I guess it isn't surprising that a knitter has an affinity for sheep. Obviously, some sort of kinship must exist with the animal whose wool provides daily enjoyment (and employment!). So as predictable as it may be, I will say it anyway... I love sheep. They are a funny creature with a neurotic voice and a body perfect for graphic adaptation.

I love their bulbous bellies and knobbly knees, their googly eyes and pointy ears. I love how they amble about in groups, looking like earth-bound clouds. And it goes without saying, but I love what they gift us... don't worry,I'm not about to type "mutton." I mean, of course, their wool!

A dear friend pointed out that it may be a bit snake-eating-its-own-tail, but anyway, I had to make one... I had to make a sheep, made out of sheep.

With the softest, loftiest, creamiest yarn I could find and the most dramatic, nobbiest  texture I could create, I knit up this squishable, squeezable, nursery-rhyme version of every knitter's best pal. Bursting with bobbles, this sheep practically implores you to cuddle.

Incredibly soft to the touch, Purl Soho's Super Soft Merino could not have been more appropriate for this project, right down to its color name, Heirloom White. Your own Bobble Sheep Pillow is sure to be loved by many generations to come!

Materials

Get all the yarn you'll need to make your own Bobble Sheep pillow with the Yarn to Complete the Bobble Sheep Pillow kit. It includes..

You'll also need...

Gauge

3 stitches = 1 inch in garter stitch using Super Soft Merino on US #11 needles

7 stitches = 1 inch in stockinette stitch using Sport Weight Alpaca on US #3 needles

Size

19 inches from chest to tail

14 inches from top of back to bottom of belly

Notes

k3tog [knit 3 together]: This is a right-slanting double decrease. Insert right needle into next three stitches as if to knit. Knit all three stitches together as if they were one stitch. (2 stitches decreased)

MB [Make Bobble]: Knit into the next stitch, leaving it on the left needle, [(yarn over, knit 1) into same stitch] two times. Turn work (wrong side is facing you), k5, turn work (right side is facing you), k2tog and return stitch to left needle, slip remaining three stitches of bobble over the k2tog stitch, knit that stitch, returning it to the right needle. For a full-photo tutorial on how to make this particular bobble, please click here.

sk2p [slip 1, k2tog, psso]: This is a left-slanting double decrease. Slip 1 purlwise, knit 2 together, pass the slipped stitch over the knit stitch and off the needle. (2 stitches decreased)

Pattern

Body

Begin at the Belly

With the larger double pointed needles and the Main Yarn, use the Provisional Cast On method to cast on 46 stitches.

Place marker and join for working in the round being careful not to twist stitches.

Round 1: Knit.

Round 2: [P21, place a marker that is a different color than the end-of-the-round marker, k2] two times.

Round 3: Knit.

Round 4: [Purl to next marker, slip marker (sm), k2] two times.

Increasing to Shape the Body

NOTE: Change to circular needles when necessary.

(Increasing every round) 

Round 5: [M1L, k2, *make bobble (MB), k3, repeat from * to 3 stitches before next marker, MB, k2, m1R, sm, k2] two times. (4 stitches increased)

Round 6: [M1L, purl to next marker, m1R, sm, k2] two times. (4 stitches increased)

Repeat Rounds 5 and 6 three more times. (78 stitches)

(Increasing every other round)

Round 7: [K2, *MB, k3, repeat from * to 3 stitches before next marker, MB, k2, sm, k2] two times.

Round 8: [M1L, purl to next marker, m1R, sm, k2] two times. (4 stitches increased)

Round 9: [K1, *MB, k3, repeat from * to 2 stitches before next marker, MB, k1, sm, k2] two times.

Round 10: Repeat Round 8.

Round 11: [*MB, k3, repeat from * to 1 stitch before next marker, MB, sm, k2] two times.

Round 12: Repeat Round 8.

Round 13: [K3, *MB, k3, repeat from * to 4 stitches before next marker, MB, k3, sm, k2] two times.

Round 14: Repeat Round 8. (94 stitches)

Continue Working Evenly

Round 15: [K2, *MB, k3, repeat from * to 3 stitches before next marker, MB, k2, sm, k2] two times.

Round 16: [Purl to next marker, sm, k2] two times.

Round 17: [*MB, k3, repeat from * to 1 stitch before next marker, MB, sm, k2] two times.

Round 18: Repeat Round 16.

Repeat Rounds 15-18 two more times.

