Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How to Crochet a Christmas Tree

My husband and I have something of a Christmas tree dilemma. We want to make our apartment festive, but we're going to visit our parents in California for Christmas. This means that we can't get a real tree this year. We'll be away for too long, so it would dry out, catch fire, and of course explode. Not to mention that we won't be around to appreciate it for most of the season, so there's no point. We have very limited storage space in our apartment, and it's already all used, so a large artificial tree is also out of the question.

The solution: make one of course!

I'll include a pattern to make a small tree and the simple steps to make a tree any size you want. I was never good at figuring out how to make party hats from circles, but I am fair at geometry so I started at the most basic level. You could use this technique to make any sort of crochet or even knit cone, but I'll specifically be talking about making a crochet christmas tree using fur or loop stitch (the video is helpful).

If you're just interested in the pattern, skip to step 6! 

Step 1: Draw a Triangle

Make it the size you want your finished tree to be. Mine is 5 inches tall with a base of 4 inches.

Step 2: Determine the length of the side of the triangle. 

This is the surface height you'll be crocheting. I accidentally used the height measurement rather than the surface length in the larger tree shown above. The decreases seemed a little funny and it turned out a little more squat than intended, but it still looks ok. Anyway, the point is, it's a fairly simple pattern and the loop stitch covers most mistakes, so don't stress about the math. You can do this! 

Use your old friend the Pythagorean Theorem to determine the side length. Divide your base by 2. In this case I get 2 inches. Now use (a x a )+ (b x b) = (c x c). You'll need a calculator that can square root. If this doesn't sound like fun, draw your triangle life size and measure the length. To be honest, that's probably what I'd do, but what if you want to make your tree really big? 

Step 3: Determine the circumference of the cone

I know that sounds a little technical, but stick with me. You don't want a flat tree, so you have to figure out how many inches it is around. All you need is some multiplication for this step. I'll talk about pi, but you don't need to remember what it is. Divide your tree into slices. I folded my tree in half vertically, then I folded each half in half again making 4 sections. Then measure the length of each slice. Then multiply the length of each slice (the diameter of he circle at that point) by pi (3.14) and then you have the circumference of the slice. I did it at only a few points on the circle then filled in the decreases from there assuming it would decrease in a regular pattern. Like I said, the loop stitch really helps cover flaws. 

Step 4: Figure out your gauge

Gauge isn't super important for this project unless you need your cone to be a very specific size. I used Red Heart Super Saver in Hunter Green and a size J hook. I knit a small swatch using fur stitch, but I found that my fur stitch gauge is close enough to a swatch using a regular stitch. You might want to crochet it circularly just for precision, but again, it's not that important. My gauge is approximately 3.5 stitches per inch and 3 rows per inch. 

Step 5: Create your pattern

Using your gauge and your measurements, make your pattern. First determine the number of rows using your measurement or calculation of c. In this case c is 5.4 inches roughly, so I'll crochet 16 rounds (5.4 x 3 = 16.2). 

We divided our triangle into 4, so we need do divide our length into corresponding sections. Each 4 rounds we will be at a new circumference. This will be important later. 

Determine the length of your starting chain using the base circumference. The base is 12.6 inches roughly, so I'll make a chain of 44 stitches. 

The next circumference is 9.4 inches so that means there should be 33 stitches in that row. 

Next we have 6.3 inches which corresponds to 22 stitches. Are you noticing the progression. I bet the next circumference should have 11 stitches. Let's see...

3.1 inches corresponds to 11 stitches. 

We need to decrease 11 stitches each 4 rows. This means we should decrease by 2 once and by 3 three times each section of 4. 

I like to work from the bottom up because each round gets shorter as you go. 

Keep in mind, there won't be any decreases in the first round, so the numbers may seem a little off, but you don't need to crochet the last round, because there aren't any stitches in it, so there will still be the expected number of rows. 

Step 6: Crochet

Cast on 44 stitches, slip stitch to join. Use a stitch marker to indicate end of round.

Round 1: Crochet loop stitch in each stitch (44) 

Round 2: Decrease* 3 times around evenly spaced** (41) 
Round 3: Decrease 2 times (39)
Round 4: Decrease 3 times (36) 
Round 5: Decrease 3 times (33)
Round 6: Decrease 3 times (30)
Round 7: Decrease 2 times (28)
Round 8: Decrease 3 times (25) 
Half way there! 

Round 9: Decrease 3 times (22)
Round 10: Decrease 3 times (19)
Round 11: Decrease 2 times (17)
Round 12: Decrease 3 times (14) 
Round 13: Decrease 3 times (11)
Round 14: Decrease 3 times (8)
Round 15: Decrease 2 times (6)
Round 16: Decrease 3 times (3) 
Finishing: Cut yarn, draw through loops at top to finish tightly. Draw yarn inside and secure if desired. Weave start end in. Decorate as desired with chain stitch garlands or little ornaments. Mine is sturdy enough to stand on it's own, but If you want, you can stuff it or insert a cardboard cone for stability. 

* Insert hook into first loop and draw yarn through. Complete loop stitch in next stitch pulling the extra loop off the hook when finished. 

** I put three stitch markers around the circle to mark where I think the decreases should go. I move them each round to vary the locations of the decreases. They don't have to be precise because the loops will cover them. 

Now go make a whole forest of them!

I made this using a different (and ultimately incorrect) pattern. 

Happy Crocheting!

Update: I was able to put presents under the tree. If they're big, set the tree on top of them. It they're small, take advantage of the hollow inside and hide presents!

1 comment:

  1. thank you for sharing this pattern! :D