Have you ever come across a puffball fungus? I'd occasionally find them when I was a kid and I loved them. I still do. While I think all mushrooms are neat, there's something extra endearing about those rotund white puffs. They're the primary inspiration behind one of my latest little knitting creatures: the fungisprite. I have to thank Puffits for helping finalize that moniker.
What's a fungisprite? A fungisprite is a mushroom-like creature. If you find one, it means you’re in a good, natural place that’s capable of sustaining lots of life. The fatter the fungisprite, the healthier and happier the place. If you're looking for for happiness and health in your own little natural place, I suggest you include a fungisprite.
A free pattern for doing so can be found below, but if you'd like to support my shop and own the pattern in a lovely PDF, it's available for under a buck and quarter.
My sincere thanks if you decide to go that route. However you choose to make your fungisprite, please share a photo in a comment, on Facebook, and/or Twitter. If you do, I'll send you the sprout pattern PDF or the songbird pattern PDF as a thank you.
Yarn and Needles: I suggest Aunt Lydia’s Crochet Thread Fashion 3 on four (4) 2mm (U.S. size 0) double pointed needles (don). If you're not used to working with smaller needles and yarn, try a DK or sport weight and appropriately sized needles to make your fungisprite. You’ll need a main color for the body and two (2) contrasting colors to make a mushroom or one (1) contrasting color to make a leaf for your fungisprite to hold.
Techniques: Knit-in-the-Round, Cast On (CO), Knit (K), Purl (P) Knit Front and Back (Kfb), Knit Two Together (K2tog), Purl Two Together (P2tog), I-Cord, Bind Off
The fungisprite is made in separate portions: body, feet and arms, followed by a mushroom and leaf. Total stiches are indicated within ( ) after increase and decrease rows/rounds. Stitches to be repeated are indicated within [ ].
Let's start with the body:
With your main color, CO 6 stitches (sts) and knit the following in-the-the-round
Round 1: K1, [Kfb] 5 times (11 sts)
Round 2: [K1, Kfb] 5 times, K1 (16 sts)
Round 3: [K2, Kfb] 5 times, Kfb (22 sts)
Round 4: [K1, Kfb] 11 times (33 sts)
Round 5: [K3, Kfb] 7 times, K5(40 sts)
Round 6 - 13: K all sts
Round 14: [K3, K2tog] 8 times (32 sts)
Rounds 15 – 16: K all sts
Round 17: [K3, K2tog] 6 times, K2 (26 sts)
Rounds 18 - 20: K all sts
Round 21: [K2, K2tog] 7 times, K2 (20 sts)
Rounds 22 - 27: K all sts
If using safety eyes, place them now
Round 28: [K2tog] 10 times (10 sts)
Stuff your fungisprite’s body so it’s plump, but be careful not to overstuff. You may even want to under-stuff the body just a little so that it’s slightly squishy.
Round 29: [K2tog] 5 times (5 sts)
Draw yarn through remaining stitches and fasten closed. Leave a long tail of yarn.
Thread the tail from the top of the head through a sharp tapestry needle and draw through to the bottom. Without pulling the yarn too tight, make a knot in a stitch in the CO round. (Shown by lower X in illustration below.) Thread the tail back up through the body, so the bottom becomes slightly concave. This will help your fungisprite sit properly and well supported on its bottom. Make a knot to secure the yarn at the top. (Shown by upper X in illustration.) Weave in the remaining yarn.
Now on to the feet, which are knitted flat as a long ellipses and folded in half.
Continue with your main color and CO 4 sts. Knit the following flat rows.
Row 1: K1, Kfb twice, K1 (6 sts)
Row 2: P all sts.
Row 3: K all sts.
Rows 4 – 12: Continue in stockinette stitch (p even rows, k odd rows)
Row 13: K1, K2tog twice, K1 (4 sts)
Fold foot in half, as shown in illustration below and stitch around edge. Repeat to make second foot.
Next, we'll need some arms, which are i-cords.
Still with your main color, CO 5 sts.
Knit as an i-cord for 7 rows.
To end, draw yarn through, leaving long tail—to be used later to secure mushroom or leaf. Repeat to make second arm.
Let's get this fungisprite in one piece. To assemble, attach the feet to the bottom of the fungisprite at desired width. Then attach the CO edge of arms to a desired spot on body. You’ll want to ensure that the ends are near one another so your fungisprite can easily hold its mushroom or leaf. Speaking of which:
To make a mushroom, follow the steps below. If you'd rather just make a leaf, skip to the picture of the fungisprite holding a leaf.
Using first contrasting color, CO 9 sts and distribute on three dps and knit the following in-the-round.
Rounds 1 -3: Knit all sts.
Round 4: [K2tog, K1] 3 times (6 sts)
Round 5: [K2tog] 3 times (3 sts)
Draw yarn through remaining sts. Leave a long tail to attach the mushroom top to the stem.
Using second contrasting color, CO 3 sts.
Knit as an I-cord for 7 rows.
Draw yarn though and weave in tail. Using tail from mushroom top, attach the stem to the inside of the top.
Using contrasting color, CO 2 sts. Knit as an I-cord for 4 rows.
Row 5. Work straight, Kfb twice (4 sts)
Row 6. P1, Pfb twice, P1 (6 sts)
Row 7. K
Row 8. P
Rows 9 and 10: Repeat rows 7 and 8.
Row 11. K2 tog, K2, K2 tog (4 sts)
Row 12. P all sts
Row 13. K2 tog twice (2 sts)
Row 14. P 2 tog (1 st)
Draw yarn through remaining st. Weave in ends. Using the yarn tails from the arms, attach the mushroom or leaf.