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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Meet Vern the knitting sheep

Posted by Deadly Knitshade on October 19, 2010

Vern is a sheep. He’s a slightly worried knitting sheep who spends his time with Lettuce, his bouncy bunny best friend, living in a tower block in London’s Pickle Rye where he battles with moles, parties with polar bears and meets some very dodgy pigeons.

Vern is one of the stars of Sarah McIntyre‘s brand-new Vern and Lettuce book that we’re helping to launch this week at our Stitch a Sheep meeting. I was lucky enough to catch up with the fine fleecy fellow and ask him a few questions about yarn, life as a Stitch Londoner and knitting himself silly.

Hi Vern. Welcome to Stitch London. Thanks for agreeing to an interview.
You’re welcome! I don’t usually speak to humans, so this is quite an event. My friend Lettuce the rabbit is quite jealous, actually. She loves the media spotlight.

Can you tell us who taught you to knit?
Well, we have our own version of Stitch London here in Pickle Rye. Most of the animals who come along are ewes, and you should see the way they fuss over me! They had me knitting in no time at all.

We even had a film crew come to our meeting once and Lettuce was hopping mad because they spent ages filming me, and she’s a much better knitter. My knitting had this big fat hole in the middle, but they asked me lots of questions so there would be a boy sheep in the documentary. The interviewer kept trying to get me to say that Pickle Rye was like ‘a ball of wool’, but I didn’t understand what she was getting at. I am kind of like a ball of wool, but I am not spun yet.

What’s your most shameful knit?
Most of my worst knitting moments come from over-shearing. I think, if you have a bit event to go to, like a wedding, you should be sure to get shorn several weeks before the event, not the day before. And that freshly shorn look makes my ears look too big.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever knit?
I once knitted some jumpers for the bunnies who lived upstairs. But then I was cold and they felt sorry for me, so they unpicked their jumpers and we all knitted a big jumper for me with a pocket in it for each bunny.

We wore it together a few times, but then the bunnies wiggled so much that they stretched the pockets. It’s rather saggy now.

Do you feel some friend only want to be friends with you because of your fine fleece? *eyes fleece hungrily*
Stay away from me! …Argh, that tickles!

What are your friend Lettuce’s knitting skills like?
She thinks she’s an amazing knitter, but she really should put more time into it. She’s always picking up new hobbies, but she needs to be like me, and stick with them. It’s all about dedication to the art. I tell her that knitting is the highest calling.

Ever fancied graffiti knitting? If so what would you graffiti and why?
Oh, but what if we were arrested? I think Lettuce and Derek the Sheep were talking about something like that the other day and I tried not to listen so I wouldn’t have to lie if the police asked me if I knew anything. You wouldn’t do something like that, would you? You look like a nice person.

You joined Stitch London recently. What prompted you to join?
I think I need to get out more, sometimes the animal world can get very gossipy. And one of the yaks kept stealing my stitch counters.

I think humans must be above that sort of thing. I am eager to listen to their deep, thoughtful discussions about life and art.

How was your first meeting?
It was pretty good, but I kept dropping stitches and that made me a little bit embarrassed. I was aware that they would have high expectations for my knitting and I think I may have let them down. I will spend a lot of time practising for our next meeting so I can be a proud ambassador for all sheep.

What do you family and friends think of the fact you’re now a celebrity with a book out in all the shops? They must be proud.
Yes! The polar bears who live downstairs gave me a photo album with lots of newspaper clippings in it from my adventure in the city with Lettuce and the bunnies. That must have taken them ages to put together!

Even one of the moles in the park asked me for my autograph, which made me realise that I
need to practice my signature so it looks more like a famous person signed it. Right now it just looks like the autograph of an ordinary sheep.

Can I have a hug? You look so squishy and fleecey.
Only if you promise not to steal any of my wool! The nights are getting rather chilly and I need it all.

Thanks, Vern. It’s been a pleasure to meet and bleat with you!
And you! I think you are a very nice human. You should come visit us in Pickle Rye sometime and I will bake a cake. And you can teach me how to stitch a little sheep, I hear that is becoming a big fashion in knitting.

But be careful about this graffiti knitting business, I don’t like to think of my friends leading a life of crime. You could try baking brownies if the urge strikes you again, that is what I do!


You can see more of Sarah’s adventures in sheepy sketching over at her Jabberworks blog and catch her and the Fleece Station team at The Fleece Station (home of Stitch London Towers too).


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