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The pattern for this knitted Christmas tree ornament was born one Saturday afternoon when my husband and I had a Christmas party to attend that included a Christmas tree ornament gift exchange and I forgot to pick one up when out grocery shopping earlier that week and didn’t feel like going out again.
I gathered what I had and spent a few minute cruising pinterest for ideas. I saw this picture of a Christmas tree ornament that was basically a dead pin, meaning all I had to guide me was a picture, no instructions.
It took me about an hour to figure out how to make it work, and another hour to make it , and yes I know in 2 hours I could have driven to the store picked out an ornament, driven home, showered and been dressed for the party, instead of the rushing around I ended up doing that evening. However, I really loved the way it turned out and I think a handmade Christmas ornament means so much more than one from a store.
I tweaked the pattern the second time around, and I like it even better than I did the first one.
Here are the materials you need for this Christmas ornament
- size 7 needles (I use bamboo and love them)
- green yarn (I used cotton, but I think other types would do)
- red yarn (again I used cotton, but you can use other types I do however think the type you use should be the same for both colors)
- buttons for ornaments (I used round but you can use any shape)
- star buttons ( I got a large package of these at a yard sale one year)
- small amount of green material (I just used an old t-shirt for this)
- ribbon (I used some that I had bought on clearance, basically anything small enough to fit in the hole of the star button, will work)
- Yarn needle (eye has to be big enough for yarn to go through)
- needles for sewing on buttons
You are going to start by knitting up the tree first. To get it started cast on 3 stitches making sure that you leave an ample enough tail end to do use in the knitting together stage (say 3 or 4 inches).
Now comes the tricky part. The pattern has a pattern of increasing that I found a bit hard to remember but I did find a few tricks that made it easier.
The pattern for the Christmas tree sides is as follows
- knit one, knit in front and back in second (like you do a wash cloth, so that you make 2 stitches out of one) then knit to end of row.
- knit full row
- knit until second to last stitch then in that stitch knit in front and back (so that you are again making 2 stitches out of one) then knit last stitch.
- knit full row
- repeat until you have 16 stitches on your needles
- knit a full row
- cast off your row
- At this point one side of your Christmas tree will be complete and then you can repeat the whole process over to make the other side.
To help me remember if I was near the start of a row , or near the end of the row, or if it was a non-increase row I did the following
- I put a twist tie on the end of one needle, which helped me know if this was an increase row or not. Each time I was loading stitches to that needle I knew was an increase row, each time I was unloading stitches I knew it was a non-increase row
- I made a chart on a piece of scrap paper that said F E F E F E F E………..This meant increase in front of row, increase near end of row. I crossed it off each time I did it so I knew what to do next time I was knitting an increase row.
- You could also do a chart that goes like this F N E F N E F N E…….. This would eliminate need for twist tie as the N would stand for the non-increase row.
Once your two Christmas tree pieces are done it is time to work the ends in so that they are hidden.
Essentially all you do is thread the tails on your needle one at a time and then work each one into the stitches itself. I like to work through at least half a dozen or so and then un-thread your needle and cut off the yarn sticking out.
Now it is time to cut your material (um…ya I know the ends are not done in this picture, it is out of sequence but really it doesn’t matter what order you do these two steps). The cutting doesn’t have to be perfect, as you can see from mine. What matters is that the pieces of material take up most of the inside of each tree but do not spill out the sides.
Also as long as the material is green so that it blends in between the holes of the knitting it doesn’t matter what type it is. I used an old t-shirt of my daughter’s, since it was free.
Now you want to make a tree sandwich, putting one knitted side on the bottom then the two green pieces of material and then the other knitted tree. Play around with them a bit until you have them all laying flat and all the green material is safely within the knitted sides.
To sew the piece together cut off one piece of yarn roughly the length from you finger tips to mid bicep. I tied mine on to one corner of the tree, leaving a long tail to work in just like I did when the tree was in two pieces. Slip stitch around the tree watching your tension not so loose that you have gaps but not so tight that it causes puckering.
When my tree was put together is was right around 6 inches in height. Of course yours might be smaller or bigger depending on your tension, so let this be your guide and not a strict rule. After I was done stitching the sides of the tree together I knotted together the ends and then stabbed them into the tree with the yarn needle so that they were hidden.
To attach the red bucket to the Christmas tree you need to work your needle into a few of the bottom stitches. I did this by folding the tree in half and taking 2 on one side and 3 on the other. I suppose you could make it 3 on each side since there really was no plan to my bucket except that it look like it was in the middle and not too small but not too big and 5 stitches looked about right to me.
Work the red yarn in the green . Knit 8 rows of it and then cast off. Leave a long red tail at end. I knotted the red yarn to the green yarn near the first stitch after I casted off. I don’t know if that is the proper way to do it but it worked.
To finish the bucket I folded the red bucket in half. I knotted the two ends together and then used the long tail of yarn I left to slip stitch the red yarn to the bottom of the green tree and then closed one side. I then used the other tail to slip stitch the other side shut. After the bucket was all sewn shut I cut off all but an inch or so of the yarn tales and then used the needle to hide them in the bucket.
Once you complete the tree you are going to want to decorate it. You can use matching colorful buttons like I did. So that each side of the tree looks the same or you can use random buttons on either side. I had a friend who made some of these trees for her aunt and used buttons from her aunt’s antique button collection. It meant a lot to the aunt to see her pretty buttons on display on her tree.
Once you know what buttons you want to decorate your tree, take some time deciding just where you want them. Once you have them arranged in a way you like, snap a picture with your cell phone before removing them all. This will give you something to look at should you forget where you wanted them.
Instead of running out to the store to find matching green thread, I snipped off a piece of yarn and split the four strands up. This way I had an exact match to the yarn . You can use green thread though if you rather. I won’t report you to the thrifty police LOL.
To put your buttons on securely, first thread your needle and then put a knot about 3 inches away from end. Pull the thread through the entire tree and stop at knot. Place the needle through one button hole and pull it down the thread then insert button into other hole and through the tree again to another button on the other side.
Go through from one button to the other 4 or so times until the buttons on either side are securely in place.
To finish off the buttons once you are done securing them to tree take the ends of the thread on both sides and wrap them around the base of the buttons. This will hide the ends.
How you attach the star to the top of the Christmas tree is really going to depend on what type of star button you find. The ones I currently have are more like beads with holes through the middle.
To attach them I first thread them onto a narrow ribbon.
I then used the needle to poke the ribbon through the top of the Christmas tree. and pulled it through the star bead again. To finish it I knotted it just above the star, so that it won’t move much, and then knotted the top of the ribbon so that it will hang on the tree.
And with that it was done!
I really like how it turned out and plan to make several more to give as gifts.
Looking for more simple Knitting projects? Try my Simple To Knit Fingerless Gloves tutorial.