I usually knit clothes. You know, knits with a clear purpose that get lots of use. I've crocheted a couple toys but generally, I don't knit toys or decorative items. But it seems that when I do, I go for it whole-heartedly.
How: Circular needles 3.5 and 3.75 mm
From: Scrap yarns, 118 g
A year ago, I participated in the Indie Design Gift-A-long for the first time and everyone was crazy about these gnomes. I didn't really care for them myself. Who needs a knitted gnome?
But you know how it goes. You look at something long enough and it starts to make sense. Actually, this new even prettier gnome design had me waiting for Christmas eagerly as this time I intended to hop on the gnome train.
I started out with a traditional red gnome. I found a lovely rustic alpaca blend in red and oatmeal color in my leftover yarn stash. For such a small knit there was an awful lot of knitting to be done. It starts off with the cap and once that's finished, you pick up stitches below the brim to work the body. Finally, you knit a beard in the contrast color and i-cords for the hands. These are both sewn into place.
The gnome isn't very big but both the cap and body have cables all over them which meant I had to stare at the work and the charts constantly. That's what made it feel like a handful.
However, the project was every bit worth of the trouble. The finished gnome is so cute I can't even. It didn't look like anything before the beard but once that is sewn on the gnome wakes up instantly. I had a hard time letting go of the first gnome but I did end up gifting it to my dad.
The second gnome felt a lot easier and the third one flew off the needles in two days and felt like a breeze already. I still have plenty of scrap yarns so I think there might be a lot more gnomes next Christmas.
The gnomes were filled with polyester. It was also suggested to use some pellets to help the gnome from falling. For the first gnome, I didn't have the energy go searching for polyester pellets at a hobby store so that one is a bit too light and tends to fall. For the other two, I realized I could use something we already have at home and filled an old sock with rice. That seemed to work very well.
In my childhood, one of the most magical moments every Christmas was the getting out all the Christmas decorations. My mom's great uncle had made her some wooden elves each with their own personalities and activites. Some were holding notes for Christmas carols, others were skiing etc. And my grandma had an even bigger collection of those elves. It was such great fun going through the elves and seeing what each of them was doing. I wanted to relive my childhood and needed to come up with some different activities for our gnomes as well.
I had seen more than one cute knitting gnome in the Gift-A-long group on Ravelry so that was a no brainer. It would have been easy to knit a little scarf beginning with my 2.0 mm needles and then just slip the stitches onto toothpicks. But I'm not in the habit of letting myself easy so I actually knitted this little garter stitch piece with the toothpicks and I wouldn't recommend that to anyone. The toothpicks stuck to the yarn and were a pain in many other ways as well. But hey, my gnome has an authentic knit in his hands!
I had to come up with something else for the second gnome. Our local newspaper had just the right size columns so I made him his own newspaper with a report from the police. He looks like a detective or a spy himself, don't you think?