Tag Archive | Christmas gifts

Two Finished Gifts

I feel like I’m running in place with my Christmas knitting. I finish projects but I still have ones waiting in the wings, so I don’t feel like I’m getting ahead. But still, I did finish two projects the other day, and that’s a relief. The first is the pair of Lightning McQueen mittens, the project where the first mitten came out too big and I had to frog it and reknit it. My second try was much more successful.

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Hooray, two matching mittens! These are actually a birthday gift that I’ll give today, so here’s hoping they actually fit the little boy they’re for. Pattern is World’s Simplest Mittens by Tin Can Knits.

My second FO is a pair of Christmas-gift socks, the Strutting Peacock socks that I’ve had on the needles since mid-November. (Feels like longer.) This wasn’t a fun knit for me. I don’t think I like the Knit Picks Chroma for socks, at least not for socks with twisted stitches. The colors are pretty, and the final socks do feel dense and warm, but the yarn sticks to itself a lot, making tinking and frogging difficult. I bought more colors in the big sale, so I’ll try another pair with a simpler pattern and see if I like it better.

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I do like the look of the pattern. It took a little while for me to memorize, but I was able to do the second sock mostly without the pattern. My only modification was to do a stockinette foot rather than carry the pattern down, to make for faster knitting. I think I’d like to try this pattern again with better yarn.

Last night was a band concert, the girl’s last District Band concert. She played beautifully, they sounded wonderful, and I had lots of knitting time. I chose the simplest of knitting so that I could watch her while I listened and knit, and made good progress on my Scrappy Cowl.

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This is a pretty fun project. I think I’m going to like this cowl a lot! But for now I’ve set it aside because I need to focus on more gift knitting. The boy has a girlfriend, and he would like me to make a cowl for the girlfriend. I like the boy, so I will do my best to complete that along with the other two gift projects on my list! Are you done with your gift knitting yet?

More Socks

Sometimes being a knitter comes in handy in unusual ways! We did Senior Photos for the girl over the weekend, and for one photo she needed a conductor’s baton. We didn’t have one of those, but guess what? A 14″ straight knitting needle fits the bill in a pinch! Fortunately we were close enough to home for me to go fetch one, since I didn’t have one on hand. All the other photos went smoothly and I can’t wait to see the official photos.

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I managed to fit in a bit of knitting as we drove between locations, and during the kids’ concert on Sunday, so I made good progress on one of my socks. This will be a plain vanilla sock, my first Felici sock, and so far I’m pretty happy with it.I’m trying the baby circs again, and while I still don’t love them for socks, I am getting more used to them, and I can tolerate them when I need so many socks on the needles.

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This pair is another gift, and my first sock with Knit Picks Chroma. I love the colors in the Chroma, but the yarn isn’t as nice for me as the Felici. It’s fuzzier, more sticky, so when I have to tink, it’s a bit tricky. (Haha! I made a little rhyme!) I probably should have done a plain sock for these too, but I have a vision in my head, and I really want them to be Strutting Peacock socks. And once I get into the rhythm of the pattern, it’ll be fine.

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I have one more set of sock needles available; I just need to decide what pair to cast on, and who they’ll be for!

Gift Knitting Part II

Whew, another Christmas in the books! It was a busy one, a good one, and now I’m ready to move on. I do enjoy the holidays, but they seem to have gotten more complicated, and thus more stressful, over the years. I’m happy to have a bit of a breather now, and be able to focus on my knitting! What have I been making, you ask? Well, let’s take a peek:

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I made good progress on this teal and gray scarf yesterday while binge-watching 11.22.63 on Hulu. (SO good, and I loved the book so I was worried, but I really enjoyed it and am now reading the book again.) Anyway, nine hours of TV means lots of knitting time.

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Pattern for this one is Quickie Cowl and yarn is Classic Elite Yarns Chalet and Chateau.

This one is another Twinkly Lights Cowl like I made for my SIL (the tan/brown one I showed you before) only this one is in Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky. I also did it correctly this time, with the wider center section, and I love it. It’s dense and heavy and warm, and I know I’ll be wearing it a lot when the temperatures drop again.

