The Wonderful Wallaby FAQ page

This page, written by and for the KnitList, contains information about one of our favorite knitting designs, the Wonderful Wallaby. Chances are, if you've been on the KnitList even a short time, you will have read of a member of the list starting, finishing, or working on a Wallaby... this is the pattern they're referring to.

This FAQ includes:

What is a Wonderful Wallaby?

The Wonderful Wallaby is the short name for Cottage Creation's pattern "The Wonderful Wallaby- A Hooded Sweater for all ages." It is a seamless, hooded sweatshirt, with a pouch (hence the name "Wallaby"). The pattern is written for sizes ranging from very, very small children (size 2) to adult extra-extra large. Its basic design is simple, but very easily adaptable to a creative knitter's whims. It is a joy to knit. On the KnitList it is often referred to as the WW.

What does a Wallaby look like?

Basically, it looks like a sweatshirt. But, you were probably expecting a better answer than that, so a picture of a Wallaby can be found at Mariella's Knitting Page.
Here is a picture of a hoodless wallaby, submitted by Cherylin Roosen-Runge.
And another by Lorraine Major.

Where can I find a Wallaby pattern?

You can get the pattern by contacting the designer:
Cottage Creations
At the Farm on Deer Creek
Carpenter, IA 50426-0700
(515) 324-1280
You may also be able to find the Wallaby at your local LYS, a list of LYS's that carry the pattern is at the bottom of this FAQ.
The cost of the pattern is approximately $6, US.

What yarns are suitable for the Wallaby?

The pattern itself calls for worsted weight yarn, but knitters have been successful in using a number of different yarns, including bulky, aran, DK, sport weight yarns (in wools, cottons and acrylics) and even novelty yarns, depending on the intended climate and use for the Wallaby. Several people also mentioned using several strands of different yarns, to give the sweater a different sort of look. The most important thing is the ability to get the gauge, 9sts/2 inches out of the yarn (there is no row gauge in the pattern. As the sweatshirt is measured in inches, not rows, row gauge is not as important as it is in other patterns). Among the KnitList's favorite yarns for the Wallaby are WoolEase, Plymouth Encore, and Patons Canadiana.

Are there any hints that will help me in knitting my Wallaby?

The most important hint is to read the directions thoroughly.
The pattern is not written in a "normal" fashion (e.g. CO 20 st., k 4 rows, etc.) but more in a chatty, conversational style, which (if you haven't done other Cottage Creations patterns) can be difficult to get used to at first, but is fine if you're familiar with the pattern. Read the entire set of directions, both adult and child directions (no matter which you happen to be knitting), from beginning to end.

The most common problem with the Wallaby is the pouch.
The pouch should be done the second row after the ribbing, as mentioned on the last page of the pattern, knitting in a contrasting color yarn that row helps to identify where the pouch stitches should be picked up. Some people recommended picking up the pouch stitches (onto another needle) as you are knitting the second row, or shortly afterward (ignoring the knit 6 inches line in the instructions) to make knitting the pouch easier.
Someone recommended changing colors on the third row of the body of the Wallaby, it becomes obvious where to pick up the pouch stitches. Similar color switches can be done on the sleeves to match the body.
Instead of using a crochet hook to pick up the pouch stitches, use something called a "Cro-Needle" from Inox. It is a circular knitting needle with a crochet hook at one end. Then, when the stitches are picked up, they can simply be knit off the other end of needle.
It is also a good idea to count both the pouch rows and the main body rows to make sure they match up exactly, or use safety pins to mark off every few rows to make sure they match up.
Use an afghan hook to pick up the stitches from right to left with the bottom ribbing facing toward you; Then turn the wallaby upside down and transfer the stitches to a circular needle. When doing the garter stitch hood, to make the kitchener stitch work correctly, finish by knitting halfway across the hood, then begin kitchenering.
Many people recommend doing a three needle bind off at the top of the hood (both garter and st. stitch) instead of kitchener stitching.
A great number of people recommend NOT using ties on wallabies for babies and small children (choking hazard.)

What are some variations on the basic design of the Wallaby?

The Wallaby is an extremely versatile pattern, and can be modified very easily. The pattern itself contains directions for making a non-hooded version, as well as a few other variations, including a short sleeved version. Here are some of the KnitLister's variations:
Do the ribbings in one color, and the sweater in another color. Then, after attaching the sleeves, do a few stripes of the ribbing color.

