Dear Fiona Goble,
I have been thinking of you pretty often these last few days as I “finish up” the knitting
project I chose from your Twelve Knits of Christmas book. What a lark it was to receive!
I envisioned doing every project from the single partridge in a pear tree to the twelve
drummers drumming. (see my post Twelve Knits of Christmas by typing in search box
As Santa would say, “Ho, ho, ho.”
I chose the three French hens and have spent the best years of my life making them.
Christmas is at our throats (thank you, Wodehouse) and the days are a-quickening when
a body should mail out presents to be sent across the miles.
My chicks are still little soft nothings, albeit with big eyes now.
I have a little chicken bone to pick with you about the finishing up. I did as you suggested
and stuffed and sewed up Henny Penny #1 and THEN found that you blithely advise to add in the wings, the beak, the comb, the EYES –French knots!–the neck ruffles, the tail feathers, the wattles* and the CLAWS (And Santa Claws they’re not) when it is a
million times easier (I found out too late) to get all that stuff attached and embroidered
into the little flat-sided body first and THEN “whipstitch” the bird together.
And for all of my readers who are planning to knit some of these critters themselves next year, here are a few extra tips.
1. When you’re knitting the thousands of little extra parts, leave long tails of yarn.
It’s frustrating enough to put the little birds together without fussing with short pieces
of yarn ends.
2 Don’t try to plough through all the knit layers with a big plastic yarn needle. Use a
metal darning needle.
3. Don’t try to attach (whip) all those little parts with said big yarn—-but do it more
easily with a regular needle and thread to get them placed.
4. Stuff last!
5. Give yourself plenty of time for your project. Dealing with ubeakquitous snarls of
yarn will ruffle your feathers and have you combing your wits wondering why you
didn’t just order a book for those guys. Two or three years should be enough time.
6. Just do the partridge in the pear tree!
Hope this little note finds you in good health, Fiona, and that I haven’t been too
harsh in my tone. I really have enjoyed doing the hens (I think).
*I don’t want to know what a “wattle” is, I just do the loops for it/them and