(Cute as a) Button Trees

Truth be told, I started making these trees 5 years ago. I bought the yarn and started out with the intention of making one for everyone on my Christmas card list. Except I started them on Thanksgiving, giving me only a week or two to knit, stuff, and mail my Christmas cards to 100+ people.
So, in the end, I made about 5 for family and shelved the project. Because I’ve learned that even when I don’t meet my own (overly high) expectations for myself, other people still love me. Real talk.

These trees initiated from the Jämälanka-kuusi by MeRzU pattern I found in Ravelry, which I then adjusted until it matched my aesthetic. The pattern below is inspired by work with three main changes:

  • It’s written in English rather than the closest Google translate approximation. I’m certain that the pattern is much clearer in MeRzU’s original language (Finnish?), but the algorithm hasn’t quite caught up with crafter-speak.
  • MeRzU’s pattern was intended to use up scrappy sport and aran weight bits, and I wanted to use this super-squishy bulky yarn that I found because, who wouldn’t?
  • MeRzU’s pattern asks you to do single decreases every row in the middle-ish of your shape which, because of my gauge, was causing odd gaps in my knit and, because of my perfectionism, was causing my eye to twitch.

All this results in my Button Trees pattern. The pattern gives you the basic decrease ratio for the shape, there are a lot of details you can easily adjust for your preferences – I’ll give notes on my personal choices after the pattern.

Button Trees

k – knit
sl1k – slip 1 knitwise
s2kpo – slip 2 together knitwise, knit one, pass 2 slipped stitches over

Yarn: #5, Bulky Weight
Needle Size: US 10.5
Crochet Hook, Tapestry

Cast-on 13 stitches.
Row 1: sl1k, k4, s2kpo, k to end
Row 2-4: sl1k, k to end
Row 5: sl1k, k3, s2kpo, k to end
Row 6-8: sl1k, k to end
Row 9: sl1k, k2, s2kpo, k to end
Row 10-12: sl1k, k to end
Row 13: sl1k, k1, s2kpo, k to end
Row 14-16: sl1k, k to end
Row 17: sl1k, s2kpo, k to end
Row 18: sl1k
Row 19: s2kpo
Cast-off, or transfer to crochet hook and chain 11, connecting chain back to tree with last stitch.

Decorate at will. I raided my button box, and added twine bows.

I think you could totally break out some red yarn scrap and stitch on some garlands, or use pom-poms for ornaments, how cute would that be?!?

Size – Pattern with above materials yields trees approximately 4 in tall (plus loop) and 3.75 in wide at base. You can adjust the pattern for your yarn size, or just to make a larger tree by increasing your number of cast-on stitches, as long as it’s an odd number. The odd number cast-on ensures you always have a “trunk” stitch to keep your decreases centered. From your cast-on, work a double decrease on your first row, and every four rows after, until you are down to three stitches on the needle.

s2kpo – I chose this decrease because I love how tidy it is. You can sub in any double decrease method you prefer. If you need a visual on this, may I suggest this tutorial from the inimitable Staci Perry of Very Pink Knits.

sl1k – This is a habit I picked up years ago and now I add it to just about every knit, I love how it leaves you with a clean, neat, “crochet chain” edge. No knobbies here.

Cast-off/Crochet Chain – I chose to crochet a loop for the top of my tree, but I think it would work just as well to cast off after Row 19, and then you could attach ribbon, twine, or other loop-making material.

For me, the trees knit up in about 10 minutes, the finishing and decorating takes a little longer, but that’s because I spend so much time fussing over button placement. (They need to be balanced.)

Now that I’ve gotten this ratio down, I’ve been brainstorming what else this shape will work for: angel bodies, flower petals, bow-ties… I’m curious to see what you come up with, so please comment/share!

Here’s to you and all of your happy little trees!

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