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I managed to score some more Cascade Spuntaneous Yarn, this time in purple and pink, and the purple one ended up being my Christmas Eve party knitting. And when I finished it, the hubby snagged it because he was chilly. And he liked it too!

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Fortunately for him, he had his own warm knitwear waiting under the tree! A week before Christmas, it was super cold, and as he wrapped his (handknit alpaca) scarf around his neck, he casually mentioned, “Gosh, I need a buff.” Like you, I said, “What the heck is a buff??” and found out it’s basically a really snug cowl that can be worn over the face when one is doing weird outdoorsy things like hiking or biking or running, or whatever. And I know he didn’t mean it like that, but knitter friends, you know I heard him say, “You need to make me a buff for Christmas.”

Well. Challenge accepted! I popped over to Ravelry and found this perfect pattern (had to buy the book; don’t know if I’ll make anything else from it anytime soon) but didn’t have the right yarn. I made it to the yarn store two days later and cast on that night with some Cascade 220 Superwash. It needed to be warm, resilient, and preferably washable, so I chose a good workhorse of a yarn. As I began knitting, I remembered how much I dislike knitting from charts. I especially dislike them when the chart is in iBooks and I can’t get it into my knitting app to keep track of rows. So yeah, I wrote out the charts and knit from that instead. Worked pretty well! Six hours later, I had a buff ready to wrap.

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Isn’t it so pretty?? I love the design; I think I want to make it again but with a looser fit.

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I think he liked it. I mean, I know he looks scary here, but he’s really not. And he says it’s warm. I call this one a Gift Knitting Win!

Okay, last project. This one was also last-minute. Like I made it on Christmas Eve and gifted it the next day. I’d wanted to make something for my aunt but couldn’t think of what to make. While browsing Instagram, I saw a photo of ErikaShmerika’s First Leaf Neck Wrap and thought AHA! A quick bulky project that’s a little bit different, that’s perfect! I pulled out some Berroco Kodiak in the color Harbor Seal (code for Gray) and knit this up while watching Jurassic World.

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Jack was so kind and modeled for me after I finished it. I think he looks quite handsome. But his patience didn’t last too long and I did need to add a button.

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I think this is a really cute scarf, and the yarn is warm but so fuzzy and lightweight. The pattern called for a full-length scarf but I liked the idea of a more unusual buttoned neckwarmer, and bonus: it worked perfectly within my time constraints!

I do enjoy gift-knitting when it goes well! And now the gifts are put away, the kids are busy with their new gadgets, and I can settle in and do more knitting. And because my family knows me and loves me, I can start a round of selfish knitting with MY new gadgets: a new YarnPop bag and a yarn valet!

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I hope you all had joyful holidays with plenty of knitting time and just enough family time!

Gift Knitting

Of course I had to decide, at the last minute, to make some Christmas gifts. All along, I told myself I wasn’t going to stress over making handmade gifts. I had one gift made months ago and was enjoying my selfish knitting time. But then the urge hit me — and I really wanted to make a cowl for this specific person. I had a vague picture in my head, along with an idea of what yarn from my stash I wanted to use, and I took to Ravelry. I soon found the Twinkly Lights Cowl and knew it was perfect. I cast on immediately and was done within about three hours (spread over a couple of days).

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I loved knitting this and will definitely be making more. I really want to do a black and gray version like the original. I accidentally did only 10 rows of Color B in the middle, instead of 20, but I don’t mind. I think it came out a good height, warm without being too bulky. The yarn is Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash in colors Chocolate and Extra Creme Cafe, and I used less than a skein of each. This is lovely yarn to knit with; it feels dense without being heavy, firm but still soft. It’s not luxurious the way some yarns are, like alpaca, but it’s a great everyday yarn perfect for hats and cowls. Probably mittens too, maybe I should try that!

