A Note on Gauge
When knitting toys I always use needles that are a mm size smaller than that recommended for the yarn. 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.
Some short row based patterns often have row numbers to help people follow the pattern, other people find that row numbers distract from the flow of the pattern. After some soul searching I decided not to put them in. So, if you find you’re getting lost, write the row numbers on the pattern, it might help.
Don’t Close the Holes!
Elsewhere on this blog I’ve gone on and on about how simple it is to close the little holes made by short row shaping, however for this pattern the holes don’t need to be closed. The holes actually adds to the texture of the tree and they’re not that noticeable because they occur in the dips of the ribbing.
If the base of your Christmas tree seems uneven or lumpy, first check that you have knit the correct number of sections (6 in all), then try starting each row at the base with a Sl1 st instead of a knit stitch. This will mean that there are fewer stitches in the middle of the base, so they will be less tightly forced together. (Thank you to Ann Cowan for that suggestion).
When sewing through the loops to close the bottom of the tree, you may need to go round twice, it will help you to pull the hole closed.
When sewing up the back seam of the tree, you’ll need to use a “fake grafting” stitch to sew the stockinette stitch ribs together and a weaving method to sew the garter stitch ribs together. The “fake grafting” technique is demonstrated very clearly here on the VogueKnitting site (scroll down the page until you see “Horizontal Seam on Stockinette Stitch). The weaving method for the garter stitch ribs weaves the yarn in and out so that it goes directly over the existing stitches in the knitting. Here’s a diagram of how that works:
The important thing to remember when using this method is not to pull the yarn tight as this will just make a nasty mess. Switching between the two methods is a delicately balanced operation, but it’s not impossible. It also doesn’t matter too much if the sewing is a little uneven, as you can see here in this photo of the back of one of my trees:
Beads are an obvious choice for decorating these trees, although you could also use buttons or even sparkly yarn, embroidered on using chain stitch it would look a little like tinsel. Let me know if you think of any other ideas, I’d be pleased to feature them on the blog.