Several weeks ago, I read a post from Rae where she was talking about knitting, and I mentioned to her that I am also an avid knitter (I’m full of surprises over here) and that each year, I make knitted ornaments for my friends and family for Christmas. I mentioned earlier this week that there’s a reason I’ve been MIA lately. Well, it’s December and I’m behind on my ornament knitting so I’ve been knitting until I can’t feel my fingers anymore. It’s a great excuse to sit on my couch and watch TV. My husband even buys into it because people seem to love getting these as gifts and many of his family members are the recipients.
Side note: I’ve also been known to knit sweaters for my cats:
That was my Mr. Miles, who has since passed away. He loved his sweater. I don’t do Christmas cards, but I did the year that I knitted that sweater. I had that picture printed as a Christmas card and sent it out to anyone I had an address for. Yes, I realize knitting alone probably earns me some sort of cat lady status. Knitting cat sweaters and sending my cats out on Christmas cards probably means I’ve achieved Crazy Cat Lady Status: Expert Level. Whatever. My cats look cute.
Anyway, I digress. I’ve been knitting since I’m 8 years old, but only started knitting ornaments a few years ago. I proudly refer to them as ball sweaters, and ball sweater season is in full effect at my house. Here’s the progression over the years:
2011 – The first year that I had the brilliant idea to give everyone homemade gifts (I’d love to knit everyone socks or scarves, but those take too long for everyone on my list and I would probably need to start in May). I made this cute little basic ornament and I had a pattern from somewhere online:
2012 – I was all about owls for some reason. I really don’t know why. I actually had to buy this pattern because it was before I started writing patterns myself:
2013 – I was really into ugly Christmas sweaters and found a cute Fair Isle chart for a flower/star/snowflake/whatever but I had to start writing my own patterns. I could probably replicate it if I had to but I never actually wrote the pattern down. To date, these are my favorite:
Notice the quantity. I need to produce mass quantities of ball sweaters – thus why I’ve been a bad blogger lately. I’ll be back regularly before 2016. I promise.
2014 – While I loved this pattern too, I was still not quite as excited by this one. 2013 still wins for my favorite. This was the year I began writing the patterns down:
At the end of 2014, I had a ton of leftover yarn from all of the years of ornament knitting. Over my Christmas break that year, I spent the week making these just for the hell of it.
So not only do my cats have sweaters, but my Christmas tree is covered in knitted ornaments. I’m an 85 year old lady in the body of a 32 year old girl. It’s cool.
This year, I wanted to do a Moravian Star. I live in the Lehigh Valley and that’s like a thing around here – especially in the town of Bethlehem. It’s kind of hard to replicate for such a small surface area, so after a few feeble attempts I decided to do Christmas trees. However, I was unsatisfied with how those came out. I finally settled on my version of a Moravian star. Some look at it and see a snowflake. I don’t care. It’s probably too similar to my 2013 ornament but I am still so obsessed with those that I can’t help it. This is what they will look like – although this one has plenty of mistakes and is a quite sloppy since it’s my prototype:
I use a site called Tricksy Knitter to generate the charts. I’ve spent more hours staring at this than I care to admit. If you’re a knitter and want to try your hand at some Fair Isle ball sweaters that resemble a Moravian Star, here’s my final pattern. I’ve knitted enough of these that I don’t think I will need an errata, but knit at your own risk and let me know if you have questions or if you find a mistake.
Fair Isle Moravian Star Knitted Baubles
- Finger weight yarn in your choice of color – choose a minimum of two colors! I usually buy 4-5 different colors so the possibilities seem endless. Non-Christmassy colors look really cute too.
- A set of US Size 2 double pointed needles (DPNs)**
- Place markers
- Plastic baubles (see note)*
- Darning needle
* These can be found at Micheals or a similar craft store. There are usually available several sizes and I prefer the medium sized baubles. This pattern is written for a medium sized bauble, and can be adjusted to larger sizes.
**I use four DPNs – three to hold my stitches and one for knitting, but you can use as many as you feel comfortable using. You might be able to get away with a small size 2 circular needle but I’ve never tried it.
- K – Knit
- M1 – Make one stitch using your preferred method
- k2tog – Knit two stitches together
- MC – Main color
- CC – Contrasting color
Note: This ornament is knit from the bottom up.
Round 1: With MC, cast on 10 stitches. Join the round, place marker, and knit one round. I like to put four stitches on the first needle, three on the second needle, three on the third needle and knit with the fourth needle. You can do whatever works best for you. (10 stitches)
Round 2: *K1, M1 repeat from* – across (20 stitches)
Round 3 (and all remaining odd rounds): Knit
Round 4: *K2, M1 repeat from* – across (30 stitches)
Round 6: *K3, M1 repeat from* – across (40 stitches)
Round 8: *K4, M1 repeat from* – across (50 stitches)
Round 10: *K5, M1 repeat from* – across (60 stitches)
Join the cc and knit the chart below. Since you are knitting the ornament from the bottom up, you technically read this chart from right to left, bottom to top – opposite of how you would read anything else. I’m pretty sure that this is how you read most knitting charts, but I write most of my own patterns these days so I don’t know what the proper knitting protocol really is. I’m not a real designer and I’ve never published a pattern before so proceed with caution. If this is confusing for you, I flipped the chart so you can read from left to right, top to bottom.
The original chart:
The flipped version, just in case:
Upon completion of the chart, cut the CC and proceed with the MC as follows:
Round 1 (and all remaining odd rounds): Knit
Round 2: *K4, k2tog, repeat from* – across (50 stitches)
Round 4: *K3, k2tog repeat from* – across (40 stitches)
Round 6: *K2, k3tog repeat from* – across (30 stitches)
Round 8: *K1, k3tog repeat from* – across (20 stitches)
Round 10: *k2tog repeat from* – across (10 stitches)
Cut the MC and leave a few inches of yarn. Use a darning needle to thread the tail through the remaining stitches and pull. Voila! You are now one step closer to achieving crazy cat lady status, and your lucky recipients will anxiously await your yearly ornament reveal.
People seem to really love homemade gifts. Personally, I LOVE getting homemade gifts! I love making these and giving them out each year. Plus, the possibilities for making fun patterns and designs are endless. Give them a try!
Are you crafty? I’m actually not. This is the only craft I enjoy.
Do you give any homemade gifts around the holidays?
Do you like receiving homemade gifts?