Smashing Pumpkins!

20150924_084322I love so much about autumn, the bright skies, the low sun and the amazing colours of the leaves. Less pleasant is the knowledge that every day brings us closer to winter. I used to dread the dark , gloomy days leading up to Christmas. These days I have put a “survival mechanism” into place, which begins with the household decoration for halloween and bonfire night (it helps that Mr T’s birthday is 30th October and so an excellent excuse to go to town with themed garlands, candles and a bit of greenery hung around the house!

This year pumpkins have been a very definite theme, topped off with my latest “creation” the overstuffed pumpkin doorstop. After teaching a “Make your own pumpkin” amigurumi class at Nettle I was inspired to gather together all my suitably coloured odds and ends, grab a big hook and make this very practical doorstop.

pumpkin doorstopYou can easily make on too and there is a “cheat sheet” at the bottom of this post so you can adjust the pattern to suit what you have.

wool and hookPattern: Supersize Pumpkin

Dimensions: Circumference 85cm, height 25cm

(Written in UK crochet terms).

You will need approx 1000m dk yarn made up of 9 100m strands (see cheat sheet below)

A small quantity of brown yarn and a smaller hook  to make the stalk (I used DMC Natura XL and a 6mm hook)

15mm crochet hook (see cheat sheet below)

Locking stitch marker (use this to mark the last stitch of each row).

150g Fibre fill stuffing (approx)

A long length of strong orange yarn to wrap around the pumpkin to make the segments.

The pumpkin is worked with multiple strands of yarn, I used a combination of dk and aran weight from my stash – see cheat cheat below for helpful hints.

Working with multiple strands of yarn make 6 ch, join with a slip stitch to make a ring. Do not close the hole – you need to insert the stalk later.

Round 1: 6 dc into ring. (6 dc)

Round 2:( 2 dc in each dc)  6 times. (12 dc)

Round 3: (1 dc in first dc, 2 dc in next dc) 6 times. (18 dc)

Round 4: (1 dc in first 2 dc, 2 dc in next dc) 6 times. (24 dc)

Round 5: (1 dc in first  3  dc, 2 dc in next dc) 6 times. (30 dc)

Round 6: (1 dc in first 4 dc, 2 dc in next dc) 6 times. (36 dc)

Round 7: (1 dc in first 5 dc, 2 dc in next dc) 6 times. (42 dc)

Rounds 8 – 15: 1 dc in each dc around.

Round 16: (5 dc, dc2tog) 6 times. (36 dc)

Round 17: (4 dc, dc2tog) 6 times. (30 dc)

Round 18: (3 dc, dc2tog) 6 times. (24 dc)

Fasten off yarn.

Stuff the pumpkin, adding the fibre fill around the edges, so that the centre of the pumpkin is free of stuffing – this way you can insert the bodkin more easily to create the segments.

To make the segments: Thread the yarn set aside at the beginning and sew to the last round of the pumpkin to secure; insert the thread into the pumpkin, drawing it through the top, wrap it around the side of the pumpkin and back through the base hole, pulling tight to create the first segment. repeat 5 or six times depending on how many segments you want your pumpkin to have. Sew the yarn securely the base of the pumpkin. Using the multiple strands and large hook, follow rounds 1 – 3 as above to make a small circle for the base of the pumpkin. Sew this in place.

Make the stalk: With brown yarn and smaller hook make 6 ch, join with a slip stitch to make a ring.

Round 1: 12 dc into ring. (12 dc)

Round 2 onwards: 1 dc in each dc around.

Continue working in a spiral until the stalk measures 6 cm. Stuff lightly with fibre fill and insert into the top hole of the pumpkin. Sew into place.

