For the past month or so I have been taking part in a make-a-long with other readers of Taproot. The idea is simple, but oh so fun, more fun than I even expected. Every time you work on or complete a project in the current issue you can post your photos with the hashtag #TaprootMakealong and for each post you get an entry into a drawing to be held May 1 for a menagerie of good prizes. Participating in this has been satisfying for so many reasons; it has pushed me to try projects I otherwise may have not (or knot - hee hee.) It has motivated me to keep going on projects that may have stalled, and perhaps the most fun is seeing the other posts from around the world. It is endlessly inspiring to see such different and personal versions of the same project, recipe or pattern. That idea fascinates me . . . the notion that no 2 people will create something exactly the same, even when using the same set of instructions. I love the see the colors that people choose and the different details that are added or omitted.
One of my posts in the make-a-long is most definitely a pattern I probably would have been too intimidated to try otherwise, but I am so glad for the gentle nudge of this contest. I've never knit little animals like the Three French Hens above. I've never employed so much shaping, and detail and dpn action. But look! I did it! There the are, and to be honest with you, easier than they look. You may have noticed these little hens from our Easter morning table. My intention was to have all 3 completed by last Sunday - one for each of my chickens - Rylie, Otis and Ryan. But alas, poor Ryan had to wait until Friday morning to receive his belated Easter French Hen, he didn't seem to mind though.
Despite the ease of the pattern, I did have to employ a new stitch for me on the top of the hens' backs. After stuffing them full, these little ladies had two sides that needed to be grafted together a la the Kitchener stitch. I was pretty intimidated, I'm not going to lie. There is a lot of talk on the interwebs about the dreaded Kitchener Stitch, but I went for it with varying degrees of success. I found this tutorial the most helpful. My seams are not quite invisible, but I did notice my skill progress from hen 1 to hen 3, which reminds me, these hens really need names! I need to ask the kids about this pronto!
Oftentimes I scoff at the idea of making multiples of the same thing (socks, mittens, sleeves.) However, what I realized with this project is that doing the same thing, several times in a row really allows one to see how quickly a knitter can improve her skills and also how much faster one becomes on the second and subsequent attempts at the same task. I love to see results in action! This pattern is designed and written by Susan B. Anderson whom has all kinds of other animal, doll and toy patterns available. uh oh. I also see that she is now offering a kit for the Three French Hens so you can pick one up and make your very own, which I highly recommend. You'll see just how very addictive they are.