Sheep Shop Super Easy Crochet Cowl

Thank you to Joanne Scrace who designed this cowl as a perfect project for a beginner crocheter to practise their skills, and donated it to The Sheep Shop. This pattern is so easy to make. In no time at all you will be wearing something you made!  It also makes a great quick gift.

It comes for free as part of a kit (not available for separate sale), one ball of chunky or superchunky yarn with an appropriate sized hook.  

One ball of James C. Brett Marble Chunky will make two cowls sized 7" x 31" circ.  A kit will cost £8.65 (at time of publication, February 2015).

E’s Mittens by Shirley Warbrick

Shirley is a treasure worthy of Johnny Depp jumping off the Black Pearl to come and claim.  She designed these mittens for E, a delightful one year old boy who tries to squirm out of gloves as soon as they are put on.  These have more staying power.

They look great in variegated yarn such as the rainbow-coloured Araucania Laguna.

They also look great striped, such as these made with Rico Design Essentials Soft Merino Aran.

The mittens use about 40g of aran yarn for the pair.  Shirley has donated the crochet pattern to us, and we’ll email it to you for free with purchases of our aran yarn over £5.     

Mattress stitch for moss stitch

This tutorial shows how to sew together moss stitch (aka seed stitch) using mattress stitch.  Mattress stitch is an invisible (from the right side) join between the sides of two pieces of knitting.  

You’ll use the running threads between the edge stitch and next-in from the edge. Running threads are the pieces of yarn which connect a stitch to its neighbour.  For the running thread join you simply sew under a running thread on one piece of knitting then sew under a running thread on the other piece, working your way steadily upwards.

Here’s the needle going under four running threads.

The same process can be done regardless of whether rows begin or end in knit or purl (see photo at the end for evidence). 

Tips for mattress stitch

  • To sew up, use the same yarn as you used for the project unless it is very thick yarn.  
  • Unless it’s just a little seam, do not use a dangling tail in case you need to reknit a bit, you’ll have to unpick the whole seam first.  Instead, cut a piece of yarn about three times as long as the length of the seam (longer than for stocking or ribbing as you have to sew up every row).
  • For long pieces, use safety pins or butterfly hairclips to align the garment corners and some key points in the middle.  When your needle gets to one of these markers on one side you should reach it at the other side on the next stitch – if not, you’ll be ending up with a piece of knitting looking like a shirt with its buttons done up into the wrong button holes.  If you do end up a bit skeewiff, do a couple of bars on one side and just one on the other a few times, but spread this out, don’t bunch it all into the next few stitches.

The yarn used here is Hjertgarn Woolcott, a machine-washable 55% lambswool, 45% cotton DK.  

You’ll be using the running threads between the edge stitches and the next-to edge stitches. The edge stitches are bit trickier to see so find the next-to-edge stitch column, the running threads coming from that are the ones you want.

First you need to secure your yarn with a figure of eight join.  With right sides (RS) up, bring the needle up from back to front by the bottom corner stitch (the first few rows are also often squashed a bit, so find the running thread between the edge and next-to-edge stitch a bit higher up and come out just under the bottom one) on the left side piece of knitting, then reach around the back and come up through the same hole. The yarn is now secured to one piece of knitting.  Leave a long enough tail that you can weave it in later.  

Now bring the needle up from back to front by the bottom corner stitch on the right piece of knitting.  Now up again through the same hole on the left piece. See the figure of eight?

With RS up, pass the needle under the first running thread on the right hand piece (you put the needle in where it came out before).  Your needle stays at the front of the work, you never need to pass it all the way through the knitting. Then pass the needle under the first running thread on the left hand piece.  

Put the needle back where it came out on the right side and pass under another bar.  Put the needle back where it came out on the left side and pass under another bar. Keep repeating this, one running thread at a time.  

After a couple of inches, pull the thread taut and the sides will zip up together seamlessly (pull it back if it gets too tight). Then carry on.

