Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Wednesday's Workbox - Knitted Easter Chick

He he! This isn't at all what I had planned to make for Easter!

I had envisaged making some cute fabric chicks to hang on our Easter tree, using a swatch (or "fat quarter", as they are known in the patchwork maker's world) of lovely brightly patterned fabric that I found when I was tidying the cupboard under the stairs last week. However, with the weather being so dreadful at the moment (it has rained ALL day today! But it has meant our apartment has become a lovely cosy place to be once more - one final week of winter, I think, before spring arrives for good, so we are making the most of it and enjoying a chance to stay indoors together and keep warm), there was no chance of me cutting any branches from Grandmama Bear's apple and cherry blossom trees as I had planned to. They would have been just too wet to do anything with indoors. So that put paid to any hope of having an Easter tree to hang things on, for the moment at least.

Instead, I decided therefore to look for something to create that I could use as an Easter decoration which could go on a shelf or table top, and I discovered this knitted chick pattern in a knitting magazine that Grandmama Bear gave me as a gift, a year or so ago. It's called "Irresistible Gifts To Knit" from the magazine "Simply Knitting". The pattern I used is on pages 63 - 64 and is by Rowan Yarns. The magazine is out of print now, but you may be able to find the pattern for sale individually on Amazon or Ebay (if you use these websites).

Looking online, I discovered lots of photographs of this chick that other knitters have created, which was very inspiring! Each person had done something slightly different with their chick. Some were bigger than the one in the pattern, some were made of stripes or splodges of different colours of wool. Some people had made one single chick, like I did (so far - I've only had time to make one, to date, which took about 2 1/2 - 3 hours, in between lots of chores, cooking and some paperwork for Papa Bear!). I plan to make some more though (the pattern features 3, all the same design, but in different colours), and perhaps also have a go at making a larger one (to do this is really easy - you just use thicker wool and larger needles. To make a smaller one, you go the other way - thinner wool and smaller needles! Be warned - this won't work for garments though!).

I really enjoyed making this chick ornament out of wool that was in my scrap bag. I got to use the pretty fabric too, because although the pattern suggests embroidering the wings and tummy pattern, I decided to make mine out of the fabric instead! I'm very pleased with the result, and it made my family smile, when I set the table this evening with the chick plonked right in the middle! It's got raw rice grains in the base of it, to make it heavy enough to "sit" - the pattern suggested using beanbag beans, but I didn't have any of these (I suppose I could have borrowed some though, from the beanbags in Cubby and Little Bear's rooms, had I thought of it!). For the rest of the stuffing I used a couple of clean, shredded dishcloths! That's part of the pleasure I get from making things like this at home - not just the spontaneity of being creative, but in working out how to adapt the design to make use of what I've already got to hand.

One hint for stuffing toys that I've learned along the way - when you come to sew the final seam before you turn it out the right way around to stuff, don't cut the floss, but unthread your needle and leave the floss loose. Turn the toy out the right way, and then you will find that where you've left the space to fill it, you can loosen the seam a little without losing the floss that you've left, and make the hole for filling it a little larger. I used a small milk jug to pour the rice grains in, as this made it easier to direct them into the hole. After then filling the toy with the rest of the stuffing I rethreaded my needle with the loose floss I'd left in place, tightened it and then stitched up the rest of the hole.

Here are some more pictures of our funny knitted Easter chick!

(Apologies for the photograph quality. I use the webcam on the laptop to take photographs, as we don't own a camera).