Tag Archives: lantana tutu ballet toy tiny sock mini Hippo purple Disney Dancing of the Hours Knit Picks Stroll sock fingering yarn kataish devilishone House

The Hippo of the Hour

So, my friend’s husband came out with a new knitting pattern on Ravelry that is very cute. It’s called House Hippo, and it only requires 5-6 grams of fingering weight yarn, which is about the same amount as you find in a “sock mini,” which are all the rage for people who like to make sock yarn square blankets.

Naturally, I felt driven to make myself a hippo. A purple hippo. I’m not sure why, it was a total whim, but I wanted to. My hippo is inspired by the wonderful Disney movie Fantasia. There is this wonderful scene that signals the beginning of my favorite portion of the film. I would actually watch that segment over and over again as a child. Ostrichs and hippos dance in ballet shoes, there is a dramatic scene with dancing crocodiles, elephants, and then the music fades and the shy, brightly-colored centaurs come out. The hippos dance to a famous ballet piece called Dance of the Hours. The tune was popularized in modern music by Allen Sherman’s parody, “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh.” Anyways, the idea of knitting a hippo in a tutu stuck in my head and I knew I had to whip one up.

I have discovered that I’m not the hugest fan of knitting very tiny toys. I think I just don’t have the patience for it. The pattern wasn’t a problem at all, but my attention span sure was. Only the fact that I wanted to get this done as a gift propelled me along. Of course, I couldn’t resist making slight changes to the original pattern, in part because I wanted my hippo snout to be more “hippo-like” and in part because I was lazy and wanted to finish it quickly. My pretty purple hippo was made using Knit Picks Stroll sock yarn in the nice, warm light purple color called Lantana. I think the new sock yarn from Knit Picks is fabulous. It is super-soft and stretchy and just a dream to work with.

First off,  it’s important to know that the cast-on area is where the neck of the hippo is located. I followed the pattern until Row 3, where, instead of knitting a full inch-long tube, I only knit half an inch of St st.  That is the hippo’s head, which is smaller than the nose of the hippo. For the actual snout, I first decreased six times, twice on each needle, by k2tog at the beginning and end of each needle. That left me with 18 stitches. In the very next row, I increased six times, kfb at the beginning and end of each needle, which pushed me back up to the head’s normal size of 24 stitches. But I wanted the snout to be larger than the head, so I repeated that 6-stitch increase in the next row. With 30 stitches total, I knit for 3/4 of an inch. Then I followed the decrease instructions as normal.

Instead of having a separate head and body, I simply picked up six stitches around the open neck hole and start casting on the body from there. After sewing all of the details on my hippo’s head, I stuffed it gently. Then I picked up and knit the six stitches, and then pulled everything really tight to make the neck smaller and more natural -looking. In the next row I moved up to ten stitches using the handy-dandy kfb stitch. Then I starting following the pattern again for the body.

I did the feet differently than the pattern called for, stuffing the insides of the I-cord with a wee bit of that fake stuffing (which I stole from my mother). The original feet look like they are better made, but I find I-cord to be exceedingly boring and annoying, and I really just wanted to get this little hippo finished. The good thing is, her feet now make her look like she is plie-ing, so it fits with my final design idea! I nabbed a bit of tulle and stitched it around her waist, so she really is a hippo in a tutu!

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