Sometimes swallows make spring and so do little hens !
These chubby little hens knit up quickly with leftovers yarns and are perfect for creating a cute and festive atmosphere. And when they hide a chocolate egg, it’s even more fun :))
This is a very quick project (it takes 20/30 minutes per hen and 15 minutes for the finishing touches) and is very simple to knit flat with a small final seam. The most complicated part may be the crest to crochet, but two rows of knitted garter stitch may also do the trick if you’re a little afraid of crochet. The explanations detail how to crochet a cute little crest with 4 picots but I also had fun making some fancy variations because chickens have the right to be different too 🙂 I hope that you will also have fun giving them colours and that they will make your beloved ones happy!
Thank you to my grandmother and my mother for sharing their recipe with me so you can enjoy it!
Yarn : Gilliatt (French Merino from Arles and Black Portuguese Merino, 250 m / 100 g) 10g in total including 1m of contrasting colour for the crest and finishing touches. This little project is perfect for using small leftovers, you can make it with thinner or thicker yarns to get hens of different sizes that can brood larger or smaller eggs 🙂 This one is the perfect size for hosting a medium sized hen’s egg.
The photographed hens were made with the colours “goéland” + details in “doré”, “cacao” + details in “aubépine” and “poivre blanc” + details in “cacao” and “aubépine”.
Gauge: 18 sts x 36 rows = 10 x 10 cm / 4″x 4″ in garter stitch
Measurements : 11 cm/ 4.3″ wide and 11 cm/ 4.3″ high at the highest point, including the crest.
Needles: 4,5 mm / US 7 and hook 4 mm / US G/6
Notions: tapestry needle.
k: knit / p: purl
Kfb (knit into front and back of same stitch): Knit into the front of the next stitch, but leave the stitch on left needle. Bring the right needle behind the left needle. Insert the right needle into the back of the same stitch from front to back. Knit the stitch again. Drop the original stitch from the needle. (= 1 st increased)
k2tog: knit 2 sts together (= 1 st decreased).
ssk (slip, slip, knit): With yarn in back, slip 1 st knitwise from the left needle to the right needle. Slip 1 more stitch purlwise from the left needle to the right needle. Knit these two stitches together through back loop (= 1 st decreased).
With main color, cast on 20 sts.
Row 1 (RS): Knit.
Row 2 (WS): K1, kfb, k6, kfb, k2, kfb, k6, kfb, k1. (= 4 increases) 24 sts.
Row 3 (RS): K1, kfb, k8, kfb, k2, kfb, k8, kfb, k1. (= 4 increases) 28 sts.
Row 4 (WS): Knit.
Row 5 (RS): K1, kfb, k until to 2 sts before the end of the row, kfb, k1. (= 2 increases) 30 sts.
Row 6 (WS): Knit.
Repeat rows 5 and 6 five times. After these 10 rows, you have a total of 40 sts.
Knit 2 rows.
You have now a total of 10 ridges of garter stitch and approximately 5,5 cm / 2.2″ including the cast on row.
Shaping of the tail:
Note: as the short rows are almost invisible in garter stitch, they are made here without creating a double stitch.
Row 1 (RS, short row): K5 , turn work.
Row 2 (WS): K5.
Row 3 (RS): Bind off 10 sts, k until end of row. (= 30 sts)
Row 4 (WS, short row): K5, turn work.
Row 5 (RS): K5.
Row 6 (WS): Bind off 10 sts, k until end of row. (= 20 sts)
Neck and head:
Row 1 : K1, ssk, k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. (2 decreases)
Repeat row 1 four more times (both on RS and WS) until you have 10 sts left.
Newt row (WS): Knit.
Repeat row 1 one more time, you have a total of 8 sts.
Knit 4 rows.
You have now a total of 16 ridges of garter stitch and approximately 9,5 cm / 3.7 ” including the cast on row.
Bind off the remaining 8 sts and cut the yarn, leaving approximately 40 cm / 15″ for sewing.
Details and seaming:
Using a contrasting colour, embroider the two eyes, placing each one approximately 1.5 cm / 0.6″ from the right and left edges and 1 cm / 0.4″ from the folded selvedge row. Design the beak by attaching a small 1 cm loop to the wrong side, pulling it through to the right side and cutting off the end. Weave in ends of the contrasting colour.
Fold the hen in half. With the main colour thread left over for sewing, sew the top of the head, then the upper back and low back of the hen 1m from the edge. Weave in the remaining ends.
Hooked crest with 4 pins :
With a crochet and the contrasting colour, pick up and make 5 sl sts (slip stitches) on the top of the head from back to front.
Turn work. Make 2 ch (chain stitch), 1 sl st (slip stitch) in the first st of the ch to form a picot (1st picot), 1 sl st in the next st, 3 ch, 1 sl st in the first st of the ch to form a picot (2nd picot), 1 sl st in the next st, 2 ch, 1 sl st (slip stitch) in the first st of the ch to form a picot (3rd picot), 1 sl st in the next st, 2 ch, 1 sl st (slip stitch) in the first st of the ch to form a picot (4th picot), 1 sl st in each of the last 2 st (4 picots in total). Weave in the remaining ends.
Et voilà! Your little hen is just waiting for some nice chocolate eggs to brood 🙂