pattern tab. One is called Dot and the other is called Dash.