I also started a new scarf this week. For a brief moment, I thought it could be a gift, but then I came to my senses when I realized that A) Christmas was six days away and B) this is a SCARF. Now, this will be a shorter scarf, but still. A scarf. And my knitting time is still hampered by this crazy job thing. Anyway, I made a scarf for my husband a couple of years ago and we all love it and occasionally steal it. The pattern is Quickie Cowl (only I modify it to make a scarf) and it’s knit with CEY Chalet and it’s just so cozy and warm. It finally occurred to me that I could make another one, since I have more of that yarn in the stash. In fact, I have two skeins of a gorgeous deep teal and a skein of light gray to coordinate. I decided to use the same pattern since we like it so much but noticed I’d used a smaller needle than recommended the first time around, so I went up a needle size and cast on.

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It’s YUMMY. And gorgeous. I adore this yarn, truly. It’s so warm and never makes me itch. I’ll probably ignore all my other WIPs and knit on this exclusively!! (hahahaha!)

Hope you’re all ready for the holidays coming up! I know I’m not!

So Many FOs!

I have SO MANY finished objects to share, it’s ridiculous. And just so you don’t hate me, keep mind that some of them I finished a while ago and couldn’t share at the time, and some of them were simple travel knitting, and some of them were super quick crochet hats. So, now that we’ve agreed not to judge or compare, let’s take a peek, shall we?

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First up: Messy Bun Hats! Yes, I jumped on the bandwagon, but it was by request. The bottom two are for two of my nieces, and the top two are for a friend’s nieces. I used this pattern as a basis but modified a bit, mostly by picking up stitches for a knitted brim instead of crochet. These hats are incredibly fast to make.

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This scarf is for a coworker, and it was also super quick to make. I used Susan B. Anderson’s Leaf pattern and one skein of Bernat Roving and got one cute scarf. Hopefully the blocking keeps it from curling too much.

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This is another cowl with Cascade Yarns’ Spuntaneous yarn and I think it’s stunning. Plus, big yarn + big needles = fast project! Pattern is New Years Cowl.

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This little kitty just needed whiskers, so that was a fast finish too. I dabbed some glue on them and now they’re drying, so hopefully they’ll stick out nicely and my nephew will be pleased. He’s one of my favorite people to knit for; he just loves everything so much.

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Okay, this one was not a fast finish. I started this in February 2015 and finally forced myself to finish it. It’s not perfect, not exactly what I thought it would be, but it’s done, and once I’ve taken a break from looking at it, I might even be able to wear it. Pattern is Purl Soho’s Gradient Cowl and I used 8 colors of KnitPicks Palette.

All right, are you ready for the last reveal?? It’s my favorite, I think. So, I work in a lab that studies yeast, and a while back my boss asked me to make pombe yeast hats for the team. She didn’t have any other requests or ideas beyond that, so I asked what it looked like. (I’m the non-scientist admin person; I don’t actually play with the yeast.) Tetrads, she said, like four peas in a pod. I went hunting, asked my Knitting SIL for advice, and eventually stumbled on bobbles. Bobbles ended up being perfect.

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I started with this pattern, but it was mostly for the general look. I kind of made up my own stitch counts, and changed the bobble pattern to be groups of four. But guess what? Bobbles are horrible. I mean, they’re not that hard, but good grief they’re fiddly and interrupt the rhythm of knitting and they were a pain in my butt. I don’t think I’ll be doing much more bobble-knitting in the future. Still, I persevered and everybody got their own color, and I think they were pleased. At least some of them were. Some of them might not be hat people, and that’s okay. It was a fun project.

And after all that, I’m down to only four WIPs on my needles. I didn’t commit to very much gift-knitting so I don’t have any projects that I *need* to finish. I mean, I really should pick up one of my WIPs, but I’m also feeling kind of desperate to cast on something new, something else with bulky yarn. What’s your favorite quick bulky-yarn project?

