December 21, 2015

Knit A Donut Ornament - Free Pattern

I'm not sure if I'll ever find myself saying I enjoy Christmas, at least not overall. It's just not my type of holiday. I know it's supposed to be your favorite as a kid but Halloween always held that title for me and probably always will.

As I grew up, the season's ability to excite and enchant was gradually lost in the the crescendo of stress, debt, and questions that repeat, year after year. Questions? Yes, the Christmas season always brings out the same questions from me. Chief among the are: "Why are we still doing this?", "Aren't we too old for this?", "Why don't I enjoy this?", "Does anyone actually enjoy this?", "How can anyone afford to keep doing this?", "Really, what's the point at this point?"

But this year, things are a little different. I don't know what it is-- and it's certainly not the weirdly warm weather, with which I'm none too pleased-- but this year, I find myself embracing those little elements of Christmas that I do enjoy and from where my more fond Christmas memories stem. One of them is making things. Indeed, I love the crafty part of this season. That said, I don't make most gifts anymore. One year, the pressure literally had me in tears. It's just not worth it. And if I want to make someone something, I do so and I give it to them regardless of occasion.

I do still love making ornaments though.

I love ornaments that are fairly quick to make, can be easily customized by switching up just a few things, and don't look half bad when left out all year. That's what I've tried to do with this donut pattern.

What do donuts have to do with Christmas? I guess they could be considered the modern equivalent of the those traditional beaded fruit ornaments that hung from my grandparents' trees. Exotic produce was an exciting holiday treat back then. Today, perhaps that's better summed up with a donut. Or maybe it's just a donut. Does everything have to be a statement?

Also, you can knit this donut for any reason. For New Years, you could make a plate of them and put message of dieting encouragement underneath each one. Knit them as a last minute hostess gift, make pretend food for a play kitchen, or stuff one with cat nip for a kitty toy (I'd leave the beads off for those last two uses).    
They're also nice if you're a Simpsons fan.

The pattern specifics are below. If you decide to make one, I hope it's an enjoyable part of your season. And regardless of what this time of year does or doesn't mean to you, and however you happen to feel about it, I hope it's better than you hope, not as bad as you dread, and that your 2016 is superior to this year, because 2015 seriously sucked!

I knit my donuts using size 1 (2.25 mm) DPN needles and Aunt Lydia's crochet thread in Fashion 3 weight, because that's what I use for almost every amigurumi I make lately. If you decide to do the same, you'll end up with a donut that's about 2" in diameter and 1/2" high.

As for additional supplies, you'll need a small amount of batting to stuff the donut; beads, a beading needle and beading cord if you want to add sprinkles; a needle for assembly; and ribbon or cord from which to suspend the donut--if you want to make an ornament. It also helps to have a crochet hook, chopstick, or similar tool to assist with the stuffing process.

The donut is knit in one piece and the frosting/icing is knit separately then attached.

Here are the techniques you'll need:

Cast On (CO)
Knit (K)
Purl (P)
Knit Front and Back (Kfb)
Knit Two Together (K2tog)
Bind Off

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

To knit the "body" of the donut, cast 24 sts on to 3 DPNs. Knit the following rounds:

Rnds 1- 5: K all sts.
Rnd 6: [K1, Kfb] 12 times (36 sts)
Rnd 7: [K2, Kfb] 12 times (48 sts)
Rnd 8: [K7, Kfb] 6 times (54 sts)
Rnds 9 - 14: K all sts
Rnd 15: [K7, K2tog] 6 times (48 sts)
Rnd 16: [K2, K2tog] 12 times (36 sts)
Rnd 17: [K1, K2tog] 12 times (24 sts)
Rnds 18-22: K all sts

Bind off.

Once you've finished knitting, push the first few rounds up through the center until the cast-on edge meets with the bind off edge. It should look a bit like a deflated inner tube.

Here's a rushed illustration of it:

You'll then stitch the cast-off edge and bind-off edges together, but only stitch about a quarter of the way around to start. Stuff that portion and then stitch a little more. You should start to see the donut shape emerge. Stuff and stitch in this fashion until you can barely access the interior. Then use a crochet hook, chopstick, or other tool to get that last bit of stuffing in there before your seam is closed and complete.

It's up to you how you'd like to ice or frost your donut. If you want a smooth top of icing, follow the steps below.

Leave a long cord and cast on 12 sts. Distribute on 3 DPNs and knit-in-the-round as follows:

Rnd 1: [K1, Kfb] 6 times (18 sts)
Rnd 2: [K1, Kfb] 9 times (27 sts)
Rnd 3: [K2, Kfb] 9 times (36 sts)
Rnd 4: [K2, Kfb] 12 times (48 sts)
Rnd 5: [K3, Kfb] 12 times (60 sts)

Bind off, leaving a long tail.

Use the cast-on tail to attach the frosting piece to the inner wall of the donut hole. Knot to secure and weave in end.

Use the bind-off tail to attach the frosting to the outer portion of the donut. Knot to secure and weave in end.

For a piped ribbon of icing, you just need to knit an i-cord that's approximately double the circumference of your donut. Use pins to plan the design of your icing and ensure your i-cord is long enough to do the job. Then make a few stitches at each bend to hold the design in place.

Add beads for a glittery, sprinkle-rich look. Suspend your donut from a loop of cord or just leave it as it is to be placed on a fancy plate.

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