Swaledale Sheep Pattern

So things got a little crazy around here after Lucy shared my Moorland Wreath on her blog Attic24 as part of her Moorland CAL.  And a large proportion of the visitors here have been asking how to make their own sheep like the one sitting proudly in my wreath.  Here I will attempt to help you with this!


This lovely Swaledale sheep is part of a a friend’s flock and posed beautifully for me when I asked if I could take her photo.


This is what my sheep looks like.  She is roughly 10cm long and 8cm tall giving her plenty of room to sit inside a 23cm wreath but gauge isn’t hugely important when making a decorative item of this nature and I am sure that small size variations will have very little impact on her fabulousness!

To make my sheep I used four shades of DK weight yarn.  I used Stylecraft Special DK as it is affordable, comes in a huge range of colours and doesn’t squeak like some acrylic yarn does.  I used Cream for her main body, Black for her head, Granite for her horns and Walnut for the embroidered details on her face.  I didn’t calculate yardage but it is small.  Really small.  If you could use stash yarn for this project that would be perfect, if you buy especially to make this expect to have the majority of the ball left over.

I also used

  • A 4mm crochet hook
  • Double Pointed Needles – mine are 2.5mm but size isn’t vitally important here I think anywhere between a 2mm and 3.5mm would work well.
  • A needle to sew it together
  • Scissors
  • A stitch marker – this isn’t an essential item but the head is made in a continuous spiral and without a marker to show you the beginning of the round there will be a lot of precise counting. You could also use a piece of scrap yarn in a contrasting colour.
  • Something to stuff your sheep with. You could use toy stuffing, bits of an old pillow, ugly yarn, whatever you have to hand.  Mine used around a hand full.

These are the stitches you will need

  • chain (ch)
  • single crochet (sc) known as double crochet in UK terms.  Hook through stitch, yarn over, pull through stitch (2 loops on hook), yarn over, pull through both loops
  • 2sc – make 2 single crochet into the same stitch
  • invisible single crochet two together (invsc2tog). Insert hook in to front loop only of first stitch, insert into front loop only of next stitch (3 loops on hook), yarn over, pull through first 2 loops (2 loops on hook), yarn over, pull through both loops
  • half double crochet (hdc) – yarn over, hook through stitch, yarn over, pull through (3 loops on hook), yarn over, pull through all 3 loops

The pattern is made of 3 distinct parts.  The body, head and horns.

The Body

The pattern for the body is very heavily influenced by Attic24‘s sheep pattern.  It isn’t the same but the concept for this flat shape turning into a 3D body is most definitely borrowed and so rather than replicate Lucy’s work of step by step photos if you find yourself in need of clarification it would be well worth a trip over to her pattern here.

So to begin, using your cream coloured yarn, chain 36

Row 1. Starting in the second chain from the hook make one single crochet in each stitch. Chain 1. Turn. (35 stitches)

Rows 2. – 5. Single crochet in each stitch across. Chain 1. Turn (35 stitches)

Row 6. Single crochet in the first 30 stitches leaving the last 5 unworked. Chain 1. Turn (30 stitches)

Row 7. Single crochet in the next 25 stitches leaving the last 5 unworked. Chain 1. Turn (25 stitches)

Rows 8. – 19. Single crochet in each stitch.  Chain 1. Turn (25 stitches)

Row 20. Single crochet in each stitch across. Chain 6

Row 21. Starting in the second chain from the hook make 1 single crochet in each of the 5 chains and then single crochet in each stitch across. Chain 6

Row 22. Starting in the second chain from the hook make 1 single crochet in each of the 5 chains and then single crochet in each stitch across. Chain 1. Turn.

Rows 23. – 25. Single crochet in each stitch across.  Chain 1. Turn. (35 stitches)

Row 26. Single crochet in each stitch across.  Fasten off leaving a long tail for sewing up (35 stitches)

You should have this shape.  The large bit in the middle will be the body and the little sticking out bits will be the legs. At this point you don’t have a right side and a wrong side but you will once you start sewing the legs so lay it down flat and the side facing you will be the wrong side.


Start on the leg with your most recent yarn tail and fold it up so that the two long edges come together. Sew these two edges together securely. Then repeat for the other three legs making sure that you are folding them each the same way so that once they are done you will have 4 seams facing you with the body laid flat.


