Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Tree Sampler

For some years now I've been designing a big pattern for Christmas and publishing it daily throughout December as a sort of advent calendar. It's a good opportunity to work on projects that are too complicated to fit into one pattern and I really enjoy all the chat and companionship about the patterns on my Ravelry group each year.

It all started back in 2011 with the Advent Garland.

24 miniature knitted decorations to hang up one day at a time. This was the pattern that taught me that English Christmas traditions are not universal when knitters from the US kept asking me what the little knitted cracker was. This led to a lively discussion on my group, ranging from postboxes and robins to the exact purpose of sprouts.

Since then there have been several three dimensional Christmas projects: a Gingerbread House, a Christmas Tree and, last year, a Christmas room.

Gingerbread House

Needle Tree

The Night Before Christmas

This year's pattern is decidedly more modest - simpler to knit and only 21 rather than the normal 24 December patterns. Inspired by clean and uncluttered Swedish design, Tree Sampler is a wall hanging made up of 21 small Christmas trees. Each one is decorated with a different stitch pattern, worked in red and cream yarn. 

You can see why it had to be 21 patterns, can't you?

So far I've only published the pattern for the basic green trees. You have to knit 42 of these so the idea is to get them ready in November and then there will only be the little decorated panels to knit each day in December. In case you're wondering, there are 42 trees because they need to be sewn together in pairs to make them sturdy enough to keep their shape. I only realised this at the last minute ... turns out you can knit 21 Christmas trees in two days but I wouldn't recommend it.

I like the overall look of this one and have to confess that I'm rather fond of the back too.

It's so orderly and I like the negative spaces. As it's such a simple design, you don't need to buy lots of materials for this project (I thought everyone deserved a break from all that plastic canvas of the last few years). All you need for the Tree Sampler is some green and brown DK weight yarn and thinner 4 ply yarn in red and cream. Oh, and 21 little red buttons to sew on to the tops of the trees, together with some green sewing thread.

The nice thing about choosing stitch patterns for such small pieces of knitting is that even the trickier techniques like Fair Isle that knitters may normally avoid are quite manageable. Any of the individual trees could be used as hanging decorations and I've also included instructions for knitting a little pocket to hold a chocolate should you want to knit an Advent Calendar.

The first of the decoration patterns will be published on Ravelry on 1st December and the others will follow daily after that. I can't wait to see how everyone gets on with this project. If you're not there all ready, do come and join my group Frankie's Knitted Stuff where there'll be lots of Christmas chat around the pattern.

As ever with my patterns, if you enjoy them do think about donating to my fundraising page for the Children's Liver Disease Foundation. You can do this from any of the pattern pages on ravelry or by clicking on the pink 'Frankie's Fundraising' button at the side of the blog.

As the song says ...

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