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This 101 comes from Sue, a handspinner of yarn who lives in rural Clackamas County, Oregon. Though Sue calls herself “not such a great knitter,” we beg to differ and offer the photos below as evidence. When we heard that Sue had been making apple and pear Christmas ornaments as gifts for her nieces and nephews, our ears pricked up. Knitting? With handspun yarn? In the shape of FOOD?! Sounds like a HOMEGROWN project to us. If you agree, send Sue a note and let her know. And, Sue, please keep the ideas coming!

These instructions assume the knitter is able to knit on double pointed needles and to increase and decrease stitches. I found these patterns for free on ravelry.com, a great site for those of you interested in the fiber arts: knitting, spinning, crocheting, etc. These patterns can be shared but should not be sold. Download a text-only version here.


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HAND-KNIT APPLE ORNAMENT

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: I recommend red wool double-knitting (DK) or sport-weight yarn for the apple, fleece for stuffing (other materials work, too), brown wool for the stem, and green wool for the leaf. I used hand-spun yarn for some apples and commercial sock yarn for others. For those I knit with sock yarn, I used four size 5 double-pointed needles (DPNs). For my DK or sport-weight handspun, I used four size 6 DPNs. You'll also need a tapestry needle for sewing up the ends.

APPLE PATTERN: Cast on ten stitches. Join for knitting in the round, making sure your work is not twisted. Split the ten stitches over three of the DPNs.

» Round 1: Knit.

» Round 2: Knit into front and back of each stitch (increase); you will have 20 stitches.

» Round 3: Knit.

» Round 4: Knit into front and back of each stitch (increase); you will have 40 stitches.

» Rounds 5 to 15: Knit. Photo at right shows apple after round 7.

» Round 16: Knit and increase four stitches evenly throughout the round (every tenth stitch); you will have 44 stitches.

» Round 17 to 19: Knit

» Round 20: Knit one stitch, knit two together (repeat across the row); knit two stitches at the end of the row; you will have 30 stitches.

» Round 21: Knit one stitch, knit two together (repeat across the row);
you will have 20 stitches.

» Round 22: Knit one stitch, knit two together (repeat across the row);
you will have ten stitches.

» Round 23: Knit.

Stuff the apple with fleece while it’s still on the needles. Leave a long thread, break the yarn, and thread the tapestry needle. Weave the tapestry needle through the stitches on the knitting needles, remove the knitting needles, and pull tight. You can now continue to stuff your apple from its base. Once you are happy with the shape, sew the opening closed. Photo at right shows stuffed apple before knitting needles are removed.

At this point, you want to create a depression on the top of your apple. With the tapestry needle and thread that you used to gather the stitches at the top of the apple, push the needle down into the apple
from the top and out the base. Pull until you see a depression on top
and then sew tightly at the base of your apple.

APPLE STALK: Using your DPNs, pick up two stitches on the top of your apple and join the brown wool for the stalk. Knit an I-cord about 1 inch long; then cast off. Sew in all of the ends. Photo at right shows apple stem before knitting needles are removed.

APPLE LEAF: Use two straight needles or DPNs for the leaf (you only need two needles). Cast on three stitches of the green yarn.

» Round 1: Knit into the front and the back of the first stitch (increase), purl one, knit into front and back of last stitch (increase); you will have five stitches.

» Round 2: Knit.

» Round 3: Knit into the front and the back of the first stitch (increase), knit one, purl one, knit one, knit into front and back of last stitch (increase); you will have seven stitches.

» Round 4: Knit.

» Round 5: Knit into the front and the back of the first stitch (increase), knit two, purl one, knit two, knit into front and back of last stitch (increase); you will have nine stitches.

» Round 6: Knit.

» Round 7: Knit four stitches, purl one, knit four stitches.

» Round 8: Knit.

» Alternate rows 7 and 8 three times.

» Round 15: Knit one, knit two stitches together, knit one, purl one, knit one, knit two together, knit one (seven stitches).

» Round 16: Knit.

