Thursday, February 01, 2007

This little piggy...a spool knitted finger puppet

A member of the Kniftyknitterlooms Yahoo group recently asked about the possibility of loom knitting finger puppets. This was a topic of one of my earlier posts, Wonderloom meets Boo-Boo Bear. The bear finger puppet mentioned in this post was knitted on the extra small gauge 3/8 inch Wonderloom. At that time, I had not attempted finger puppets on a large gauge loom, because I assumed the large gauge stitch would not be appropriate for the small finger puppet. However, a few days ago I cast fate to the wind and decided to give it a try using the eight peg end of the Knifty Knitter spool loom. For my first attempt I used 2 strands of white 4-ply yarn held as one along with a modified version of the flat knit stitch that I call the "L-knit" stitch. The "L-stitch" actually refers to the way you hold the yarn when doing a flat knit stitch, because after laying the working yarn across the front of the peg, you bring the working yarn on around and behind the peg while holding it at a right angle (L-shaped) position to the peg. When the working yarn is in the "L" position, knit the bottom loop over the working yarn. This creates a nice tight knit stitch that is just a wee tiny bit looser than the flat knit stitch and makes life a little easier when knitting the upcoming rounds. My experiment produced a finger puppet that was 1 1/4" wide and 4" long. I deliberately made it too long so I could determine the correct gauge for my next attempt.
A quick comparison of the bear finger puppet (left) knitted on the 3/8" gauge loom and the finger puppets knitted on the large gauge spool loom. The completed pig (middle) was completed using 1 strand of yarn and the sample on the right was made with 2 strands held as one.

Since I decided on making a pig puppet, the second sample was created with two strands of pink yarn, but after completing it I decided that using two strands made it too bulky for a finger puppet. So on to number three, which was created using one strand of the pink worsted weight yarn. Using a chain cast (see Cast On Instructional--6 different cast ons with step-by-step pictures) on the 8 pegs of the spool loom, I knitted 17 rounds of flat knit stitches, then decreased from eight to four stitches on round 18. The bind off was a gathered removal method (see Getting Started on the Round Loom, p. 14) with the yarn pulled to the inside and tied off. After removing the puppet from the spool loom, I had to stretch it to set the stitches. The third time was a charm, so I proceeded to add the finishing touches. First I knitted two four row I-cords using two pegs on the 5 peg end of the Knifty Knitter spool loom. The snout was made exactly like the ears, except it was only 2 rows. The curly tail is a crocheted chain with the end yarn woven back through the stitches then pulled and tied at the other end to create the curl. The ears, snout and tail were whip stitched in place. The nostrils on the snout were dotted with a black Sharpie marker. To complete the puppet, two little google eyes were glued in place with Aleene's Stretchable Washable Fabric Glue. Voilà, the perfect little pink pig. Now, all I need to do is make him some friends.

For reference, here are some finger puppet sites: