Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Bohemian Wreath - Loop Stitch Knitted Christmas Wreath

Last month I wrote about a 22 ply yarn that I made by dividing up a 2.2 kg cone of chenille yarn.

I've wanted to have a go at knitting a loop stitch Christmas wreath ever since I accidentally designed this one while I was knitting a snowy fringe for my daughter's jumper.  

It was only after beta-testing the Electric Eel Wheel Yarn Counter that I realised that this would be the perfect gadget for making the task of measuring multiple equal lengths of the same yarn a whole lot easier.

Loop stitch is perfect for knitting fur trim as you can combine as many plies as you can handle to speed it up and then when you cut the loops, the knitting is virtually hidden under a layer of wild, yarny fur.

I've watched several videos on working the loop stitch and I think that I knit it slightly differently to most people, so I've made this video to show my technique for knitting the loop stitch.

I've got an embroidery hoop that I covered in a knitted tube last year, with the intention of knitting some kind of wreath.  I think that I struggled to muster the inspiration to finish it before Christmas last year and so this will be perfect to go inside my furry wreath.

My hoop is about 33cm wide, so not massive - I think I'm going to have an awful lot of yarn leftover!

Using size 15mm knitting needles, I cast on 6 sts, working the loop stitches every other row on the central 4 stitches.  If you wanted to make a similar wreath, it might be helpful to know that my 22 yarn strands created a 3wpi yarn - 3 wraps around a ruler or gauge tool measure 1 inch.

There are very few items that I manage to knit in a day, but this was one of them.  It was so satisfying to see all of that fur building up steadily with each row!

I have a couple of tips if you decide to attempt a many stranded loop stitch to get a furry, tasseled effect.

Firstly, don't stick to wrapping the loop just once around your thumb.  Wrapping it many times would give you a much longer fringe, which you could always cut to length later if you wanted to.  I wrapped mine twice so that it neatly covered the stitches below.

I also found that it was significantly easier if I cut the loops just after I'd worked the stitch.  This was because the yarns were only very lightly twisted together and so if I left it too long to cut them, they all separated and I had to cut them individually, rather than 22 at once.

Once my knitted fur was a little more than half the circumference of my embroidery hoop, I switched to knitting in garter stitch.

This section was knitted over just 4 stitches as I wanted it to be much thinner than the fur section.

When my knitting fitted around the embroidery hoop, when slightly stretched, I cast off.

I then just sewed it closed around the hoop with a length of green yarn and a large needle, making sure that the stitching stayed at the back.  At this point, I was glad that my hoop was already covered in knitted fabric as it gave me something to sew through and fix the wreath to, ensuring that the stitching didn’t twist around to the front.

I could say that it’s finished now, but I fancied adding a little Christmas sparkle.  I have a technique for turning copper wire fairy lights into “spray lights” that I used to decorate my guinea pig cage for Christmas -

I hoped that the sprays of lights would complement the modern, asymmetrical effect of my slightly Boho wreath.

To make the lights, I just used a wire twisting tool that I’ve had in my tool drawer for a couple of decades.  It’s the most basic of tools as it’s just a hook screwed into the end of a stick, but it does make the job significantly easier than doing it by hand.

My fairy lights have 100 LEDs on them and I wanted 5 sprays of lights.  I worked out that I needed about 16 lights in each spray, which would leave me enough lights to wrap a few around the thinner, garter stitch section of the wreath.

I’ve made a little video to show my technique for making spray fairy lights from copper wire lights.

When the lights were finished, I spent a little while arranging them on my wreath, moving the sprays around, trying to position them so that they were evenly spaced.  

I pinned over the wire and then stitched the sprays in place, securing them on either side of the base.

All that was left to do was to wrap the remaining lights around the wreath and sew a felt pocket to the back to hold the battery pack in place.

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This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links to similar products that I purchased myself to make my Bohemian Wreath. If you click through and purchase anything from Amazon, I may receive a very small percentage of the purchase price.

You may also find these blog posts interesting - 

Rag Heart Wreath

DIY Christmas Crackers

How to make an Extreme Knitting Yarn

Serendipitous Knitted Wreath

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