I have knitted a chicken.
Presenting: a little stuffed toy/cushion that I am calling Fancy Henhouse, because it is a mashup of 1) Ella Austin’s adorable Fancy Hen pattern and 2) the Fair Isle motif from Ella Gordon’s beloved Crofthoose Hat pattern.
It was very easy to merge Fancy Hen’s large floral motif with the smaller crofthooses. The two motifs are 18- and 12-stitch repeats, respectively, both of which divide evenly into the 144 stitches of the body.
I had had my eye on Fancy Hen for a long time, but what pushed me over the edge from admiring to knitting was making Ella Austin’s Alex the Mouse for A Year of Techniques. After knitting something with arms, legs, ears and a tail, the Fancy Hen seemed like a piece of cake. The body is one big piece—like knitting a large hat—and the itty bits for the comb and beak are done in minutes.
If the colors of my Fancy Hen look familiar, it’s because I used leftovers of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter from my Hadley Pullover.
Does this make me a toy knitter? I have a mouse and a chicken to my credit, and I also have a crush on Ella Austin’s Intrepid Fox and Tawny Owl patterns. (Oh! Look at her Dashing Dachshund!) There is just something about her animals that speaks to me. I have an urge to go searching for other good knitted animals. I know they must be out there. Shout them out in the comments!
This chicken will be going to France, where my college BFF resides with a collection of chickens, in a variety of media, that is curated on the principle of Well-Rounded Chickens Only. With her lovely French Blue patterning, Fancy Hen will make a perfect cushiony addition to the flock.
I’m particularly proud of the Kitchener (chickener!) stitch job on Fancy Hen’s back. I owe it all to Lorilee Beltman’s YouTube video on how to memorize Kitchener. It’s a gem!
I added the silk tassels to the tail after finding them when I was digging around in a drawer for stamps. I got them in Florence (Italy not Alabama), about 10 years ago. I only waited about two weeks between finishing the knitting and sewing on the beak, head ruffles, and button eyes, which may be a speed record.