Right, people. Just this once, I’m going to break the habit of a lifetime, and mention Christmas before mid-December. This really doesn’t fit with my miserable, curmudgeonly ol’ personality, but I have things to show you, pretty Christmassy things, and they won’t wait. Also, we normally have nine of us gathering here at our old brewery for Christmas, and my lack of prior festive organisation is impressing no-one.
So. Decorations. What are yours like? Obviously, you need some knitted or crocheted ornaments with which to adorn your beautiful home. There are gorgeous fairisle bauble patterns out there (Arne and Carlos, I’m looking at you), but this post is all about ideas that, (i) are so simple that even a child could make them, (ii) are quick, and (iii) dropped out of my leaky brain and onto this screen on a wet Wednesday afternoon.
There’ll be a ‘part two’ to this post, because this fearless first festive article covers just one thing: knitted Christmas trees. These chaps are super-easy to make, and you can either stand a small plantation of them on your mantelpiece, or hang them from ribbons. Look!
Would you like to make some of these? Yes? OK, first to the knitting. ‘Tis simple, my fine fibrous friends. Here are the instructions:-
Fetch some green yarn, DK or aran weight. I used Fyberspates Vivacious’s appropriately named ‘Deep Forest’, because the subtle shifts of green are delightfully leafy but honestly, use anything green. Grab some needles, 5.0 or 5.5 mm – no need to be strict about it.
Right, you – or the small but enthusiastic child beside you – are going to knit a simple square in garter stitch. See how simple this is?
If you’re making a few of these, it’s best if they’re all slightly different sizes. So cast on a different number of stitches each time – anything between 20 and 35 stitches is fine. You’re aiming for squares of between 10 and 15 cm along each side.
Now, knit every row to create a nice garter stitch, until you’ve achieved a perfect square, then cast off, leaving a long tail. OK, you done? Was that not the simplest knit ever? Good. Now to roll up your little tree. First fold it not-quite-in-half, like this:-
And then begin to roll the blighter up. You’re aiming for approximately a cone shape, although it won’t look properly gorgeous until you’ve sewn it up. If it’s wriggly and recalcitrant and generally annoying, don’t worry, that’s normal at this stage. Here, have some cake.
You can choose how tightly your tree is wound at its base, according to whether you want a thin tree or a fat tree. For a thin tree, make a fairly tight coil, like the photo below, then sew through it a few times with the shorter tail of yarn.
For a wider tree base, curl it around more loosely, and sew a flap of the knitted fabric across the base. If you’re making a chunkier tree, you’ll need to push some stuffing into the base of the tree as well as into the rest of its height, but if you’re making a thin tree, then you’ll only need a smidgeon of toy stuffing near the top:-
Ah, that brings me on to the next part: sewing this critter up. Use the long tail of yarn to sew up your conical tree. Consider the shape you’re making as you work: it’s likely that the line you sew will be curved like this, but it’ll be at the back when you display your tree, so nobody will see:-
Hurrah! You’ve made the basic shape! Now, drag your children away from their electronic gizmos (if they haven’t already helped you with the knitting), and get them to help you stick pretty things on the tree, such as these:-
I recommend thin metallic pipe cleaners to look vaguely like tinsel. You can poke the ends into the tree to fix them. And sew metallic-looking beads on as pretend baubles, and sew a tiny sparkly pompom on top. You get the gist.
Just go find your inner ten-year-old and make them pretty, people! And then it’s time to adorn your mantelpiece. (Yes, that is the knitted mandala picture beside the trees. I still haven’t moved it to its permanent home.)
And you’re done! Wa-hey! It really is that simple. Finally, may I respectfully direct you towards a real pro, who does festive makes properly, with a colourful twist from her native Norway: EclecticHomeAndLife. She also happens to be a ridiculously lovely person. 🙂 ‘Til next time, knitters. More is to come…