Pumpkin Head – Hints and Tips

pumpkin3

The knit pattern for this cute little Pumpkin Head is now available in the NattyKnits etsy shop. It’s only $2 and suitable for an adventurous beginner. These hints and tips will help you to get the most out of the pattern:

Gauge

When knitting toys I always use needles that are at least a mm size smaller than that recommended for the yarn. This is because garter stitch is quite stretchy and if you knit it too loosely the stuffing will show through the fabric! You don’t have to get the gauge exactly right but at least knit up some garter stitch using smaller than usual needles, until you get a fabric that you can only see pinpricks of light through.

How to Close the Holes

The Pumpkin Heads are made using a technique called Short Row Shaping. This involves turning the knitting around before you’ve knitted to the end of the row, so making the knitted fabric 3 dimensional. However, when you turn the knitting, you leave a small hole. There’s a special blog post on how to close the holes and get a smoother finish on your fabric, just here

Right Side

All knitted fabric has a “right” side and a “wrong” side, even garter stitch, which looks pretty much the same on both sides. When you start the first row of your knitting the right side of the work is facing you. Take a note of where your cast on tail is (it will be on the right if you use “double cast on” or the left if you use “single cast” on or “cable cast on”). That cast on tail will then tell you which is the right side of the Pumpkin Head. Obviously the right side should go on the outside.

Sewing

When sewing through the side loops to close the top and bottom of the Pumpkin Head, go round twice, it will help you to pull the hole closed.

When sewing up the back seam of the pumpkin, there is no set way to knit the top and bottom of garter stitch fabric, at least not one I can find. So here’s what I use.  The basic method involves weaving the yarn in and out so that it goes directly over the existing stitches in the knitting. Here’s a diagram:

Sewing Top and Bottom of Garter StitchSewing Top and Bottom of Garter Stitch

The important thing to remember when using this method is not to pull the yarn tight as this will just make a nasty mess. It’s a delicately balanced operation, but simple with practice.

I-Cord (for small pumpkin only)

I’ve previously written about how to make I-cord, here’s the link to the blog entry:

http://nattyknitter.wordpress.com/2009/02/09/i-cord-french-knitting-in-the-usa/

Some ideas for Pumpkin Faces

Every one of the Pumpkin Heads I make has a different face, I think it’s important that they look as individual as hand carved Jack-o-Lanterns. Please feel free to experiment, but here are some ideas I’ve liked:

midpumpkin3tiny1huge1

How to get Different Sized Pumpkin Heads from the Same Pattern

The Pumpkin Head pattern calls for the completion of 10 curved sections, this gives you a classic round, but slightly flattened pumpkin shape. But if you knit fewer sections, your pumpkin will be thinner and taller, with deeper indentations in the top and bottom. I find that any less than 7 sections doesn’t work, but feel free to experiment.

If you have any questions or comments which are not covered either in the pattern or here, please contact me through the NattyKnits Etsy shop and I’ll do my best to help you.


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