When you’ve sewn under the last running bar on the right side and the left side, and pulled taut your yarn, you’ll probably find it looks a bit scruffy. Now you do put your needle all the way through your knitting.  If you’ve just done the last running bar on the left then the right, put your needle back where it came out on the left and sew all the way through.  

You now have even rows of bumps and hollows all the way along, if the colours were the same, you’d never know there was a join.  

The two edge stitches have curled inwards to form a small seam on the WS. Now weave in your end on the WS.

If joining a knit to a knit and a purl to a purl (as you’d often do if your rows have an odd number of stitches), you might want to skip under two rows on one side at the beginning so that when you zip the sides together, you don’t have a purl bump right next to a purl bump.  It will still be neat but not quite as seamless. However, the difference is minute – on this swatch half was joined in sequence so the bumps are next to each other, half was a row out so they continue seamlessly.  Can you tell the difference?

For a tutorial of mattress stitch on ribbing, see this post on Cut Out and Keep.

Ladder to the Sky Gift Bag

Ladder to the Sky gift bag

This little gift bag is knitted flat from the bottom up using Ladder to the Sky ribbing, there’s an eyelet row for the ribbon and a ruffle to finish, then the side seam and bottom seam are sewn up.

Size: Approx 6cm x 15cm or 3” x 6” overall (once ribbon is tied, about 5” of bag and 1” of ruffly top).

Materials: 1 ballDROPS Cotton Viscose (or about 60m sportweight yarn), 3.5mm needles, narrow ribbon 17” long

Gauge: 22st to 10cm across in stocking stitch, or two ladder ribs = 6cm in pattern  


SKPO = Slip a stitch knitwise, knit next stitch, pass slipped stitch over this stitch

Yrn = take the yarn from front to back over the right-hand needle and continue wrapping anticlockwise until the yarn is in the front again, ready to purl the next stitch

Kfbf =knit into the front, the back then the front of the stitch to make three stitches


Cast on 50 stitches

Row 1 (RS): K1, [P2, K2tog, YO, K2, P2] 6 times, K1

Row 2 (WS): P1, [K2, P4, K2] 6 times, P1

Row 3: K1, [P2, K2, YO, SKPO, P2] 6 times, K1

Row 4: P1, [K2, P4, K2] 6 times, P1

You might find it easier to count stitches as blocks of K4, P4 except at the beginning and end of the rows, instead of K2, P4, K2.

Repeat these pattern rows 10 times more (11 in total).  Work should measure approx 5.5” from cast on edge.

Row 45: Eyelet row: K1, P2 [K2tog, YO, K2, P1, Yrn, P2tog, P1] 5 times, K2tog, YO, K2, Yrn, P2tog, K1

Knit rows 2-4 of pattern, then rows 1-4 again.

Row 53: Increase for ruffle: K1, Kfbf to last st, K1 (146 stitches)

Row 54: Purl to end

Row 55: K1, *K2, slip first stitch over second and off righthand needle, repeat from  * to last stitch, K1 (74 stitches)

Row 56: P1, *P2tog, repeat from * to last st, P1 (38 stitches)

Cast off

Sew up side seam using mattress stitch.  I turned the bag inside out and used backstitch for the bottom seam.  Thread ribbon into eyelets starting closest to the side seam.

Brought to you by The Sheep Shop,

Nipple hat

Sky view boob

Based on the hat recipe pattern.

Size: newborn, baby, toddler, woman, man

Materials: 1 [1:1:2:2] balls Hjertegarn Bommix bamboo in shade cream, oddment of pink yarn, 3.25mm needles, wool needle

Techniques: Cast on, knit, purl, K2tog, mattress stitch

Gauge: 22st to 10cm across in stocking stitch (for this hat, you can be a stitch out and it won’t matter)


Cast on 68 [80: 98: 116: 122] stitches, using any cast on.  Make sure it’s loose, else the hat will be tight.  Casting on over two needles will help make sure it’s loose.

Work 4 [4.5: 5.5: 7: 7.5] inches of stocking stitch (knit every odd row, purl every even row).  The edge will roll up, this measurement is with the brim unrolled.

