October 26, 2015

Knit A Spooky, Sparkly Spider - Free Pattern



Spooky and seasonal salutations out there.
 

Now that the chaos that dominated my summer has mellowed, it’s time to focus on the here and now, and that means Halloween! By far, my most favorite of holidays and really the only one I completely and genuinely enjoy. From the moment it stakes its claim in seasonal retail displays while it’s still too hot outside, to that late hour you turn our your lights, lock your door, and decide the rest of the candy is yours, I want to embrace all the Halloweeniness there is to be had.  I’m almost never want it to end—mostly because when it does, that means, ugh, Christmas. Let’s not talk about that yet.

Taking shape from a few of my favorite things, here is a new knitting pattern for creating a little spooky, little sparkly spider that can be used for what I imagine to be countless applications.  


 My spiders will probably end up being attached to a headband or ponytail holder, which I will proudly wear as I answer the door this Halloween.  You may want to do the same or attach magnets, pins, or stitch them on a purse or hat as an embellishment. I’ll probably end up making a few more with glittery silver or gold yarn and use them as part of whatever, ugh, Christmas décor I put out.


If you’d like to follow suit, the pattern is below. If there are requests for it, I’ll make a PDF, but for now I think this will be a blog exclusive. If you make one, please send me a photo and I’ll post and promote it.



As you can see from the photos, I like using black yarn as the main color with a second contrasting color. I’ve indicated this in the pattern with B for black and C for the contrast color. You can also skip the color changes and make a single color spider.


To knit your spider, you can use any type of yarn and corresponding DPNs. You can manage with four DPNs, but five makes life much easier.

I think I had the best results with crochet thread (Aunt Lydia’s Fashion Size 3) and size 1 DPNs (2.25 mm.) Sock yarn worked out just as well for making a roughly three inch spider.  You could easily scale them up by using sport or worsted weight yarn and larger beads.

Other supplies are yarn scraps or polyfill for stuffing, white floss or crochet thread for the spider’s fangs, eight beads for the eyes, and beading thread.


The spider is knit in separate parts: the abdomen, head, palps, and eight legs.  All of these parts are then stitched together, which is probably the most time consuming part of this pattern. (I’m sorry.)  You can probably finish one spider—maybe two or more—in a single evening. They’re a great excuse to queue up a couple of your favorite scary movies and work as you watch. 

Fire up the DVD player and coffeemaker, it's gonna be a long night.


Enjoy!


Techniques and Abreviations: Knit-in-the-Round, Cast On (CO), Knit (K), Purl (P) Knit Front and Back (Kfb), Knit Two Together (K2tog), Pick Up Stitches (PU), I-Cord, Black Yarn (B), Contrasting Yarn (C)

Total stiches are indicated within ( ) after increase and decrease rows/rounds. Stitches to be repeated are indicated within [ ]. 


Abdomen

Cast On 5 stitches (sts) with B and knit straight rows:

  • Row 1:  P all sts.
  • Row 2:  Kfb, K1, Kfb, K1, Kfb (8 sts)
  • Row 3:  P all sts.
  • Row 4:  Kfb, K6, Kfb (10 sts)
  • Row 5:  P all sts.
  • Row 6:  K4 in B, K2 in C, K4 in B
  • Row 7:  P3 in B, P4 in C, P3 in B
  • Row 8:  K2 in B, K6 in C, K2 in B
  • Row 9:  P1 in B, P8 in C, P1 in B
  • Row 10: Continuing with just C, K2tog, K6, K2tog (8 sts)
  • Row 11: P all sts.
  • Row 12: K2tog, K1, K2tog, K1, K2tog. (5 sts)


Leave these last 5 sts on the needle. Continuing with C, on additional DPNs, pick up 19 additional sts around the other sides of your spider, distributed like so: 7 sts from the right side, 5 sts from the cast on edge, and 7sts from the left side.

You should now have a total of 24 sts to be knit in the round. Place a marker to indicate the beginning of each round and work as follows:

  • Round 1: Knit all sts in C.
  • Rounds 2 and 3: K all in B.
  • Round 3: Switch C, K5, K2tog, K4, K2tog, K3, K2 tog, K4, K2tog.  (20 sts)
  • Round 4: Switch to B, [K2tog] ten times. (10 sts)


Stuff lightly. If you’re making a smaller spider, I recommend using yarn scraps instead of polyfill to the shape a bit flat but still firm.

  • Round 5: [K2tog] five times (5 sts.)


Draw through the last stitches and fasten tight. Weave in end or leave it long for the assembly steps.

Head

With C, cast on 4 sts and knit the follow straight rows:

  • Row 1: K all sts
  • Row 2: P all sts
  • Row 3: Kfb, K2, Kfb (6 sts)
  • Row 4: P all sts
  • Row 5: K2, K2 tog, K2 (5 sts)
  • Row 6: Switch to B, P all sts.
  • Row 7: K all sts.


Leave these last 5 sts. on the needle. Continuing with B, on additional dpns, pick up 11 additional sts from the other sides, distributed as follows: 4 sts from the right side, 3 sts from the cast on edge, 4 sts from the left side. You should now have a total of 16 sts to be knit in the round. Place a marker to indicate the beginning of each round and work as follows:

  • Rounds 1 and 2: Knit all sts in B.
  • Round 3:  K2tog, K1, K2tog, K2, K2tog, K3, K2tog, K2 (12 sts)


Stuff lightly using yarn scraps or polyfill. Keep the shape a bit flat but still firm.

  • Round 4: [K2tog] six times (6 sts)
  • Round 5:  [K2tog] three times (3 sts)


Draw through and fasten tight.  Weave in end or leave it long for the assembly steps.


Legs

Leaving a long tail, cast on 3 sts.

  • Knit as an i-cord for 18 rows 


Draw through to stitches to end. Leave a long tail before breaking the yarn. 

Repeat until you have a total of eight legs.

If you want to put a bend in the legs, take the yarn tail from end and thread it through the center of the i-cord to the middle of the leg. Bend the leg in half and use the yarn tail to stitch the bend in place. This will help the leg keep a V shape.  Draw the remaining yarn tail to the cast-on edge. You can then use both tails to attach the leg to the spider.


Palps

Leaving a long tail, cast on 2 sts.

  • Knit as an i-cord for 4 rows 


Draw yarn through stitsches to end.

Leave a long tail before breaking the yarn.  Draw the ending yarn through the i-cord to the cast on edge. You can then use both tails to attach the palps to the spider’s face.

Repeat so you have two.


Putting Your Spider Together

The knitted parts that comprise the spider.

Attach the back of the head to the cast-on edge of the abdomen. You can use a long straight pin or needle to hold the two pieces in place as you stitch them together.

You can then attach the legs and palps in the order you like. I like to start with the palps. I pinned each one to the front of the head before attaching them so I get a good placement. One or two stitches with each yarn tail is usually enough to secure them. Knot to fasten and weave in the ends.

I recommend attaching the legs to the spider by alternating left side then right or vice versa.  This helps to create symmetry. Try to keep them relatively close together—but not so close that you’re attaching one leg on top of the other. Start on the head and move towards the abdomen. As with the palps, a couple stitches using each yarn tail should be enough. Knot to fasten and weave in ends.



Spider Embellishments

I like to embroider a pair of fangs between the palps of my spider. You can do this by embroidering two long vertical stitches with white embroidery floss or crochet thread.

As the last step, I used eight seed beads to give my spider eyes. I attached them with nylon beading thread so it’s not very visible. Try to be as symmetrical as you can manage, but a nice cluster of beads is all you need to pull off a good multi-eyed effect. 


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