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Friday, 19 December 2014

TOP TIPS - for perfect Christmas Baubles

You will all know by now that we have a fabulous new free pattern for Christmas . . . won't you? If you don't then head over to and download your free copy immediately!! These Christmas Ornaments are seriously quick to make (meaning you definitely still have time to knit a couple before the big day), only take small amounts of yarn and are a great way to add some Scandi style to your tree or special gifts.

The pattern includes mini trees, squares and baubles either in striped or fairisle versions so there is plenty of scope to use up small oddments in lots of different colour combinations. I particularly love the baubles as I think they make great teachers or hostess gifts as well as making a bold statement on the Christmas tree.

In the interests of 'test knitting' I set about knitting a few of these baubles and thought I'd include my top tips here for making these ornaments look perfectly finished and worthy of gifting or pride of place on your tree.

You can clearly see the large loop in the top 2 pictures, and the bauble separated onto 2 needles to make the knitting more comfortable to manage in the bottom pictures

Firstly and most importantly an instruction that I really should have adhered to myself - read the pattern thoroughly before starting. This may seem obvious but the pattern is written such that there are a few things going on at the same time and these are listed in a couple of places. So (unlike me!) you will need to read the colour striping instructions for each bauble AND the actual 'To Make' instructions. I didn't and so my first bauble ended up with the stripe sequence running from bottom to top instead of into the middle - in a mirrored way - this will make sense when you knit yours, but you can also see my mistake in the first picture below.
My first bauble with the stripe pattern running from bottom to top and the second which is mirrored to make the most of the central 4 fairisle rows

Next, I found it helpful to cast on the first stitch really loosely so you have a fairly large loop. The way that the first increases are made means it all takes place in this first stitch. Don't worry about this loop as you will be able to sew it in when you come to the finishing.

The 'm1' increases all take place on the purl rounds and so it's worth remembering that you will need to 'purl' into the bar between the stitches. I made my increase by lifting the bar from back to front with my left needle and then purling into the front of it. If you want to be a real perfectionist then you might want to work right and left leaning increases but I was happy with just using this one method.

The pattern does state that you will want to introduce a second DPN when the stitches become too many on a single needle - I found that around Row 11, my knitting was becoming too tight to manage easily and so I introduced my second needle here.

Take care that your gauge is correct so that the knitting actually has to stretch around the polystyrene inner - it looks much more professional if it actually fits!

Finally - you know that I'm going to absolutely stress the importance of good old mattress stitch here! If you are using a polystyrene ball to 'stuff' your baubles (and by the way they are 9"/23cms circumference, we sourced ours online very cheaply and completely recommend using them for the best results), then you will need to work your mattress stitch while the ball is inside. This can be a little tricky but it does give the most polished finish. You really don't want to be able to see an obvious seam as baubles have a tendency to swing and turn around!

The joy of mattress stitch to produce a seamless join AND matching stripes

Each bauble took me approximately 3 hours from start to finish, and used around 13grms of yarn. The pattern advises that 4 balls of yarn are enough to make all 7 ornaments (including the squares and trees) - but you may find that you can squeeze out one or two more!

My finished baubles taking pride of place on the Christmas Tree - I'll look forward to bringing these out every year

We'd like to wish all our readers a happy and peaceful holiday season and say a huge Thanks for your continued interest in MillaMia and the team. We have so many exciting plans for 2015 and we're looking forward to sharing it all with you too!

(posted by Max)

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