This pattern is dedicated to my amazing sister and all the other dedicated, hard-working teachers out there, without whom, our world would fall apart.
I was skyping with my big sister last week. She’s a teacher over in Tokyo, Japan, and she just finished her first week of school after summer break. It was a week of grueling hours for her -getting to know the students during the day, and then prepping lessons and arranging the classroom materials until late into the evening. If you too have school teacher among your friends and family, I bet you heard similar stories about their first week. That’s why I came up with this simple sweet pattern for a knit pencil. Make some for your teacher friends and let them know, that you know, that they’re doing amazing work!
Knit #2 Pencil
DPN = double pointed needle
k = knit
CO = cast on
BO = bind off
ssk = slip, slip, knit. Slip the next two stitches onto the right-hand needle, stick the tip of your left-hand needle into them from below and knit them together as one. a decrease stitch
– scraps of worsted weight yarn in pink, grey, yellow and tan (I used Caron Simply Soft Yarn (the colors are awesome, and I have so much of it in my stash) but any worsted weight yarn will do.
– a pipe cleaner
– 3 DPNs size US 3 (or the size needed to get gauge)
– darning needle
– embroidery needle and grey embroidery floss for the #2 (optional)
While exact gauge is not necessary, you do want your knit pencil to have a tight, firm fabric. I knit with gauge 12 stitches over 2 inches. If your gauge is dramatically smaller or larger than this, change needles to approximate this gauge.
-The pencil is knit around a pipe cleaner to give it a bit of structure. I only had royal blue pipe cleaners in my craft drawer, and it worked fine, but if you are buying a pipe cleaner for this project I’d recommend a yellow or tan colored one so no bright contrasting color peeks through the cracks in the stitches.
– The pencil is 6 stitches around, which is too many stitches for an i-cord and too few stitches to feel nice knitting in the round. Luckily it knits up easily and smoothly when divided over two needles and worked with a third.
– when you switch colors, I recommend knitting the first stitch with the new color with both a strand of the old color and the new color. Then, tie a knot between the old color and the tail end of the new color. This method helps keep the tension even, and is not visible on the final pencil.
With pink yarn, CO 6 stitches. Divide them evenly onto 2 DPNs. Hold the needles parallel to each other with the purl-sides facing and the working yarn coming off the right-most stitch on the back needle (photo 1 below). Place the pipe cleaner between the two needles, bring the yarn around the pipe cleaner and knit the round starting with the right most stitch on the front needle (photo 2). The pipe cleaner should stick out both ends.
continue knitting around the pipe cleaner
k 2 rounds
switch to grey yarn.
k 5 rounds
switch to yellow yarn
k 32 rounds, or however many you need to make your pencil the desired length
Pull the pipe cleaner up through the pencil until its end is about 1/2 inch (1 cm) higher than the pink eraser. You don’t want that sharp pipe cleaner end poking out the end. Then cut off the top end of the pipe cleaner, 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) longer than your knitting.
switch to tan yarn
k 1 round
k4 ssk (5 stitches)
k3 ssk (4 stitches)
put all the stitches on 1 needle and knit the remaining rounds as i-cord
k2 ssk (3 stitches)
k1 ssk (2 stitches)
Use your darning needle to bring the loose ends inside the pencil, then cut off any bits that are still showing.
Use your darning needle and a small scrap of grey yarn to “sew” a couple loops around the pencil tip as the lead.
Optional: use your embroidery needle and grey embroidery floss to embroider a #2 on the eraser-end of your pencil.
As always, share your pencils on Instagram (@yarnbirdy), Facebook (@yarnbirdy), and/or Ravelry, because I would love to admire them! Plus, let me know in the comments which awesome teacher in your life you want to make this pencil for.