Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Tutorial: Hand Knit Chevron Baubles

I first made these baubles last year, using a colour slip pattern from my Good Housekeeping Needlecrafts book, it seemed an easier way of getting colour and pattern into the design without having to juggle 2 or more yarns at once, as I had been with my snowflake and heart baubles. The chevron pattern is incredibly easy to learn and simple to do, and as a smaller project the bauble design covers a few different techniques in a very straightforward way so it would be a great starter for less experienced knitters. Hopefully I've explained it well enough and have included some helpful pictures so that you can all make your own with very little trouble!

2 colours of yarn, I’ve used Cascade 220 DK, but you can use anything that matches the tension of 20 sts and 25 rows to 4”.
1 pair 4mm needles.
1 tapestry needle for sewing up.
1x 7cm diameter polystyrene or spun paper ball.
1x 4mm crochet hook or a 40cm length of coordinating ribbon.

K1fb – Knit into the front of the loop and without dropping the original stitch, knit into the back of it as well. Drop the original stitch. One stitch made.
M1 – Using the tip of your right needle, going front to back, pick up the strand running between the stitch just worked and the next one on the left needle. With the left needle, working front to back, transfer the new stitch over. Knit into the back of the stitch with the right needle.  One stitch made.
Sl1 – Insert right needle into next stitch as if to purl but move across without working the stitch.
K2tog – Insert right needle through the front of the next 2 stitches on the left needle and work as one. One stitch decreased.

Using whichever method you prefer, cast on 10 stitches in colour A. 8 of these are your ‘working’ stitches, with one stitch either end for your seams.
Row 1: K1, *K1fb* 8 times, K1. (18sts)
Row 2: Purl all stitches.
Row 3: K1, *K2, M1* 8 times, K1. (26 sts)
Row 4: Purl.
Row 5: K1, *K3, M1* 8 times, K1. (34 sts)
Row 6: Purl.
Row 7: K1, *K4, M1* 8 times, K1. (42 sts)
Row 8: Purl.
Row 9: K1, *K5, M1* 8 times, K1. (50 ts)
Row 10: Purl.
Patterned section
Row 11: Join in Colour B. K1, *K1, Sl3* repeat to last st, K1.
Tip: As with any colourwork it is important not to hold the working yarn too tightly across the back of the slipped stitches, or you may end up with a very wibbly cover that won’t stretch around the bauble. Keep it fairly loose but neat.
Row 12: P2, *Sl1, P3* repeat to last 2 sts, P2.
Row 13: Knit.
Row 14: Purl.
Tip: These 4 rows are the basic colour slip chevron pattern, worked over a 4 stitch repeat. You can use them for anything, but most importantly you can use yellow and black yarn for a very convincing Charlie Brown t-shirt pattern.

Row 15: Change back to colour A, repeat rows 11-14.
Row 19: Change to colour B, repeat rows 11 – 14.
Tip: You can use as many colours as you want, I’m not the yarn police.

Row 23: Change to colour A, repeat rows 11 – 12.
Row 25: K1, *K4, K2tog* 8 times, K1. (42 sts)
Row 26: Purl.
Row 27: K1, *K3, K2tog* 8 times, K1. (34 sts)
Row 28: Purl.
Row 29: K1, *K2, K2tog* 8 times, K1. (26 sts)
Row 30: Purl.
Row 31: K1, *K1, K2tog* 8 times, K1. (18 sts)
Row 32: Purl.
Row 33: K1, * K2tog* 8 times, K1. (10sts)
Break yarn leaving a long end for sewing up and using a tapestry needle thread it through the 10 sts on your needle.

If you’ve used a different weight of yarn it might be that you need to leave off buying your ball until you’ve finished the knitting and then you can take your work to the craft store and try it on a few different sizes to get one that fits, Goldilocks style. You will only look a little bit crazy.
When you’ve got your perfectly sized ball you can sew the knitting around it. Start by wrapping the work around the ball, and draw the threaded up stitches tight together to close the hole at the top, you might want to do a little knot at this point to keep the hole closed while you work on the seam.

Work your way down the seam stitches, matching the pattern on either side and catching in one stitch at a time snaking down until you reach the bottom. You don’t need to pull the stitching tight, just enough to keep the seam closed and the work as flat as possible.

When you reach the cast on edge you might need to work a few stitches across the hole to draw that shut as well. Fasten off your yarn with a knot and take the yarn through to the wrong side of the work and back out again a few cm away to hide the ends, cut your yarn.

The easiest way to make a hanging loop is to get a length of matching ribbon and thread it through a few stitches at the top and then tie it off in a bow to form a loop. If you’re using a polyester ribbon you can hold the ends near a lighter flame to melt them slightly so they won’t fray, or snip on an angle.
The other method is to join yarn in at the top of the bauble and crochet a chain the desired length, then fasten it back in to the bauble.

Voila! You now have one chevron striped bauble for your tree. Sadly only having one bauble on your tree would be ridiculous so you’ll have to make some more, but that’s ok, because you’re a pro now and you can mix your colours up however you like to make a matching set! 

What you have with this pattern is 9 rows of increases, 9 rows of decreases, and a band in the middle of 15 rows and 48 stitches, so you can do whatever you like within that shape, like plain stripes in any number of colours, or a 3 colour chevron pattern. If you’re feeling adventurous you could go for a Fairisle or Scandinavian style motif repeating around (just be warned of losing some stretch with the additional strands across the back, it might be a case of knit then fit again.) 

So, go forth and bauble! I’d love to hear your feedback as this is the first pattern I’ve ever written. If you find any errors, or think it could be improved please do share, and when you’re finished making your baubles I’d love to see them!

Monday, 10 September 2012

And the Winner is.....

Time to announce the winner! 

I've got the names...

  I've got the hat...

 I've got an independent adjudicator (he's very thorough)...

 And the winner is...

Jenny aka Mrs Geekcycled! Congratulations Jenny, I hope you enjoy your prizes, I will be in touch to arrange delivery.

And thank you to everyone else who entered! There will be more giveaways in future so do keep following and maybe you'll be lucky next time!

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