Cactus Knitting Challenge


Pattern and Supplies List

(View as a PDF)


  • Some green coloured yarn – you don’t need a lot of it (any shade works.)
  • Pink, White, or Purple yarn (about 1m) for making flowers on your cactus (if you like.)
  • A set of double pointed knitting needles (minimum of 4), smaller is better! Size 3.5 or 4 works well.
  • Scissors
  • A yarn needle for closing/finishing your project.
  • Some batting, an old sock or two that have lost their mate…or any scrap fabric or pillow fluff from an old pillow.
  • Ceramic pot, old coffee mug (espresso works well,) or another small container. You can always bring out the acrylic paints, glitter, or other craft supplies to decorate it if you like. Be sure to decorate it before you glue the cactus inside…
  • Some rocks, glass stones, or other heavy items to give the plant-base some weight.
  • A glue gun to attach your cactus to the base and secure your plant-base weights.


Basic barrel cactus pattern

(You can look online for other patterns depending on your skill level and/or the style of cactus you want.)

Measure the diameter of your plant pot/base. Cast on (use any method you like) enough stitches so that this cast-on row is approximately 1.5 times longer than the diameter of your pot; and is an EVEN number. Use a stitch marker to mark the end of your row.

Row 1: Knit all stitches

Row 2 (and rest of rows): K2, P2 to end.

When your knitting reaches 20-30cm (determine how tall you want your cactus to be) you can begin binding off using the slip-stitch decrease method.

Use scissors to cut the project from your ball of yarn (leave yourself about 25cm of yarn for a tail.)

Thread this tail of yarn through your yarn needle; then starting at the 1st stitch of the row, thread the needle through the loops on the knitting needle. You may need to pull the double pointed needle out as you thread each stitch onto the tail if you knit tightly.

Once all stitches are threaded onto the yarn needle, pull out the double pointed needles (if they are still there) and push those stitches close together like you are tightening a hooded sweatshirt!

Use the yarn needle to loop through a few of the loops to secure it. Then thread the needle and extra yarn down into the small hole left in the center. Turn your cactus inside out and make a few stitches it to secure your cactus from unravelling or the center hole from opening. Knot the tail, but don’t cut off the excess yarn (it can sit inside and help stuff your cactus!)

Slip-stitch decrease method for bind off:

Knit the first two stiches of the row. Slip the first stitch over the second stitch, then purl the next two stitches. Slip-stitch 3 over stitch 4. Continue making two stitches and slipping the previous over the most recent stitch until you reach the end. You will now have decreased your row by half.


Finishing your cactus

If you want some flowers on your cactus: Thread your yarn needle with the colour of your choice (Pink, White, Purple…) Starting from the outside of your cactus- determine where you want your flower(s) and simply thread in and out once. Decide the length of the coloured yarn you want (1cm is usually good) and then knot and cut the thread. Add as many as you wish! Use fingers and the yarn needle to tease the threads apart so they look a bit fluffy.

Turn your cactus right-side out and start stuffing it with materials. When it is fairly firm (you can’t easily squeeze it out of shape)- you can then use the tail from your cast-on to sew up the bottom of your cactus. If you don’t have much of a tail, use any spare yarn to sew it up. Stitch from one side of the cactus ball directly across to the other. Keep moving around the cactus ball-doing that and pulling it closed as you go. It does not need to be perfect, just sewn enough so that the stuffing stays inside!

Put enough stones or heavy items in your pot to give it some weight, and to raise your cactus up to the height you want it. Use the glue gun to secure a few stones if you like. Then simply run a bead of glue along the inner rim of the pot (about 1cm from the top) and then stuff your cactus in the pot. Voila!


These make great pin cushions or cute easy-to-care-for plants for anyone!

Other ideas: Cruise the Internet and find several different styles of cactus patterns. Use a bowl, wider pot or such to make a larger display of them. You can also add some googly eyes, or make some eyes and mouth out of felt, or stitches of yarn to attach to your cactus. Have some fun!