Saturday, December 16, 2006

Frequently Asked Questions - Take 1

Thank you all for your kind compliments about Sheldon! I'm very pleased that he's been so warmly received. I would love to see pictures of your finished Sheldons and to start a gallery here, so please e-mail them to me (smartypantsAThistorytoolsDOTorg) if you have them! I can host the pictures myself or you can send links to your blog posts -- whatever you prefer.

I've had a few questions about the pattern that I'd like to address here for general edification.

1. Substitute yarns.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Sheldon has been successfully test knit in Sirdar Dream Baby DK. Truth be told, I think you could knit Sheldon in yarn of just about any weight you like, so long as you adjust the needles you use to ensure that the fabric you're knitting is nice and tight to prevent the stuffing from showing through. DK and sport-weight yarns are the most likely to be good substitutes, but I've heard of someone knitting Sheldon in Lamb's Pride Bulky, and why not? It's crossed my mind to make Sheldon in some Rowan Denim that I have left over in my stash, just to see what happens with the shrinkage factor. We'll see if that comes to pass. . . Doubled-up fingering weight yarn on size 3 or 4 needles would probably work. A lot of common 100% cotton yarns will probably work, too, though I'd recommend the smoother ones (like Takhi Cotton Classic) over the fluffier, softer ones (like Blue Sky Cotton), just for the sake of durability. Go ahead and raid your stash and see what kind of results you get. And if you find a good substitute, please let me know!

2. How much yarn does it take?

As written, the pattern takes almost all of one ball of Knit Picks Shine in the main color and probably less than half a ball of the contrast color. If you have partial balls, you can fiddle with it to make it work -- do the shell bottom or shell attachment panel or attached I-cord in the contrast color to make the main color stretch farther, or mix and match three different colors in the different pieces. Heck, the shell could even be striped, with all the contrast color bits done in a different color for each row of "cells," as long as the main color that divides the shells stays the same. Knock yourselves out!

3. Why is the blue turtle so zaftig?

Michelle, who knit the blue turtle, used Boye Balene size 3 needles, which she says run bigger than a standard size 3 needle. I suspect she also knits a bit looser than I do. And she claims he snuck some of her chocolate when she wasn't looking. Incidentally, Michelle also stuffed the body with some rather soft, silky stuffing that I picked up at JoAnn's called Soft-Touch Polyfill Supreme by Fairfield. It may have made the body a bit bigger and fluffier than the other stuffing I used, which was your average bargain-basement polyester stuffing.

4. Why does the little dark green turtle look different?

The green turtle in the group picture, which Jamie knit, appears to have a rounder head than the others, and he's also smaller. This is just an effect of Jamie's having knit the turtle at a gauge a bit tighter than my own and having stuffed the head fairly firmly. You can actually get a pretty wide range of head shapes depending on how you choose to stuff it.

5. Why no tail?

While designing, I messed around for a while with a tail for Sheldon, but I didn't like any of them. His bottom is small, and all the tails I tried out looked kind of large and silly. Plus, I didn't really like the idea of making a hole in the shell for the tail as well as for the arms and legs. So I decided that he could get by just fine without one.

I think that's all I have for today. Again, thanks for all your compliments. Happy knitting!


Clive said...

Hey Ruth,

Sheldon rocks my World!!

I'm just in the finishing throes of my first Sheldon. I've knitted him in Rowan Wool Cotton in slightly mellower shades of green.

I think there's an error in the Shell in Row 28:-

Row 27 [RS]: K1, sl 2, [k6, sl 2] four times, k1.
Row 28 [WS]: P1, [sl 2, p6] four times, p1.

I think it should be:-

Row 28 [WS]: P1, [sl 2, p6] four times, sl 2, p1.

Also probably just a personal thing but I kept slipping 1 because my tired eyeballs saw the sl and mistook it for slip 1 but there you go!

Congratulations on a super pattern and a great character :-)


Eeva said...


And thank you for this wonderful pattern! It truly became "a last minute holiday gift" for me, but I'm sure it will be highly appreciated by my 7-month-old-cousin by loads of drooling and tossing around. ;)

Being a Finnish knitter, I used Novita Tennesee mercenized cotton yarn. It'd propably turn out good on 3mm/2.5mm needles, but since my tired hands made it very loose on the first time, I did mine on 2mm.

Thus, I have a tiny, very firm Sheldon (or "Pumpulikonna" in Finnish)!

Thankees and merry christmass~

Bogie said...

Thanks so much for such a cute pattern! Here's a photo of my Sheldon using Butterfly 10 yarn:

K8teebug said...

I'm going to start knitting these soon! He's super cute! Thanks for such a nice idea.

Bronwyn said...

I finished a sheldon for a shop model at my LYS. There's a picture of him at on the Jan. 4 entry; I used WIldflower DK cotton. :)

mary said...

First of all, Sheldon rules.

I used Red Heart Sport yarn, which worked out great. Plus, it's super cheap and comes in surprisingly good colors. For the body, I used "Limeade," which is almost perfect Kermit green. And Hunter Green for the shell.

I'm making him for my niece's 1st birthday this Friday. I'll definitely post a picture when he's done. (He still needs surgery!)

Thank you for this great pattern!

ames said...

I finished my first Sheldon last night, and it is adorable. I used LB Micro Sport in bright yellow for the MC and deep blue for the CC, which was soft but kind of slippery. I'd suggest going down a needle size, if anyone wants to follow my lead and do that. Pictures coming soon!

Anonymous said...

I am a Green Bay resident as well. Do you ever do craft shows here? If so, where could I come to see and hopefully purchase a little sheldon? I would love to buy a few different ones for my kids. And I have friends who would too! It's awesome that you have shared this adorable pattern with the public. But I would rather purchase an original for the creator.


You can send me an email at

Thanks again!

Juliet said...

My Nana and I were wondering if there's a story behind the turtle? She thought there may have been a kids' book or something that inspired you. We both think he's adorable and are heading out today to buy yarn and eyes to start making our own!

Ruth Homrighaus said...

Hi Juliet,

Thanks for your question! No, the turtle was not inspired by a story or anything like that. My friend was pregnant with her first baby and had a turtle theme in mind for the baby's room, so I decided to make her gifts with a turtle theme, too! That's how Sheldon was born.

Beth said...

I really would like to make one of these for my Mother, but, alas, cannot knit.
Have you developed (or has anyone else?) a Sheldon version for crochet?

Anonymous said...

I second the call for a crochet Sheldon! Pretty please :)

Vic said...

just want to ask how i can make a smaller sheldon.I've already made 2 at regular size, but would like to make smaller ones so i can complete them faster...