Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Knit a Little Lamb: Part Two

When last we left our little lamb, it looked like this.

Head and Body, Combined

As this lamb is going to wind up half inside a sweater pocket, we don't need to think about the legs, just the head and body. In the interest of further simplification, we're going to shift the basic shapes slightly to bring them into alignment, thus.

Simplified Alignment of Shapes

And that's what we've got to knit first.

This is where you have to draw on your own knowledge, experience, and preferences as a knitter. There are probably as many ways to realize those shapes in knitting as there are knitters. You could, for example, simply knit up two stockinette shapes in the appropriate sizes.

On the other hand, as this lamb will be placed against a stockinette ground, why not try out a textured stitch to give it a little more visual oomph? Maybe the render the fluffy body in moss stitch?

Let's try it. Cast on as many stitches as you think you need, and go.

Beginning the Body

Not bad. Good enough to continue. In fact, rather than knit two pieces, what if we used texture to suggest the separation between head and body? Maybe render the face in stockinette? And we could throw in a pair of decreases at the "shoulder" line for shaping.

Testing the Face

Promising. Enough to go on. I find that when you're improvising like this, it's extremely important to make frequent stops for assessment–something I learned from Maggie Righetti in Knitting in Plain English. When I started knitting I felt guilty about constantly pausing to look at my work, until I read Maggie's sound advice that you should do so to decide if you like it–and rip it back if you don't. That has saved me a lot of time and trouble.

So, here's the finished body and head in one piece.

Basic Shape Complete

It's okay. The top corners are a bit sharp, but maybe they can be fudged in the sewing. But the face looks sunken when it should project forward, as a glance at the model shows.

The Model

(Awwwwwwww.)

We could undo the head. Or, before we go that far, we could try knitting the lamb a little oval snoot, since that's the bit that really sticks out in the original, and apply it over the stockinette face. Maybe that'd counteract the sunken effect. It'll only take a few minutes.

Testing the Snoot

Hmm. Not bad. Let's sew it down, and tuck a bunch of yarn ends underneath to give it a little extra volume.

Head and Body, Complete

And there we are–the basic shapes are in place. It's not quite ready to baaaaaaaa, but it's gettin' there.

Next time, we'll finish up by adding the details to the face and head.

New in the Shop

I was procrastinating feeling inspired a couple of days ago and made up a new design for the shop, which for the moment is on bags and shirts. If there's interest in having it on magnets or journals or cards or whatever, do speak up and I'll see what I can do.

Stash Guardian

(Yeah, I played Dungeons and Dragons as a kid. You wanna make something of it?)

46 comments:

Maux said...

Fafner!

Yarnfoody said...

I really like your art in general, but the dragon is fabulous. Thanks for all of the laughs your blog has given me.

LaurieM said...

My husband still plays D&D; and he's 46!

Funny that you would think you shouldn't look at your knitting in progress. Whatever gave you that idea?

anne marie in philly said...

I just ordered a dragon baseball shirt!

way kewl! I do have a tendency to spit fire, though... :-o

limedragon :-: Harriet said...

Ahh, the dragon is perfect!! (*points to nickname above* See?) Thank you! I've put the bag on my shopping wishlist. : )

anneonymousone said...

Heck, Franklin, you could find a way to make NASCAR charming and artistic! (Maybe not the right-wing wing nut faction, but the events.)

Alwen said...

I played Dungeons & Dragons when I was a grown-up, then RoleMaster, and now I mostly just read kenzerco.com's "Knights of the Dinner Table."

Dragon Treasure is our family dialect phrase for stuff you have but don't use and just sit on a big ole' heap of. Yeah, that's my yarn stash right about now.

Dixie said...

People have already used the dragon metaphor when describing my tendencies to stash. I will now go divert some of my stash money to buy dragon stuff...

Deborah C. said...

Perfect! I adore it, must have it, maybe there's a t-shirt that'll fit...

CatBookMom said...

LOVE the dragon and the yarn hoard!! I've never played D&D, but I'm a sf/f fan, and dragons are 'real' parts of all sorts of alternate universes. As in Smaug in 'The Hobbit'....

Emy said...

Ooh, I have a friend who loves dragons, and she's a needle felting artist who keeps mentioning that she needs to learn to knit. I think this design is right up her alley! :)

KellyD said...

OMG Franklin! I love the dragon. I still have all the prints i made of them as an art student at VCU. And yes I still have a weakness for them. Dragons are wise and amazing and I am certain that they carry their knitting under their scales to work on when not flying around being, well, dragons.

Anonymous said...

I was going to ask if the dragon had a name but Fafner is very good

Toby Wollin said...

Jeeze - I thought it was Smaug from the Hobbit....that is, if Smaug could knit...

Sonja said...

The majority of my stash resides in Rubbermaid underbed storage boxes, under my side of the bed, natch. I've often felt a lot like Smaug sleeping on top of a pile of gold...

allicats said...

The dragon has a bit of a 'grinchly' look on his face. Hope he's not taking *all* of the yarn from Whoville for his hoard.usznjln

Kristen said...

