Crafts · Knitting and Crochet

The plant that can’t die – a crocheted cactus

     My sister can’t keep a plant alive – she really can’t. Somehow, she’s even managed to kill a cactus, letting it shrivel up because she forgot to water it. Well, I decided that for Christmas I would get her something she really couldn’t kill – I would make her a cactus from yarn!

photo-crochet-cactus-5     I have to say, I’m actually really happy with how this little project came out. Usually I feel ‘meh’ about the things I make but I think this one turned out well.

     I started with the cacti, finding a suitable green yarn (harder than you’d think!), and crocheting squares in a ribbed pattern.

     By the way, I learned to crochet from just watching YouTube videos and paying attention to how to do things for certain projects – didn’t, however, pay any attention to any of the terms so I swear, I know how to crochet – I just can’t explain anything about it!

photo-crochet-cactus-4     Anyway, I crocheted squares, sewed the ends together to make tubes, sewed the tops closed, stuffed them with pillow stuffing and then sewed the bottoms closed. I wasn’t working from any measurements, just eyeing it as I went.

     I did know though that I wanted three different heights because I thought a small, medium and large cactus would look nice sitting in a pot together.

     For the flowers, I rummaged through my stash for pink yarn and used the only ones I had. They’re completely different types of yarn but that’s okay for me – I’m not too fussy.

     I crocheted some very simple flowers to pop on the tops of the cacti but they looked a bit too simple so that’s when the second layer of the flowers came in. I crocheted smaller ones to add on top, or in the case of one of them, just made a circle to pop on – I think I get away with it not having distinct petals!

     I attached the two flowers together with some yellow thread which I then used to make a rough yellow centre for the flowers. I think it helps bring it together and actually make it look like a flower.

     Oh yes, I did attached the flowers before I stuffed the cacti but if you stuff the cacti first, you can always hot glue the flowers on.

     Now, turns out finding the pot was the hardest part of this craft – seriously, several of the garden stores I checked (well, had my mom check), didn’t have any of these simple pots! Eventually I found one though and it only cost a few euro. To get the plants sitting at the right height in the pot, I added some pillow stuffing to the bottom. Then, as I knew I would be adding the stones in and didn’t want them sinking down the sides and to the bottom, I placed a sheet of crepe paper into the pot over the stuffing and hot glued it all around the edges so that the little stones can’t seep down. The hot glue got a little messy at times and you can still see it in parts but it really was invaluable for this project!

photo-crochet-cactus-6

     With the hot glue edge done, I stuck the cacti into the pot, using more hot glue, and even used some hot glue to stick the cacti together so that they wouldn’t lean too far from each other. You can see the hot glue if you look for it but only really if you’re up close.

photo-crochet-cactus-7

     With that done, it was time to add the stones. I had two jars of these and I used about one and a half. I actually don’t know why I had these because I didn’t pick them up – they were just there, in my craft room. I think they came from a store called Meadows and Byrne and cost €2 a jar. Well, I’m sure that you can find stones in garden stores or places like that. Or you could use beads if you’re stuck – or head to the beach and get some stones.

     To finish off my cactus, I tied a large bow around the pot but I forgot to photograph that.

     All in all, this isn’t a very difficult thing to make – as long as you know how to crochet and have a hot glue gun. Well, I’m sure other people could do this without a hot glue gun. I couldn’t. But I’m sure it’s possible.

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36 thoughts on “The plant that can’t die – a crocheted cactus

  1. That’s adorable! I need one of those. I’m absolutely atrocious when it comes to growing anything. I tell people I have a black thumb. I’ve even killed ivy when I was *trying* to grow it. (I later discovered how hard some people work to kill the stuff off.)

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  2. I hate my hot glue gun; I always manage to burn myself with the glue, and even though it’s not really damaging (unless you touch the gun itself) I’m hypersensitive to pain so it always feels worse than it is. I’ve seen a few projects that require it, but I’d honestly just rather find ways around using it, especially since I adopted KitKat and she gets a bit too nosy for my liking!

    That in mind, I just wanted to say you could still sew the flowers on after stitching up the cacti, though it is a bit trickier than sewing before stuffing because you need to secure your thread properly instead of just knotting it on the inside.

