Counting Sheep

Counting Sheep: a short story & Amigurumi Pattern by Karissa Cole

Pip (red 1) by Karissa Cole 2012 all rights reserved

The story:

Nothing.

Well.

No.

Not “nothing”. Half a gallon of orange juice, a jar of pickles, leftover chicken from last night – the fridge wasn’t empty. There was just nothing in there that would cure my insomnia.  But for some reason I stood there staring into the cold, bright void anyway. Perhaps I was hoping I could will something useful into existence if I stood there long enough.

When after three minutes nothing with high amounts of tryptophan magically appeared, I swung the refrigerator door closed and glanced at the clock on the microwave. 3:07 AM.

I leaned back and shut my eyes. Letting loose an exasperated sigh, I tried to figure out why decent shuteye had been so elusive lately. My neighbors hardly ever made a sound, so they were not to blame. And I’d always been mostly healthy with no medical history of sleep-impairing dysfunctions. Things were the same as always. So maybe I just had a lot on my mind and with my head so preoccupied with keeping things sorted and straight, it had no time to shut down and sleep. I thought about that for a moment and decided it was highly unlikely. Lately my brain seemed to have about as much going on as a TV with no cable connection; every channel portrayed nothing but static.

On the third night of no sleep I’d said to myself I was tired of it, and chuckled at the silly little pun. I had figured it would pass soon enough and my REM state would again return to me.  But now on night number eight with sleep still not anywhere in sight, I was really starting to fall apart. I rubbed my forehead trying to get rid of the fuzzy little headache between my eyes. It was then that I heard a soft creak come from the far end of the kitchen. I felt a sudden spike in adrenaline but quickly tried to stamp it down. It was probably just the house settling and I just needed to chill. I had been on edge lately anyway. But still. . . I wearily opened my exhausted eyes and looked around the dimly lit room.

I saw nothing. . .  at least at first.

As I looked I suddenly saw something moving near the front door. Fiercely I rubbed my eyes, hoping that I could rub away this rather frightening delusion I must be having. Opening my eyes I looked around the room once more, and it again looked normal; the deep shadows cast by the kitchen table, the chairs, and the counter did nothing to create a calming atmosphere, but I could no longer see anything moving within them.

Sighing again I pushed myself off the fridge I had been leaning against and started back toward my bedroom. Hearing things, seeing things – clearly my sanity could not take many more nights without sleep. I’d crawl back into bed and try for the thousandth time to drift off to sleep.

But trudging down the hallway I thought I heard more noises, little tiny shuffling sounds or whispers. I started to walk faster, trying to outrun them, but the faster I went the louder the noises got. It was as if they were following me.

Completely unconcerned about how crazy I was most certainly becoming I whipped around as I got to my bedroom door and flicked on a light to confront these noises. But when I turned around I saw nothing. And now the only sound I heard was my own heart beating at much too fast a pace. Shaking my head and telling myself it was all just my imagination, the result of an overly tired little brain, I was about to turn the light back off and collapse into my bed when I heard:

“Ahem.”

Stunned, I slowly looked down to see standing just a few feet in front of me were three small, slightly anthropomorphic sheep. No more than a foot tall, they were all sorts of cute, with their big brown eyes and great fluffy bodies, standing up on their two back legs as easily as any biped.

“Pardon me,” the one sheep who had spoken before said. His little helium voice was just about the cutest thing I had ever heard, which I might have in other circumstances commented on. But right now as I stared at the three little home invaders, mouth agape, I had other things on my mind. How did three sheep get in my house being one of them.

I tried to talk but I couldn’t seem to get my mouth to form any words. It must not have gotten over the shock yet. Thankfully Sheep Number 1 had something to say anyway:

“You’ll have to forgive us. We didn’t mean to frighten you.” he said. “It’s just that we’ve been out of work for a long time now, and we were a bit nervous is all.”

It was then I noticed that the other two sheep were standing close together behind Sheep Number 1 with, for lack of a better word, sheepish little grins on their black faces.

“Out of work?” I asked, as my mouth had apparently gotten over itself and managed to say something.