Then begin decreases:

Row 1: K1,*K4, K2tog*, repeat * to * until the last stitch, K1.   You now have 57 [67: 82: 97: 102] stitches on your needle.

Row 2, 6, 8, 10, 12 & 14: Purl across row.

Row 3: Change to the pink yarn, K1,*K3, K2tog*, K1 across row.

Row 4: Knit across row (this will make the bumpy outer areola).

Row 5: K1,*K2, K2tog* across row, K1. You now have 35 [41: 50: 59: 62] stitches on your needle.

Row 7: K1,*K1, K2tog* across row, K1.

Row 9: K1,*K2tog* across row, K1.  You now have 13 [15: 18: 21: 22] stitches on your needle.     

Row 11 & 13: Knit across row

Row 15: K1,*K2tog* across row, K1 if there is an odd number of stitches, K1

Row 16: Purl across row

Break the yarn, leaving a tail of a few of inches.  With a wool needle, thread this strand of yarn through the remaining loops on the needle, slide the stitches off and pull it tight.  Sew the sides of the hat together, starting from the bottom using the cream yarn.  The neatest way is to use mattress stitch, with the smooth side facing outwards.  Weave in the yarn ends of the yarn on the inside (remember the brim will roll up so the bottom inside will become the outside).

Wash your hat and dry it over a balloon or round icecream tub – it will look even better.

Side view boob

Brought to you by The Sheep Shop, If you like this pattern, feel free to Digg it!  The post URL is

Easy, any-size beginner hat recipe

Beginner hatThere is a dearth on Ravelry of dead easy hat patterns which are knitted flat.  I’ve crunched through the maths to get it clear in my mind proportions for constructing a simple hat, and you are welcome to share what I learnt.

The bottom of this hat will curl up to make a nice rolled brim (and hide any messy cast-ons).  The instructions below give rules of thumb for any size of hat using any weight of yarn.  You start at the bottom of the hat and work your way to the top.  The bottom of the hat is just a rectangle, once it is long enough you decrease several times, then cut your yarn, pull through the stitches left on the needle to secure them, then sew up the sides.  That’s it.

Pick your size, pick your yarn, then look at the tables to find out how much yarn you need, how many stitches to cast on and how long to knit for before beginning your decreases.


Cast on your stitches, number given in table 1, loosely – if they are tight, your brim will be very tight on the forehead.  You can cast on over two needles to stop this.  Any cast on method can be used.  Use the knitting needle size recommended on the yarn ballband (you may need to change needle size to match the gauge given in table 1).

Knit in stocking stitch for the number of inches specified in table 2.  Stocking stitch is when you knit every odd row, purl every even row.   The cast on edge will roll up when it’s actually worn – the measurements in the table are with it unrolled.   If possible, wrap it around the intended’s head – the decrease rows quickly narrow down the hat so once it covers to the top of the head it’s long enough.

Beginner hat side view

Begin decreases:

Row 1: K1,*K4, K2tog*, repeat from * to * across row, then K1. The very first and last stitch on all rows are called the selvedge – they are used to sew up the seam neatly and do not contribute to the width of the hat.

All even rows: Purl.

Row 3: K1,*K3, K2tog*, K1 across row.

Row 5: K1,*K2, K2tog*, K1 across row.

Row 7: K1,*K1, K2tog*, K1 across row.

Row 9: K1,*K2tog*, K1 across row.

Row 11: If you have more than 10 stitches left, do an extra row of *K2tog* across row – if there is an odd number, just knit the last stitch (and ignore the two edge stitches).

Break the yarn, leaving a tail about three times longer than the length of your hat.  With a large needle, thread this strand of yarn through the remaining loops on tBeginner hat top viewhe needle, and to stop a hole from forming at the top, thread it round a second time.  Sew the sides of the hat together, starting with the top – the neatest way is to use mattress stitch, with the right side (smooth side) facing outwards.  When you get to the rolled up bit, switch sides and mattress stitch on the inside (as the inside will be the outside when the brim rolls up).  Weave in the ends of the yarn on the inside of the rolled up brim.