Oh I love it! And I never even played D&D! (I dated geeks who did though.)

duchessnyc said...

the dragon may be the best thing i've seen all day! I needed the smile.

Pixiepurls said...

are you kidding? my husband STILL plays D&D with buddies one night after work. Like a poker club, except with dragons and dice!

Tiny Tyrant said...

I LOVE IT! What's his name?

Journal or memo pads or post-it notes with him on them would be ideal.

Anonymous said...

yes admire your work more often; you'll catch your mistakes sooner

marie in florida

dale-harriet said...

I think that's a perfect image (at least for all of US): a fierce (?) dragon lying on the precious yarn that is stash. And you know- if some ne-er-do-well should ever try to go down and root around in MY stash.....yeah, the dragon image holds. Don't no one root around in one's stash. Cupboards? Linen closet? Bookshelves? Underwear drawer? Not much a problem. STASH??? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

I'm a dragon in the Chinese Zodiac so I LOVE IT!

Jen in OH

Marsha said...

"(Yeah, I played Dungeons and Dragons as a kid. You wanna make something of it?)"

Not at all. 'Cause I still play tabletop RPGs. My toddler daughter is destined to follow in her parents' footsteps, too: she already has her own dice bag. She chose all of her dice herself, so of course they're all purple (her absolute favorite color in the world).

Paula said...

I love your new design for the shop but... why doesn't the dragon have any hind legs?

Roggey said...

I'm always searching for clever and unusual knitting cards for the letters and notes I write - please make some note cards!

Anonymous said...

I still play D&D! Love the dragon - any chance you'll put it on a mug?

Hedgehog Librarian said...

Oooh...a mug would be awesome. Or a Journal.

Also--putting in my vote for the cards. I get gifts of yarn/needles occasionally and this would be perfect for thank you notes.

NeedleDancer said...

NOW I understand my yarn hoarding tendencies! All that D&D in college. All that time I played a half-elven cleric I was really a DRAGON!
It's so good to have these things sorted out.
.
.
And thanks for the sheep tutorial

bronchitikat said...

I, too, know D&D-ers. Any chance of a Brit being able to purchase some of your stuff?

*Planning madly ahead for next Christmas, or birthdays*

Anonymous said...

I agree--I think Fafner rather than Smaug.

I love ALL your drawings, but I think this one is going to spark a purchase....

Phyllis
:)

Jon the Librarian said...

I also played D&D when I was a kid. Some days I wish I still did but then I would be afraid of what I might look like now as an adult. YIKES!

You know, you could have done a series of increases to make the snout. I'm just sayin'.

TTFN!

Carol said...

That's all very helpful, but do you have any tips on how to cook a little lamb? Maybe with some rosemary and mint?

Seanna Lea said...

I still play D&D and your artwork is pretty snazzy (as is your pimping the little lamb - so cute!).

Anonymous said...

I think you should draw a dragon knitting or spinning. That would be cute.

Margaret said...

I'd love notecards, too. What a terrific drawing!

Stephanie said...

I played Ad&D too. Didn't everyone?

(When next we are together we shall discuss the magic user I had for years. Then we shall never speak of it again.)

Anna-Liza said...

Another (former) D&D player here--played as a teen (when it first was getting popular). Then my (now adult) kids played it and many of its' spawn. One of my children has even written and hosted various online RPGs.

What's bred in the bone ...

Oh, and I adore the dragon/stash design!

MonicaPDX said...

I awwwwed over the lamb again...then totally squee'd over the dragon. Ohmy! Must. Get. One of these days. Never played D&D (kind of hard to play by yourself, pre-computer), but oh, the books on dragons I read! Yep, need a dragon shirt to wear while reading Naomi Novik's Temeraire series!

And guard the stash, of course.

Kate said...

A mug? Who said a mug? The dragon on a mug would be perfect.

(I didn't play RPGs until I met my tall and very sexy geek of a husband -- now we still play, with a group of friends we've known for years. Our kids love it too.)

Hey -- since you are going to Michigan...you wouldn't consider a little longer trip to Southwestern Ontario, would you? Hunh? Cross border knitters and all?

Deborah C. said...

Hi Franklin,

I showed my eldest daughter the dragon shirt, and she loves it (she is almost 16, knits and is a fantasy reader) but she had a request - will the long-sleeve shirts come in a color other than white? She likes black - she's a teenager, need I say more? Otherwise, I will buy her the baseball shirt and tell her to suck it up. Many thanks!!

Eldronius said...

Awwwwww and Oooooh.

vermilionsun said...

Oo! Awesome dragon! And I love his wull-hord! ;)

dragon knitter said...

OH MY GOD! if you don't put something like that in the shop this very instant, i may just expire!

ErickaJo said...

Oh my gawd, Franklin! It's Yarn Smaug! I love it!!

A little late in coming, but Chris and I thoroughly enjoyed sitting with you a few weeks back. The pictures are wonderful. Thank you :) It was a pleasure meeting you in the flesh.

Stephanie said...

LUV-in' it!!!