Trim the (otherwise) unadorned garter stitch hood with I-cord edging

Make a selvage on the edge of the pouch and placket garter stitch borders by purling the first stitch

The pocket is an ideal area to do some kind of design

To convert the Wallaby to other size yarns, do a swatch with your chosen yarn and find the number of stitches you get in 2 inches, grab a pocket calculator, divide your chosen size by 9, multiply by the gauge you just found, and then find a sweater in the book that matches (ballpark) your result. Use that pattern for stitch numbers and the size you are making for length measurements. As long as you are using a basically stockinette kind of gauge, the pattern will work

The Wallaby looks great when cables are added, but remember that cables pull in, so you'll need to add more stitches to offset the effect.

Size Modification: For short, but well-endowed knitters. When making a raglan sweater, the danger for short people is that when you cast on for the appropriate bust size, you end up with too many stitches to decrease in the yoke, making the yoke too long. (One approach is to knit the raglan in shrinkable cotton, e.g. Fox Fibre.) Another way is to cast on for the appropriate bust size. Knit on until you get to the underarm. Here, instead of the paltry few stitches that the WW pattern instructs you to put in hold, put 8% of the stitches in hold, ala Elizabeth Zimmerman's percentage system. Do the same for sleeves. When it comes time to join body and sleeves together, you will have the number of stitches on your needle for the size SMALLER than what you cast on for the body. This means you'll get to the end sooner, with a shorter yoke.

To make the hood less pointy: About 8 rows before reaching the top of the hood, do two decreases on the 4 middle stitches. Repeat the process on every right side until you reach the desired length.
or
Put the two center stitches between markers about 2.5" from the top of the hood, then every other knit row decrease before the first marker and after the second marker.
or
about 1 inch before the end of the GARTER STITCH hood, knit a kind of gusset on the center two inches. E.g. say you were getting 10sts/inch, and the hood was 80 sts. wide. Knit 49 sts, k2tog, turn; *knit 19 sts. k2tog turn. Rep. from* until only the center 20 stitches remain.

To get a line of 5 garter stitches marching up the raglan sleeve-to-body join, echoing the garter edge for Wallaby pouch and also the front opening and collar or hood edge, mark a center stitch for decreases at each sleeve-to-body junction. (I took my center stitches from the body but you could take them from the sleeves just as well.) * When you get to 3 sts before the center stitch, purl one, purl 2 together, purl one (center stitch), purl 2 together, purl one. Seven stitches are involved, but the visual result is 5 purled stitches. Knit the next round. Repeat from *, always starting the purl stitches 3 before the center stitch.

The Overlapping Placket (the neck opening of the sweater):
Two people sent in versions of creating an overlapping placket, I'm including them both.
Version 1
Instead of using 10 stitches, use 6, centered in the front of the sweater. Start the placket at the same place as in the regular directions and knit these 6 stitches in each row so that you are creating a garter stitch area centered on the stockinette front. Do about 6 rows this way, or about an inch. Now, knit to the placket and knit all the stitches of the placket. Turn the work and knit the placket stitches and continue knitting around again to the placket. When you get to the placket, pick up six stitches by picking up the loop behind each of the stitches of the placket and knitting one stitch in each. You can do this in two ways. You can use a double pointed needed in the same size as your circular needle to pick up the 6 stitches or you can use a slip stitch (double knitting) technique. If you use the extra needle (easier), pick up the loops from the row behind and below the row you are working on (6 stitches) and knit them onto this extra needle.Turn the work and knit 6 stitches and continue knitting the row until you come around to the placket again. Knit the placket stitches, turn, knit the placket stitches and continue back until you get to the stitches on the extra needle. Knit the 6 stitches, turn, knit them again. In 3 or 4 rows, you will have enough ease that you can use the circular needle to knit both sides of the placket and then continue on your merry way following the WW directions. To use slip stitch on that pick up row, take a deep breath. When you get to the point where you want to split the placket, *slip the first placket stitch without knitting it. Pick up the loop behind the stitch (the stitch one row behind the stitch) and knit that. * Repeat between the * six times. When you get to the end of the placket, turn the work. Now, *knit the stitch you just made (a new stitch), yarn forward (that is, put the yarn to the front of the knitting not over the needle), slip the next stitch, yarn backward (put yarn back but not over the needle)*. Knit to the end of the row and beginning of the placket. Now, *knit the first stitch, yarn forward, slip the next stitch, yarn back* and repeat that.  Turn the work and slip the first stitch, knit the second, etc. If you do this right, you get two separate layers of knitting. Again, in 3 or 4 rows, you should be able to separate the two layers you made and knit regularly, you do this by pulling all 12 stitches off the needle and putting every other one onto one end of the circular and the rest onto the other end and it should be obvious as to which set goes on which end. Again, proceed as directed in the WW directions.

