Last December, I was chatting with my sister-in-law Meghan about what we were getting our respective children for Christmas. She’d decided to get the world’s cutest niece (that would be my niece Stella) a play kitchen. So on her list of gift suggestions, Meghan had included wooden food to stock Stella’s kitchen.
Now, there’s some adorable wooden food out there. I can’t remember for sure what all I got her, but I think I got cookies, some pantry staples, and veggies and other sliceable food. And that’s just the beginning of the cool stuff I could have gotten.
However, as we were chatting, Meghan mentioned that she’d been looking around (on Etsy, I think), and had seen food that was made with yarn. “Do you think you could knit food?” she asked.
Of course I could!
Wisely, I headed to Ravelry first and searched for knit food patterns. Yeah…just a few patterns to work with. I was frankly stunned by the variety of patterns out there. There were the mainstays, like vegetables and fruit. But I could also knit…ice cream cones! Sushi! People, I could knit a take-out coffee cup (which I might do for my in-laws just for the heck of it).
I decided to start simple with vegetables, and scoped out my LYS for yarn. That’s when I discovered a small issue. I wanted to use Plymouth Encore, which is a sturdy and inexpensive wool/acrylic blend–perfect for a small child’s toys that will need washed. Unfortunately, the pattern I planned to use (the Garden Variety pattern) calls for worsted weight yarn…and my LYS didn’t have all the rainbow colors I wanted in that weight. Plus, I really didn’t need all that yardage; the DK weight (which had most of the colors I wanted) would be a better fit.
I spent some time trying to figure out how to use the yarn I had with the pattern I had. That’s when it occurred to me–how hard, really, could, say, a carrot be?
Answer: not terribly.
I opted to try a gauge square on US3 needles, which gave me the nice tight fabric I needed when combined with the fact I’m a tight knitter to begin with. Of course, the tight stitches made knitting a bit painful; I tend to push the needle tip with my left index finger. I’ve got a callus there now, so the next carrot should be easier…I hope.
Once I figured out my gauge, I determined how many stitches I wanted to cast on for a large carrot. Then I just started making it up as I went along. If you’d like to try your hand at it, the pattern is below (and just a heads up: I plan to design a variety of sizes, as well as other items, and once I have them all done, I’ll offer them in one PDF).
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Encore DK (color 1383, orange; color 054, bright green)
Needle: US3 DPN
Gauge: 8 sts / 10 rows = 1”
C/O 33 sts – knit 5 rows of st st (start and end with a knit row) before splitting on 3 DPNs (11 sts per needle) and joining in a round
Knit until carrot is 2”
On needle 1: K2, K2tog, K3, K2tog, K2 (9 sts). Repeat on needles 2 and 3 (27 sts total).
Knit until carrot is 3 ½”.
On needle 1: K1, K2tog, K3, K2tog, K1 (7 sts). Repeat on needles 2 and 3 (21 sts total).
Knit until carrot is 4 ½”.
On needle 1: K1, K2tog, K1, K2tog, K1 (5 sts). Repeat on needles 2 and 3 (15 sts total).
Knit until carrot is 5 ½”.
On needle 1: K2tog, K1, K2tog (3 sts). Repeat on needles 2 and 3 (9 sts total).
Knit 4 rows. Cut yarn, leaving tail long enough to thread through tapestry needle, and thread needle through stitches on DPNs. Remove DPNs and pull tight. Tie off yarn. Sew up seam at top of carrot. Seaming will cause top to curve in slightly. Weave in ends.
Stuff carrot with stuffing of choice (I used polyester fiberfill). Once carrot is almost completely stuffed, cut 14 9” strands of green yarn, and thread them through the open top of the carrot from one side to the other.
Once all the strands are through, tie them in a double knot.
Then cut one long strand of green yarn and wrap it around the double knot (tying off both ends).
Warning: Carrot is not edible!