Cheat sheet:

  1. You can use any combination of yarns to create the multiple strand working yarn and any size hook. The more strands you use, the larger the hook needs to be.
  2. If you adjust the hook size, you’ll need to work more or fewer increase rounds. To work more increase rounds, simply continue to make 6 increases on each round, by working one more stitch before the increase on each round.
  3. Make a taller pumpkin by working more straight rounds before beginning to decrease.
  4. When stuffing, pull the fibre fill into long “sausages” and form into a doughnut shape before filling – this helps to avoid overstuffing the centre.
  5. Leaving a larger hole at the base before stuffing helps you to stuff and create the segments using a standard bodkin as you can get your hand right inside – much less fiddly!!
  6. You could make a much bigger pumpkin and use it as a footstool.
  7. 20151029_095824

In love with small things

pumkin 2My love affair with all things tiny shows no signs of burning itself out. I’ve never really tried designing amigurumi – there are too many fabulous and talented designers  making tiny marvels already – but after finishing “the book” I just need some downtime and amigurumi seemed the perfect choice.  This week has had an autumnal feel about it and so a tiny pumpkin was inevitable I suppose.  here it is, another freebie (I know, I’m just too good to you at the moment!) You will whip these up in no time at all!

Teeny Pumpkin

The smallest version was made using DMC Woolly and a 2.75mm hook, the larger was made using  cotton chenille from my Mother in Law’s stash, I used a 3.5mm hook for that one. You’ll need a tiny length of brown or green yarn for the stalk.

Sizing and tension: Obviously, your pumpkin will turn out slightly differently because you’re going to dive into your stash, find some suitable yarn and get hooking. So, don’t worry about tension – just make sure the stitches are tight enough that the stuffing won’t show through the fabric.

You’ll also need some hollow fibre toy stuffing (or old tights -yes, some of  us do still keep old tights for toy stuffing!) and a sharp needle with a large eye and a stitch marker is helpful to keep track of each round.

Pattern

Notes: The pumpkin is made in spirals, do not join and do not turn at the end of each round. I have used standard UK crochet abbreviations throughout.

With your chosen hook and yarn make 6ch, join with a slip stitch to make a ring.

Round 1: 6 dc into ring (6 dc)

Round 2: (2 dc in each dc) 6 times. (12 dc)

Round 3: ( 1 dc in next dc, 2 dc in next dc) 6 times. (18 dc)

Round 4: ( 1 dc in each of next 2 dc, 2 dc in next dc) 6 times. (24 dc)

Round 5: ( 1 dc in each of next 3 dc, 2 dc in next dc) 6 times. (30 dc)

Round 6: ( 1 dc in each of next 4 dc, 2 dc in next dc) 6 times. (36 dc)

Rounds 7,8, 9: 1 dc in each dc around.

Round 10: (4 dc, dc2tog) 6 times. (30 dc)

Round 11: (3 dc, dc2tog) 6 times (24 dc)

Stuff your pumpkin, adding more stuffing as you work subsequent rounds, but not too firmly

Round 12: ( 2 dc, dc2tog) 6 times (18 dc)

Round 13: (1 dc, dc2tog)  6 times (12 dc)

Round 14: (dc2tog) 6 times (6 dc)

Cut yarn, leaving an extra long tail (this is used to make the pumpkin segments) and thread yarn tail onto a sharp pointed needle, draw yarn through the 6 dc to close the hole at the base. Do not fasten off yarn.

Make segments as follows:

Bring the yarn to the top of the pumpkin and insert the needle through the centre ring, wrap the yarn around the pumpkin side and insert the needle back into the base, pulling it out at the top. As you pull gently on the yarn, the sphere will squash down and you’ll see how the segments are created. Repeat 5 times, evenly spacing the segments around the pumpkin. Fasten off the yarn at the base.

To make the stalk:

Make 7 ch, sl st into 2nd chain from hook, make 1 sl st in each ch to end. fasten off leaving a long tail. Thread the yarn tail onto your needle and sew to the top of the pumpkin.

Larger pumpkins may need longer stalks, just make a longer chain.

Of course, you can make even larger pumpkins by making more increase rounds, just work an extra straight round for each increase round and remember to decrease in sequence.

And if you thought I was crackers for making tiny pumpkins – here’s what else I hooked up yesterday!toadstools