Tag Archive | Christmas gifts

Christmas Presents Unveiled

I don’t know about all of you, but I was very tired yesterday. Christmas can wear a person out, what with all the shopping & wrapping & cooking & eating & cleaning & unwrapping & cleaning. But we had a wonderful two days of family time, so it was all worth it. And now that gifts have been given, I can share a few things¬†I couldn’t share before.

The first is the Bumble Hat. He’s the Abominable Snowman from the Rudolph TV special and I found the link on Facebook. I was tempted to make one for myself but ended up making it for my aunt, who commented how much she liked it. I used some fuzzy white yarn from Joann (lost the ball band so I don’t know what it was, but not fun fur) and random acrylic from the stash for the face. He was so fun to make.IMG_0212I made a Jayne hat (from Firefly, I think. Or something like that.) for my sister and I think she liked it. I used Knit Picks Bulky, and the orange wasn’t quite as orange as it should be, but she assured me it was still acceptable. Our mother couldn’t figure out why she would want something like this, or how she could wear it out in public. Some things just can’t be explained.IMG_3548I made the hubby some fingerless gloves. He doesn’t wear gloves often but I figured maybe his hands get cold sometimes, and this way his fingers would be free. By some miracle, they actually fit! The pattern for these is called Maize, by Tin Can Knits, and there’s also a variation for a full mitten. I made them with Plymouth Baby Alpaca.IMG_3504Isn’t he cute? ūüôā ¬†You know who else is cute? My girl. I’d knit up another Super Soft Merino Hat for her in pink and gray but I knit it in front of her and told her it was for me. She was quite happy when she opened it Christmas morning.¬†IMG_3542The experience of the boy’s hat did not go so well. I needed a box to wrap it in and in our box of boxes found one a good size. Without thinking, I reused it. The boy pulled off the paper and saw a box for a Doctor Who mug and got all excited, and I had to tell him it was a reused box. There were tears and I felt horrible. But after a few minutes, he recovered and didn’t seem to hold a grudge against the hat.¬†IMG_3531Hmm, anything else? I think that might be all the gifty knitty things that I couldn’t share before. It was lovely because all the things I made were well-received and fit well. And I even managed to finish something new for myself just in time for the holidays: I bound off maybe five minutes before we left the house.IMG_0314That’s the Cupido Cowl knit in Knit Picks Reverie in Wine. I did not enjoy the knitting of it; too much knitting into purls which is not my favorite thing. But I do enjoy the finished project so much. It’s so soft and cozy, and not itchy at all. I have two more balls of the Reverie and I’ll make something else with it, but it’s going to be a very simple pattern next time!

I do hope the holidays went well for the rest of you too. I’m looking ahead to the new year with a lot of hope and optimism, and I’ll be sharing my goals, big and small, with you soon. (hint: there is yarn involved.)

Just keep knitting, just keep knitting

We had a busy busy weekend around here! My daughter, who’s a high school freshman flutist, made it into the All District Band. Fabulous achievement, right? Yes. But it meant driving 30 minutes each way on Thursday and Friday after school for rehearsals. The upside was that I then had two and a half hours to myself. I got to sit there and listen to talented musicians practice beautiful music while I played with yarn. I really can’t complain; I enjoyed it. And I finished the last of my must-knit Christmas gifts! Unfortunately, you can’t see them until after Christmas. But I swear I got them done.

Saturday was performance day for the band, and I knew I’d have a lot of idle time. So for my easy concert knitting, I decided I needed to make little pouches for some small gifts I’m giving. I was going to use little boxes, but surely a handknit pouch is more fun, right? I’m using this brilliant Treasure Pouch pattern with bits of leftover worsted yarn and size 4 DPNs. Each one takes maybe 45 minutes tops, and I got two done that night! They’re adorable. I’ve got another on the needles and I’ll be making a few more before the big day.IMG_3385Yesterday we had a birthday party for a special little boy, and I’d made him his first handknit mittens. They match his winter hat (which I also made but forgot to photograph). Thankfully, they fit well and he seemed pleased…until he needed his hands to play with the Batmobile and pulled them off.IMG_3368Now that the presents are all prepared and procured, I’m getting the itch to start wrapping. I want presents under the tree, but I’m also ready to get rid of some of these piles in my closets!

