I knitted a plain sweater from the top down and then decorated it with a needle felted hedgehog and three trees.
I've knit plenty of sweaters in the past, but this one was simple, quick and very enjoyable to knit. It's the first one I've created starting at the top. It was knit in the round, and there were no seams, so when the knitting was finished, so was the sweater.
Top Down for Toddlers: No-sew Knitting. Several years ago my mother gave my son a sweater from this book and the neck was very wide. For this reason, since I knit loosely, and I didn't have the exact yarn called for, several modifications to the directions were made. The directions said to cast on between 72 and 96 stitches for the neck depending on the size (1 year to 6 year). Making the sweater for a 7 year old, I only cast on 66 stitches.
The body section normally contains between 208 and 264 stitches again depending on the size. For my altered version of the pattern, 232 stitches were used. The sleeves in the book call for between 48 to 65 stitches, and I used 54 reducing to 40 over the length of the arm.
It's always a trick getting the stitch gauge to match the pattern, so I was excited that it worked so well.
Needle Felted Hedgehog
FELT Easy and Fun contains several projects for needle felting animals along with directions. My daughter loves hedgehogs, and this book actually had one. Using the picture as a guide, fiber was layered and poked with a long needle on top of a foam block until it stuck together and looked like trees and a hedgehog. Then the figures were placed on top of the sweater and the foam block was placed inside the sweater. The poking continued until the creatures stuck to the sweater. The needle can be seen sticking in the tree on the left in the above photo.
Needle felting is actually quite easy. My daughter did it at four years old. Here's a post with links to an online-store where I have purchased many supplies. Some needle felters purchase sweaters from thrift stores and jazz them up with fiber. I think this is a great project idea both for me and for the kids.
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