Wash your hat and if possible dry it over a balloon or round icecream tub – it will look even better.

Table 2Some of the teen/woman and woman/man sizes have the same number of cast on stitches, but the head size table recommends you knit for different lengths – you basically get the same hat which is longer or shorter.  This is due to choosing to base decreases on a multiple of six stitches for the first decrease row, and when using thicker yarn there’s only so many multiple of six you need to fit a head.  Because the brim rolls, it doesn’t matter much if you decide to make it a bit longer or shorter before starting your decreases.  Table 310% error margin to account for errors in gauge, short balls and allowance for sewing up.

To convert to knitting in the round

Minus two from the cast on number in table 1, as you won’t need to sew a seam.

Instead of purling the even rows, knit them.

If the hat is bigger than 40cm/16”, you can knit the bottom part of the hat on a 40cm circular needle.  You’ll need to switch to double pointed needles for the top of the hat when the stitches have been decreased enough that you can’t stretch the stitches around the circle.

The theory

The hat circumference should be 5-10% smaller than the person’s actual forehead circumference, so the hat is stretched a bit so it clings to the head.

The number of stitches to cast on is figured out by (circumference of head x 0.925 x number of stitches you get in 4”)/4.

Round this figure up or down to get a whole number divisible by 6, then add 2 for the selvedge.

This hat has a smooth spiral pattern at the top when it is sewn up.  If you start your decreases spaced further apart (i.e. begin with K10, K2tog, then do K9, K2tog, etc) you’ll get a long pointy hat.  If you’re making a pointy hat, keep decreasing until you have only a couple of stitches left, for maximum pointiness.  If you start them closer together (K1, K2tog, then do K2tog) you’ll finish the hat sooner and have a gathered-in top.

Brought to you by The Sheep Shop,

New improved knitted heart

Original heart in pink on left, new heart in green, bottom heart is an intermediate version.

This is the new, simplified heart pattern:

To make a heart about 2.5 inches wide you will need a small amount of DK yarn and some 3.5mm DPNS (either knit using one size smaller than recommended, or use a size bigger and felt it to make it nice and tight.)  A bulky yarn and 6.5mm needles make a 3.5 inch heart.

Cast 4 stitches onto a DPN.  Take two more DPNs and transfer stitches 1 and 3 purlwise onto one DPN and 2 and 4 purlwise onto the other.  

With the working yarn coming from the right side of the back needle, with a third DPN knit across the front needle then use the empty DPN to knit across the other two stitches.  

Round 2: K1, M1, K1 on each DPN (3 stitches per needle)

Knit 2 rounds

Round 5: K1, (M1, K1) twice on each DPN (5 stitches per needle)

Knit 2 rounds

Round 8: K1, (M1, K1) four times (9 stitches per needle)

Knit 3 rounds

Round 12: K1, (M1, K1) eight times on each DPN (17 stitches per needle)

Knit 3 rounds

Round 16: K1, M1, K16 on each DPN (18 stitches per needle)

Knit 1 round

Round 18 – begin right hump: K9, leave remaining 9 stitches on old DPN and ignore. Take new DPN and slip first 9 stitches onto it purlwise, then ignore.  Take fourth DPN and knit 9 remaining stitches (9 stitches per needle)

Knit 2 rounds on live stitches.

Round 21: (K1, K2tog) three times (3 stitches per needle)

Knit 1 round

Round 23: K2tog three times

Then cast off using the three needle bind off – you’ll end at the side closer to the centre of the heart.

Begin left hump – join yarn to dormant stitches, starting from the outer edge, and knit a round.  This is the equivalent of round 18.  Repeat as above, remembering to stuff the heart just before you do round 23.

Sew the hole at the centre and poke ends into middle of heart.

Hang up, leave lying around, give to your loved one.  

Love from The Sheep Shop xxx