Move over tiny sheep, there’s a new tiny fiber animal in Mochimochi Land! (Just kidding, sheep, you can stay.)
Tiny alpaca have arrived in pattern form just in time for Easter or your springtime celebration of choice!
Just how tiny are tiny alpaca?
This pattern incorporates short rows (using the wrap & turn method) to get that perfectly alpaca shape, plus an inside-out technique for a purl-tastic coat with no purling required. Other techniques include I-cord and picking up stitches. All that, and you can still finish in a couple of hours!
Short rows can be an intimidating prospect if you’ve never tried them before, but they really are very simple. The Purl Bee has a clear tutorial, which might be where I learned it to begin with myself.
I find that the hardest part of short rows is just keeping track of where you are, and not losing count. This isn’t such a big deal with a small project like tiny alpaca—just don’t stop partway through doing a set of short rows to check your email, like I did. You will lose track!
As with the tiny sheep, I felt that the stakes were high with this pattern, because knitters know an alpaca when they see one. And even though short rows are pretty easy to do, I don’t totally know what I’m doing when I incorporate them in a design, so it took a few tries before I got it right. My imperfect practice alpaca:
Neck is too thick and bowed on the bottom one, neck is too skinny and weak on the top one. (But they’re beautiful in their own unique legless way, of course!)
The one thing I was certain of when I designed these guys was that I wanted to use alpaca yarn to make them. My LYS Windy Knitty came through with fingering-weight Titus by baa ram ewe, which worked great in combination with Cascade Heritage for the face and legs. Titus is not an inexpensive yarn, but if you’re really into alpaca you can make 40 or 50 alpaca with one skein, so that’s a bargain. And of course, any basic fingering-weight yarn will work great for this pattern—and you don’t even have to use fingering-weight yarn, for that matter. All tiny patterns can scale up!
I’m hoping we’ll have an animation starring tiny alpaca one of these days. For now, you can purchase the pattern as a PDF download from the Mochimochi Shop!