Guest Post: Rudolph, That Mighty Little Reindeer

I love the p/hop principle: give pennies for the hours of pleasure you’ve had from knitting up a pattern. Over the years, however, knitters have found all kinds of other ways to raise p/hop pennies. We’ve knitted up blanket squares and raffled the result at yarn shows. We’ve organised yarn swaps and competitions. And sometimes, we’ve knitted items for non-knitters so that they too can donate in exchange for the pleasure they’ve received from them.

That’s what I did with Rudolph. For three years in a row, I offered to knit up to a dozen Rudolphs for friends, in exchange for p/hop donations. I was overwhelmed by their generosity. I haven’t got the exact numbers but with this mighty little reindeer we raised several hundred pounds. They are perfect little stocking fillers and I defy anyone not to fall in love with his cheeky smile and big bright red nose.

Distilling the ‘essence of reindeer’ into a small, simple knitted toy is a difficult thing to do, but Rudolph, That Reindeer does it perfectly. The clever construction of the triangular pyramid for the body is always fun to knit, and Judith Baser’s well-written pattern offers alternatives for those not comfortable with Kitchener stitch or who prefer a provisional cast-on to avoid seams. Antlers, ears, legs and hooves fly off the needles with carefully worked-out cast-on and cast off techniques to make whole thing unmistakeably reindeer. The piece de resistance, of course, is Rudolph’s oversized red nose.

I used to run it like a factory line, using several different shades of brown yarn to give a variety of finished Rudolphs, as I knitted all my bodies, then carefully counted how many ears, antlers, legs, hooves and noses were needed. I made most of mine in DK yarn, but it was also fun to knit a couple of baby Rudolphs using sock yarn and smaller needles. They are quick to complete and so satisfying to line up when they’re done.

Why not give it a go this year and see if some of your friends would love a cheeky little reindeer to cheer up their Christmas?

Ros Clarke

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