Art

Three DIY Knitting Projects for Gifts on the Cheap

So let me just ease everyone’s collective dread and assure you all that these knitting projects are absolutely not intended to be vaginal.

I’m pretty poor this year, so I’ve been knitting all my Christmas presents.  Supplies are pretty cheap and you don’t really have to get all the different kinds of needles/yarn that patterns call for.  I’ve knitted all of these projects with metal US #8 (5.0 mm) straight needles and medium weight Lion Brand yarn.  Your local hobby and craft store will have many color options for under $5 a pop.

I had all of this yarn leftover from a foray in knitting my freshman year of college.  I think it took me a million years to make a scarf.  While that is the “easiest” thing to knit, it takes for fucking ever.  These projects are much shorter and, in my opinion, more unique.  I’ve added some variations on these projects as my skills improved, but as far as basics go, these are good (and impressive!) places to start.

A lot of the patterns I’ve found online to use have weird terminology that make it a bit difficult to know what you’re doing.  I’ll try to break it down into beginner speak.  The only stitches you’ll need to know for these projects are: cast on, knit, purl, knit 2 together (decrease), knit front and back (increase), and binding off.  Here’s a short (crappy) video where I demonstrate.

Now that you know your basic stitches, here are some rad patterns for easy peasy DIY knitting gifts.  I’m going to cover patterns for knitted coasters, a knit bowtie, and a knitted floral headband/earwarmer.

The first one I’ll cover is the knitted coaster.  I’ve done these with some different colors or designs in the middle, but a solid color coaster for beginners still looks great!  This is probably the easiest pattern I’ll share.

COASTERS

Cast on 16 stitches

Alternate knitting and purling for 14 rows (knit all 16 stitches to make a row, then purl 16, knit 16, purl 16, etc.)

Bind off

Done!  Just make 3 more and you’ve got a set of awesome coasters.  When you’re finished it will look like this:

IMAG0648

BOWTIE

This is so cute and I made it for one of my friend’s sons.  You can make it for a grown person too, all you have to do is make the band wide enough around for their neck.

For the bowtie part, cast on 10 stitches.

Row 1: Knit 1 row

Row 2: Knit 1 row

Row 3: Knit 1 row

Row 4: knit 2 stitches, purl 6 stitches and then knit 2 stitches (just move the yarn from back to front before your first purl stitch).

Repeat the 3rd and 4th rows until your work measures 4 inches in length (from your needle to the end of your work).

Knit 3 full rows, then bind off.

For the middle part (the part that pinches the bowtie), cast on 3 stitches and knit 6-8 rows, then bind off.  You want it to be long enough to wrap around the bowtie, not too tight and not too loose.

For the neckband, cast on 4 stitches and knit normal rows until you’ve got the correct length; you can test it on yourself by wrapping your work around your own neck.  Once it’s long enough, bind off.

From there, all you have to do is tie your middle part around the bow and neckband, then cut the excess string.  I just fastened mine together in the back with a safety pin.  If you’re fancy you can sew on a button or a hook or something.  Here’s what it should look like when you’re done:

IMAG0653

FLORAL EARWARMER/HEADBAND

First we make the headband part.  Cast on 5 stitches and knit 3 rows.

Now we increase:

Row 1: knit 1, knit front to back, knit until your last 2 stitches, knit front to back, knit 1

Row 2: knit the whole row like normal

Repeat these 2 rows until you have 15 stitches in total (you’ll increase by 2 stitches each time)

Knit rows like normal (for 15 stitches each) until your work measures about 25 cm.  You can also test this from time to time by wrapping it around your own head.

Now we decrease:

Row 1: knit 1, knit 2 together, knit until the last 3 stitches, knit 2 together, knit 1

Row 2: knit the whole row like normal

Repeat these 2 rows until you have 5 stitches left (you’ll decrease by 2 stitches each time)

Knit 3 rows and bind off.  All you have to do now is join the ends together.

Now we can make the flower!  Choose any 3 colors you want.  You’re going to have petals, pollen and a darker color inbetween.  For the petals:

Cast on 7 stitches

Row 1: knit

Row 2: knit front and back, knit until the last 2 stitches, knit front to back, knit one (now you have 9 stitches)

Repeat for 2 more rows until you have 13 stitches.  Now knit normally for 3 rows.

Knit 2 together twice (4 stitches become 2), knit until the last 4 stitches, knit 2 together twice (now you have 9 stitches)

Knit normally for 3 rows.

Knit 2 together twice, knit until the last 4 stitches, knit 2 together twice (now you have 5 stitches)

Knit 3 rows normally.

Knit 1, knit 2 together, knit 1 (now you have 3 stitches), then bind off.  Repeat this for 3 more petals.

Making the center (dark color) is just casting on 16 stitches and the binding off.  Easy peasy.

Making the pollen is the same, except just cast on 10 stitches and bind off.

Lay the petals over one another how you want them and sew together.  Coil your dark center in a circle on the petals and sew together.  Make a spiral with your pollen section and sew in the middle.  Sew onto your headband and voila.  Done.  Here’s what it looks like when you’re all done:

IMAG0655_1

There you go!  Hopefully these directions aren’t too confusing to follow.  If you have questions, ask in the comments!  I apologize in advance to those of my loved ones who have now seen their Christmas presents.  Act surprised.

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One thought on “Three DIY Knitting Projects for Gifts on the Cheap

  1. I’m seeing a ton of knitted jewelry popping up on Ravelry and in the office too – That’s my go-to knitted holiday gift this year.

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