Two Christmas FOs

I got to add two more FOs to the Christmas gift pile over the weekend. The first, and most satisfying, is a blanket. It’s throw-sized, about 31″ by 41″, so not huge, but still, knitted blankets take a long time. It’s a much bigger commitment than, say, a hat. I spent most of Saturday at a band competition with my daughter and this was the project I took with me, hoping I could get it finished. I got a long way, and finished it Sunday morning. This is the Double Seed Stitch Blanket by Purl Soho. It’s simple, classic and lovely.IMG_3295 IMG_0179I used 5 skeins of Knit Picks Brava Bulky in red. I wanted it to be soft and warm but also washable. I used a smaller needle than the pattern specified, 11 rather than 13, to get a denser fabric. I found it quite cozy on my lap as I worked on it, so I’m really hoping the recipient will be pleased with it.

The other gifty object is the red tote. You may remember I blogged about it before, discussing my felting struggles. I tried one last time and finally I have called it finished. This is the bag after three machine cycles and two hand-feltings.IMG_3303I like it. There’s more stitch definition than I would prefer, but it’s definitely a sturdy fabric. It’s a good size for a book, notebook and cell phone. For those who missed it before, this is the Lucky 7 Felted Tote made with Cascade 128 Wool. I’d like to try this pattern again with a different wool.

With two gifts finished, I thought I deserved to start a selfish project. Did anyone else see the new Candy Cane Scarf pattern? I can’t remember if I saw it on Ravelry or Facebook but I fell in love with it immediately. I don’t make many scarves anymore because they take so long, but I’m making this one! And I’m making it special too: I’m using my Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky. Mmmm, it’s gonna be soft and warm and delightful! Since the yarn is bulky, not DK like the pattern uses, I’m using size 8 needles, and I only increased to 32 stitches before switching colors. I’m so happy with it, and it’s going faster than I expected (thank you, garter stitch).IMG_3308This is totally going to be worth all that end-weaving.

I hate to brag, but my Christmas shopping is DONE. Christmas knitting is down to one fingerless glove. (I really should start that soon.) I have none of the panic from last year, and I’m liking it. It’s a combination of starting earlier in the year and stressing less about handmade gifts. Not everyone is getting one, and that’s okay. Not everyone is getting something big and complicated, and that’s okay too. Now I can sit back and coast along, and not freak out every time¬†the kids cross off another day on their Christmas countdown. I wish the same calm for all you other crafters!

Knitting Disappointments

I finished the hat yesterday, like I said I would, but I’m not completely totally happy with it. I love the pattern, love how it’s got a lot of slouch, and it’s unisex. I love the yarn, how it’s soft and washable. What I don’t love is the big glaring mistake I made right in the middle of the hat.IMG_0173See?!? It’s horrible!! Okay, that’s nice of you to lie, but I know you see it. That line right where I started decreasing is because I stopped on the wrong round. I was supposed to stop after a k1, p1 round and I stopped after a knit round. Sighh. I didn’t notice it until I was halfway done with the decreases and…well, I confess: I was lazy. I could have frogged back but I didn’t. If it were for anyone other than a member of my immediate family, I would have, but I really don’t think my 11yo son will notice, let alone care. Plus, the other really cool thing about this pattern is that it’s reversible, so I turn it inside out and the line almost disappears on the purl side.¬†IMG_0168 IMG_0170Sorry for the crap photos. Again, I was lazy. Too lazy to get out the good camera so these are phone pictures. Plus black hats are really hard to photograph…on a phone. Inside. In the morning, when there’s no natural light because it’s raining outside. For those who are interested, this hat is called Graham and I do quite like it¬†and I will be knitting it again, correctly next time! I used less than one skein of Knit Picks Brava Worsted in black. Anyway, the most important thing is that the hat is done, and I can wash it and put it aside with the rest of the gifts and move on.

Sure, I can¬†move on to the bag I frogged. (I know, I’m a bundle of cheer today, aren’t I?) Here’s where I was:IMG_0167I love the yarns together but the pattern just wasn’t right for me. I don’t carry bucket bags, at least not as purses, and I want this to be a bag I’ll carry. So this morning I very slowly and carefully frogged it, and it went better than I expected. I think having the strand of wool in there was a huge help. Just the silk along would have ended up a tangled mess. Now I have a nice big ball and a new pattern, and I’m going to start fresh today.

As soon as I walk the dog, and drive an hour to pick up the girl’s flute, that is. In the rain. Just call me Eeyore.

Small Business Saturday

ACK! I have so much to share that I don’t know where to start! I think I’ll start with something that’s near and dear to me, and that’s Small Business Saturday. As an artist myself (cough cough, that’s hard to say sometimes), I am committed to helping other artists, crafters, and small businesses thrive. There is so much value in handwork, so much love and detail and care that goes into something made by one person. And I can’t help but admit that I like the idea of owing something one of a kind, or at least something not mass-produced. Sure, I shop at chain stores too, but I like to shop small when I can.