    I adored the cactus you made for me, so I’m sure your sister loved hers! I’m struggling to find a suitable pot, but I think I might crochet one instead. That way, if KitKat knocks it off (and you just know she’s going to!) it won’t be damaged…

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    1. Yes, I’ve lost count of how many times I have burnt myself with hot glue! Actually, I do have a cool glue gun – had it for a while now but never used it. I must test it out one of these days and see how well it glues in comparison to hot glue. I’ll let you know if it’s any good – might be a safer and a more cat friendly option!
      Good to know that about sewing the flowers on – although I really need to work on securing my thread better!
      I’m glad you like the cactus. I would have tried sending a pot with it but that would have made the package too heavy so I couldn’t. I crocheted pot sounds cute though (and always good for it to be cat safe!)

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    2. Hmmm, I didn’t know they made cold glue guns. I thought the heat was kind of the point lol. Although my glue gun isn’t very effective anyway; you can peel the glue off really easily once it’s cooled so it just seems like a lot of effort (and injury) for nothing! XD

      I know what you mean re: securing threads. I stopped making amigurumi because I hate sewing all the parts together, at least partly because I never knew how to secure the thread properly and invisibly. I solved that problem with my snowmen at Christmas by making them in one piece (save for the hats & scarves) and attached the buttons and eyes before I stuffed them.

      Also, for hand-stitching, there’s a technique I found online somewhere that sometimes works just as well with knitting & crochet. Instead of threading your needle at the fold (which is easiest), you thread it where the two ends are loose. It’s trickier because you can’t just poke it in (you’ve got two threads to worry about while threading) but then you can use the folded end to secure your first stitch instead of needing a big ugly knot. (I’m not explaining very well, probably, so I’ll try to find the video/picture tutorial again.) Obviously, this won’t work if you’re seaming knitted/crocheted pieces with the leftover tail and you still have one knot to worry about at the end, but it’s made a huge difference in how I stitch. 🙂

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    3. That’s what I thought too about glue guns but cool glue guns do exist! I think maybe they’re for paper crafts, or else just meant to be child friendly.
      I’ll have to look up that fix you mentioned – if it can help reduce the number of big ugly knots, I need to know because I end up with so many of those!

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    4. I cannot for the life of me find any information about that trick now. I might have to make my own video or something, this is frustrating! But if you think of the way you normally thread a needle (for hand-stitching, at least, not necessarily for knitting/crochet) and then fold the thread in half to use it doubled-up, you have the fold at the needle end and then two dangling threads, right? This trick tells you to do it in reverse: fold the thread in half and thread the needle with the two loose ends instead. You can then start a stitch and pull through so you’ve got two long tails, put the needle through the loop at the folded end, and pull. The loop “catches” the thread and forms a not-knot.

      Another trick, if you want to get rid of knots, is to make a tiny stitch and then go over it a few times so you’re sewing in the same place. This probably will work better for knitting/crochet than the other trick, especially for finishing off a seam where you’re using the leftover tail. The knack is to do it enough to secure the thread, but not so much that you wind up with a big lump (two or three stitches in the same place is usually enough).

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    5. Ah, always the case isn’t it, you start telling someone about something and when you go look it up again it’s like it was never there! xD But you explained it well, I think I understand what to do. I have some sewing planned which will involve some some hand-stitching at the end so I’ll definitely give it a shot (finally going to make myself a scarf seeing as all the ones I’ve made so far have been to give away!)

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    6. lol it’s true. So annoying! But hey, a great idea for a blog post, so… (:

      Let me know if it helps! (and if I explained it well enough) And have fun making a scarf for yourself. ;D

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    7. Just watched the video -very useful! doing it that way will definitely help with my problem right know of every time I think I’ve tied a secure knot, turns out I haven’t! I’m going doing a bit of sewing tomorrow so I’ll be able to put this tip into practice quickly 🙂

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    1. Well I would be in your sister’s gang as all plants seem to lose the will to live as soon as they cross the threshold here. So yes, a perennial bloomer would be most welcome!

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    1. Thanks! I came up with the idea and then looked to YouTube for tips on how to make it – turns out there’s a lot of people out there crocheting cacti. Maybe my sister isn’t the only one who kills them! xD

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