Why do we love the Estonian Sheep Puppets so much?

Cute sheep, challenging traditional patterns—what's not to love?

 The cover of our Summer 2006 issue.




At the photo shoot, Amanda Berka and Ann Swanson have too much fun with the puppets while Joe Coca captures the frolicking in his photo studio.

I love this photo of the designer, Anu Kotli with her collection of puppets.




You may remember that in the Summer 2006 issue of Spin-Off we published an adorable pattern for Estonian Sheep Puppets by Anu Kotli and Carol Rhoades. I didn't anticipate how well-loved those little sheep would be. I mean, I knew how smitten I was with the little sheep, but I attributed it to the fact that I love toys and especially sheep toys (even before I had kids I had this problem). I should have been tipped off by all the fun we had at the photo shoot. Ann Swanson had created an elaborate set of a white picket fence and spring grass in pots for the puppets to frolic in. And even though we were kneeling uncomfortably under a table, we shot many more shots than we actually needed. We were having too much fun!

After the pattern was published, many of you sent us photos of your versions that we published in the letters department in subsequent issues, and then Estonian Sheep Puppets kept popping up on the Internet—in avatars, blog posts, and spinning communities. A search under patterns on Ravelry.com reveals many cute photos of the sheep puppets—they live delightfully full lives, it seems. It even became one of the few Spin-Off patterns to join the legions of knitting patterns from Interweave Knits in the Interweave Store.

What fascinates me about this is that the knitting pattern is not easy—it is actually a bit challenging. It requires knowing how to work with two colors of yarn, doing short-row shaping, and working with small double-pointed needles in multiples of four. It uses techniques used in making socks, gloves, and multicolored sweaters—simultaneously. But I guess if you're a spinner, you're really not looking for the easy, quick pattern, right?

I mean, we make our own yarn.

Happy Spinning,

P.S. This article and many more are available on the 2006-2007 Spin-Off CD collection (8 issues of Spin-Off from 2006 and 2007 available on compact disc for convenient storage, expedient searches, and easy organization).

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