Monday, April 16, 2007


Before camp started we all got a package in the mail with five or six tiny balls of yarn of all different colors, textures and fibers and instructions to make a chicken mascot and bring it to camp. There would be awards for different categories but the only rule was the chicken had to be made of fiber.

I put all the balls of yarn out and looked at them, and pondered what sort of chicken I wanted. I waited, looked at the yarn some more. Opened all the drawers of my stash and looked at all my yarn, rememberd my college pottery professor and his obsession with texture and finally started in. I decided immediatly that I wanted my chicken to be felted. I am on a major felting streak right now and a felted body would give me a nice sturdy form to attach things to. (I am also currenty slightly obsessed with needle felting so that added to the allure.) I chose some stash alpaca (I have felted it before and makes a lovely, but very difficult to describe texture) and off I went. I knit a great big tube and cut it after I felted it enough that it wouldn't completely unravel. And I came up with this:

Not too bad a beginning. While that was drying I thought to myself that every well dressed chicken needs a shawl so I went looking for some suitable lace. I wanted a pattern that started from the tip and worked its way up so it would be easy to knit until it was a good size and stop, no tricky math. I found one in Victorian Lace Today (if you don't have this book you should get it...right now), the Shoulder Shawl in Cherry Leaf Pattern. I followed the pattern as written, except I did significantly fewer repeats. Then I did my very first knit on border, of which I am extremely proud. I am still constantly amazed out how simply clever knitting often is. The bottom tip of the shawl is a bit wonky, but it's for a felted chicken so I wasn't overly worried. And I came up with this:

I gotta say knitting small things never gets old. It's like lace instant gratification, none of the knitting rows with thousands of stitches in them, on and off the needles in two days.
Now that my chicken had clothing, but still no body parts it was time to actually assemble the poor girl. (I don't have any pictures of this part). Basically I folded one corner down so the sides met, trimmed the bottom and had a triangle. I used my mad crochet skillz that I had just learned on the shawl, and sewed her up. But not all the way (my 5th grade sewing lessons at least taught me to leave an opening for stuffing) and I stuffed. And stuffed. And stuffed. There is a lot of stuffing in my chicken. I immediately made a cute little red ruffle for the dangly chin part that has some proper name I don't know and sewed that on. Then I made the tail. The tail is where I put all my texture and color and craziness. I wanted to use the yarn Blue Moon sent me but not all over my chicken. So I made ruffles. Lots of ruffles with different gauges and yarn combos, but all sporting some sort of color combo or textured yarn I wouldn't normally do, ever. (For a ruffle case on some stitches, I did 9, knit 2 rows, k1 yo across, knit 2 rows, k1 yo across, knit 1 row, bind off, or something similar. Basically you want significantly more stitches on the last row than on the first.) I sewed them on. Then I made cute purple legs with little chicken feet. At this point my chicken had no head and I debated never giving her one and calling her a chicken with her head cut off. I thought this was hilarious, but every last person I asked said it was dumb. What do I know? Eventually I cobbled together a head, with eyes and a beak and everything. The last hurrah was the socks. I think these are my favorite part and they took probably the least amount of time. I knit basic socks on a very small scale and it is pure fluke how they turned out, but I love them.

1 comment:

Lisa K. said...

Hazel was lovely and she absolutely deserved to win the "Henny Penny" prize!