I'm always on the lookout for clever, innovative ideas to use up these oddments of yarn, not only to ease my guilt but to make useful, pretty gifts. I can appreciate the practicality of knitting squares from leftover sock yarn for one of the many, many sock yarn blanket patterns available, and I even fell prey to the 'hexipuff' phenomenon that is The Beekeepers Quilt, but for me these leftover pieces of yarn are yearning to be made into something small and quick and giftable.
During a lengthy browse on the internet one evening, I came across the latest book from Arne and Carlos - Easter Knits (RRP £8.99). I was immediately enchanted by the idea of knitting Easter eggs and baubles as I had been eager to knit some Scandinavian baubles at Christmas, but had run out of time. I ordered the book and before it had actually arrived I was stockpiling all of my MillaMia odds and ends, confident that whatever yarnweight the patterns called for, I would be able to use it.
Luckily for me, Arne and Carlos suggest using a sportweight yarn for most of the baubles and eggs (which I had in abundance). There are other very cute patterns in the book including an Easter Bunny, Hens and Egg Cozy Sweaters (which are definitely going to be my next project), but as I had decided whilst waiting for the book that these were going to be a gift for my best friend in the US, I wanted to knit only eggs.
All of the eggs and baubles are knitted in the round on DPN's which can be a little tricky to start with, but as the increasing begins straight away, the knitting gets easier very quickly. Each colourwork pattern is charted and the techniques used are fairisle with a little Swiss Darning or duplicate stitch in places to complete small patches of coloured stitches. The increase used is a 'lifted or raised increase' which produces a very neat and almost invisible increase, although I knitted the stitch through the back loop to ensure that I had no holes.
Arne and Carlos advise to sew in the ends as you go which I too would recommend as the egg shape inhibits access the further up you get. I would also say use plenty of fibre fill or wool roving to stuff these out nice and firmly - the shaping provided by the pattern really does make a believable 'egg' shape, it will also help to even out your fairisle tension and show off the beautiful motifs to best effect.
The addition of a crocheted chain to hang these up is a great idea, but if you aren't so confident with crochet, you could always add some pretty ribbon instead. I decided to present mine in an egg box with some 'toast' sticky notes which I hope my friend finds as funny as I do!
Remember, if you'd rather knit a sheep (or indeed a whole flock!) for Easter, our lovely Milly The Sheep pattern is available to download for free.
Happy 'scrap-busting' and Happy Easter!
(posted by Max)