Tag Archives: knitting

Simple Tree Mittens

18 Jan

These Christmas tree decorations are designed to resemble baby mittens. They measure about 2 by 2.5 inches – great for hanging on your tree or stuffing a tiny treat inside. The original pattern for Simple Tree Mittens was a seamed, knitted design. However, in honour of their popularity, I’ve reworked them to include 2 new flavours: Original (Knitted), Seamless (Knitted) and Crochet.

The photo (below) shows the crochet version on the left and the seamless knitted version on the right. The crocheted Simple Tree Mittens use a sideways ribbed cuff, so they are a great way to practice crochet ribbing if you haven’t tried it before. The knitted Simple Tree Mittens use a standard ‘rib 2’ for the cuffs.

The Simple Tree Mittens work well individually or as traditional pairs, using small amounts of DK (US: worsted) in 2 colours. The mini pompoms are entirely optional; I’d suggest the ‘fork’ method, which makes an ideal size pompom. If you are attaching pompoms, leave a long tail to attach the pom-pom and make a hanging loop. Otherwise, crochet a single chain or use some scrap yarn or ribbon for the hanging loops.

Simple Tree Mittens

Simple Tree Mittens (Original – Knitted)

With yarn A, cast on 24 stitches using 4mm (US: 6) knitting needles.

Rows 1-5: (k2, p2) to end [24 sts]
Row 6: k24
Rows 7-16: change to yarn B and work 10 rows of st st (beginning with knit row)
Row 17: (k2tog tbl) to end [12 sts]
Row 18: p12
Row 19: (k2tog tbl) to end [6 sts]

Cut yarn with long tail, cinch tight through the remaining 6 stitches and pull tight. Use the yarn tail to sew up the side seam. Weave in ends. Attach hanging loop and mini pompoms.

Simple Tree Mittens (Seamless – Knitted)

With yarn A, cast on 24 stitches and distribute across 4mm (US: 6) double-pointed needles.

Rnds 1-5: (k2, p2) to end [24 sts]
Rnd 6: k24
Rnds 7-16: change to yarn B and knit all sts
Rnd 17: k2tog to end [12 sts]
Rnd 18: k12
Rnd 19: k2tog to end [6 sts]

Cut yarn with long tail, cinch tight through the remaining 6 stitches and sew securely on wrong side. Weave in ends. Attach hanging loop and mini pompoms.

Simple Tree Mittens (Crochet)

Use a 4mm (US: 6) crochet hook and work from the bottom up (versus ‘top down’ for the knitted versions).

Rnd 1: magic loop of 4 dc sts with yarn B [4 dc]
Rnd 2: (2dc) to end [8 dc]
Rnd 3: (2dc, dc1) to end [12 dc]
Rnd 4: (2dc, dc2) to end [16 dc]
Rnd 5: (2dc, dc3) to end [20 dc]
Rnds 6-8: dc20

Change to yarn A to work the mitten cuff, sideways.

Row 9: ch4
Row 10 (and all even rows to Row 24): ch1, dc4 BLO, dc2 (into mitten body edge)
Row 11 (and all odd rows to Row 27): skip 2 sts, dc4 BLO
Row 28: ch1, slst4 BLO into adjacent edge of mitten cuff (to close the cuff)

Fasten off and weave in all ends, on wrong side. Attach hanging loop and mini pompoms.

Fork Pompoms

If you’ve never heard of the ‘fork’ method for making mini pompoms, then it’s really self-explanatory. Basically, you use a fork – a regular fork from your cutlery drawer – to wind the yarn around because it’s an easy way to measure for really tiny pom-poms.

Fork Pompom

Put a length of yarn vertically between the middle tines, wind the yarn horizontally round all the tines and tie the vertical yarn around your wound yarn. Slide the tied yarn off the fork tines and use embroidery scissors (or any sharp scissors) to snip the loops at the side edges. Fluff up your mini pom-pom and trim any sticking out bits. Either leave the long, dangling, yarn to use when attaching your pompom to a project or trim it off.

Abbreviations:
BLO = back loop only
ch(s) = chain(s)
dc = double crochet (US: single crochet)
k = knit
k2tog = knit 2 stitches together
p = purl
slst = slip stitch
st(s) = stitch(es)
st st = stocking stitch
tbl = through back loop

Simple Tree Mittens (original knitted version) were first published on December 11, 2012.

Amigurumi Tooth

20 Dec

For emergency Tooth Fairy gifts, this amigurumi tooth makes a cute – and FAST – mini plushie friend. You only need oddments of yarn and a very small amount of toy stuffing. Size it up or down with different needles or substitute toy stuffing with scraps of yarn! This is perfect for knitting, while the Tooth Fairy waits for your child to fall asleep… :)

Amigurumi Tooth in white DK yarn

Amigurumi Tooth Pattern

Cast on 6 sts using 4mm (US: 6) needles and DK (US: light worsted) yarn.