Version 2
a) identify the ten center stitches with markers as instructed in the pattern.
b) knit those stitches with both your working yarn and a yard long length of your yarn (it is best if this is done on a row that does not contain any decreases)
c) after knitting the ten stitches with both yarns, drop the extra yarn and continue around until you reach the center placket stitches again.
d) when you reach the double stitches, they need to be split, transferring half of each stitch to a double pointed needle and the other half of each stitch to the circular needle.
e) at this point you need to know whether you are making a placket for a male or a female, if a female, the button hole needs to be placed on the right hand edge as you would wear it, if a male, the button hole needs to be placed on the lefthand edge. Depending on which gender you are knitting for, you may need to transfer the stitches back on to the circular needle and put the ten other stitches on the double pointed needle.
f) from this point on you knit back and forth, always keeping the first ten stitches on each side in garter stitch. The stitches will be tight (very tight) on the needle for the first five or six rows, and the double pointed needle should be used until all stitches can be transferred back to the circular needle for knitting back and forth comfortably.
g) when all the stitches can be knit on the circular needle again, make the first buttonhole (a simple one row buttonhole over three or four stitches works very well).
h) calculate how many buttonholes you will need, children's sizes usually need two, adult sizes usually need three, and remember to subtract four rows from the remaining rows, since you will not want to have a buttonhole on the last few rows (you will be binding off five stitches on each side).
i) bind off five stitches on each side when the decreases are done. Then follow the pattern, knitting the first 5 stitches and doing the NECK RIBBING.

LYS's that also carry the Wallaby pattern

The following is a list of places that carry the Wallaby pattern, this is by no means the complete list, but these LYS owners do have the pattern, and many of them take mail orders. They're listed alphabetically by state or province.:
Wool & Wicker
120- 12051 Second Avenue, (Steveston)
Richmond, BC V7E 3L6
604-275-1239
Cottage Yarns
607 W. Orange Ave.
South San Francisco CA 94080
(415)873-7371
fax:(415)726-5052
Elegant Stitches
14115 S. Dixie Hwy
Miami FL 33176
(305)232-4005
Yarns International
5110 Ridgefield Road at River Road
Bethesda MD 20824
(301)913-2980, 1(800)927-6728
The Yarn Shop
7336 Baltimore Blvd.
College Park MD 20740
(301)779-8391, 1(800)884-9276
Farmhouse Yarns
421 Sound Drive
Mt. Desert ME 04660
(207)276-4282
Earthsong Fibers
5115 Excelsior Blvd. #428
Minneapolis MN 55416
1(800)473-5350
fax:(612)926-1201
Countrywool
59 Spring Road
Hudson NY 12534
(518)828-4554
The Fifth Stitch
300 Clinton Street
Defiance OH 43512
(419)782-0991
Knitting Basket
540 Second Street Pike
Southampton PA 18966
(215)355-2666
The Mannings
1132 Green Ridge Rd
East Berlin PA 17316
1(800)233-7166
Sophie's Yarns
2017 Locust St.
Philadelphia PA 19103
(215)977-9276
Hunt Country Yarns
1 West Federal Street
Middleburg VA 20117
(540)687-5129
fax:(540)687-5149
Acorn Street Shop
2818 NE 55th St.
Seattle WA 98105
(206)525-1726
The Yarn Lady
115 No. Main
Ridgefield WA 98642-0596
(360)887-4737
Needles 'n Pins Yarn Shoppe
N6875 Lake Drive
Whitewater, WI 53190
(608)883-9922

Endnotes

I haven't updated this site in a very long while. For that, I apologize. However, I plan on upgrading everything around April 2002. So, if you've got comments/pictures/hints/etc. now is a good time to send them in. Really. I mean it. Comments

And in case I don't get around to it fast enough - sign the guestbook here and view it here.



Any questions, comments, suggestions, additional pictures, errata? Send them to me

This FAQ could not have been done without the KnitList, so special thanks to ListMoms. Also to Emily Way (the owner of the invaluable Woolworks site.)
I'd also like thank the following contributors:
Kristina Noel Batiste, Debbie Bodmer, Mary Bowman-Kruhm, Carol Breitner, Katherine Christensen, Kathleen Day, Valerie DeBenedette, EinKerem@SoftHome.net, gabyhaze@aol.com, Joan Hamer, Irene Hamamoto, Beverly Hixon, Sue Hoffman, Helen K, Mary Kay, Paulette Lane, Patricia Lawrence, Lorraine Major, MARIELLA46@aol.com, Doreen L. Marquart, Judy McLell, Maureen Moran, Jan Moreno, Jennie Murphy, Witt Pratt, Rochelle Ribeiro, Cherilyn Roosen-Runge, Kim Salazar, Diane Soucy, Michele Spahn, Jana Trent, Ellen Upp, Lynda Ward, Yvonne Woo.





I'm currently doing the TKGC master knitting programme. To follow along with my progress, check here.

Angela Danielle Batiste
adbatiste@earthlink.net