For CreaCrafts’ third special edition of Knit & Stitch Creative we wanted to go for something both pretty and practical. We settled on a collection of knitted cacti that can be used as pin cushions or simply as decorative ornaments. In the special edition you’ll receive four balls of CreaCrafts yarn, three silcone ‘flower pots’, two skeins of thread and polyester filling. The yarn includes two shades of green – for the bodies of the cacti – and a light brown – to create the soil. Your kit also includes a white Craqulure yarn which can be used to embellish a cactus with realistic looking ‘spikes’ or a fluffy ‘mesh’ – but without any prickliness! You’ll find all the patterns in the magazine.

We asked Susie Johns, the creator of our cacti collection, some questions about her design.

How do you get started with a design?

When designing any knitted novelties, I like to start with a pencil drawing, making lots of notes about sizes, shapes and possible stitch patterns. The next stage is to knit up some swatches and make measurements, and then it’s time to knit the samples for photography.

Did you have any inspiration for the different designs?

After looked online at lots of photographs of cacti, I decided to make a round one, a taller one with stripes and one that looked like a desert cactus, the kind you see in old cowboy films.

You’ve used the Craquelure yarn in a very inventive way – what was the thinking behind that?

Some cacti are covered with a down so I decided to make a fluffy ‘jacket’ out of the white Craquelure yarn. I tried a mesh pattern to make a lattice-like fabric and then simply wrapped this round one of the cacti – I was quite pleased with the effect! To create a more spiny cactus I experimented with the Craquelure yarn a bit and in the end decided that the best technique was to cover the cactus with small loops of yarn and then cut these so they turned into tufts. It took a bit of patience to work all the loops but it was worth it in the end!

What’s your favourite thing about the mini cacti?

I’m not very green-fingered: it seems that my hands are better suited to knitting and sewing than to keeping plants alive! So knitted plants are a good choice for me: they don’t need watering and, needing no light to survive, they can be placed on a shelf in the gloomiest corner of a room.

Have you any tips for anyone making these cute little cacti?

As with any novelty knits, these cacti take very little time to knit. However, you must allow some time – and patience – for sewing-up, as you need to be neat with your seams to ensure that the finished cacti look tidy. You will also have lots of ends to darn in – which is where the most patience is called for.

There are lots of other great makes inside this special magazine, such as a sunflower hat that’s perfectly adorable for a baby, a cute crocheted flower cushion and handy gloves for crafty gardeners. There’s a pattern for three plant-pot holders that incorporates three different stitch patterns for you to create that give you finished fabrics that look like scattered seeds, little leaves and waving branches.  We hope you enjoy experimenting with these stitches as much as we did, and we’d love to see what you make from the magazine. Remember to send in your pictures @CreaCrafts on Facebook!