Archive for December, 2012

Knitted Garden

Sorry I disappeared for a bit, but I’m back now with a knitted garden! A couple years ago my mom found an old book called Jan Messent’s Knitted Gardens, which she got for me because I like gardening and was living in an apartment that didn’t even have a balcony to grow things on. So she thought I might like to knit my own garden. That and the gardens are pretty adorable, and well, I like anything that’s cute.

Jan Messent's Knitted Gardens bookThere are a lot of different garden designs in the book, including colorwork patches that look like formal garden layouts, they’re quite neat. Of course I wanted to make a fancy garden like the one on the cover, so I’ve gotten part of the way there. I don’t have a lot of fine yarns or a lot of patience for small work so I don’t think I’ll be making any people for the garden any time soon. Here are pictures of what I have finished.

Full garden

Here is the garden alone and with one of my needle felted sheep on it. I think I'll make more sheep specifically for the garden, but I'll probably make them a little smaller. And I think they may need a big field all their own which I plan to add on the long side of the garden to square the whole piece up.

Here is the garden alone and then with one of my needle felted sheep on it. I think I’ll make more sheep specifically for the garden, but I’ll probably make them a little smaller. And I think they may need a big field all their own which I plan to add on the long side of the garden to square the whole piece up.

IMG_2861

The picture below is the picture of the cabbage patch from the book. The picture above is the vegetable portion of my garden. You’ll recognize the cabbages in the middle (they’re so cute!). The purple stuff on the bottom is also from the book and is supposed to be lettuce, I think it’s a little strange but it works well. And then the green on the top row is a modification I made of the lettuce which is meant to look like carrot tops!

In the book there is a picture of a pond in one of the gardens that I thought was just adorable, so I decided to add one to my garden. But of course I wanted to do it my own way so I decided to use eyelash yarn for the pond, to give it some texture.

pond

It looks a lot messier than I wanted. I know I want to add a border of some sort around it but I’m having trouble making it. At first I was thinking I would needle felt stones and use those as the border for the pond. But I just couldn’t get the stones right, they were all pretty much ending up the same shape and looking more like diseased rabbit poop than stones. So I think I may make a little wall for the border like some of the ones in the book. IMG_2872 I haven’t decided if I want to do a stone one like on the left side of the picture or more of a picket fence like on the right side of the picture.

I also want to make an orchard to add to the garden. I haven’t started on the knitted base that I plan to attach the trees to yet but I did start the trees. There were no patterns for stand alone trees in the book so I came up with the idea of making trees out of I-cords. For the non-knitters, an I-cord is basically a little tube that you knit using only one double pointed needle (rather than a circular needle or multiple double-points like you would for a full-size tube) that tend to be no bigger than 3 or 4 stitches. It occurred to me that if I make a slightly larger I-cord, say 5 or 6 stitches, and then split it into a few I-cords after a while, it would look like tree branches. So I tried that and it looked good (pictures in a moment) then I decided I wanted a bigger tree. So I started with an actually circular knit tube, a pretty small one but it was just too big for an I-cord, and then split that one into I-cords and the I-cords into smaller branches and so on. I like that one as well but I think it may be too big for the garden.

My first style of tree that is all I-cords.

My first style of tree that is all I-cords.

My second style of tree which starts with a circular knit tube and is split into I-cords.

My second style of tree which starts with a circular knit tube and is split into I-cords.

The ends aren’t woven in on the trees yet, sorry, but that is really rather difficult with the skinny little branches and I prefer to do it when I put the wire in. Which leads me to add that I have been experimenting with using florists wire to put inside the branches of the tree and make it hold its shape. I have one tree that I have finished but I haven’t seen it since I moved from my last apartment and I can’t seem to find it. I wasn’t real happy with how the wires worked on that one anyway, they tended to shift around a lot.

The trees have evolved into their own separate project and I have started one that is much larger. I am starting with a circular knit tube of about 20 stitches, which is drastically larger than any of the other trees, and plan to break that apart into smaller tubes and then I-cords in the same fashion as the smaller trees. I only have about an inch of the trunk knitted on that one so far though so I won’t post any pictures of it yet. I decided to randomly switch between knit and purl to add a bark-like texture to the big tree and I have discovered that slows me down dramatically in knitting it. I will post more about the trees as I finish more of them.

 

EDIT:

I found it! Of course, once I had finally given up on finding the tree that I have finished and just do the post without it, I find it. I was looking for other yarn and, lo-and-behold, there it was buried in a bag of yarn. Anyway here are some pictures of the finished one.

IMG_2888IMG_2889

 

You can’t really see it in these pictures but there’s an issue with the ends of the wires sticking out. It’s really annoying cause it happens at the ends of all the branches, as well as where the branches turn. I can’t seem to make the wires stay inside the knitting, I think I need something on the ends of them so they’re too big to fit through the gaps in the knitting. Or something like that. Anyway, here’s a close-up picture so you can see what I mean.

IMG_2891 See that little wire sticking out? The tree gets those at the end of every branch, rather annoying. And dangerous if you aren’t careful or have children around them.

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