With that in mind, I decided to start a little sale today on my Facebook bonny knits page. I’m offering 20% off all my current inventory! Plus I just received my Square card reader to accept credit card payments; maybe it will make it a little easier for someone else to shop small!

We supported small businesses yesterday by spending Black Friday in Weston, Missouri. I love their little downtown area with all the antique and gift shops. The first place we stopped might have been our favorite. It was called Art for a Dog, and the sign advertised tees, hats and gifts for dog and cat lovers. We had to ring the bell to get in, and while we waited, two dogs on an upstairs deck greeted us. Marie came down and let us in, telling us a little bit about her business.

Marie Mason is the owner of Bella Company, and she started with a few simple line drawings of dogs and later started doing full color art. Her small shop had lots of¬†paintings and tees and sketches, and there was so much life and personality in each animal. At least one of their four dogs is a rescue, and they support animal rescue organizations in several ways. It was just so obvious how much she loves animals, and I really wanted to support her passion and commitment.¬†Plus her stuff was darn cute! I limited myself to one thing: a nifty green canvas bag with a great yellow dog picture on the front. It’ll make a fabulous project bag. She also does custom portraits, which is pretty tempting! You can find her on Facebook too.¬†IMG_3282It reminded me of my puppy, Captain Jack.IMG_0109Ok, what else? Well, there was a new store there called Florilegium that sells arts & crafts supplies. It was a beautiful store, full but not stuffed, well-designed and a treat for the eye. You could tell they’d put a of thought and effort into their layout and displays. They had tons of gorgeous¬†ribbons and buttons and stuff. I don’t know what else honestly, because they had yarn, so I was distracted. Again, I was good and limited myself to just one thing: this so-lovely skein of Kathmandu silk.IMG_3284While we were walking around, I was modeling my favorite new Junie Balloonie flower, the Santa. If you remember, a while back I posted about trading some handknit items for some flowers, and I received them last week. They are Fabulous! She specializes in custom orders and works with your ideas and colors. You can find her on Facebook or Etsy. These are mine:IMG_3256Santa was actually my idea (she says casually) but Amie Longstaff, the artist/designer/owner, brought it to life brilliantly. I adore this flower.IMG_3259Band Mom flower is one of a series she does, and it can say whatever you want. She’s got them for military moms/spouses/daughters, sports, firemen, police…everything. I ordered mine in my daughter’s school colors. It’ll be great for when I go to the games and watch her play in Marching Band and Pep Band!IMG_3260Frozen flower, for a niece.IMG_3261Monster High flower, for another niece.

They all have a barrette clip, a pin so you can wear it as a brooch, and a small chain loop for it to hang on a purse. I usually put my flowers on my purse, but yesterday Santa was clipped to my cowl. And I think it brought me good luck too, because I got to see Father Christmas himself!IMG_0135And last but not least, I recently ordered a few gorgeous, unique pieces of jewelry from Kind Spirit Jewelry. I can’t find the pictures I took of them, but I got a beautiful spoon ring, some big silver swirly earrings, a necklace with a gorgeous cobalt blue glass pendant… She’s in the process of shutting down her website so there are some FANTASTIC deals to be had. Seriously. Good prices. You can find her on Facebook too.

I’m think I’ll call that a wrap. I’ve got a story to tell you about my antique-mall find, but that requires it’s own post. Until then, support an artist or two and Shop Small today!

Matching Mitts

Behold, ’tis a great and wondrous thing! I have made fingerless gloves that not only match a hat, but MATCH EACH OTHER!IMG_3252 IMG_3254This is the first time I have been able to knit two mitts exactly the same size! I always count my rows wrong somehow, so that one mitt is longer than the other. Not this time! Bwahaha! Even better, I think they’ll actually fit the recipient well, and it was a great way to use up the last of the Mirasol Yarns Tuhu.

I also felted the red tote. Not quite as happy with it.IMG_3255This is after two cycles in the washer and a heavy beating by hand. I mean, I went to TOWN on this baby, and it just won’t felt all the way. So I’m going to try one more time in the washer and this time throw in a few dog toys for extra agitation. If anyone has any tried-and-true felting tips, please share them!

I’m getting so close to being done with holiday knitting, too! Only half a lap blanket, one hat, one fingerless glove and one toddler-size set of mittens left. Crazy, huh? I’m sure I’ll decide at the last minute to make more.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers! May the company be happy and the food plentiful.

