This tutorial is also available as a free digital download here.
The end of the year tends to be when I start looking at my stash of leftover yarn and thinking "how can I turn all these ends into a project?"
I'm not sure if it's just because I've spent all year knitting, but Christmas is very much on my mind this month (have to plan ahead!). I'm ready to come up with all the Christmas knitting pattern ideas. Well, maybe not ALL of them. But I do have this cute and easy holiday garland idea to share with you.
This technique is definitely one you could do with your kids - it's simple and you can vary the design with different colours and different loop yarns, and it's fast enough to keep their attention for a short crafting session.
HOW MUCH YARN DO I NEED?
You will need a length of loop yarn three times the length of the garland you wish to create. Add a few extra loops so that you can cut open the loops at each end of your garland to cut open and tie the ends off.
WHAT TOOLS DO I NEED?
You will only need your fingers and some scissors! At the end of this post I will share a variation using double-stranded loop yarn - for that variation, you may want to use a crochet hook. To see the size of hook I recommend, see my blog post What Tools Do I Need?
Count out the number of loops you want for your starting row, with one or two loops extra loops at the end to cut open (for tying off later). Place the cut end to your left.
Working from right to left, pull two loops of working yarn through each loop of your stationary (starting) row. You are increasing by one loop for each stitch.
Once again working from right to left, you are going to 'bind off' the entire row. Beginning with the first two loops, pull the 2nd loop through the 1st loop. Then pull the 3rd loop through the 2nd loop. Pull the 4th loop through the 3rd loop. Continue in this manner until you have completed the entire row.
Your garland should now curl in a spiral!
Now that you've mastered the basic technique, you may want to play around with variations.
I really like the look of bi-colour garlands. To make this one, I used a different colour strand for row 1 and 2. Another option would be to use multiple scraps of yarn or variegated yarn for a more eclectic look!
Adding special stitches
For this purple garland, I added bobble stitches every third stitch of row 2. Try playing around with different textures of stitches (like twisting the stitches of row 1 before pulling your loops through) or row 2 for different effects!
If you want a more dramatic spiral, you can experiment with increasing by more loops in row 2 (pull three or more working loops through your stationary loop instead of just two).
TECHNIQUE FOR DOUBLE-STRANDED LOOP YARN
Creating a spiral garland with double-stranded loop yarn like Alize Puffy More or Bernat Alize Blanket-EZ Graph It, uses the same concept as the loop yarn garlands above, but in reverse.
The twisting of any knitted garland is created by a difference in loops/stitches in one row or side of your garland. The row or side with the greater number of loops creates a curve in your strand, and continuing this along the row causes the strand to curl into a spiral.
With the double-stranded loop yarn, instead of increasing loops, we are actually going to decrease loops in one colour.
For this yarn - you will only need a single row/strand of yarn, so count approximately 1/3 more loops than you want the length of your strand to be.
Choose the colour you want on the inside of your spiral that will be Colour 1.
Count out the number of loops you want for your the length of your garland, with one or two loops extra loops at the end to cut open (for tying off later). Place the cut end to your right.
Using a similar technique to what you would use for your starting row in a blanket pattern with Alize Puffy More yarn (see my APM Instruction Sheet), you are going to connect the loops of your row in a chain (similar to the 'Binding Off' instructions above), BUT instead of pulling your 2nd loop through your 1st loop, you are going to decrease stitches by pulling two loops through your first loop. This is most easily done using a crochet hook.
Starting from the cut end on the right, slide your crochet hook through loop 1, 2 and 3. Pull loops 2 and 3 together with your hook through loop 1. Keeping those two loops on your hook, slide the hook through your next two loops and pull them back through those first few loops. Continue right to left until the end of the row.
Returning to the right end of your yarn, you will now create a chain with the second colour. Working from right to left, bind off the entire row: Pull the 2nd loop through the 1st loop. Then pull the 3rd loop through the 2nd loop. Pull the 4th loop through the 3rd loop. Continue in this manner until you have completed the entire row.
The garland should now spiral! Like the loop yarn garlands above, you can modify the tightness of the spiral, but instead of increasing by more stitches, you will decrease by more stitches. Try pulling 3 stitches through each loop of your chain instead of 2.
And that's it! I'd love to see your variations and holiday displays with garlands! Be sure to share them and tag me on instagram @iloveblanket