I tackled a fun project with scrap yarn this Christmas: ornaments for my sister, my niece, and my nephew. I started with an ornament for my sister with scrap yarn from the socks I made her – Raphael from Colinette Jitterbug. I kept using the size 1 birch double-pointed needles I’d used for the socks.
When I turned to the kids’ ornaments, I moved to bright colors, and for kicks, even though the cotton El. D. Mouzakis Butterfly cotton yarn was thicker, I stayed with the size 1 needles for my nephew Theo’s ornament. His ornament knitted up quickly, and it made a nice, firm fabric, but I was really straining the needles to work the thicker yarn (note to self, pay attention, when things are hard, it might be a sign you shouldn’t do it that way). I snapped two of my precious size ones making his ornament. I finished it on two broken needles. But, I loved the way it felt – firm and easy to fill with stuffing. I finished the day before we drove to their house in Tennessee.
I started his little sister Rebecca’s ornament in the car on the way to their house on size four double pointed needles, the next smallest size I had ready to go. Her ornament is huge compared to his. It looks like it could hold the stuffing for at least two of his ornaments….It looks fine in the photo, but the decreases in particular look open and the ball itself is squooshy and less firm than his (I also may not have brought enough stuffing into the car…). So, I think the optimum size needle is in between the ones and the fours – maybe a metal size two?
Still, I saw her hugging the ornament, so now that the receiver is pleased, who am I to complain?
But it is an object lesson in the influence of needle size. The two balls are made of the same yarn using the same pattern with the same number of stitches. The only difference (other than color and the initial appliqued onto the ball) is the needle size.
Here’s a link to the free knitted ornament pattern, when you’re ready to queue up next year’s projects.