Thursday 22 December 2016

My first free pattern a.k.a. El Elephanté

A quick introduction as to how and why this pattern has come about. Our wonderful charity knitting group were in the throws of getting prepared for our Christmas stall. As part of this process, they had been looking for cute critters to make and sell, however a lot of the patterns place unreasonable restrictions on what you can do with the finished goodies you make from them. Having seen my pin cushion critters, they asked me to step up and design them something that we could happily sell for charity. And so I came up with El Elephanté, who is a jaunty little elephant. This is an intermediate to expert level pattern, as you will need to be able to knit in the round, knit an i-cord, work Kitchener stitch, and be able to knit short rows. Please feel free to make and sell as many as you wish.

El Elephanté


  • You will need aproximately 50g of some bright DK yarn. I've used Marriner Mermaid Double Knit in the Fireworks shade, but you can use whatever you have lying around. You can play around and make him up in stripes to use up any scraps you have, or you can use a solid colour as a contrast for his feet, trunk, and ears. The point is - have some fun! He is afterall supossed to be a jaunty elephant.
  • Gauge(tension) is not important, so I've used size 4(3.5 mm) DPNs as this little fellow is knit in the round. Use a needle size that will result in a fabric that won't show the stuffing through based on how you knit.
  • A stitch marker is also required, as well as a tapestry needle.
  • You'll need some toy stuffing too.


Cast on 6 stitches, distribute evenly across 3 needles, join in the round making sure not to twist the stitches. Mark the first stitch with a stitch marker to keep track of the beginning of the round. Make sure to use the tail to sew close the hole once you've got a few rounds knitted.
Rnd 1: knit
Rnd 2: inc in each stitch to end (12 sts)
Rnd 3: [k1, inc] to end (18 sts)
Rnd 4: [k2, inc] to end (24 sts)
Rnd 5: [k3, inc] to end (30 sts)
Rnd 6: [k4, inc] to end (36 sts)
Rnd 7: [k5, inc] to end (42 sts)
Rnd 8-16: knit
Rnd 17: [k5, k2tog] to end
Rnd 18: [k4, k2tog] to end
Rnd 19: knit

Begin stuffing the body.

Rnd 20: [k3, k2tog] to end
Rnd 21: [k2, k2tog] to end
Rnd 22: knit
Rnd 23: [k1, k2tog] to end
Rnd 24: knit
Rnd 25: [k2tog] to end

Finish stuffing the body. Cut the working yarn, thread on a tapestry needle, draw through the remaining stitches pulling up tight, and bind off.


Cast on 6 stitches, distribute evenly across 3 needles, join in the round making sure not to twist the stitches. Mark the first stitch with a stitch marker to keep track of the beginning of the round. Make sure to use the tail to sew close the hole once you've got a few rounds knitted.
Rnd 1: knit
Rnd 2: inc in each stitch to end (12 sts)
Rnd 3: [k1, inc] to end (18 sts)
Rnd 4: [k2, inc] to end (24 sts)
Rnd 5: [k3, inc] to end (30 sts)
Rnd 6: [k4, inc] to end (36 sts)
Rnd 7-14: knit
Rnd 15: [k4, k2tog] to end
Rnd 16: [k3, k2tog] to end
Rnd 17: knit

Begin stuffing the head.

Rnd 18: [k2, k2tog] to end
Rnd 19: knit
Rnd 20: [k1, k2tog] to end (12 sts)
Rnd 21-25: knit
Rnd 26: purl

Finish stuffing head.

Rnd 27: [k2tog] to end
Cut the working yarn, thread on a tapestry needle, draw through the remaining stitches pulling up tight, and bind off.


You'll need to make 4. Cast on 4 stitches, distribute across 3 needles, join in the round making sure not to twist the stitches. Mark the first stitch with a stitch marker to keep track of the beginning of the round.
Rnd 1: [kfb] to end (8 sts)
Rnd 2: purl
Rnd 3-8: knit

Bind off, leaving enough yarn to stitch the leg to the body. Gently stuff the leg.


You'll need to make 2. The ears are knitted from the head, by picking up 2 rows of stitches, with 7 sts on each needle. Look at the photo to see how this is done. Position them as far back as possible using the photos as a guide. The ears use short rows for shaping, which method you use for doing your short row turns is up to you. I've used the German method, but you can use whatever you are comfortable with.

