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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Knit Farm Play Mat

We have yet another birthday this month.  Skimmer turns 2.  Continuing my current trend of giving handmade gifts, I've decided to knit him a play mat to go with our Schleich farm animals.

I'm more of a process knitter than a pattern knitter, so this play mat pattern is more of a "suggestion" than a recipe.  You can, of course, knit these sections in any order that you'd like or follow my layout, which I've included below.  Also, if you really like color work, you can knit the entire thing as one piece.  I've chosen to knit the big pieces in strips first and then to add the "road" strips to connect it all together.

Colors
My play mat is made of cheap yarn and stuff I had around the house.  Because of the choice to use what was easy, my play mat looks a bit like a coloring book page.  Most of the playscapes that I linked below chose much milder, earthy colors.  It's up to you.  I used:
- I Love This Wool Cocoa
- Simply Soft Kelly Green
- Red Heart Delft Blue
- Red Heart Grey Heather
- Red Heart Spring Green
- Red Heart Cornmeal
- Red Heart Shaded Greens

Patterns

Hay Field: Cast on 42 stitches.
            Row 1: Knit
            Row 2: *K7, P7* end K7
            Row 3: *P7, K7* end P7
            Row 4-7: repeat rows 1 and 2
            Row 8: Knit across
            Row 9: *P7, K7* end P7
            Row 10: *K7, P7* end K7
            Row 11-14: repeat rows 9 and 10
Continue pattern until the field is roughly a square or whatever size you desire.

Pasture:  Cast on even number of stitches.
            Row 1: *K1, P1* to the end
            Row 2: *P1, K1* to the end
Repeat pattern until the pasture is roughly a square or whatever size you want.  This is where I have chosen to place my stream and pond.  The water was knit in stocking stitch.  Placement of the water pieces is up to you.

Road:  Cast on any number of stitches.
            Knit in stocking stitch.  My roads are about 2.5" wide.

Plowed Field:  Cast on any number of stitches.
            Row 1: Knit across
            Row 2: Purl across
            Row 3: K
            Row 4: P
            Row 5: K
            Row 6: K
            Row 7: P
Repeat pattern until field is the size you want.

Meadow:  Cast on an odd number of stitches (although you can adapt it to even stitches)
            Row 1 (and all odd rows): Knit across
            Row 2: *K1, K1b* end K1
            Row 3: Knit
            Row 4: *K1b, K1* end K1b

            *K1b means to "knit 1 below."  See description and original pattern here.

Pig Pen:  Cast on an even number of stitches.
            Row 1: *K2, P2*
            Row 2: *P2, K2*
            Row 3: *P2, K2*
            Row 4: *K2, P2*
The other feature of my pig pen is the pockets for the pigs to frolic.  These are made by casting off a certain number of stitches and then casting them back on.  Unfortunately, you have to cut the yarn for each cast on, which leaves you a lot of extra tails to tuck in.  You can put in as many or as few pockets as you wish.

Duck Pond:  Cast on any number of stitches.
            The pond section is knit like the pasture section above.  I have also chosen to add pockets in  the pond for the ducks.  The exact pattern of the piece is something you're going to have to make up for yourself.

Green Fields:  Cast on any number of stitches.
            Row 1: *K1, P1* to the end
            Row 2: Knit across
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until the piece is the size that you want.  The neat thing about this pattern is that it looks like two different patterns from either size.  If you knit the "K1, P1" row on the fabrics right side, you get one look.  If you knit the "knit across" row on the front, then the pattern looks totally different.

Connecting Roads:  Cast on any number of stitches
              Work in stocking stitch, picking up stitches from your worked pieces of fabric to connect all three of the parts together.  Take care to line everything up and not to twist stitches.  It may be helpful to pin the two worked fabrics together to aid with the matching up.

Finishing:  Sew all the pieces together and tuck in the tails (I think I had about 50).  I chose to back my mat with felt.  It made it thick for sewing it all together but it also gave the mat some weight and helps it not to stretch too much.

This post was inspired by the following blog posts
- Doting on Deirdre (specifically the idea of mounting the mat on fabric)
- The Five of Us (love all the textures)
- Fun at Home with Kids (this is felt but this inspired the pockets)
- Left-Over Knits (veggie garden)
- Handwork Homeschool (texture)


2 comments:

  1. Your playmat looks wonderful! Thanks for visiting my (long neglected) site.

    ReplyDelete

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