In the June 2014 edition, the pattern was for a Peruvian Llama, with chullo hat and poncho.
|This photo is from the original pattern at https://www.alandart.co.uk/peruvian-llama/|
I have a considerable stash of yarn so the colours for the hat and poncho were not a concern but I needed to buy the specific yarn for the llama - correction, alpaca - body. Then I had to wait for it to arrive. Patience is never really a strong suit of mine and I just wanted to get on with making it. I had colours, I had needles, I had the pattern - so I began with the alpaca accessories and set to on the poncho.
Whilst the instructions to follow are laid out clearly, that does not mean the knitting was easy. You will recall in the previous story I mentioned about working with multiple yarns at a time. Well this was not so complex as that but the item was considerably smaller and thus a tad fiddly. I took my time and checked it as I went along. On the first attempt, I messed it up. The crosses that you can see to the top of the poncho did not initially turn out like crosses. I think I made an error due to confusing myself as I needed to make stitch decreases as well as colour changes. Whatever the reason, it was undone and reknitted - just that section, not the whole poncho. Once it was all knitted, the fringe had to be added. That is a seriously time consuming effort but well worth it.
By the time I completed the poncho, the body yarn had arrived so thoughts of the chullo hat were set aside and the alpaca body was started. I was fascinated as I knitted at how it was possible to come up with the pattern I was following. The changes to make the chest puff out were simple and yet so clever in the effect it had on the knitted piece and this became more apparent once it was sewn up. I will not bore you with all the clever pattern nuances but I will tell you though that the legs are made such that the llama/alpaca stands steadily due to some ingenuity involving drinking straws. Suffice to say it was a joy to make and intellectually stimulating too. Even the stuffing needs attention to make sure it shapes the toy appropriately. Mr Dart is a very talented designer!
As mentioned, my friend requested an alpaca not a llama so some minor adjustment was required for the ears. I knitted the original pattern to see the size then worked out, of course with the aid of my trusted graph paper, an alpaca ear design. I think it worked well because when I took the completed alpaca in to her, adorned with poncho and chullo hat, she was over the moon.
|The first alpaca|
|Alpaca with bespoke hat and poncho|
|A llama with a hat|
I still occasionally get asked to make a llama or an alpaca, the most recent being last summer. Some have fringes on their ponchos, some do not. It is all a matter of choice, as are the colours used. Here is a small selection of others I have made. I hope they make you smile too.