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Deck the halls with holiday knitting!

Nov 24, 2010

Spokane is full of wonderful things around the holidays, (including snow tomorrow if the weather report is correct!), but one of my favorites is the Old World Christmas ornament outlet store! Old World Christmas creates those beautiful, glass ornaments that are so special, and it's headquartered in Spokane.

Every year I get a sparkly, glass ornament for everyone in the family. I can never get out of that store without something for myself, too; last year I got a bunch of food ornaments and made them into a garland for the kitchen. So cute!

As I was looking through my back issues of Interweave Knits Gifts, I came across some knitted ornament patterns, and a feature all about the glass ornaments that I love. The lovely little beaded ornaments (shown below) will go so well with my collection of glass ornaments. I thought you might enjoy making some ornaments too, so I've included a story about the history of glass ornaments—to get you even more motivated!—and an idea from 2008 Gifts for using your swatches to make your own ornaments. Here you go!

Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts     
Knitted ornaments by Ann Weaver

German Glass Ornaments
by Ann Weaver

Among Germans and non-Germans alike glass ornaments are now widely cherished and can be found displayed on Christmas trees around the world. The original glass fruit and nut ornaments were produced in the town of Lauscha, beginning in the mid-1800s.

Over the latter half of the nineteenth century, the ornaments were exported around mainland Europe, to Britain, and to the United States. Companies in the Lauscha region continue to produce and export these and other traditional German holiday decorations using the same methods employed to create the originals over a hundred and fifty years ago.

A tradition that may or may not have originated in Germany is the legend of the glass pickle ornament. The first child to find the (well-camouflaged) pickle on the tree Christmas morning receives a special gift. While this may not be an  authentic German custom, it's a tradition that persists among many families today—a written summary of the custom is even included in the packaging of Lauscha ornaments available now.

Whatever its provenance, knitters of all levels can re-create these ornaments in yarn and beads, and start a pickle tradition of their own!

     Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts     

Easy swatch ornaments

Swatch Ornaments

Dig out your swatch box and put project swatches to good use making ornaments. Thin, drapey swatches will give the smoothest effect.

You'll need:

  • Glass or plastic ball ornament 
  • Knitted swatch, height and width similar to or slightly smaller than ornament circumference. Exact dimensions are not critical; swatch will stretch to fit.
  • Strong sewing thread, needle
  • Ribbon

With right sides facing, sew two short ends of the swatch together to make a tube. Turn right side out.  With a doubled length of thread, make a running stitch line along the bottom edge of the swatch. From inside the tube, draw the thread tight and gather the bottom of the swatch into a tightly closed circle. Fasten off the thread. Pop the ball ornament into the swatch bag. With a doubled length of thread, make a running stitch along the top edge of the swatch. Draw the top opening tightly closed, stretching the fabric slightly if necessary. Fasten off the thread. Attach a ribbon for hanging.

Have fun making your ornaments, and for more great holiday ideas, get your digital back issues of Interweave Knits Gifts now!


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on Nov 26, 2010 11:27 AM

Hi Snipnsew. In Spokane KDTV is on channel 107.

Hi Normashy. Try using wood or bamboo needles. They have a little more grip than metal needles. After the first few rows, the stitches should stay on better. Good luck!


normashy wrote
on Nov 24, 2010 10:09 AM

Is there a trick to starting a project like the German Pickle Ornament?  Having great difficulty with fine yarn on #1 double point needles - have started numerous times with no success as tiny stitches drop off tiny needles. Ready to stuff the project in a jar!  Help!  Want to start the tradition and thank you for bringing it back.

snipnsew101 wrote
on Nov 24, 2010 8:54 AM

I live half way between Seattle and Spokane but we have Spokane TV stations.  Where can I find Knitting Daily TV?  I have done searches and found nothing.

June in Royal City