Make your own hand-felted reindeer finger puppets for Christmas



Ho, ho, ho! These cute reindeer finger puppets double as wine bottle toppers.

Words and photos: Jane Wrigglesworth

MATERIALS

For the body, hat and scarf, you need:
3mm knitting needles
No. 4 crochet hook (for scarf)
8-ply acrylic yarn in red
Scrap yarn in contrasting colour for scarf
Small red pompoms (or make your own, see below)
Yarn needle (for casting off)

For the felted head, you need:
Corriedale wool slivers for felting (look for a smoky colour for the head and a tan colour for the accents)
Felting needle
Felting pad (or a piece of upholstery foam)
Black embroidery thread


THE KNITTED BODY

Cast on 16 stitches.
Rows 1-4: k1, p1

Then work following 16 rows (or until the body measures 5.5cm from bottom edge) in st st (k one row, p one row).

Next row: k2tog, k4, k2tog, k2tog, k4, k2tog (12 stitches).

Next row: p2tog, p2, p2tog, p2tog, p2, p2tog (8 stitches).

Cut the yarn, leaving a long tail, then thread the tail through the remaining stitches using a yarn needle. Remove the knitting needle and pull the tail tight to gather the top. Then stitch the body together on the wrong side using the yarn needle and tail. Cut tail end, then turn body right side out.


THE KNITTED HOOD

Cast on 5 stitches.
Row 1: k.
Row 2: p.
Row 3: Cast on 1, k to end (6 stitches).
Row 4: p.
Row 5: Cast on 1, k to end (7 stitches).
Row 6: p.
Row 7: Cast on 1, k to end (8 stitches).
Row 8: p.
Row 9: Cast on 1, k to end (9 stitches).
Row 10: p.
Row 11: k.
Row 12: p.
Row 13: k2tog, k to end (8 stitches).
Row 14: p.
Row 15: (work hole for antler) k2tog, k4, cast off 1, k1, cast off 1, k1 (5 stitches).
Row 16: p2, cast on 2, p3 (7 stitches).
Row 17 k2tog, k to end (6 stitches).
Row 18: p.
Row 19: k.
Row 20: p.
Row 21: Cast on 1, k to end (7 stitches).
Row 22: (work hole for antler) p4, cast off 1, p1, cast off 1, p2 (5 stitches).
Row 23: k3, cast on 2, k2 (7 stitches).
Row 24: p.
Row 25: Cast on 1, k to end (8 stitches).
Row 26: p.
Row 27: Cast on 1, k to end (9 stitches).
Row 28: p.
Row 29: k.
Row 30: k2tog, knit to end (8 stitches).
Row 31: p.
Row 32: k2tog, knit to end (7 stitches).
Row 33: p.
Row 34: k2tog, knit to end (6 stitches).
Row 35: p.
Row 36: k2tog, k to end (5 stitches).
Cast off.

Use the tail to stitch the body and hood together.


CROCHETED SCARF AND POMPOMS

Pompoms
You can buy mini pompoms from craft stores or make your own. Wrap yarn around a ruler 14 times. Pull off the end, holding the middle. Tie the middle with matching coloured thread. Pull tight. While pompom is still flat, trim edges so pompom measures 1-1.5cm in diameter. Fluff out pompom and trim any irregularities.

Scarf
Using the crochet hook, chain stitch a contrasting coloured yarn 16cm long. Hand-stitch the pompoms to the scarf ends.

 


FELTED HEAD

1. Pull off a large amount of the smoky wool roving, roughly shape it into an oval, place on the felting pad and punch the fibres with the felting needle until you have a dense, firm head about 4.5cm long and 3cm wide. Hold the needle upright, not on a slant, or it may break. Turn the head over and around as you go to make it smooth and compact on all sides.

2. Pull off small pieces of tan roving for the nose and eye areas and punch the fibres into the head with the felting needle.

3. Felt two antlers and two ears.

4. Using 3 black embroidery threads, embroider the eyes, a nose and mouth. You can tie a knot at the bottom or back of the head as the hood will cover it.


MAKING UP 


Place the head in the hood, pulling and stretching the hood to fit. Cut a piece of red yarn, unravel it and – using one strand – stitch the hood to the head so that the hood doesn’t move. A simple stitch from the top of the head and hood out through the bottom of the head and hood should be suffice, but try the puppet on your finger to make sure the head doesn’t flop to the side or back. If it does, stitch it firmly in place.
Needle-felt the antlers into the holes in the hood. Needle-felt the ears onto the hood.
Tie on the scarf.

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