Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Twirly Bird

As you can see from the Giveaway post, I gathered up yarn from around my chair and challenged myself to use it all up for various projects. Last night, I found myself with one project in the works to use up a skein of blue (but with that on size 4 knitting needles, it's going to take a while) and two very small balls of green yarn.

I wanted to make an owl with the green yarn, but stripes seemed too boring. I wondered how it would work with a spiral... and that's how Twirly Bird came to be.

He weighs just under half an ounce with button eyes and stuffing, so you only need a little bit of yarn. This pattern is easy to adjust to larger sizes. For an overview: I made a circular base using the usual increases (increasing in every stitch on round 1, 1 stitch between increases on round 2, 2 stitches between increases on round 3, etc.) When the base was the desired width, I attached the second color and started my swirl pattern. I used a pattern based on 5 stitches (2 light, 3 dark). I had 24 stitches around - so since that was one less than a multiple of 5, it makes the swirl pattern.

Once I ran out of one color (the light green), I finished off with the dark green, chaining ten at one side and working my way back with 2 sc in each stitch. I held the top closed and did SC across the top, then did another chain 10 and worked my way back with 2 sc in each chain to make the curly tassel on the other side. Added eyes and beak, and it was done!

Okay, now I will attempt to write up the directions as a "real" pattern.

Two small balls knitting worsted weight yarn (making a little owl like the green one above, the balls of yarn were about an inch in diameter, loosely wound). In the picture below, I didn't use all the yarn when I made Twirly Bird 2
Small quantities of white yarn for eyes (I used sport weight yarn) and yellow or orange for beak
Size G hook
Two small button eyes
Yarn needle

Beginning with the yarn you have more of, do 6 sc in magic ring. You will work continuously without joining rounds, so it is helpful  to mark the beginning with a stitch marker.
Round 1: 2 SC in each stitch (12)
Round 2: 2 SC in first stitch, sc in next stitch, repeat around (18)
Round 3:  2 SC in first stitch, sc in next 2 stitches repeat around (24)
Round 4 - EndAttach Color B. *2 SC with Color B. Change to Color A. 3 SC with Color A. Change to Color B. * Keep repeating until your piece measures about 3" tall, or when you get to within about a yard of running out of yarn.
Your stitch pattern should be working out like this:


I like to attach the eyes and beak before I stuff the owl. 

Tassel: Chain 10. 2 SC in 2nd chain from hook and each chain. Slip stitch to the same stitch where you started the chain. Change to other color (if you have any left!). Chain 10. 2 SC in 2nd chain from hook and each chain. Slip stitch to the same stitch where you started the chain. 

Stuff owl. Hold top of owl together and SC across top. At other side, repeat tassel instructions. Finish off and tuck in loose ends. 

Note: with the green owl above, I had run out of light green, so I only made one tassel on each side in dark green. For the brown owl below, I made one tassel of each color on each side, which I liked better.
With white sport-weight yarn, make 6 hdc in magic ring.
Round 1: 2 hdc in each stitch (12). Fasten off, leaving long tail to sew on.
Sew small buttons on eye, slightly lower than the center.

Sew on, using picture above for reference.

Cut a piece of yarn about 40" long. Fold it in half and make a loop at the fold. Using both strands of yarn, chain 5. Make a slip stitch in the second chain from hook. Make a SC in the next chain, HDC in the next chain, and DC in the last chain. Finish off. Sew to owl as shown in picture above. (I pull one strand of the tail through to the inside and use the other strand to sew the beak on, then tie a good knot on the inside to secure both strands.)

If you only sew the top of the beak, it will  curl up on its own, giving the face a nice 3D effect. If you would rather have the beak lie flat, you can sew it around all the edges. 

For more ideas on eyes, check out the pattern for Calypso the Kooky Owl

Twirly Bird #2 in the works

Now that you have the basics... you could make these in all sizes. You make the base as big as you want, as long as your stitch count is 1 more or less than a multiple of your pattern repeat count. You can do all sorts of pattern repeats... 3+3, 2+4, 1+3... have fun!



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