Reaction to a November 21 posting for chicken sweater patterns on Knit and Crochet Patterns, a Facebook community page administered by yours truly, is definitely “something to crow about.” After only several hours, the chicken sweater free pattern link had been seen by over 4,000 knitting and crochet enthusiasts and has now reached well over 5,000 looks, more than any other posting for humankind knitwear apparel. (UPDATE: 12-12-14, now seen by well over 10,000.) Animal rescue charity wins!
These chicken sweaters (or jumpers as Brits call them) have been knitted at the behest of the Little Hen Rescue in Norwich, England. However, there are chicken rescue charity leagues in the US as well. Visit the Tour d’Coop in Raleigh, North Carolina. Battery hens are said to be some of the most abused animals in the world. Cramped into cages with clipped beaks and broken or bare feathers, they are retired routinely from their egg-laying duties and slaughtered for the pot. The animal rescue leagues attempt to re-home them to free-range environments. Since they are often bald, sweaters are needed to keep them warm. Many thousands are needed, as you can imagine, they need changing very often.
The Little Hen pattern is posted below. Nanny Norths version (w/o crochet) is available at this link.
Little Hen Version
Double knitting yarn (100g makes approximately 3 jumpers)
2 buttons or 10cm Velcro
1 pair of number 8 (4mm) knitting needles
4mm crochet hook
Knitted in stocking stitch with garter stitch borders
Cast on 41 sts,
Work 4 rows K
Increase for tabs;
Cast on 10 sts at beginning of next row, k14, p to last 4 sts, k4.
Cast on 10 sts at beginning of next row, k14, p to last 14sts, k14.
Work buttonholes; (work these 2 rows straight if using Velcro).
(K2, yf k2tog) 3 times, work to end keeping edges in garter St.
Repeat this row for buttonholes on the other tab.
Cast off 10 sts at beginning of next row.
Next row – cast off 10 sts, k4, p2 tog, p to last 6 sts, p2tog, k4.
Dec 1 St at each end on every fol 6th row until 25 sts remain.
Divide for neck;
Work 11 sts, cast off 3, work to end – complete this half first.
1) k4, p to end
2) cast off 2, k to end
3) k4, p to end
4) k2tog, k to end
5) k4, p2tog, p to end
Work 4 rows straight
10) K to last 5 sts, Inc in next St, k4.
11) K4, p to last St, Inc in next St.
12) Cast on 2 sts, k to end, (11sts)
13) K4, p to end
Break yarn and rejoin to the other side of neck.
Work to match, reversing shaping’s and ending at winghole edge.
Next row – k, cast on 3, k across sts from other side of neck.
Next row , k4 Inc in next St, p to last 5 sts, Inc in next St, k4.
Inc 1 St at each end of every fol 6th row until there are 41 sts on the needle.
Work 6 rows straight.
Change to gst and knit 4 rows.
Sew on buttons or Velcro as desired.
Work double crochet around neck.
See animal rescue charity project for all sorts of animals here – Fibers for Fido.