Row 1: kfb, k4, kfb [8 sts] [RS]
Row 2: pfb, p7 [9 sts] [WS]
Row 3: kfb, k7, kfb [11 sts]
Row 4: pfb, p10 [12 sts]
Row 5: k12
Row 6: p2tog, p8, p2tog [10 sts]
Row 7: k8, k2tog [9 sts]
Row 8: p2tog, p5, p2tog [7 sts]
Row 9: kfb, k5, kfb [9 sts]
Row 10: pfb, p8 [10 sts]
Row 11: kfb, k8, kfb [12 sts]
Row 12: p12
Row 13: k10, k2tog [11 sts]
Row 14: p2tog, p7, p2tog [9 sts]
Row 15: k7, k2tog [8 sts]
Row 16: p2tog, p4, p2tog [6 sts]

Bind off and weave in or trim the yarn ends. Make a second tooth.

Tooth Assembly

Sew optional features to RS of one tooth piece; I used French knot eyes and a running stitch smiling mouth. Arrange your teeth pieces, WS together, and whip stitch edges – leaving a small gap of about an inch. Fill your amigurumi tooth with toy stuffing and then continue to whip stitch the gap and fasten off the ends.

By way of variation, you could blanket stitch the edges in a contrasting colour or use different colours for the front and back tooth pieces. The amigurumi tooth is worked sideways so, if you want to use multiple colours or self-striping yarn, any stripes will run vertically. If you’re not fond of sewing, you could crochet the edges together and use scraps of felt for the optional facial features.

Abbreviations:
k = knit
k2tog = knit 2 stitches together
kfb = knit through front and back loops
p = purl
p2tog = purl 2 stitches together
pfb = purl through front and back loops
RS = right side
st(s) = stitch(es)
WS = wrong side

Quick Knits Small & Pretty Book Review

9 Jul

Quick Knits Small and Pretty by Susan PennyQuick Knits Small & Pretty by Susan Penny is a delightful surprise and a pleasure to review. The original patterns range from egg cosies to fingerless mittens and they all use basic knitting stitches and techniques, making this book ideally suited to new knitters who crave immediate results. Each project photo is full of whimsy and vintage charm. The only obvious shortcoming is that the quick knits are geared towards women and young girls.

The 21 knitting patterns are: Daisy Egg Cosy, Beach Hut Paperweight, Celebration Cake, Flower Brooch, Ballerina Teddy, Rose Headband, Striped Mittens, Jam Tart Slice, Molly Dolly, Red Rose, Phone Cover, Pretty Flowers, Doll’s Hat & Scarf, Rag Doll, Scottie Dog, Envelope Purse, Peach & Chocolate Cupcake, Mug Cosy, Bird Pins, Country Heart and Tooth Fairy Bag.

Quick Knits Evaluation

To test the patterns, I knitted a sample Rag Doll. As I didn’t have any gold yarn, I substituted silver yarn for her hat; otherwise, I followed the instructions and suggested materials. The doll, scarf and hat are all knitted flat and seamed. The increases are simple kfb (knit into front and back loops) and the decreases are all k2tog (knit 2 stitches together). Where you might expect a k2tog tbl (through back loop) instruction (to make the decrease slant to the left), it has been left as a simple k2tog (where the decrease always slants to the right). This is a canny move, as the slant is hidden in the seaming, and keeping the stitches simple makes the pattern more accessible.

knitted rag doll

The doll was very quick to make and, while she doesn’t look identical to the book photo, she looks very sweet. Judging by the book photo, slightly visible stuffing is a deliberate effect; it seems to effectively add to the rustic, vintage appeal. To be honest, I think she looks better without the hat but the removable hat and scarf pieces do increase the play value for a child. I’m very pleased with my finished project. :)

Flicking through the other patterns, I can see all the stitches have been kept simple. Quite often the increases and decreases are left to the reader to choose their favourite version – perhaps use a m1 (make one) instead of a kfb? The only tricky stitch that I can see, which might cause a beginner some concern, is in the Peach & Chocolate Cupcake: “inc every second purl stitch”. I would interpret that as meaning pfb (purl into front and back loops), which I know some knitters find awkward because of the unintuitive way you must hold your needles. However, as the precise method hasn’t been specified, I suppose you could conceivably use any increase stitch.

Conclusion

While I received a free review copy of this book, I would be happy to buy it as a gift – it would go very nicely with some bamboo needles or some pretty and useful embellishments e.g. buttons, ribbons, findings, etc. It would also be a satisfying buy for new or intermediate knitters seeking small projects and fast results. Many of the quick knits would make lovely little gifts, particularly for young girls – although the cute Scottie Dog would make a charming friend for anyone!

Quick Knits Small & Pretty, priced at £7.50 GBP, is available from Amazon, booksellers, knitting shops and direct from the publisher (Cotton Thread Books). I would rate it 4.5/5.