“Oh yes. It’s been a terrible shame, really. Years ago people would always come to us when they needed to sleep. But since the advent of those darn sleep aids,” all three of them shuddered briefly at that before he continued, “or even worse, people just not wanting sleep at all, well, there’s been no need for us. Some in the family have had to seek other means of employment. Cameron, Al, and I were so glad to hear that someone needed us though! I do hope we’re not too late.”

“Too late. . . for what?” I couldn’t help but think that had my brain been firing on all synapses I wouldn’t be having such a hard time processing this. Then again, I thought, since this is clearly an hallucination, if my brain were firing on all synapses I wouldn’t be having a conversation with miniature sheep.

“Too late to count us!” he said cheerfully in his adorably squeaky little voice. The two other sheep behind him -Cameron and Al he had called them- seemed to be warming up and stepped out, beaming brightly.

“Counting sheep. . .” I muttered, finally wrapping my brain around things. Sort of. “But there are only three of you.” I said pointedly.

“Ah, yes.” Sheep Number 1 said. “It’s true in the past there would be more of us. We’ve figured out a way around this, though.” He held up a waiting hoof as he and the other two got down on all fours and formed a neat line. When they were all in formation the first sheep leapt quite gracefully across the hall, shouting out “One!” as he went. As soon as he landed he scurried back to the end of the line while at the same time the second sheep leapt and shouted out “Two!” and then also scurried back to the line. They did this a few more times: sheep three yelled out “Three!” moving sheep one back to the front of the line where he then leapt and shouted out “Four!” followed, of course, by sheep two who yelled out “Five!” and so on.

When done their demonstration they gathered back together in front of me, slightly out of breath. Still on all fours they all looked up at me expectantly.

I fumbled around a bit for something to say. This was ridiculous. Wasn’t it? There was no way counting three little sheep jumping on repeat would help me sleep. Then again. . . I thought back to early yesterday morning when, due to my lack of sleep, I had left the stove on after breakfast and nearly burned down the house. I also thought about the day before when, drowsy from being unfortunately wide awake all night, I had left my tea atop my car as I headed to work and had to face a chorus of angry commuters wailing on their car horns as they had white tea and lemon spritzed all over their windshields.

Eight days. No sleep. Maybe it was time to give ridiculous a shot.

“So you’re here. . . to help me fall asleep?” I said.

“Yep.” Sheep 1 replied matter-of-factly.

I shrugged. “All right. I’ll give it a shot.”

The sheep bounced with excitement and smiled widely to each other.

“I’m Ned.” Sheep 1 said lifting a hoof. I leaned down and shook it. “Pleased to meet you, Ned,” I replied, almost positive I meant it.

“Just so you know,” he started quietly, “we won’t be booked up for quite a long time. We’d be more than happy to stick around here so that whenever you need some shuteye you’ll always have three sheep ready to help you out.”

I looked at each of their sweet, hopeful faces in turn.

“Ned, Cameron, Al,” I said. “I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.” I smiled at the gleaming little sheep, suddenly overcome with a great warm fuzzy feeling – that is, the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with three little sheep bestowing happy hugs.

They could finally do the job they wanted to do. And I would finally get some sleep. All in all, a win-win.
_____________________________________________________________

I have to admit I’ve been going crazy trying to get out a new amigurumi pattern this month. Originally I had planned to release a new pattern about three weeks ago, shortly after my Rescue Saturday post. Unfortunately I ran into several obstacles. At first my planned pattern was turning out too complicated so I moved onto another of my ami ideas but it came out. . .  wrong, so I moved onto another which irritated me so much (it was a bad week) I just wanted to frog it and all the icky irksome thoughts that had been entwined in the yarn. Thankfully I have an endless array of possible amigurumi ideas sitting patiently in my head, so I tried to start yet another project that I could post as a free pattern. It came out great! Being a freeformer though (I make things up as I go and write the pattern down afterward), I wanted to test the pattern to make sure it’d work okay. It did not. I haven’t given up on that pattern yet because it passed the “ooh-and-aww!” test, so it’s too cute to abandon. I’m sure I just need to tweak a few rounds here or there. But come to find out, I’m out of the 10mm eyes I like to use and they’re not in stock at my supplier. So I moved on to yet another amigurumi pattern. And that’s where we are today.