This bit is important: With the trunk facing you, you will start knitting the right hand side ear. To start the other ear, you will need to have the trunk facing away from you. This allows you to get the shaping in the right part for both ears.
Rnd 1: knit
Rnd 2: knit
Rnd 3: inc in each stitch to end (28 sts)
Rnd 4: knit
Rnd 5: knit
Rnd 6: knit to last 8 sts (20 sts), turn & purl to last 8 sts, turn & knit to end
Rnd 7: knit to last 6 sts (22 sts), turn & purl to last 6 sts, turn & knit to end
Rnd 8: knit
Rnd 9: k2, ssk, knit to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2 for each needle

Use Kitchener stitch to weave the remaining stitches together closing the ears.


Pick up 3 stitches on the body, and knit 6 rows of i-cord then bind off. Attach a tassel to the end of the tail.


Sew the head to the body using the photos as a guide. His head needs to be fairly back on the body so that his ears help with his centre of gravity, else he'll fall over and be a clumsy elephant instead of a jaunty one.

Position the legs under the body and sew onto the body.

Lastly, you can either attach some beads VERY FIRMLY for his eyes, or you can use a scrap of black wool to embroider on some eyes with Satin stitch or French knots.

Lastly, sit back and admire your work. Now go off and make a bunch to sell for charity.

Thursday 4 August 2016

His Royal Highness Milo

Lots on the go at the moment, so this is just a quick post to keep you updated. We've had our first home visit for fostering approval, which has resulted in a pile of paper work to fill out .... ongoing process. Who knew I had to remember every single address I've ever lived at since the age of 18?

I've finished my Child Psychology diploma, but have one final assignment to complete in order to get a level 4 accreditation. Requires 4 essays of at least 500 words each. I've made a start on the first one.

Our church holiday club starts next Monday, so I have a ton of preparation to do. I'll be running registration and the sound desk. Got to get the words for all the songs set up.

Finally, the thing taking up most of my time ... my poor wee companion has had his second knee op last week Wednesday. This means that he's on strict cage rest for the next 4 weeks, and I'm on pee duty. He's not allowed to walk at all, so I have to take him out to do his business. He's at least past the initial few days of extreme pain, and finally back to his old self. This means that he's bored stiff ... and I have to entertain him! As you may have guessed - there's not been as much knitting being done (or all the other things I'm supposed to be doing). I'm even struggling to read, luckily I've managed to sneak this post in before his Royal Highness wakes up and demands attention again.

Thursday 16 June 2016

This year's chosen charities

Reporting back on our knit & stitch group's summer lunch out on Tuesday. We had a brilliant turnout with around eleven of us at the local cafe, given that it's summer and a lot of folks are away. The food was great and the company even better!

With the proceeds from our last fair, we're in the wonderful position of being able to support more than one local charity. The decision was made to split the kitty across the following groups:

  • The local dementia group, who are self funded.

  • The Girls Brigade who need a new gazebo, having lost theirs at the last fair to a rather nasty gale force wind.

  • The local pet sitting service charity the council use when people go into hospital suddenly with no one to take care of their pets.

  • Ourselves. We need a couple of folding chairs for manning stalls.

In between knitting stock for stalls, we do other charity knitting. We churn out a fair amount of twiddle muffs that are used for dementia patients by a number of hospitals and other groups. They are used to give patients something to do with their hands, so there are lots of fiddling things attached. This apparently helps to alleviate angst and has a calming effect.

We also knit "fish and chips" jumpers and hats, as well as teddies for a hospital in Malawi. The reason they are called fish & chips is because infants would be wrapped up in newspapers when ready to leave the hospital as they had nothing else to clothe them in. Now little ones get to leave with warm clothing and a teddy.

Saturday 11 June 2016

Breeding one square bunnies

We've embarked on a journey that has only been shared with a handful of people closest to us. I'm not really just sitting around at home doing nothing but knitting. I'm actually studying- doing a diploma in Child Psychology in preparation for a career change. After many years thinking about it, we've decided to become Foster Carers. We completed our initial training last weekend, which is a prerequisite before you can officially apply. It's taken 9 months to get to this point, and will take at least 6 months if not more before we get approved. So, while we wait for the assessment process to be completed-I'll keep busy knitting.

