Monday, December 8, 2008

Solstice Bird

Here's a simple bird ornament for hanging around the house this holiday season. I'm working a little flock, but for now here is the first one.
You need a very small amount of 100% wool for the body & just scraps for needle felting wings, stitching seams & making beaks. I've used the following needles & yarn for this guy, but feel free to experiment with what you have on hand. Felting is unpredictable as well, so keep an eye on it to make sure it's the size you'd like. The finished measurements of this bird are 4.5" h x 5" w.


Needles: US size 10 for body, US size 6 dp for i-cord beak
Yarn: Cascade 220 wool (NOT superwash...need 100% wool for felting)
Stuffing: yarn or fabric scraps
Felting needle (for adding wings)
2 buttons for eyes
tapestry needle for stitching seam & sewing on beak & eyes

Using size 10 needles, CO 7 sts.
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: m1, k7, m1
Repeat rows 1 & 2 making 1 new stitch on each edge of row 2 and knitting all the stitches in between (ie: m1, k9, m1 then m1, k11, m1, etc.) until there are 19 sts then start decreases:
Dec Row 1: k2tog, k15, k2 tog
Dec Row 2: knit
Repeat dec rows 1 & 2 until there are 7 sts left, then knit 1 row.
BO all sts.

At this point you will have a garter stitch oval that is ready to be felted.
Check out this link for how to do felting and then go for it. You can knit up a bunch of ovals at one time and felt them all at once or just do one at a time. Just be sure to separate your ovals from each other (using a pillowcase or a lingerie bag) during the felting process or else they will felt to each other.

Once your felted piece has dried, you can then cut* it into equal mirror images for your bird body following this diagram. Felted wool does not unravel so cut away! You can trim as necessary to alter the shapes so they fit together evenly.

*Please note that when cutting your pieces, hold the fabric with the garter ridges horizontally. If you look at the above photo, the garter stitch pattern runs horizontally on the finshed bird.

Stitch the body together, leaving a small opening at the bottom. Stuff with fabric/yarn scraps then stitch closed. Sew on button eyes & needle felt wings. Using size 6 dp needles make a 3 stitch i-cord ~ 1.5 inches long for the beak then stitch onto body. Hang up in your favorite location!


Cindy said...

Saw it on Ravelry and love it. I'm going to make a few for presents and my tree. Sweet design!

Karen said...

Thanks Cindy! Can't wait to see your finished birds:)

Danica said...

I absolutely love this sweet little bird. Good work!

Deborah said...

I saw it on Rav and knew it would make a great little ornament to put on the tree this year! Thank you.

Karen said...

Danica & Deborah,

Thanks for your comments! Would love to see what you make:)

Cheryl S. said...

Very cute! Thanks for the pattern.

Rebecca said...

I've been in a frenzy making knit ornaments, and this one has a charm of it's own. I think the cutting and stitching gives it an heirloom feeling. I hope I can replicate the wing embroidery that you did! Thanks for sharing this.

Danielle said...

Love these little birds. I have two wool sweaters that I have felted for projects, now I have the perfect thing to make with them. Thank you!

Karen said...

Thank you all for your comments:)

Cal at Northern Sky Knitting said...

T think I would make several of these little birds in different colours and put them in a vertical string, with bells at the bottom and beads on the string in between the birds. I would probably include the wing as part of the knitting and use a bead for the eye.
I wouldn't felt them though because the last time I felted something it was ruined, and the colours ran.

Karen said...

Thanks Cal:) I've thought about that bird chain idea as well!

Deb & Jean said...

Love the end product, but am wondering what the dimensions are prior to felting. When I followed the directions, my oval came out much smaller than the finished product, which doesn't make sense to me. I must be doing something wrong. :(

Karen said...

Hi There Deb( & Jean)!
Well, the size of your finished bird will depend on the weight of yarn you use. I used worsted weight & larger needles for a more open gauge before felting. Also....felting is difficult to control so the size you get is a bit unpredictable as well! When you cut the bird from the "oval" I held it with the garter stitch pattern horizontally which isn't spelled out in the instructions.