So finally, without further ranting, I present to you Counting Sheep: The Amigurumi Pattern:

PATTERN # 1 (this pattern has been designed with advanced amigurumi makers in mind)

Pip (5) by Karissa Cole 2012 all rights reserved

M A T E R I A L S  U S E D:

• Bernat Pipsqueak (5/bulky weight) in Whitey White for body, tail and head [less than 1 skein used]
• Red Heart Super Saver (4/worsted-medium weight) in Black for arms and legs [less than 1 skein used]
• Black felt for ears & face
• 9mm safety eyes [1 pair]
• Fiberfill stuffing
• Sewing supplies (scissors, pins, needles, thread)
• White embroidery thread (or pink or black)
• H/8 5.50MM hook for body, tail and head
• F/5 3.75MM hook for arms and legs

S U G G E S T E D  C O L O R  C O M B I N A T I O N S:

Black face & arms/feet with White head, body & tail (what I used)
Grey face & arms/feet with Black head, body & tail
Tan face & arms/feet with White head, body & tail

A B B R E V I A T I O N S:

MC – magic circle (magic loop/magic ring)
sc – single crochet(s)
dc – double crochet
hdc – half-double crochet
sl st – slip stitch
inc – increase
dec – decrease
ch – chain
*actions in asterisks should be repeated until round completion or to the indicated stopping point in the round*
(number in parentheses indicates total number of stitches after round/row completion)
FO – fasten off
RND – Round

H E A D (x1)

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *2sc, inc* (24)
RND 4) *3sc, inc* (30)
RND 5-9) *sc*
RND 10) *3sc, dec* (24)

At this point I recommend cutting out an oval from your felt for the face. Cut small slits in the felt for the eyes and insert. Stitch on mouth/nose. Also, cut out two triangles for the ears. Attach completed face (including eyes) & ears to head (sew or glue). You may wish to use hot/craft glue here, but I found by inserting the eyes into the felt and then into the head and securing with the washers the felt face stayed on fine. Also, if you haven’t already, begin stuffing now and continue to stuff during the last three rounds.

RND 11) *2sc, dec* (18)
RND 12) *sc, dec* (12)
RND 13) *dec* (6)
FO

B O D Y (x1) Stuff as you go.

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *2sc, inc* (24)
RNDs 4-8) *sc*
RND 9) *2sc, dec* (18)
RNDs 10-11) *sc*
RND 12) *sc, dec* (12)
RND 13) *sc*
FO

A R M S (x2)

MC 9
RNDs 1-3) *sc*
RND 4) [decrease by 3 stitches] *sc, dec* (6)
RNDs 5-7) *sc*
FO

L E G S (x2)

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *2sc, inc* (24)
RND 4-5) *sc*
RND 6) *2sc, dec* (18)
RNDs 7-8) *sc*
RND 9) *sc, dec* (12)
RNDs 10-11) *sc*

T A I L (x1)

CH 6
dc in 3rd ch from hook
hdc, sc, sl st
FO

See photos for suggested positioning of all pieces and attach accordingly.

ThreePip by Karissa Cole all rights reserved 2012

These pint-sized sheep work up fast and make great little companions. Whether you need a whole bunch to count on those nights when sleep seems out of reach or just one little sheep to keep you company, they’ll always be there for you!

Pipsqueak Sheep by Karissa Cole 2012 all rights reserved pattern pre 1

This is Pip, my little sheepy friend. He sits atop my desk reminding me that a good night’s sleep is never too far out of reach.
_______________________________

PATTERN # 2
This was actually my first attempt at a sheep pattern. It is radically different than pattern 1 posted above. This sheep is made to stand on all fours. To be honest I wasn’t entirely thrilled with the turnout and on top of that, unfortunately I could get no good photos so I don’t know how much good this pattern will be to anyone. But I thought I’d post it anyway. I did, after all, take the time to write it down and everything. Personally I recommend sticking with patter 1 above, but this is for the daredevil crocheters out there.

