A few years back, I shared an office with Ann Budd, and she brought in a piece of childhood knitting to share...except that this wasn't a misshapen scarf, or a lumpy set of mittens. This was a hobby horse, complete with I-cord reins and matching ears and a charming embroidered face, all based on a modified sock pattern.
Ann knit this bit of whimsical art when she was in the sixth grade, which by my reckoning, is about age eleven. Ann spent that year in Switzerland with her family, where her new Swiss teacher Frau Kruger was appalled to find an eleven-year-old girl who did not know how to knit (apparently all Swiss girls learned to knit at a very early age). Frau Kruger set about rectifying this unimaginable lack of womanly skills as soon as possible, and before long, Ann was knitting socks with all her classmates. But socks in the imaginations of eleven-year-old girls quickly became hobby horses, decorated according to each girl's dreams and fantasies. It's clear that Ann still treasures hers.
That hobby horse decorated our office for quite a long time, and I would give his nose a gentle pat every time I passed his perch near the bookshelf. I remember asking Ann if she could write down the pattern for that horse, and she would laugh and say, "You'll have to get in line--half the building has already asked me that!"
Well, I guess enough of us must have bugged her about that pattern, because it's finally here! I was overjoyed to find it included in the pages of Ann's new book, Knitted Gifts...that is, I was overjoyed until I started counting my nephews and nieces...because there is NO WAY I'd be allowed to knit just ONE hobby horse, I'd have to knit one for each and every one of them, in different colors, with different manes and personalities and names....oy. I'd be knitting hobby horses for the rest of my life.
I could knit Just One, I suppose: just one for myself. But then I might be thought odd...or even selfish.
Wait a minute...what if I knitted just one hobby horse, and she lived at my house, and the nieces and nephews could all play with her when they visited Auntie Sandi and Uncle Nicholas?
Sounds like a plan to me.
There are about 30 other equally imaginative and fabulous patterns--for everyone from baby to favorite uncle--in Knitted Gifts, available as a pre-order from our website--or ask your local yarn shop to order it for you.
Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily. She is now the author of the popular Knitting Daily blog: What's on Sandi's Needles.
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