Each year I celebrate Christmas by decorating myChristmas tree with hand-knitted ornaments. So far I have well over 200 items - all hand knitted by me, save for two knitted by a friend. This is a great way to use up all those oddments of yarn that you have left over from major projects, by the way. However, many ornaments that I knit don't make it to the tree as they end up being gifts to family and friends.
To make my tree the "knittiest", I look out for ornament patterns in knitting books all throughout the year. I have found that the best source for these patterns are in books and leaflets by Jean Greenhowe and Alan Dart. This year (so far) I have 25 additional trims and I had a really hard time finding space for all the ornaments on the tree! Perhaps I should have two trees next year.........
Step 1: What to Do With a Great Ornament Pattern
Start knitting! If you like the results knit five or six more of the same (that's what I do anyway) The first patterns I found in a women's magazine in England in the late 1970's. It was for Father Christmas (Santa), elves, stockings and snowmen. They were pretty basic, but I still display them every year.
Step 2: Keep Searching for Patterns
When I discovered Jean Greenhowe, I was over the moon, as she had some great ideas in a couple of her knitting books. So I then knitted Christmas puddings, angels, different stockings, soldiers, a more sophisticated Santa, and some miniature holiday wreaths.
Here's her website - she has a new Holiday pattern this year too!http://www.jeangreenhowe.com/
Step 3: Can You Eat a Christmas Cracker?
I also knitted Christmas crackers! For those of you on the New York side of the Pond, these are not the edible kind but are what the French might call "bon-bons". The larger ones are used as table decorations and the small ones go on the tree. The "real" ones are made of paper and cardboard and when you pull them they break open with a snap to disgorge paper hat, silly motto and cheap plastic toy! These knitted ones don't do anything except decorate!
Step 4: Let Your Patriotism Show
After 911, I knitted a whole bunch of patriotic decorations for my tree. It seemed to soothe my soul. Most were for the Christmas tree, but others were too big and they just hang around the house now. I am very patriotic (both British and American). I would love to knit Union Jack ones, - anyone out there have a suitable pattern?
Step 5: Angels Are Always Welcome on My Tree!
I have knitted a lot of angels over the last few years and used to participate in a Christmas ornament exchange with a woman from Tennessee, who unfortunately does not run this any more. Here are some of my "swapped" angels that have now flown away from my knitting needles.
Step 7: Enter Robins, Seagulls, and Bluebirds
Robins by Jean Greenhowe - adapted by me into bluebirds and seagulls also from Jean's patterns.
Not to mention the bells!
Step 8: When in Doubt Make Your Own Patterns
I dearly wanted to add a few mini loons to my tree, but could not find a pattern, so I made one up. They are now some of my favourites. Other people seem to like them too as I made 14 of these last year, but gave so many away, I may have to knit a few more before they all fly away.
I also made a proper mini teacosy for my proper glass tea pot ornament!
Step 9: Let There Be Baubles!
Knitting baubles is very easy! I used a Jean Greenhowe pattern and adapted it.
Step 10: Adding Some Bling!
Oh yes, you know all those Christmas pins that people seem to collect over the years and never wear! Well I now pin most of mine onto my knitted ornaments for extra decoration - bling bling!
Step 11: This Year!
Thank you Alan Dart - for this year's ornaments! My tree now boasts penguins, hats, drums, a trumpet and a gingerbread man. Most of my new ornaments came from a booklet given away by Simply Knitting Magazine, entitled Alan Dart's Advent tree. Some of the patterns I didn't like much, so I just knitted the ones I did like!
Watch and mini knitting bag are adapted from Jean's patterns.
Many penguins and miniature hats have been given away as gifts this year, so I am still busily knitting more to keep for myself.
Step 12: Here They Are!
Out of basement storage into the living room - da da......the knitted tree!