M A T E R I A L S  U S E D:

• Red Heart Super Saver (4/worsted-medium weight) in Black for head and feet & White for body and tail [less than 1 skein used each]
• [1 pair] large google eyes
• Fiberfill stuffing
• Sewing supplies (scissors, pins, needles)
• Hot glue
• G/7 4.50 MM hook
• Pet brush

S U G G E S T E D  C O L O R  C O M B I N A T I O N S:

Black head & feet/White body
Grey head & feet/Black body
Tan head & feet/White body

A B B R E V I A T I O N S:

MC – magic circle (magic loop/magic ring)
sc – single crochet(s)
inc – increase
dec – decrease
st(s) – stitch(es)
ch – chain
*actions in asterisks should be repeated until round completion or to the indicated stopping point in the round*
(number in parentheses indicates total number of stitches after round/row completion)
FO – fasten off
RND – Round,, worked in a spiral
ROW – Row, worked back and forth

E A R S (x2)

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) 4sc, turn
ROW 1) 3sc, turn
ROW 2) 2sc, ch1, turn
ROW 3) 2sc
FO

H E A D (x1) Worked from the bottom up

CH 6
starting in 2nd CH from hook, 5sc, CH 1, 5sc, CH 1 (12)
Work in the round from now on.
RND 1) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 2) *2sc, inc* (24)
RND 3) *3sc, inc* (30)
RND 4) *4sc, inc* (36)
RNDs 5-10) *sc*
RND 11) *4sc, dec* (30)
RND 12-13) *sc*
RND 14) *3sc, dec* (24)
RND 15-16) *sc*
RND 17) *dec* (12)

Attach eyes and ears.

B O D Y (x1) Stuff as you go.

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *2sc, inc* (24)
RND 4) *3sc, inc* (30)
RND 5) *4sc, inc* (36)
RND 6) *5sc, inc* (42)
RND 7) *6sc, inc* (48)
RND 8) *7sc, inc* (54)
RNDs 9-24) *sc*
RND 24) *7sc, dec* (48)
RND 25) *6sc, dec* (42)
RND 26) *5sc, dec* (36)
RND 27) *4sc, dec* (30)
RND 28) *3sc, dec* (24)
RND 29) *dec* (12)
RND 30) *dec* (6)
FO

Use the pet brush to “fuzz” the yarn. Simply brush (a lot) and watch your yarn turn into fuzzy, sheepy, goodness.

F E E T (x4)

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RNDs 3-6) *sc*
FO

T A I L (x1)

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RNDs 3-8) *sc*
FO. Flatten, fuzz, and attach to sheep.

** Please be sure to note that these are original designs and patterns. I believe in the free sharing of techniques and ideas. Please do not abuse my desire to share with others. You are not permitted to sell any products made as the result of these patterns and/or designs, nor are you permitted to sell the patterns or designs. Please, if you do use either of these patterns or designs in part or in whole, give credit where credit is due: direct others to this original posting so that they too can benefit.**

Pattern, design, photos, and story copyright Karissa Cole 2012. All rights reserved.

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  1. Hi! I have done your skittle pattern and also made an orca that is quite adorable! I want to make some sheep for my godson, but I was wondering how to start the legs. Thank you for sharing your lovely patterns and amusing stories!

    • Hi there! Glad to hear you’ve tried out some of my patterns. The legs are started with a magic circle just like the rest of the pieces.

      L E G S (make 2)

      MC 6
      RND 1) *inc* (12)
      RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
      RND 3) *2sc, inc* (24)
      RND 4-5) *sc*
      RND 6) *2sc, dec* (18)
      RNDs 7-8) *sc*
      RND 9) *sc, dec* (12)
      RNDs 10-11) *sc*

      Hopefully I cleared that up for you :)

        • Anonymous
        • March 5th, 2013

        Yup thank you! I’m pretty new to amigurumi, so I appreciate the help.

    • Anonymous
    • November 6th, 2013

    This is SUPER cute! It is probably the cutest one yet!! :P I can’t wait until I am good enough to make one.

    • Thank you! :) The trickiest part of this pattern is probably just managing to work with super fluffy yarn – it can be hard to see stitches! But thankfully the main pattern just consists of fluffy circles, so it’s not too bad xD

    • Amigurumi Lover
    • June 16th, 2015

    OMG this sheep is ADORABLE!!!! I can’t wait to make one!! I will probably end up using it for Father’s Day, since my dad loves sheep. :3 I’ll be sure to let you know if he likes this one!!!

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