Oh goodness I LOVE these!  When Nyree and I divided up the days to make, I did a teen-movie-montage-fist-pump thing when I got this one.  It’s just gorgeous.  I don’t know whether it’s because Buz and I had these in our wedding flowers maybe?  Nah, it’s just because they are SUPER CUTE!

CUTE! But not AS cute as these thistles….

I get going, and am immediately reminded at how poor my estimation skills are.  In my head, these things are A LOT bigger!  They are teeny and gorgeous.  Here’s a little look at how big the finished thistle head is in comparison to the felt ball in your kit…

I use my stitch marker because I’m terrible at little things (having hands like a goal keeper doesn’t help) and so keeping a note of tiny rounds is difficult for me. Problem solved with a stitch marker.

Now I know you probably ALL do this, but a revelation for me when I got to round 4 onwards was that if I squashed the little piece flat, it was much easier to work the stitches – I had been trying to work around the top, maintaining the 3d-ness of it all but squashing it flat worked wonders.

All nicely straightforward – stuffing.  Another thing that I’m not good at.  I estimate a little piece …

Hardly any….right?

..aaand try to ram that all into the tiny little thistle head using some slim but blunt-ended scissors (a chopstick would work too but Buzby was bellowing down his phone in the kitchen and I had failed to distribute chopsticks about the house prior to commencing this piece and the scissors were at hand).

Thistle head, mid-stuff.

So to say I’d overestimated is an understatement!  This little thistle head required about half of what I’d pulled out to stuff it with.  I marvel, remove the stuffing, half it and try again.  Do you know what I love about this?  DO YOU?  When it’s stuffed, it will just mould into it’s shape absolutely beautifully with no issues at all.  It’s almost miraculous.

Now to that round which says “dec to close”.   Hmmm?  Pardon?  Oh yes now I see!  It’s so tiny that just reducing that stitch count again is going to be more than sufficient to close that top.  I manage (just) 4 decs in total and by that time, there is no opening left to speak of.

I snip the yarn and leave a reasonably long tail – for once I’ve thought ahead and figure I can use that to attach the thistle head to the leaves.  SMUG MODE ACTIVATED! (5 points to anyone who tells us where that reference comes from!)

The prickly leaves make me want to weep they’re so clever!  More of the same with the magic loop and then that really clever technique using slip stitches to go back down a chain and make various prickles.  Here’s a quick pic to show you where to put the slip stitch after you make that prickle on the first stem bit (technical term)

Riiiiiight – there.

And here is Nyree going nuts with her Apple pen to show us where to put the slip stitches when you work back down the prickly stem things.

Quick tip here: the last ss of that bit (where you work back to the centre circle) goes in the stitch where you started.  That’s why it looks like you’ve run out of stem to work.  You have!  Stick that last ss right into where you started.  Fab.

Kate recommends we block the prickly bits but BUT I don’t!  I like them just as they are!  (And I’d bought the starch and everything!)

All in, nothing scary here and the end result is simply beautiful: so much so that you can make more if you want to as there is plenty of yarn left.  I start to form ideas of a Christmassy corsage…..hmmm……