Last-minute free Halloween knitting pattern, Jack O'Lantern

ETA 10/2011- There was a small error in the pattern, I just corrected it and uploaded the new version. Sorry about that!!

This weekend I was busy tying up the loose ends of our ebook, but I also managed to squeeze in just a few minutes of knitting. Here's what I made-  

He might be the cutest thing I've ever made. This Jack O'Lantern is knitted and felted and he is hollow and sturdy. You could make two or three in a good evening of knitting so there's still time to make a little felted pumpkin friend for this year's Halloween decorations. 

Click here for the free pdf pattern! 

I thought it would be fun to show the steps to get from a ball of yarn to the finished little guy, so even if you don't knit you can see how simple it is. For those of you who do knit, consider this a photo-tutorial to accompany the pattern. I think that sometimes as knitters, we expect the project to be pretty much done when we bind off. With felting knits, that's just the first step. Hand felting and drying a piece of knitting is like sculpting and I love the malleability of the wool. Of course, this is a super-simple project, so there's not much shaping to do, but it's still a good look at the process. 

First, knit the pieces.

Then felt them by hand in a basin of hot water and a squirt of dish soap.

Felting is simple, you just rub the pieces together in your hands and knead them kinda like bread dough. Or I pretend I am trying to roll the pieces into a ball in my hands. After a few minutes, the stitches will disappear and you will have a sturdy, solid piece.

Roll in a towel to dry and blow up a balloon inside the pumpkin to shape. Stretch the edges of the lid into shape.

Tie yarn tightly to divide the pumpkin into six wedges. Pull the yarn really tight! 

Wait patiently for everything to dry thoroughly. (Or not so patiently, I may have put my in the oven on the lowest setting!)

Pop the balloon and remove. Cut out eyes and a mouth using sharp little scissors. I didn't even mark my face on first, I just made small cuts for the placement and then cut out the features.

That's it!  See, easy. I hope you have time to make a quick little Jack O'Lantern of your own.