Decreasing for the Neck and Tail

NOTE: Change to double pointed needles when necessary.

Round 19: K2, *MB, k3, repeat from * to 3 stitches before next marker, sk2p (see Pattern Notes above), sm, k2, k3tog (see Pattern Notes above), **k3, MB, repeat from ** to 2 stitches before next marker, k2, sm, k2. (90 stitches, 4 stitch decrease at head)

Round 20: K2tog, purl to 3 stitches before next marker, sk2p, sm, k2, k3tog, purl to 2 stitches before next marker, ssk, sm, k2. (6 stitches decreased: 2 at tail, 4 at head)

Round 21: K3, *MB, k3, repeat from * to 5 stitches before next marker, MB, k1, sk2p, sm, k2, k3tog, k1, **MB, k3, repeat from ** to 4 stitches before next marker, MB, k3, sm, k2. (80 stitches, 4 stitches decreased at head)

Round 22: Repeat Round 20. (74 stitches)

Round 23: *MB, k3, repeat from * to 3 stitches before next marker, MB, k2, sm, k4, **MB, k3, repeat from ** to 1 stitch before next marker, MB, sm, k2.

Round 24: [K2tog, purl to 2 stitches before next marker, ssk, sm, k2] two times. (4 stitches decreased: 2 at tail, 2 at head)

Round 25: K1, *MB, k3, repeat from * to next marker, sm, k5, **MB, k3, repeat from ** to 2 stitches before next marker, MB, k1, sm, k2.

Round 26: Repeat Round 24. (66 stitches)

Round 27: K2tog, *MB, k3, repeat from * to 1 stitch before next marker, MB, sm, k2, **MB, k3, repeat from ** to 3 stitches before next marker, MB, ssk, sm, k2. (64 stitches, 2 stitches decreased at tail)

Round 28: Repeat Round 24. (60 stitches)

Round 29: K2tog, *MB, k3, repeat from * to 2 stitches before next marker, MB, k1, sm, **k3, MB, repeat from ** to 2 stitches before next marker, ssk, sm, k2. (58 stitches, 2 stitches decreased at tail)

Round 30: Repeat Round 24. (54 stitches)

Round 31: K2tog, *MB, k3, repeat from * to 3 stitches before next marker, MB, k2, sm, k4, **MB, k3, repeat from ** to 3 stitches before next marker, MB, ssk, sm, k2. (52 stitches, 2 stitches decreased at tail)

Round 32: Repeat Round 24. (48 stitches)

Round 33: K2tog, *MB, k3, repeat from * to next marker, sm, k5, **MB, k3, repeat from ** to 3 stitches before next marker, MB, ssk, sm, k2. (46 stitches, 2 stitches decreased at tail)

Remove beginning of round marker and slip the last stitch of the last round onto the left needle.

Cut yarn, leaving an approximately 35-inch tail.

Divide the stitches in half, sliding 23 stitches to each end of the circular needle or arranging them onto two double pointed needles.

Holding the needles parallel to each other, use the Kitchener Stitch to graft together the two sides of the Bobble Sheep's back.

Weave in the ends.

NOTE: You will notice in the pictures that I next stuffed the Sheep and used the Kitchener Stitch once again to graft together the two sides of the Belly. It would be easier, however, to make the Face, the Ears and the Tail before stuffing the Sheep and grafting its Belly.

Head and Ears

Orienting the Sheep right side up and pretending for a moment that it is a clock, the Neck is the slanted area from about 9:30 to 11:30. Using the Contrast Yarn and the smaller double pointed needles, pick up 92 stitches around the stripe of stockinette stitches at the Neck.

To do this, start at the left bottom of the neck, pick up 3 stitches in each of the next fifteen stitches along the left side of the neck, two stitches along the top, rotate the sheep and pick up 3 stitches in each of the fifteen stitches along the right side. (To pick up 3 stitches in one stitch, pick up and knit one stitch, yarn over, bring the needle back into the same stitch and knit to pick up another stitch.)

Place a marker and join for working in the round.

Set-up Round: K16, place a different color marker, k30, place a different color marker, k30, place a different color marker, knit to end of round.

