Thursday, October 11, 2007

How to turn a Sheep into a Pumpkin

I’ve always been inspired by transformation. It’s amazing to me that something can start as one thing, and with a few tweaks and pulls, can become something completely and utterly different. Perhaps that’s why I am so fascinated with the endless possibilities that come from felting. To back up a bit, felting is the process of transforming wool (that’s where the sheep comes in) into a fabric. There are several ways to do this, and one of them is wet felting. When hot water and agitation come into contact with wool fibers, the fibers puff up, unroll themselves, send out tiny woolly tendrils that grab onto each other and bind together tightly. Synthetic fibers don’t do this, so I like to think that because the wool is from an animal, that is how it is able to transform itself. Almost magically, it gives life to another product.

As Summer transformed itself into Fall, I got thinking about pumpkins, and how could I make a felted one? Here’s how this one came to be:

First, I wanted my pumpkin to look as real as possible. Because pumpkins aren’t just orange, I found a solid colored pumpkin yarn and combined it with a variegated yarn that had oranges, orangy-reds and yellows. Next I needed to figure out the pattern. There were two features to pumpkins that were important to me to recreate: the vertical shading and the indentations. To do that, I could not knit this pumpkin in the round, the way I do many of my bowls, or the striping would go across. I knit 8 segments in stockinette stitch, adding stitches here and decreasing there so that it would curve. Each segment looks a bit like a banana cut in half from end to end. In piecing it, I sewed it so that the purl sides would be on the outside. If the knit sides were facing out, you would be able to see the knitted “v”s of the stitches, which isn’t very pumpkinny!

The stem is also two shades of yarn knit together. These are four pieces, sewn together half-way into a box. The half of the box that isn’t sewn together flares out over the pumpkin. I left a lot of loose yarn on the stem, which felted into a the few scraggly bits of dried stem a lot of pumpkins have.

After running the pumpkin through the washing machine a few times, I stuffed it with plastic grocery bags through the top of the stem. Many trips to the grocery store are stuffed inside that pumpkin! To get it nice and tight, I worked as many bags in as I could, stuffing them down with the dull end of a knitting needle. All it needed after that was a week to dry, and then: Voila! A pumpkin!

(Now if only I could turn this pumpkin into a coach – my daughter would be thrilled)

Project and article by Lynne Parella of Cozy Cottage Creations
You can see and purchase this pumpkin on directly from Lynne's Etsy shop


  1. What a great pumpkin and I love that you recycled your grocery bags as stuffing!!!


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