On the 12th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me … a BB-8 ornament on a Christmas tree!

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“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” before I was writing a monthly column, I knitted a Yoda. He’s not much to look at, but it was one of the first patterns I did from scratch, and so he’ll always have a special place in my heart.

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I was reminded of my Yoda recently when I had to reorganize the shelf where he’d been sitting, and then I went to see The Force Awakens.  

Like so many, I am utterly in love with BB-8 after seeing The Force Awakens, so when I thought about what to do for December’s KYC, making a BB-8 was the natural conclusion. For everyone like me who wants to keep BB-8 forever, here’s a knitted BB-8 ornament to hang on your Christmas tree or your rear-view mirror, if you want to keep him with you on the go all year long.

This is a 1-Day project and could even be something done with kiddos. It is rated A for Accessible and is appropriate for even beginning knitters.

Yarn Selection (And Other Supplies)

If you’re lucky, you already have some white, orange, black, and grey yarn scraps laying around to make your BB-8. If you’re unlucky, or if you want to make BB-8s to give out as belated Christmas gifts (like me), you may be forced to purchase four skeins of yarn. I’d planned on just using something like Caron’s Simply Soft, since it comes in a range of colors and is cheap, but then I found this yarn at Jo-Ann’s

It’s called Buttercream Luxe Craft Soft Knit Solid, and the premise can be off-putting to some. Who wants to knit with fabric? This yarn is a stretchy knitted tube, basically. It’s more fabric than yarn—but it’s not those awful fabric yarns. It’s actually silky smooth and soft, and did I mention how well it stretches? It also just so happens to come in white, black, grey, and the perfect BB-8 orange, although for some reason it’s called “Peach” on the label. This is definitely not peach. This is bright orange.

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It’s a little bit on the spendy side at more than $7 a skein at regular price, but since I wanted something that would give me sharp, clean lines for color work and something that would work well for duplicate stitching (i.e. not have plies that can snag easily), I thought I would give it a shot.

The yarn turned out to work awesomely. It’s perfect for this project, not just because of how it knits up, but also how wonderfully it takes to duplicate stitching without adding bulkiness that you would expect from a borderline chunky yarn. The label says it’s a medium weight yarn, but also suggested bright orange was peach, so take that for what it’s worth. This is nearly as thick as a chunky 1-ply yarn. In terms of gauge, the label also suggests 5.5 mm needles, but I used 5.0 so that when I was doing the duplicate stitching, the extra stretch would cover the stitches more cleanly, and my plan worked pretty well.

Another reason why this yarn is good for this particular project, or any project that requires sewing to knitting, is because since it is actually fabric and not yarn, it’s great when you have to do the sewing of the fabric backing. There’s no worries about the thread or needle tearing or ripping the plies.

I used white felt as my fabric backing, but you can use anything that won’t fray around the edges. When I’m making these as gifts, I’m planning on getting some Star Wars text logo fabric and some interfacing to see how that works, but felt in any color will work, too. You can sort of see the colored yarn on the backside through the felt, so a darker fabric for the backing might be a smart call. 

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The Pattern

Cast on 9 stitches on 5.0 needles.

Row 1 (and all odd rows): Slip first stitch, purl across.

Row 2: Slip first stitch, M1, knit across to last stitch, M1, K1. 11 stitches.

Row 3: Slip first stitch, purl across.

Row 4: Slip first stitch, M1, knit across to last stitch, M1, K1. 13 stitches.

Row 5: Slip first stitch, purl across.

Row 6: Slip first stitch, M1, knit across to last stitch, M1, K1. 15 stitches.

Row 7: Slip first stitch, purl across.

Row 8: Slip first stitch, M1, knit across to last stitch, M1, K1. 17 stitches.

Row 9: Slip first stitch, purl across.

Row 10: Slip first stitch, knit across.

Row 11: Slip first stitch, purl across.

Row 12: Slip first stitch, M1, knit across to last stitch, M1, K1. 19 stitches.

Row 13: Slip first stitch, purl across.

Row 14: Slip first stitch, knit across.

Row 15: Slip first stitch, purl across.

Row 16: SSK, knit across to last two stitches, K2TOG. 17 stitches.

Row 17: Slip first stitch, purl across.

Row 18: Slip first stitch, knit across.

Row 19: Slip first stitch, purl across.

Row 20: SSK, knit across to last two stitches, K2TOG. 15 stitches.

Row 21: Slip first stitch, purl across.

Row 22: SSK, knit across to last two stitches, K2TOG. 13 stitches.

Row 23: Slip first stitch, purl across.

Row 24: Double decrease, knit across to last two stitches, double decrease. 9 stitches.

Row 25: Slip first stitch, purl across.

Row 26: Slip first stitch, knit across.

Row 27: Slip first stitch, purl across.

Row 28: Slip first stitch, M1, knit across to last stitch, M1, K1. 11 stitches.

Row 29: Slip first stitch, purl across.

Row 30: Slip first stitch, knit across.

Row 31: Slip first stitch, purl across.

Row 32: SSK, knit across to last two stitches, K2TOG. 9 stitches.

Row 33: Slip first stitch, purl across.

Row 34: Double decrease, knit across to last two stitches, double decrease. 5 stitches.

Bind off.

Duplicate stitching is based on this chart, and the edges on the chart are white because of the slipped stitch edging.

bb8 chart

Finishing

Once you’ve finished duplicate stitching, you can block it if you really want to, but it didn’t help with this particular yarn. BB-8 gets his round shape thanks to the fabric backing.

If BB-8 is going to hang somewhere, he needs a loop! I made this one by braiding a few inches of the white yarn, but anything would do, including Star Wars themed ribbon.

When his loop is secured to the back of BB-8, you can then attach him to the backing. I hand stitched using a simple backstitch to make the seam secure, and I made certain to only stitch to the bottom loop of the knitted slipped stitched edge all the way around, so the knotted thread ends would hide in the middle of the V.

Final Thoughts

This is definitely a good last minute project or small project for beginning knitters and crafters. There’s a lot of ways this project can be customized too by using different fabric backing and different options for the loop for hanging. I also hope that the BB-8 chart is useful for people wanting to put him on hats or other knitted things. 

Happy Holidays, and May the Force Be With You!

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