Are you as shocked as my knitting friends were yesterday that I had these yarns in my possession?
You can’t imagine the abuse they gave me for not only having paid money for these yarns but that I was proposing to knit with them! In public! AND in their company! It didn’t help matters that one of them decided to barf all over the floor of the restaurant we were in at the time. That’s one of the balls of yarn, I hasten to clarify – not one of my knitting friends; though they were making similar noises.
But, undaunted, I persevered with what I had in mind. The other day Chickwithstix posted this idea for an adorable Christmas Ornament. I think you’ll agree that Donegal Tweed, a.k.a. Kilcarra, lends a certain air of sophisticated, bo-ho chique to this project. Well… here’s the “Skanger Bling” version…
- If you’re screaming WHY? at your computer right now, I’ll be getting back to that in a later post.
- If your eyes are threatening to bleed, click back to Diane’s soothing version quickly. You can comeback here tomorrow. It’ll be all over then, I promise.
- If you’re here for the how-to, then pull up a chair and let’s get started.
Not everyone likes Bling. If I were given the choice of my offering and Diane’s I’d pick Diane’s. Then again, don’t you get away with a bit of bling at Christmas-time? So if you’re after a bit a’ Bling? Badda-Bing!:
Advent Wreath with Bling
Based on Diane’s instructions, to make this wreath you knit a length of i-chord, turn it into a circle and sew one end to the other. When I first ventured into the online-world of knitting I had no idea of what an i-chord was. In case you’re in the same boat, I’ll tell you what I’ve picked up since. Apparently, i-chord is short for (the more polite name for) “idiot-chord” and the phrase was first coined by Elizabeth Zimmerman because it’s how an idiot would knit if they didn’t know how to. That is, you knit row after row of a few stitches, without ever turning your work, and you end up with a long mini-tube. This is because the last stitch of the previous row twists around to meet the first stitch of the next row.
To knit an i-chord you’ll need two double-point needles (DPN). Gauge and tension are not important in this project so select your needle size according to what yarn you’d like to use.
Cast-on a very small number of stitches onto one of your DPNs. Diane used 4sts for her Kilcarra wreath; I used 5 for my hairy blend of novelty yarns. You wouldn’t want to use more than that or the effect will be lost. Now follow these simple steps until your i-chord is long enough to make the circle you want.
- Knit all stitches across then put your right-hand needle into your left hand but do not turn your work;
- Push all the stiches to the working end of the DPN;
- Your yarn, however, is now at the wrong end. To continue knitting just pull it over, behind your work, and repeat from Step 1
As you continue, your mini-tube will relax and if you give it a few pulls the odd time you’ll help to sort out any ladders that might occur.
If you’d like to add beads – to represent the four candles on an Advent Wreath then here’s more how-to:
You have two options (well, three if you count ignoring the following and just sewing them on afterwards!):
- you can either thread four beads onto your work before you start (Option A);
- or get a teeny-tiny crochet hook – one that’s small enough to go through the holes in the centre of your beads of choice (Option B).
I recommend placing the first bead after you’ve knit a few rows. You’ll want them at the North-East, South-East, South-West and North-West compass position on your final circle as it hangs. When you get to the right place in your knitting where you want to position a bead, work to a middle stitch – don’t try either manouvre described below at the first or last sts of your i-chord.
- Knit up to the place where you’d like to add the bead.
- Bring the yarn between your needles to the front of your work, and slide the next stitch purl-wise onto your right needle.
- Then slide the bead up along the yarn as close as possible to the needle, letting it occupy the slight void left by the slipped stitch.
- Lift your yarn back between your needles and to the rear of your work, and knit the next stitch. The bead should be secured tightly.
- Knit until you reach the stitch where you’d like to add the bead.
- Pick up the crochet hook, slide one bead onto it, and use the crochet hook – instead of your DPN – to work into the next stitchon your left knitting needle.
- Slide the bead down from the crochet hook deep onto the yarn loop, then place the loop back on your knitting needle.
- The bead is now in place and you can continue knitting.
For my novelty yarn Option A – threading four beads onto one of the thinner stands of the blend – was the simplest. All three strands would not go through the hole in the bead and foostering with one strand while trying to knit the other two as normal was too much of a pain.
As you continue knitting the i-chord, bend it into a circle periodically to help you determine when you’ve completed another quarter-round. When you get to the end of your i-chord, just cast off in the normal way. If you’re using a crazy blend of fun-fur or novelty yarns, as I did, don’t try to sew one end to the other with the same yarn. Use some standard sewing thread, in a complimetry colour, to sew it up. Add something to hang it – you could crochet one of the yarn ends, perhaps.
Hang it up and enjoy it; or give it away as a present; or donate it to charity. Whatever is your preference, I hope you have a bit of fun making one.