Round 1: K1, m1L, knit to first marker, sm, k2tog, knit to 2 stitches before next marker, ssk, sm, k2tog, knit to 2 stitches before next marker, ssk, sm, knit to last stitch, m1R, k1. (2 stitches decreased)

Round 2: Knit to first marker, sm, k2tog, knit to two before third marker, ssk, sm, knit to end of round. (2 stitches decreased)

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 five more times. (68 stitches)

Round 3: Knit to first marker, sm, k2tog, knit to 2 stitches before next marker, ssk, sm, k2tog, knit to 2 stitches before next marker, ssk, sm, knit to end of round. (4 stitches decreased)

Repeat Rounds 2 and 3. (58 stitches)

Repeat Round 2 one more time. (56 stitches)

Round 4: K2tog, knit to first marker, sm, k2tog, knit to 2 stitches before next marker, ssk, sm, k2tog, knit to 2 stitches before next marker, ssk, sm, knit to last 2 stitches, ssk. (6 stitches decreased)

Repeat Round 4, removing first and third marker. (44 stitches)

Round 5: K2tog, knit to 2 stitches before next marker, ssk, sm, k2tog, knit to last 2 stitches, ssk. (4 stitches decreased)

Repeat Round 5 two more times. (32 stitches)

Cut yarn leaving an approximately 15-inch tail.

Divide stitches in half, placing the first 16 stitches on the first double pointed needle and the second 16 stitches on the second double pointed needle. Use Kitchener Stitch to graft together the two sides of the Head.

Weave in the ends.

Make the Right Ear

Using the Contrast Yarn and the smaller double pointed needles, pick up 18 stitches for the Right Ear (the ear on the right, if looking at the sheep).

To do this, count four stitches down from the top, right side of the Sheep's Head (just above a bobble). Pick up 3 stitches in this stitch, and in the next two stitches above it (9 stitches so far). Then rotate the sheep and pick up 3 stitches in each of the stitches directly across from those you just picked up, working back towards the starting point. (18 stitches)

**Place marker and join for working in the round.

Knit 4 rounds. At the end of the fourth round, remove marker and turn work. You will no longer knit in the round, but back and forth in rows, turning the work at the end of each row.

Row 1 (inside of ear): Purl.

Row 2 (outside of ear): Knit.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2.

Repeat Row 1.

Next Row: K1, ssk, knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1. (2 stitches decreased)

Next Row: Purl.

Repeat last two rows 6 more times. (4 stitches)

Next Row: Ssk, k2tog. (2 stitches)

Bind off purlwise.

Weave in your ends.

Make the Left Ear

Making the Left Ear (the ear on the left, if looking at the sheep) is very similar to making the Right Ear. The only difference is where you pick up the stitches.

Find the bobble across from the bobble you used as the starting point for the Right Ear. Pick up 3 stitches in each of the next three stitches above that bobble. Rotate the sheep and pick up 3 stitches in each of the next three stitches along the side of the Sheep's Head, working back towards the starting point. (18 stitches)

Repeat steps under Make the Right Ear starting at **.

Tail

With Main Yarn and the larger double pointed needles, pick up 12 stitches as shown above. Facing the Sheep's rear, locate the left side of the left stitch that is 5 stitches down from the end of the Sheep's back. Starting there, pick up 5 stitches up the left side, 2 stitches along the ridge of the Sheep's back and 5 stitches down the right side the Sheep's rear. (12 stitches)

Knit 4 rows.

Next Row: Bind off 1, knit to end. (1 stitch decreased)

Repeat last row 3 more times. (8 stitches)

Bind off.

Legs

NOTE: Before you make the Legs, stuff the Sheep loosely, then pick up the stitches from the Provisional Cast On, divide them in half and use the Kitchener Stitch to graft the Belly closed.

Using the Contrast Yarn and the smaller double pointed needles, pick up 26 stitches at one end of the Sheep's Belly, as shown above. To do this, pick up 3 stitches in each of the 4 stitches along one side of the Belly (12 stitches), pick up 1 stitch along the center of the Belly, rotate the sheep and pick up 12 stitches along the other side of the Belly and one last stitch along the center. (26 stitches)

Place marker and join for working in the round.

Round 1: [K12, p1] two times.

Repeat Round 1 until Leg measures 4 inches from the pick up round.

Next Round: [K11, ssk] two times. (24 stitches)

Cut yarn, leaving a 10-inch tail.

Divide stitches in half, placing the first 12 stitches on one double pointed needle and the second 12 stitches on a second double pointed needle. Use Kitchener Stitch to graft together the two sides of the Leg.

Make a second Leg at the other end of the Sheep's Belly.

Weave in your ends and you are all finished with your Bobble Sheep!