I got a message from Lydia in Belgium last week, who needs a bit of help. She has been working on the Tulip pattern from Lesley Stanfields book “100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet” and is having a bit of trouble with sewing them up.
I love tulips - they are in full bloom here on our estate at this time of year. This is such a brilliant pattern and with my hay-fever problems, it’s nice to be able to knit these tulips so I can have some flowers in the house. However, the pattern calls for an i-cord to be knitted in green to form a stem, which is not rigid at all, so I leave that bit out and use green pipe-cleaners (or chenille stems, as they’re sometimes called), which enables me to stand the flowers up in a receptacle (usually a glass bottle!). This does mean that I have to attach the flowers to the stem in a few more places than the original pattern requires, so my final flowers differ slightly to the actual pattern.
Anyway, here’s what I do, step-by-step, with a few photos to help explain. The knitting part of the pattern is very straightforward, so I’m just going to go through the making-up process. However, before you start knitting, I do suggest that you cast-on leaving a long tail at the beginning of your work to use for sewing.
I normally make these flowers in one colour, but as the original instructions are for two colours, I’ll play ball this time. So, my first colour is white and second colour is purple. I've started the step with the actual instruction from the book, so you can tell what stage I'm at. Here goes…
OK, fairly straightforward, that instruction! In this photo, the cast-on edge is in white and the cast-off edge is the purple end. You can also see the cast-on edge is the zig-zag side and the cast-off egde is fairly straight. When it’s laid flat-out, you can also see how the petals are formed -– the decreases form the petals’ peaks and the increases (you might see little holes formed by the M1 stitch) are the separation point.
You’ve got three petals in all - in the middle of the work are two fully-formed petals, but at either short end, you’ve got the two halves of the third petal that need to be joined up. So, using the long tail you left when casting-on, sew the petal together using mattress stitch, which should give you a seamless look down it’s. Voila, you’ve now got a three-petalled flower, a bit like a tall crown. Using the cast-on tail also means you’ve got the end of your yarn down to the base of the flower. If you’ve used two colours, now it the time to weave-in and trim the ends of your first colour (white in this instance) as you’ll no longer be using it.
(In the photo above, the work is the right-side out, but while you’re working, yours should be inside-out!)
Fold your tulip along the seam you’ve just made and turn it upside-down so you’re looking at the cast-off edge. Now, remember I mentioned that the petals are separated by the increases? You should now be able to see that the little holes of two sets of increases line up together - you’ve actually folded your petal in half. Sew along the cast-off edge, just as far as the increases (i.e. just one petal).
Hopefully, now you’ve twigged-on as to how a petal is formed, so you can do the same for the other two petals. You should now have a three-pronged triangle which is the base of the flower, with a little hole in the centre for the stem. I now like to turn my work the right-side out, mainly because it helps me remember which way to insert the stem.
Now, at this point, I differ from the actual instructions. So, if you’ve knitted an i-cord for the stem, insert it into the hole you left at the centre and stitch it in place in the inside of the flower. Shape your flower head by pulling up the tips of your petals, and there - you’re all done!