Saturday, October 6, 2007

Felted Snowman Pattern

UPDATE: 2009: Many people have asked me how big this snowman is. He is approximately 8 inches tall when felted, though his size varies with the wool yarn you use and how long you felt it.

Here is the "rough" pattern for the snowman. It is still a work in progress. Feel free to add the embellishments you would like. I've changed it slightly since I first posted it. I hope this has improved it.
Let me explain about the seemingly strange, one-stitch cast on! This helps to get a stable base from which you can keep increasing. This is knitting from the inner part to the outer (if that makes sense). I first saw this technique in a free pattern for a pitcher from Interweave. Although the pitcher was not felted, and it was quite small and used a light-weight yarn, I really liked the method. Before that, I used to work from the outside in (which is still very useful, I might add). However, if you want a toy or something else to stand up on its own, it really needs to have a nice, flat base. SO, once you've cast on the single stitch, you then put your right needle into it as if to knit, even bring your yarn around as if you were going to knit it, knit it, but don't remove it from the left needle. No, indeed! Instead, bring your yarn forward and put your right needle forward through that same stitch as if you were going to purl it and then purl it, but just as before, don't take it off the left needle! NO! WAIT! You're not finished yet! Don't remove the stitch! NO!! Move your yarn to the back and, once again, put your right needle into the back of that same, first, original stitch as if to knit and now, go ahead, knit it and, YES, this time, you may actually take it off the needle! VOILA! You get three stitches on your right-hand needle! And it makes a nice little bump. If you've not ever tried this before, don't be afraid of it. It really works well! (I hope I did an adequate job of explaining it. If not, please email me!)
I really liked the idea of Jean Greenhowe's Little Snow Folk; however, I wanted to knit mine in the round to avoid seams and also, I wanted a felted snowman that was a bit more rustic like a real snowman and not so much like a little doll. I also wanted mine to be more round.
WELL, ever since having taking a sock workshop where a wonderful sock lady taught me the finer points of DPNs, I like to cast onto a larger needle (US size 10 or 10.5, in this case) and then, when I divide the stitches onto the double-pointed needles, I simply knit them on and count that as one round, as she did. WOW! What an eye opener that was!
For this snowman, I used size 8 DPN and Lopi Lite yarn. You could also use Ella Rae Classic Merino or Patons Classic merino in Winter White or Aran. Obviously, you can vary the size by using different size needles/yarn, etc. I hope you enjoy! If you have any questions or run into errors, please let me know so I can publish a correction! Sometimes I lose count and may end up with one more or one less stitch. It doesn't matter! Once it's felted, no one will be able to tell!

Basic Two-Ball Felted Snowman
Copyright 2007-2009 Anita M. Wheeless

Abbreviations used in this pattern:
DPN- double-pointed needles
k1 - knit one
p1 - purl one
k1 f&b - knit one front and back. This increases one stitch.
k2 tog - knit two together. This decreases one stitch.

Round 1 Use a size US 10 or 10.5 needle and cast on ONE stitch. k1, p1, k1 in the same stitch

Round 2 knit

Round 3 k1 f&b in each (6 stitches)

Round 4 knit

Round 5 k1 f&b in each (12 stitches)

Round 6 Divide by knitting the stitches off of the larger needle onto 3 size US 8 DPN. This counts as a knitted round.

Round 7 (k1 f&b, k1) to end (6 on each)

Round 8 knit

Round 9 (k1 f&b, k2) to end (8 on each)

Round 10 knit

Round 11 (k1 f&b, k1) to end (12 stitches on each)

Round 12 knit

Round 13 (k1 f&b, k1) to end (18 stitches on each or 54 total)

Round 14 knit up to the 27th row

Round 28 start decreases k5 (k2 tog) two times, k5,(k2 tog) two times; next needle k5,(k2 tog) two times, k5, (k2 tog) two times; next needle k5 (k2 tog) two times, k5, (k2 tog) two times

Round 27-29 knit these three rounds or if you want more of a division between the balls, you could knit a couple more rounds or if you don't want so much of a division between the balls, you could knit only one or two more rounds. You decide.