Some Things I Made

Sorry, guys, I’m struggling with the blog lately. Life is tricky right now. Some things are good, some things not so good. I guess I just haven’t felt chatty recently. But Christmas is coming regardless so I’ve been making all the things, despite my insistence that I wasn’t making gifts this year. Here’s what I’ve been doing lately. IMG_4428Thomas hat. Improvised, Ravelry notes hereIMG_4468Turtle beanie/mitt set. From the TMNT Hat TutorialIMG_4499Christmas Ornament Hat, from the amazing Repeat Crafter Me. I mentioned to the girl (who’s 15) that I wanted to make a set for the four of us and take a family photo. She wasn’t crazy about that idea. Shocker.IMG_4483This is another Christmas cowl. I had issues with the yarn, clearly. But I got it all straightened out and this should be a quick finish. I’ve got 3 other FOs but can’t share them yet. Gotta wait until after Christmas! And now I am done with all gift knitting and crocheting and I’m going to make some FUN stuff. What about you: still frantically knitting or breathing a sigh of relief that you’re done?

A Yarn Pick-Me-Up

It’s easy for me to get discouraged right now. I fight it off most days, or at least I pretend to. Fake it ’til you make it, right? But sometimes good things happen that boost my spirits right up. Yesterday’s mail brought me something very happy: a single skein of lovely yarn that I impulse-ordered recently.

I follow a lot of yarn-dyers on Instagram because I’m a knitter, right? That’s what we do. I look at pictures of yarn and puppies. It pleases me greatly. Most of the time that’s all. But then on Black Friday, @_lolodidit posted a photo of this yarn, Purple Rain, on worsted weight, and said it was the LAST ONE! Well. Of course. Strike one: purple. Strike two: worsted weight, when so many hand-dyed skeins are sock weight. Strike three: last one?? That was just fate calling my name so sweetly. I immediately went to her Etsy shop and ordered the little beauty and yesterday it arrived. IMG_4340I immediately wound it into the most perfect little ball of yarn.IMG_4341I knew it would be something for me (and I mean it this time) but what? It would make a gorgeous hat, but I just don’t wear many hats. I like fingerless gloves, but I wanted something faster. That meant a cowl, and my favorite cowl has to be River Deep, Mountain High. I’ve made it twice and want to keep both of them, so I need one just for me. I cast on after dinner and today I’m ready to start the pattern portion. IMG_4372I just love this yarn so much. You should check out her Etsy shop, lolodidit, and her Instagram handle is @_lolodidit. She makes such pretty yarn, I can’t wait to order more! This came at just the perfect time, too, because I was starting to feel that tiny bit of discouragement. The good news is that I finished almost all my lingering commissions (except the ones that need yarn that hasn’t arrived yet) so I got to work on personal projects. Remember, I cast on for the Color Tipped Shawl, and I do love the style and the color combo I picked. (The third color is a dark teal.)IMG_4373But I don’t love the yarn. It’s Berroco Maya, a blend of cotton and alpaca, and while it feels nice in a cake, when it’s knit up it feels kind of…crunchy? Crispy? Not as soft as I would want in a scarf. So now what? Do I frog and find a different pattern for this yarn? I think I have to. If I wouldn’t wear this, I don’t know that I should continue making it. So that project went into timeout.

I do have another personal project that I started yesterday. The boy is a huge Sherlock Holmes fan (of the Benedict Cumberbatch variety) and he got a dark gray peacoat this winter. What else would do but me making him an appropriate Sherlock scarf? I’m using Knit Picks Preciosa Tonal in the Captain colorway. I’m really enjoying this yarn. Lovely softness and gorgeous colors. IMG_4374I just can’t work on it when he’s home, so here’s hoping I can finish it before school lets out for the holidays!

And just so you all know: it looks like I’m knitting a lot, but I’m being careful with my arms, I promise! I’m wearing my brace on the left elbow and the supportive glove on the right hand, and I’m taking lots of breaks. I finished the Vanessa Diffenbaugh book (very good, if not as good as her first), re-read an old favorite (Theory of Relativity by Jacqueline Mitchard) and am now happily in the middle of The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee. The balance is nice, even if there’s a part of me that would still rather be knitting all the time.

So there you go. Yarn is still saving me when I need it to. I go back to the doctor on the 8th for another x-ray. I’d like to say I’m expecting good news, but I’m not really. It will only have been 5 weeks then, and my foot is still achy/tender enough that I can’t imagine him giving me clearance to walk on it yet. But I’ll keep resting it and hoping for the best. That’s all you can do, right?