On Pins and Needles

Have you seen the special holiday issue of Interweave Knits?  I was visiting the yarn shop recently and somehow ended up snagging a copy before really looking too much at it.  This isn’t like me; I usually read through an entire knitting magazine (or at least do a long look at the pattern photos) before committing to a purchase.  So you can imagine my relief and delight when I fell in love with this issue’s contents.

There are a number of delicious looking projects, both in the Gift and Selfish Knits categories.  The first pattern to jump onto my needles was the Fleur de Lis pincushion.  My mother in law is an avid sewer, and I knew immediately that this would be a charming gift for her.  I located some festive red and green alpaca yarn in the stash and got knitting.

This is where my super-speedy process slowed way down.  I haven’t done any colorwork in quite some time, except for stripes, and I forgot how much coordination goes into the process.  It took me a while to get into a rhythm of switching colors, floating the non-working yarn, and remembering to make increases while following the chart.  After a full evening of TV-knitting, I wasn’t even halfway through the chart.

I thought I’d be done in one sitting!

The good news is, things really sped up once I hit my stride, and I am quite happy with how this little pincushion has turned out.

I carried the red yarn along, catching it every three stitches with the main color.  It’s important not to pull these floated strands tight, or you will get puckering or distorted stitches on the right side of your knitting.

I tacked down the ends of the red yarn inside the pincusion, then simply tossed the remaining ball of green wool into the pouch.  I then stuffed it full of wool roving and secured the top with a button as per the instructions.  De finition!

  • Pattern: Fleur de Lis by Tammy Eigman Thompson in IK Holiday Gifts 2010 (Ravelled here)
  • Yarn: Misti Alpaca Worsted Solids in color C815 (heathered green) and Berrocco Ultra Alpaca Light in color 4234 (red)
  • Needles: US size 2/ 2.75mm
  • Mods: Knit this with larger yarn and needles.

I’m very happy with how this turned out.  The yarn was a great choice, as the alpaca fluffs out just enough to fill in between stitches and provide a charming halo.  Like I said, once I got comfortable with knitting with the two colors, this went quickly.  For all that hard work, I think it’s a little unfortunate that so much of the lovely fleur de lis motif falls on the underside of the pincushion.  Perhaps one could knit more in the main color before beginning the chart to raise it up a bit.  You could also attach a button on the bottom side and it could be reversible!

This was a wonderful melding of my love for knitting and my mother in law’s love for sewing, the result of which is a much sought-after moment of gift-giving harmony.  I am so excited to see her open it in December!

That’s one gift down, 6 or 7 on my knitting wish list left to go…

How’s your holiday knitting coming along?