I heard someone mention Christmas the other day. “I’ve started knitting my presents,” said she. What a good idea. I wonder what she’s going to make, this sensible knitter who’s planning so far ahead. It makes sense to knit in summer for winter and in winter for the Christmas holidays but it never works out that way. I’m not usually so well organized. So this year I’m starting early, too.
Woollen gifts seem out of place for our summer Christmas so I though this little hint of the tropics would suit us better and possibly cheer up the dark months for northerners.
A little bird told me recently that intarsia is making a comeback. I hope so. I love the idea of knitting a picture. If you’ve never tried it, or it’s been a long time, you can get your feet wet with simple little motifs like this. Blue Sky Cotton is ideal for intarsia, since its stitch definition is quite forgiving. It’s one of the loveliest cottons around, comfortingly soft, a pleasure to knit and best of all, it comes in a range of stunning colours that work together beautifully.
One thing I’ve learned about intarsia is that it’s easier to work with long ends of yarn than bobbins. Tangles are unavoidable but you can easily pull ends of yarn through the clump and not have to bother with separating the bobbins, which can be frustrating.
Here’s the pattern for this, the first of my gifts. It doesn’t take long. You can complete the pieces in an evening.
FRANGIPANI PIN CUSHION
Blue Sky Alpaca Dyed Cotton; 110g; 137metres/150 yds, 1 hank ea 639-Wasabi and 617-Lotus [2 hanks will make 2 pin cushions]
Size 4.5mm needles
Size 3.5mm crochet hook
Organic wool fibre for filling
2 buttons (optional)
16sts/24rows per 10cm/4”
13.5 x 13.5 x 5cm; 5.25 x5.25 x 2 inches
Cut 5 lengths of A and five lengths of B, each approx 150cm[60″] in length.
With A, cast on 23 sts in A. Work chart (below), beginning with purl row. Work flower intarsia style, introducing cut lengths of A or B as needed. Twist the thread around each other when changing colours.
With A, cast on 8 sts. Purl 1 row. *With B, work 2 rows stst. With A, work 2 rows stst.
Continue in stripe pattern from *, carrying yarns along side of work, until piece measures 18cm ending with 1 row in A. Bind off in A.
With A, cast on 23 sts.
Working stripe pattern as for Side Panel, work 27 rows. Bind off.
Sew in ends of intarsia and stripes.
Sew cast on edge of Side Panel to Bind off edge (or graft)
Pin one long edge of Side Panel to 4 sides of Striped Base. Sew on WS using a whip stitch, or crochet together on RS.
Fill with fibre.
Pin edges of Top Side with flower to Side Panel. Add more fibre filling if necessary.
Sew using a whip stitch or crochet.
Crochet 2 small circles, one each in A and B as follows:
Chain 3. Join in a ring by inserting the hook to the first chain, making a slip stitch circle.
Work 8 single crochets into the circle.
Sew the two crochet circles, one at centre of striped base, and one at centre of flower, joining with thread if desired to give a cushioned effect.