I knit this apple day by day
In hopes to hold it while I play
As they grow with love and care
I shall knit them carefully by the pair
-A simple verse my daughter Deirdre and I wrote
Our summer here in Virginia begins and ends with fruit. From the first days of June, when we reap the last bit of our strawberry haul to the apples in September, my family associates these precious gifts from nature with this hot time of year. However apples are a bit different and extra special. They not only signal the end of summer but they in the same token also herald the beginning of our Autumn. It seems to me that for the entire month of September, our circle time includes references to apples in one way or another!
When crafting our nature table this past Autumn I combed the internet for some apple knitting patterns that my young preschool daughter and I could knit together. In an effort to gently introduce the arts to Deirdre, I wanted her to help me craft a central and lasting item on our nature table for each season of the year. I have to say while there were some lovely apple patterns out there, they all seemed over complicated and inaccessible for my young four year old. Not to mention, at the time I was still earning my knitting wings, and wasn’t interested in knitting apples all Autumn long!
So Deirdre and I devised this simple pattern. The mind of a child continues to amaze me. While I was discussing our apple knitting plans with her, she mentioned that what we should do was just ‘knit a ball’ since apples are just ‘tasty funny shaped balls’. Why yes, yes they are! And so that’s what we did — we knit little red balls, with some minor Mama-made additions.
Size 8 knitting needles (I suggest wooden needles if you’re knitting with a child since they feel better in their hands and they also don’t slip as much)
A handful of carded wool or cotton batting
A yarn needle
A skein of a deep red yarn, or green for Granny Smith apples.
I used Stitch Nation Bamboo Ewe Yarn in Germanium since I liked the sheen it gave the apples. Make sure whichever yarn you chose that it knits to a 4 inch gauge with 18 stitches/22 rows on a size 8 needles. Or if you’re a pro — just eyeball it! All we’re doing are knitting little squares.
Green wool felt and green embroidery floss (I use 100% wool felt from Material Evidence on ETSY)
Optional stem: brown wool felt and brown embroidery floss
Loosely cast on 18 stitches
Using the knit stitch, knit one row
Continue for 21 more rows, or 22 rows total
Once you’ve knitted 22 rows, you should have a nice little knit square.
Cast off leaving a long tail.
Thread a yarn needle with the leftover tail of your knit square.
Make a gathering stitch along the outside of your knit square.
Stuff the middle of your knit square with carded wool or cotton batting.
Tighten the gathering stitch until the square is closed and forms a ball.
Tie off and cut the tail.
Cut one or two small leaves out of green felt.
Sew the leaves onto the top of the apple with green embroidery thread. If you like, you can also make a few running stitches down the center of each leaf to imitate some veins.
Cut a 1 inch by 3 inch rectangle of brown felt.
Roll up the piece of felt into a cylinder.
Using brown embroidery floss, stitch the cylinder together.
Finally, sew the cylinder to the top of your apple in between the leaves.
Now have your own sweet little apple!
Now that you have your apples, put them in a place of pride, especially if your child helped you knit these! It is vitally important that we as parents affirm and encourage the arts in our children. In a time where sticktoitiveness is shunned in light of instant gratification, the process and joy of knitting is almost more important than the finished product.
Nicole Justice-Kleemann is a stay at home mother to her three young children as well as a slew of poultry and rabbits (whom also fervently believe they are her children). After graduating with her Masters degree in Teaching, she has decided to homeschool her children in the Waldorf tradition. Her journey to Waldorf and her family’s daily adventures can be found at her blog.
Deirdre Kleemann is her eldest daughter and helped her create this tutorial.