Tuesday 15 March 2016

Dovestone Smallholding Knitted Shetland Pony

This knitted character is "Shetland Pony" from Dovestone Smallholding by Ella Austin. The pattern book is available from Ravelry as a digital eBook or as a printed edition from Baa Ram Ewe. The collection features 7 toy patterns and a play mat made with Titus DK Dovestone yarn from Baa Ram Ewe in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

After receiving a copy of the eBook from Ella and browsing the designs I knew I'd have to make at least one of the cute and irresistible characters. As I'm a fan of most things "Shetland" it became obvious  it had to be the "Shetland Pony". The other toys are Lucy Doll, Dabbling Duck, Fancy Hen, Plum Pudding Pig, Wensleydale Lamb, Moggy the cat and the Hedgerow play mat.

Dovestone Smallholding Image copyright Baa Ram Ewe used with permission

Dovestone Smallholding Image copyright Baa Ram Ewe used with permission
Dovestone Smallholding Shetland Pony Image copyright Baa Ram Ewe used with permission

The pony pattern uses two colours. In the book it's grey for the main colour and a contrast of blue for the mane and pattern detail. Checking my stock of yarn I had just enough Debbie Bliss Bluefaced Leicester DK, in Grey and Burnt Orange and decided to put this to good use. The recommended needles are 3mm long dpn's. 

The instructions are very detailed, nicely laid out with lots of close up images of the finished items. I found the knitting relatively easy. There are a few technical skills required for the pony such as working with two colours of yarn, also grafting stitches and the book includes details. A 'cable cast on' was recommended for the pony legs. A new one for me and it has nothing to do with cables. The instructions are not in the book but a quick search online brought up a number of tutorials including a video. It's a very useful technique for creating a cast on edge which is not too tight and stretches. You start with a slip knot and use the working yarn to make the stitches, avoiding the need to measure out yarn in advance to cast on as in the long tail method.

Pony turned out slightly larger than I thought but that was probably more to do with my knitting than anything else. The best part was completing the knitting stage and putting him together. I found some heart shaped wooden buttons for the eyes. Wasn't too sure these would work but once I had them in position he really came to life, so to speak. 

Just for the photos I made a "stable" for him but in reality he'll be sitting inside on the sofa....