» Round 17: Knit one, knit two together, purl one, knit two together, knit one (five stitches).

» Round 18: Knit.

» Round 19: Knit two stitches together, purl one, knit two stitches together (three stitches).

» Round 20: Knit. Photo at right shows leaf after round 20.

» Round 21: Knit three stitches together.

Bind off. Sew in the ends neatly. For the leaf stem, pick up two stitches at the base of the leaf and knit an I-cord for about 1 inch. (I have also skipped the stem and just sewed the leaf onto the apple stem, and it looks fine). Sew leaf onto apple stem.

You can make a smaller leaf by knitting as stated above until round 5. At round 5, knit as follows:

» Round 5: Knit three stitches, purl one, knit three stitches.

» Round 6: Knit.

Alternate rounds 5 and 6 two or three times, depending on what size leaf you want. Once you’ve completed those rounds as desired, the next round will be: knit one, knit two stitches together, purl one, knit two stitches together, knit one.

» Next round: Knit.

» Next round: Knit two stitches together, purl one, knit two stitches together.

» Next round: Knit.

» Next round: Knit three stitches together.


Bind off. Optional: Attach hook or yarn to end of stem to hang ornament.


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HAND-KNIT PEAR ORNAMENT

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Wool yarn in green, yellow, or any color you’d like your pears to be. I used spring green handspun for some and yellow for others in DK or sport weight. You will also need a small amount of brown yarn for the stem, as well as four size 6 DPNs, a tapestry needle for working in the ends, and fleece or another material for stuffing.

 

PEAR PATTERN: Cast on 6 stitches and join for knitting in
the round.


» Round 1: Knit.

» Round 2: Knit into front and back of each stitch (increase);
you will have 12 stitches.

» Round 3: Knit.

» Round 4: Knit into front and back of each stitch (increase);
you will have 24 stitches.

» Round 5: Knit.

» Round 6: Increase six stitches evenly throughout the round (30 stitches). Photo at right shows pear after round 6.

» Rounds 7 to 12: Knit.

» Round 13: Knit one, knit two stitches together; repeat brackets across the round (20 stitches).

» Round 14: Knit.

» Round 15: Knit one, knit two stitches together; repeat brackets across
the round; knit two stitches at the end of round (14 stitches).

» Round 16: Knit.

» Round 17: Knit one, knit two stitches together; repeat brackets across
the round; knit two stitches at the end of round (ten stitches).

» Rounds 18 to 24: Knit.

» Round 25: Knit one, knit two stitches together; repeat brackets across the round; knit two stitches at the end of round (seven stitches).

While it’s still on the needles, stuff the pear with fleece until firm. Break the yarn and thread onto the tapestry needle. Using the tapestry needle, pick up the stitches on the knitting needles. Pull tight and finish off. Sew ends in. Photo at right shows stuffed pear before knitting needles are removed.

PEAR STEM: Pick up two stitches at the top of the pear with the DPN
and attach the brown yarn for the stem. Knit an I-cord for about 1 inch.
Then bind off and work yarn end in. Photo at right shows the stitches for the stem being picked up.

PEAR LEAF (OPTIONAL): If desired, you can add a leaf to the pear. Follow leaf instructions for the apple. Attach hook or yarn to the end of the stem to hang as an ornament.

SPEAK UP!
Got a question needling you? Have your own stitch to share? Post it below and keep the conversation rolling. You might also be interested in 101s on knitting, crocheting with plastic bags, and recycling yarn, and you can always find more things to make, craft, plant, grow, cook, preserve, and knit in the HOMEGROWN 101 library.

 

ALL PHOTOS: SUE GEE

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What a fun holiday ornament! 

Learning to knit is on my bucket list...along with a few other things.  Just not enough time or anyone to teach me right now.  Great idea and good work!

Knitting is a very valuable skill and once you get the basics is very portable.  Depending on what kind of learner you are, there are probably great videos online for beginners.  

Janet Buechler said:

Learning to knit is on my bucket list...along with a few other things.  Just not enough time or anyone to teach me right now.  Great idea and good work!

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