How to make Stuffed Pumpkins with a Knitting Machine
Fall is easily my favorite season. I love the colors of the leaves as they change, the crisp air, and – guilty as charged – pumpkin spice. Fall can be a great time for making crafts while you’re cozy and comfortable inside. Pumpkins are one of my favorite fall things, so it’s no surprise that you can find me making stuffed pumpkins with my knitting machines to gear up for the upcoming fall season.
If you’ve read my previous article, Mommy & Me Hats with your Knitting Machine, you’ll have read the basic foundation for what we’re doing today. It’s almost the same premise as the hats, except we’re stuffing the knitted tube and closing where the opening would be if it were a hat. (If you haven’t read it, I strongly encourage it…and not just because I wrote it!) All of the tubes you’ll be knitting for the pumpkins will be folded over on themselves, just like the hats, so there is a double layer of knitted yarn. This helps the stuffing to stay in and not show through the yarn.
- Knitting machine(s) of your choice. I used both the 48 pin Sentro and 22 pin Addi knitting machines for the pumpkins I made.
- Weight 3 or 4 yarn in your preferred colors
- Large yarn needle
- Hot glue gun and glue
- Faux leather sheets (for the stems)
- Poly-fil stuffing
Place your knitting machine on a flat, stable surface (Many knitting machines come with suction cup legs, or attachments to help mount it to a table. If you do not have these, use one hand to hold your machine in place while you crank). You’ll want to take your yarn and cast it onto the machine. Casting on can best be described as “threading” the machine, in a way. The best tutorial I’ve seen for casting on and off a knitting machine comes from Kate Polizzi:
After you’ve cast on and run your yarn through your tension guide, you’ll want to make sure you crank very slowly for the first few rounds, watching your machine to make sure you don’t have any stitches slip. For tension, I used the medium tension on my tension guide on the 48 pin Sentro (The 22 pin Addi doesn’t have a tension guide, so I used my hand to maintain tension).
For the red pumpkin on the 48-pin machine that I made, I knitted 80 rows. The yellow pumpkin and the green pumpkin were both done on the 22-pin knitting machine, but I did the yellow one for 50 rows and the green for 40 rows. Once you have reached the desired number of rows, cast off your yarn from the machine, making sure to leave a long tail when finished.
Assembling the Pumpkin
Take your knitted tube and lay it flat on the table, smoothing out any wrinkles or bumps. At each end, you’ll have a length of string – or a “tail” – left from casting on and off your machine. Take this tail and pull it like a drawstring to cinch the ends of the knitted tube tightly. Fold the tube in on itself, pushing one end up inside of the other, creating a double layer. It’ll look like the hats from my previous knitting machine article. Using your needle, take the yarn tail from the inside of the folded tube and thread it through the top of the folded tube, right next to the other yarn tail. Double knot the two pieces of yarn together, and then thread them both back through the folded tube to the inside. Double knot them again and then cut the excess yarn off. Place a small dab of clear nail polish over the yarn knot to help prevent it from coming undone and fraying.
Stuff the inside of the pumpkin with poly-fil, making sure not to stuff it too much. I would suggest stuffing it until you’re about an inch from the top. Next, take your yarn needle and a long length of yarn, about 18 inches or so, and thread the yarn through the needle. Insert the needle into the pumpkin, stuffing side up, about 3-4 rows down, and tie a small knot, anchoring the yarn onto the “rim” of the pumpkin. Using that same yarn, take the needle and insert it through the stuffing and through the top of the pumpkin, where we had cinched the ends together. Pull very tightly to help fold the pumpkin, and then run the yarn up the side of the pumpkin and do it again. Repeat 4 to 5 times, making sure to pull tightly, to fold the pumpkin closed on the bottom, and make those infamous ridges on the sides of the pumpkins. Play around with spacing and the number of ridges you want to achieve a unique look. When you’re finished, pull the thread through the cinched openings at the top of the pumpkin one more time, and thread the needle through two or three stitches, pulling the yarn. Trim the yarn and seal with clear nail polish or hot glue.
Attaching the Stem
For the pumpkin stems, I cut strips of brown faux leather and folded them in half. For the red pumpkin, I used a 1 inch wide by 4 inches long strip. For the two smaller pumpkins, I used a ½ inch by 3 inches long strip. Place a dab of hot glue on the end of the inside and fold it over on itself, making sure not to burn your fingers. Once the glue has set, attach it to the top of your pumpkin with another dab or two of hot glue. Hold the stem at the top, away from the glue, until the glue has set, and the stem can stand up on its own.
The pumpkins I made are fairly plain, but you can add whatever decorations you want to yours. Some suggestions are:
- Bows made of ribbon, lace, or twine
- Pumpkin tendrils made from curled wire
- Crocheted leaves in fall colors
What do you think? Will you be making some knitted pumpkins this fall? Let me know in the comments!