Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Cactus pincushion knitting pattern ...

... to upcycle those little glass Gu jars you're hoarding!

I love a bargain, so I've been indulging in some special offer desserts that come in little glass jars - but now I have a stash of little glass jars! I can't bring myself to throw them away and I've already seen quite a few in charity shops, so I decided it was time to think of a way to use them *drumroll* so I've got a couple of free patterns for you! Please feel free to pass on the link and to make them for yourself or as gifts. The meerkats will not look kindly on anyone trying to pass the pattern off as their own, or offering my designs for sale.

The jars are a perfect size for storing little bits and bobs, but have no lids. I've designed pin cushions which fit snuggly over the rim of the jar and keeping the contents safe at the same time. They don't take much yarn and are quick and easy to knit.

I've added flowers made on my flower loom, but you could use buttons, beads or shop-bought flowers - anything you fancy!

I used double-knit yarn and UK size 9 needles (3.75mm US size 5), but it's not too important. It's knitted in rows, and uses stocking stitch (1st row knit, 2nd row purl). All increasing is by knitting into front and back of same stitch. You'll also need some filling (cotton wool or old washed tights would do if you don't have toy filling) and a short length of cord elastic.

Cast on 25 stitches.
row 1: knit (K)
row 2: purl (P) *note* I like to knit the 1st and last stitch of purl rows. It isn't essential but helps with sewing up. don't worry if you forget!
row 3: K
row 4: K
row 5: K
row 6: P

rows 3-6 form the pattern. Repeat 14 times more (or until it is wide enough to go round the rim of your jar), cast off leaving a long end to sew cast on and cast off edges together to form a tube.

Thread your elastic through the stitches at one end of the tube - this is where those knit stitches at the ends of the purl rows become useful.

Knot the elastic after checking it for size on the jar. Leave that section aside and knit the circular base:

Cast on 5
row 1: (knit into front and back of stitch) repeat to end = 10 stitches (I'll be calling this "inc 1")
row 2: Purl
row 3: (K1, inc 1) repeat to end = 15 stitches
row 4: Purl
row 5: (inc 1) repeat to end = 30 stitches
row 6: Purl
row 7: (K1, inc 1) repeat to end = 45 stitches
row 8: purl
cast off

Stitch edges together to make a rough circle.

The next part is the only slightly tricky bit - tricky for me to explain! Your tube should still be on the jar. Thinking of your jar as shoulders, and the tube of knitting as a long polo neck - now roll or push the polo neck down over the shoulders, revealing the top edge of the jar but keeping the lowest elasticated section of knit still in place. (Told you it was hard to explain!)

You are now going to stitch into place the lower circular base of your cactus, the bit that will stop your filling falling into the jar. In the picture below, I'm holding the jar with the rolled-down "polo neck" while stitching the circle. There's probably a better way to do this, but hey - it works! This *might* be why I'm not a pattern-writer.

Once that's in place, roll your polo-neck back up and stuff!

Draw a thread through the end stitches of what is now the top to close your cactus.

Embellish with buttons/flowers of your choice and fill your jar!

More Niftyknits patterns available here.

And if you don't fancy knitting, I've listed them in my folksy shop *click here*


Pamela Zimmerman said...

you are so clever! and generous, to share. Wish i could knit.

pipinopolis said...

Thats so cute!! Will definatley be trying one out!!

Amy, the Greedy Crocodile said...

Nifty, that is a stroke of genius!! What an obvious idea! And lovely little cacti you've knitted too :-)

Unknown said...

This is AMAZING!! I love it very much, I also love the step by step of how to do it! Though I hope you still have them on your folksy shop.

Heather Leavers said...

Thanks Chloe - they are still available, just need to be relisted. Do get in touch if you'd like one enquiry[at]

Heather Leavers said...

relisted -

knitting patterns for babies said...

Very home savvy, it serves as jar and pin cushion. I love the little cactus pattern, so cute that if I were to make one, probably I will have my second thoughts to use it as pin cushion. Nice, thanks for sharing this!