Round 30 start increases for head (you're basically putting back the stitches you knit together in round 28) so, on the first needle k5, increase in next two stitches by knitting front and back, k5, increase in next two; next needle k5, inc. in next two stitches (f&b), k 5, increase in next two; next needle k5, inc in next two stitches (kf&b), knit 5, increase in last two. You should have about 18 stitches on each needle for a total of 54 stitches again.

Round 31-46 (15 rows) knit

Round 47 start decreases for top of head (k2, k2 tog) to end OR if you wanted to add another ball, repeat row 28 and start decreasing, then knit a couple or more rounds for another division, then start your increases again for the next ball. I haven't done it yet, but you could always not increase by as many. For instance, don't put all the stitches back to end up with a smaller ball for the head. If you decreased by four in the second ball, decrease by 8 on each needle for the third ball.

Round 48 knit

Round 49 (k1, k2 tog) to end (if you end up with two left, knit them together!)

Round 50 knit

Round 51 (k2 tog) to end (or bind off here and leave a bigger hole for stuffing)

Round 52 bind off/cast off

To make up

Throw snowman into a lingerie bag and felt in your washing machine using a small bit of Woolite or other wool wash. I added a pair of white jeans to help with the agitation. This little guy had to go through three or four washes started with prewash before he was the right size to suit me. You can judge how big or small or how well felted yours is. Take him out every five minutes or so and check. I didn't have any issues with shrinking more in one spot than another or anything like that. It really shrunk in proportion. (Good news!) Once out of the washer, I rinsed him and rolled him in a towel, then I stuffed him (while still damp) with polyester fiberfill. Be sure you stuff all the way to the bottom. You may need to enlist the aid of a knitting needle or other such object to help push the stuffing all the way down. The snowman depends on being stuffed well in order to stand. Some people have commented that you could use poly-pellets enclosed in a small bag inside the snowman, particularly inside the bottom, for added stability; however, as I wanted mine to be a toy and not a decoration, I opted for poly stuffing only.
Use roving to wet felt a nose in an appropriate carrot shape (or if you want a different nose, try something else). I then securely attached the nose with one strand of orange embroidery floss. I inserted the needle from the hole in the top of his head, so stitches remain unseen. Use embroidery floss for his eyes and mouth. You could use a bit of a red or pink pencil to rub into his cheeks for a glow, as many of the toy patterns suggest. Or I've also seen pink beads or how about a pink sequin on each cheek? If this were for a little child, though, those might not be the best! Too dangerous! If it's just a decoration, that could be good. Although a real snowman would never wear sequins or beads!
Ideas for arms: small juice-box drinking straws covered in yarn; real twigs; felted i-cord, etc. I forgot to mention, when you're finished stuffing him, run a length of strong thread or the white yarn through the stitches on the top of his head opening. Pull tightly in a gathering stitch. Tie off.
See Top Hat Pattern and Cowboy Hat Pattern on my blog under Nean the Bean's Free Patterns.


clara-runner said...

Too cute! Thank you for sharing! said...

I love the pattern, because I love snowmen. I cannot wait to make one and I know a few people that would like it as a gift. Thanks for sharing

Sidney E said...

this is an adorable snowman! another ball is optional, for me.
thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Did I miss the cast on part? How many do you cast on?
I love him just the way he is !

Nean the Bean said...

I know it sounds weird, but you only cast on ONE stitch. Then you knit one, purl one and knit one all in that same, original stitch. I'll post a better explanation. Thanks for letting me know!

angelarae said...

Ohh! He is just precious! I guess you could add another ball, but I think he looks pretty great just as he is. Can't wait to see how you finish him!

In Raleigh, NC

Anonymous said...

Could you tell me how many inches the snowman was before felting and how big he was when you finished felting him??

Anonymous said...

Could you tell me how many inches the snowman was before felting and how big he was when you finished felting him??

Anonymous said...