On to the knitting then shall we? Our last charity stall was very successful. We were left with very little stock by the end of the day. The braided balls, and bunnies were very popular with the school kids. I've started building up stock for the next fair, and this time I've made sure to take some pics of the completed bunnies. In addition to the bunnies I've done a few snowmen. I hear you sniggering. It's never too early to start preparing for Christmas!
I've also conjured up a couple of critter key chain charms, a cat, and a couple of bangles. When I tire of knitting for the stall, I've got jumpers and teddy bears to knit for our church outreach to Nkhoma hospital in Malawi. If I've got time in between the studying and foster care assessment I'll probably squeeze in a critter or two for my Etsy shop, and maybe an occasional blog post 😝

Tuesday 29 March 2016

Cute Critters

In-between all the reading and knitting, and there's been a lot of both happening, I thought it was time to do a little writing. Or should that be sharing? I do so to encourage people to get out there and become involved in their local community. If I’ve mentioned this before, sorry ….

I go to a weekly get together with other like-minded knitters, crocheters (those people who crochet?), and stitchers. Not only is it fun to get out the house for a couple of hours, but it’s also great to be able to assist those struggling to read a pattern, or occasionally to get some help from them in return. I think the best part about the group is its mission to donate the proceeds of selling our finished goodies at local fairs to various local groups. I was also delighted to learn that some of our ladies taught the local Brownies group how to knit last year. They all did some squares and joined them into a blanket that they use to play ‘hide the brownie’ with. Not sure what that entails, but it sure sounds fun. The photo they sent in to thank the group showed them all holding up the blanket. It was a pretty impressive blanket.

Not only have I been busy doing my own stuff, which I’ll share in a bit, but I’ve been busy creating stock for our group’s next fair coming up end of May. I finished a batch of ‘one square bunnies’ at our session today, which have turned out really cute. I didn’t take a pic of the completed brood before I handed them in, but I did take some in-progress ones. I’ve got an idea to do a ‘one square’ chicken, which I’ll share once I’ve done it.

As for my own stuff, I’ve added 3 new critters to my pin cushion collection. So, in addition to the existing tortoise, ladybird, spider, octopus, sheep, and hedgehog, I’ve now done a cat, pig, and panda, which had been put up on Etsy. I’ve had a suggestion for a dolphin (but it’s just not the right body shape to fit in), a frog, and a dragon. I think I can do the last two, but I sure would like some more suggestions. Feel free to add to the list. I’m all ears ;-)

Wednesday 10 February 2016

So much for good intentions!

So much for good intentions, i.e. more time, therefore more blog posts. Afraid I got all caught up in knitting Xmas prezzies for everyone. Seeing as I no longer have an income, they all got something knitted. Not a big cash outlay as I have a mountain of stash yarn, but certainly time consuming - which is something I now have in abundance.

I spent a bit of time thinking of the next project I wanted to tackle. It's been a toss-up between a new doggie jumper or coming up with new products to sell. I've ended up juggling the two instead. I was fiddling around with the original Drops pattern and decided to do a bit of a 'fair isle' cable. Imagine that the actual cables are in a different colour to the background, or better yet I'll just show you. Unfortunately, it turns out that my compensating for the looseness of the previous doggie jumper has resulted in a far too tight fit. Think I'll have to frog all the way back to the neck ribbing, and start all over again with larger needles. Lucky I've got plenty of time to do that ... lol.

On to the new designs. I was trying to come up with a collection, something cute and appealing, but a little practical or perhaps with a dash of purpose. I was trolling around looking for inspiration and came across a crochet ladybird toy from Lion Brand. It caught my eye, so I decided to whip it up to see if I liked it as a candidate for our local 'Stich, Knit, & Natter' charity knitting group. It passed with flying colours.

Once I was done, I wondered if I could put together a knitted version. A bit of fiddling and before I knew it I had a little critter all done. I liked the shape and tried to think of other animals that I could make with the same shape, and came up with my little menagerie of pin cushion critters. And so you've guessed where the dash of practical comes in by now. I can see these little guys adding a little cheer in someone's sewing room, whilst for fulling a purpose. I know I'm always looking for a pin cushion, and not just for sewing. I'm always misplacing my darning needles too. I've also found myself popping these on my desk and catching myself smiling every time I see them. Maybe they would make the perfect Mother's Day gift?

Every time I completed one, I got another idea to try. So far I've got the original ladybird, a tortoise, a sheep, a hedgehog, an octopus, and just recently a spider. I've had other suggestions of animals to add, including a pig and a cow. I'll have to try those out and see how they turn out. If you have any suggestions to grow the family, let me know and I'll see if I can do it.