Fold the body in half with the right sides together, that is with your leg seams facing outwards.  Then sew the short edges together as shown in this photo


It should now be starting to look a lot like a sheep with a body and 4 legs.  Turn it inside out so that the sewing you’ve just done is not visible and lightly stuff. It will now need one more row of stitches as you sew up along the belly. It is probably worth putting a couple of stitches in between the legs just to strengthen then close up the gap sealing the stuffing inside.  It won’t be especially stable but your sheep body should stand up on her legs if you arrange them to distribute the weight.


The Head

The head of the sheep is made amigurumi style, that is in one continuous spiral.  I put a stitch marker in the first stitch of a round to show me when I have completed the circle without having to rely on keeping count.

In this section wherever there are instructions *enclosed by asterisks* repeat those stitches until you reach the end of the round.

In black yarn Start by making 6 single crochet (sc) in a magic loop. (I like this tutorial if this is new to you)

Round 1. Make 2 single crochet into each stitch (12 stitches)

Round 2. *Single crochet into the first stitch, 2 single crochet into the next stitch*  (18 stitches)

Rounds 3. – 6. Single crochet in each stitch (18 stitches)

Switch to cream yarn

Round 7. Single crochet in each stitch (18 stitches)

Round 8. *sc, invsc2tog* (12 stitches)

This is the point to put the stuffing in the head before you totally close up the hole.  Loosely stuff.  You are aiming for a squashy ovoid rather than a sphere so make sure not to fill it too full.

Round 9. invsc2tog all the way round (6 stitches)

Now break off your yarn leaving a long tail and thread onto a needle.  Use this to weave in and out of the 6 reminding stitches and then pull tight to drawstring the hole closed.  If it’s not as tidy as you would like make another stitch or so and then push the needle in through the base of the head where you have just finished off and out roughly in the middle of the back of the head.

The place where you changed colour will be noticeable as a step change, as shown in my photograph.  If you make this the back of the head not will not be visible when the sheep is sewn together.


Next you need to make 2 little ears in cream yarn.

Chain 3.  In the second chain from your hook make a single crochet. In the last chain make a half double crochet (hdc), Fasten off leaving a long tail for sewing in.  Weave in your end from your starting chain and use the other tail to stitch the ears on to each side of the head just below the halfway point.


The Horns

The horns are knitted as I find working tubes of crochet this small to be headache inducingly fiddly but they are very simple to make. This technique is known as I-cord and apparently the I stands for idiot because it is an idiot proof technique! You will need to make two of these and I made them in dark grey.

On your double pointed needle (dpn) cast on 3 stitches. Then knit these 3 stitches to the other needle. This is where things change from usual knitting. Do not turn your needle! You will have 3 stitches on your needle with the working yarn at the left hand side. Slide these stitches down towards the point on the right end of your needle

Now knit these stitches from right to left as normal pulling the working yarn behind your work to get it to the righthand side to use it. Your stitches will then be on your second needle, slide them down to the right and bringing the working yarn from the left behind the work to use knit again. Keep knitting these 3 stitches until you have an i-cord measuring 6cm long. Then cast off and make another one. If I haven’t explained this clearly enough then youtube has lots of good tutorials if you search “knit an i-cord”

These little tubes should have enough rigidity to stay where you want them when you curl them round. Your cast off end should be the pointier of the two so thread the end of your yarn onto a needle and push it down inside the tube to weave in the end. If it is long enough to bring out of the side of the i-cord then cut it close to your knitting and the end should spring inside and be hidden. You can use your tail end from cast on to sew the horn to the head above the ears.

The horns will need to you to tightly curl them into the distinctive shape of sheep horns and will spring back slightly when released but should stay curled.


Once you have added the ears and horns your sheep needs a face embroidering. I used a brown coloured yarn for this.  Put the eyes in the black area of the head and a nose an mouse on the cream area.


All you need to do now is sew the head on to one end of the body of your sheep and add in the long hair.  You may find the details on my Woolly Bully Pattern useful when it comes to making your sheep hairy.  There are photos of how I add hair there.

Then she will be ready to put in a wreath, gift to a sheep loving friend or display on a shelf!


I only make creatures as decorative items to brighten my home. If you wanted to make this sheep as a toy for a child then you will need to take full responsibility for the safety of your creation as this pattern was not designed to be played with.

I will be happy to answer any questions about the pattern.

You are welcome to use this pattern to make items for your personal use but please do not reproduce it anywhere or claim it as your design. This applies to my photographs as well as the written pattern.

Copyright ©2017 I Am Branching Out.

4 thoughts on “Swaledale Sheep Pattern

  1. Pingback: Moorland Wreath – I Am Branching Out

  2. Pingback: 2017 – My Year in Yarn – I Am Branching Out

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s