Well, sometimes, when you’ve been making a gigantic thing such as a cardigan, you need to make a small thing to balance it out. Or maybe that’s just me. I made the Christmas Pudding hat (see previous post) for the boy to satisfy this need (and also, to stop the pleading).

However, still seized with the festive spirit, and noticing some red and white yarn looking a bit forlorn and needy itself, I thought of gnomes. This (plus my slight obsession with Scandinavian things) inevitably led on to the creation of a tomte – or tomtenisse, or nisse;

“…a mythological creature from Scandinavian folklore typically associated with the winter solstice and the Christmas season. It is generally described as being no taller than three feet, having a long white beard, and wearing a conical or knit cap in red or some other bright colour…”.

(the whole article is here on Wikipedia

Almost all the representations of tomte I have seen have a button nose, a beard and a pointy hat. Their eyes always appear to be hidden away, under the hat, which only makes them cuter (and maybe you don’t need eyes to see if you are a magical being?).

My first tomte is a largeish chap made on 7mm needles, in Sirdar Softie and New Lanark Chunky, though this is the kind of thing than can be made to many sizes just by changing the needle and yarn size.

I cast on eight stitches then increased in each ‘corner’ (kfb in the stitches on either side of the corner) to get a half sphere, which is the bottom of his head, This handily leaves a hole for stuffing him later, leaving a long tail to sew the hole up with (here it is sewn up):

Aviary Photo_130940501917590375

Then I added the beard by hooking the grey yarn through, into and between every stitch, so loops hung down to the bottom of his chin, and sewed it into place on the wrong side to stop the loops falling out should a very small child (or more likely a black cat in our case) get hold of him, then cut the loops to make a proper fluffy beard.


Next I sewed a round, making a bobble for the nose. Making bobbles is one of the most fun things you can do in knitting! There’s a great Craftsy Tutorial here.


I changed colour to my red yarn, for his hat. To make it good and pointy I decreased in each corner again (ssk and k2tog) with four plain rounds between each decrease round, until I got to the last four stitches. I threaded the yarn through these final stitches and made a loop to hang him up by, though he’s also quite happy to sit on a shelf.

The final thing was to stuff him, making sure not to over stuff, to keep the hat pointy, and sew up the hole.

Here he is!

(this was so much fun that I made that little friend for him, with a blue hat). These two have both gone off to live with a friend who will love them.

Then I modified my pattern a bit (yes, it really is a mania). The head is the same, but I decided on a different style of pointy hat, with a reverse stocking stitch brim, I also did the decreases only on the sides, and got rid of the white line between hat and nose. Oh, and I made a lady one, with plaits (I am sure there are lady tomte).



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