Finished Object Friday … almost

I got SO close to a five-day stretch of daily finished objects. This morning I had about fifteen minutes of crochet to finish off the second scarf and last piece in a 2-hat, 2-scarf order. I wove in ends and got out all the pieces to photograph…and the first hat slid down the styrofoam head. Bad sign. I tried it on, and it was loose. Since it’s for a young boy, that’s not going to work. Sighhhhh. I *thought* it looked big but I was afraid to try it on for this exact reason. Still, I’m glad I found out before I had the name embroidered on it! And I’m also glad that it’s a hat I have to re-knit and not a scarf.IMG_3180These are for two brothers who both like blue, so I used the same shades but alternated the starting color for the stripes. The hat is a simple beanie and the scarf is garter stitch (for the squish factor) with a single crochet border (for visual interest). I used Caron One Pound in Sky Blue and Midnight Blue, and each piece will have the boy’s name embroidered on it. But first I need to knit a smaller hat!

Do I want to build a snowman? Nope!

I did it! I finished two gift hats yesterday! With the exception of a trip to Costco, my day was spent crocheting¬†and sewing. And I’m not sure I want to do it again anytime soon. First, I’ll let you see Olaf, which is for my nephew’s birthday. I used a few different patterns and some experimentation to cobble him together.IMG_3161 IMG_3164He’s cute, no? I think so. Thank goodness, because I kind of hated making him. The fiddly finishing bits are my least favorite part of making things, and there was just so much darn finishing with this one. It was tricky to get the face spaced out correctly, and the carrot wanted to flop over, and those twig/hair things…well, they just won’t stand up. But he is cute, and I am proud of him, and I really hope my funny little nephew likes him!

His older sister is getting an owl hat, and that was the second gift I finished yesterday. The owls are so much easier compared to Olaf! This was done with Caron Simply Soft in Pagoda, and I’m hoping to have enough time to make some matching mittens.IMG_3166 IMG_3168It felt SO GOOD to cross two things off my Must-Make list that I’m going to aim for another one today. But I also added one to the list yesterday. I found out last night that a friend of mine is going to be a grandma, so I need to make a baby hat.¬†Guess I better get back to my yarn!

Princess Anna crochet hats, and some mittens

Finally some FOs to show off! I worked hard last week on a proofreading job, but I had some yarn time too, and over the weekend I finished a few things. A friend posted a picture and link to a Princess Anna-inspired hat for girls from a blog called Over the Apple Tree, and my MIL asked for four of them for grandkids. How could I say no? These hats are too cute! IMG_2924 IMG_2921 IMG_2931The hat pattern originally came from Vallieskids and is flexible enough that it will fit a wide range of head sizes. The girls are similar ages, so I just sat back and cranked out four hats all the same. Then I had to learn how to crochet embroidery for the green stems, and it was a lot easier than I expected. The hard part is making them all look the same. The flowers came from my favorite flower pattern, called the Fabulous Flower. I could have done the smaller one to make it more like the original blog post, but I rather like bigger flowers.

I also had a request for a hat and mitten set, so I got to do my first pair of mittens! I’ve done fingerless gloves before, but never a whole mitten and a full thumb. Well, it was a piece of cake. And since they were for a young girl, they knitted up so fast. I did a whole mitten and most of the second yesterday, and this morning I finished up the thumb. I loved making these. I think mittens might be making an appearance this holiday season.¬†IMG_2914 IMG_2916Both the mittens and the hats were made with Caron Simply Soft. I love how it feels, and that it’s machine washable.

NOT my favorite WIP

Dagnabbit. Another knitting failure. I refuse to blame it on not checking gauge, but it *is* my fault. So I got an order for¬†these hats for Christmas presents, and I wanted to get an early start. Plus I love making hats so this is a fun project to have in my rotation. Unfortunately, when I went to cast on, I realized I didn’t have size 7 16″ circulars. I have 6 and 8, but no 7. I have size 7 in my interchangeables, but those tips with the 16″ cord are still a bit longer than 16″ and it’s more awkward than a true 16″. You can guess what I did. Yep. I thought, oh, I’ll just use the 8. They’re for slightly older boys so it’ll be okay if they’re bigger than the kid in the pattern’s picture. So I used the 8. Here’s where I am.¬†IMG_4973It’s cute, I like the pattern, it’s knitting up quickly, blah blah blah. Whatever. Last night I tried it on my 11yo son. It’s too big. Not terrible, but loose. And it’s for a younger boy. And it’ll stretch a bit with use. So yeah. Too big. Sing along with me (to the tune of “Crying Time”. I hear Barbra in my head, but there are a lot of versions): “It’s frogging time again, you’re gonna leave me. I can see it by the way you lose your shape.”