Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Did I Ever Tell You the Story of the Three Legged Sheep?

True confession: I can only remember the punchline of two jokes. So here I'll share one joke, lifted from a joke website, with minor alterations to suit the story of last weekend's knitting exercise...

A traveling salesman trying to make a buck was driving through the plains of Nebraska when he decided to stop at a farmhouse coming up on his left. As he was walking up the driveway toward the front door of the house, a sheep with three legs caught his eye. It was just hobbling through the grass.
When the farmer answered the door and asked what he was selling, the salesman first asked about the three legged sheep.

"That sheep is the most amazing sheep in the land, son," the farmer said.

"Last year, our house caught fire when we were all asleep and that sheep ran in and woke us all up one by one and saved our lives!"

The salesman was surprised. "That is one special sheep," he said.

The farmer replied, "That's not all. Last summer, that sheep jumped into the pond and dragged my drowning son to safety. He would have died!"

The salesman was in disbelief as to how incredible this sheep was. "One question: why does he have three legs; is it from the fire?" he asked.

"No son, ya see, a sheep like that you just don't eat all at once."


So a couple of weeks ago, I was trolling around the internet and came across Honeoye Craft Labs on facebook. And I noticed they were selling kits to make sheep hats. Hats for people, with sheep knit on the hats, not hats for sheep. (I feel bad that I feel the need to clarify on that point, but I've heard about people knitting outfits for assorted endangered animals, so figured I must.)

And then I saw they were selling these bendy double pointed needles, called Neko curved dpns, and I watched a video about how to use them and thought maybe they could solve my problem with dpns. My problem with dpns is that I always look like I'm in a wrestling match at the end of my hat and mitts projects, with needles flying all over the place, and a certain amount of mumbling and ill-will.

So my husband took me for a field trip (I grew up in Honeoye, and it's only 20 minutes from where I live), and we picked up the yarn, a free pattern called BAA-BLE Hat by Donna Smith, and the bendy needles. And since I've never done multi-color yarn knitting, I hired Liz, who owns Honeoye Craft Labs, to teach me how to follow that pattern.  

Here's my first sheep hat. For a first time using multiple colors of yarn, I think I did pretty well. I'll admit, we got to a point pretty early on where it became clear that one of my sheep was missing a leg. Liz gave advice about how one might deal with that problem, but it seemed to me that a one legged sheep was sort of a badge of honor in the world of learning to knit. So I decided to let him soldier on as is. All the sheep ended up with faces in the right places, so I am pretty tickled.

My one legged sheep hat
I decided to make another sheep hat, with these adjustments:

1. The hat came out a little tight around the area with the sheep, so I'm going to try perfecting my stranded knitting skills. I also forgot to bring all my needles with me for my lesson, and the pattern said to switch from size 4s to size 4.5s, so I ended up knitting with size 4s for the whole thing. Also, I'm a tight knitter, so these sheep were pretty well destined to be dancing in a tight conga line.

2. I like a bigger brim, so I made my next one longer.

3. While I am not normally a hat pompom person, Liz made a pretty good case for buying a pompom maker.

4. I wanted to try a night sky at the top of the hat, so I bought a skein of dark blue yarn from Liz. The pattern called for four different colors of a yarn called Ella rae Classic Sport, a 100% wool yarn that cost $4.50/ball. It looks like I can get at least 2 hats out of the yarn that I originally bought, probably more with the dark blue, since you don't use much of the brown. I love the colors of the Ella rae - there's lots of variety, but the colors are just a bit muted, so they seemed more natural looking.

Here's the second hat, and a matching cowl:

As for the bendy Neko needles, I found that they work particularly nicely on thumbs for my mitts. I felt like I was able to finish more quickly, and that I had more control. I recommend them. They were $9.95 for a set of three - I took a look on ebay, and they were much more expensive there.

These are the mitts that I made with my bendy needles. I handspun this yarn, made with 50% white angora, 50% black alpaca, blended on my Patrick Green electric drum carder and spun up on drop spindles. Thanks to the bunny, these will be particularly snuggly.


  1. I thought it was a three legged pig! I imagine a freshly designed pig hat in our future.

  2. wellllll... I had to take some liberties with the story to make it relevant for my situation.

  3. I was thinking rabbits next, since I have a rabbit pattern waiting in the wings. I can't even imagine how we'd knit a curly pig tail.