It started as an idea for a birthday present, way back at the start of 2022. The birthday in question was in August. Plenty of time. But the summer was sweltering and knitting was a long way from my mind. No casting on with sweaty fingers for me. September or October would provide plenty of opportunity to knit during the autumn evenings in France. The idea of posting the pizza abroad from France was a definite attraction since Brexit, but a boxed set kept my eyes on the screen and my hands in my lap. The posting deadline missed, a ‘By Hand on Christmas Day’ opportunity came along so…more breathing space. Relaxed once more, I pictured three pizza crusts and three cheesy pizza tops already knitted and ready for stage two – the toppings. A smorgasbord of toppings were in the pattern (I’m mixing my cuisines but the recipient is Norwegian), lots of easy strips and squares and circles to knit and attach as pepper, pineapple chunks and chorizo. I could see it now – she’d be playing at baking and serving up tea for mummy and daddy, but I couldn’t expect a two and half year old to play at serving the large, colourful, appetizing, and pretty damned realistic, even if I say so myself, pizza slices and not play at eating them too. What if she chewed off a chunk of pineapple, picked at a slice of pepperoni or green pepper, or nibbled on a black olive? No. My solution was to embroider these toppings directly on to the pizza. And so the job became much larger…
As the job grew, so did my reluctance to face the detail. I’d studied cartoon images of tomato slices, sketched them and other vegetables, gathered the yarns in suitable colours. I borrowed a book from the library. I had everything at my fingertips and still time on my side, but nerves overcame me. I told myself I needed a long period of uninterrupted time to tackle this next stage. I couldn’t possibly start it now, or today, with only one hour at my disposal and the knowledge that dinner would need to be started later. No, this needed hours and hours of concentration…
Then, awake in the early hours, this project weighing heavily on my mind and jostling for pole position with the other 7 Christmas knitting projects, I decided to plan out the projects and their deadlines for a realistic idea of the problem and, a plan made, sleep took over.
Jump to the finished finger food. Realistic? Check. Appetizing? Check. Safe? Oh yes. A rabid dog would struggle to separate the chorizo from the cheese. I know that the present was well-received and enthusiastically played with, and I saw on a video it went straight into her mouth so I feel justified in my labours 🙂
Its always good to note that I’ve learned something from each project, rather than churning out repetitive easy work (though, let’s face it, we all enjoy that now and again and especially in front of the telly box). If I did this again, I would allow plenty of time, ha ha, and I would probably extend the base by a couple of rows at the start as the crust was difficult to roll and stuff. The base and cheese layer were easy to knit, just some regular decreasing for interest.
Stitchwise, I’ve perfected my Swiss darning adding the tomato paste to the cheese layer. I’ve learned some embroidery stitches from this fantastic book Hand Embroidery Dictionary: 500+ stitches, tips, techniques and design ideas by Christen Brown.
The olives slices were created with Barnacle stitch p58, filled in with staggered Straight stitch p43, the tomato slice was based on the Buttonhole Circle stitch p90, and the stem of greenery using Fern stitch (Modern) p94 which, while not precisely rocket, filled the gaps and enhanced the colour. The pepper slices were created using Outline and Stem stitches p47.
The chorizo used Outline stitch, Running stitch p49 done from the wrong side to give depth to the stitch, and Back stitch p48 to fill the outline shape, with Dot stitch p46 for the delicious bursts of fat.
I even adapted the pattern to show a bite taken out of one slice as I was in danger of running out of yellow yarn. I didn’t, but I was prepared.
Overall, a successful project. Now, what’s for dinner? I’m starving.