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Friday, 24 May 2013

MILLY THE SHEEP - a great pattern for beginners

As a beginner knitter mastering the basics of knit and purl can seem daunting enough, but pair this with reading a pattern, shaping and sewing up and the task at hand can seem almost impossible. There are many beginner patterns available to aid the new knitter in her quest to learn our craft, but she can only knit so many garter stitch scarves before ennui sets in, and the patterns with all the wow factor are inevitably, the ones likely to drown her in knitty jargon.

My friend Deborah is a keen knitter, who though she's been knitting for a number of years, would still call herself  beginner to intermediate. She doesn't like to take on big projects that she's unlikely to finish, which makes items such as toys and small accessories perfectly suited to her limited knitting time.

So, when Deborah saw our Milly the Sheep pattern, she decided that it looked easy and small enough to be a fun gift for her 3 nieces. Of course, 3 Milly's is almost a flock and Deborah found these delightful sheep such a quick fun project that before she knew it, she had knitted another 2 Milly's for each of her own daughters!

Deborah's daughter Ester with her Milly

The Milly pattern calls for 2 balls of our Naturally Soft Merino - 1 each of snow and storm, but this is enough yarn to make a creamy-white sheep with grey legs and a black (well, grey) sheep with cream legs. The scarf is made from just a few yards of leftover yarn in any of our bright colours (as shown) but you could use any similar yarn oddments up.



'It's a great pattern,' Deborah told me when I asked how she had found knitting her first Milly, 'well laid out, and very clear. There were instructions that I wasn't familiar with - I hadn't come across 'skpo' before but it was really well explained. It's a good beginner project for learning some basic skills like increasing and decreasing - I learnt a lot and I finished it easily as it wasn't too daunting!'

Three of Deborah's flock
After her success with Milly, Deborah moved on to knitting some other toys in our Naturally Soft Merino - a pig which she just needs to add the legs to and a penguin. She wasn't so happy with the end result of the pig however - 'the head and body are knitted in one piece - I don't know, it just doesn't look so much like a pig!'

This hasn't dissuaded her though, as she has booked herself a course to learn how to knit in the round with a lady called Georgia Adebella of Cast Away Kiki. Cast Away Kiki is based in London and has knitting kits, classes and patterns all aimed at beginners. With classes starting at £15 it seems to be very good value, and will add another skill to her arsenal of knitting techniques. In the meantime, I wanted to know what she currently has on the needles. 'I'm knitting some fun bunting, from a really cool pattern called 'Summer Bunting Tea Cosy and Bunting' which I got from The Knitting Hut - in cotton.' Another small, but easily achievable project - if only we knitters all took a leaf out of Deborah's book, there wouldn't be so many UFO's languishing in cupboards all over the country!

You can download your own FREE copy of Milly the Sheep at

(posted by Katarina)

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