Tag Archive | handmade gifts

Holiday Recap

Oh, Christmas. I do love spending time with family, and I love all the food, and of course I love presents. But the holidays are also stressful and busy and exhausting, and I have to admit I’m a bit relieved it’s all over. Now if only I could get someone to take down my decorations for me! Apparently I was very good this year; I was quite spoiled by my family and received lots of delightful gifts, many of them yarn-related. People even got brave and picked out yarn on their own for me (and did very well, I might add). Why, just look at all these treasures!

I’ve already put some of it in use too. One set of needles is holding a new sock with the Biscotte Gryffindor yarn, a simple stockinette sock for me. Another set of needles is holding the second sock for the husband that didn’t get done before Christmas. And one skein of the pink Malabrigo Rasta has already been turned into the best cowl ever, simple and warm and cozy and gorgeous. And I used every last bit of yarn too, which is quite satisfying.

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I used the Feedback pattern as the base, but modified the number of stitches cast on. I haven’t decided whether the second skein should be a pompom hat or this adorable bag, so it’s set aside while I ponder.

The holiday provided so much knitting time that I was able to finish the Seattle Seahawks hat for my friend’s husband too. She was pleased with it, and thinks he’ll love it. I hope so! I really like that bright stripe of green.

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All the knitted gifts I made were well-received and seemed to fit well, and I really loved gifting socks. I’m thinking I’d like to do more next year, but we’ll just have to see how that goes!

 

 

 

Knitting as Distraction

This is why it’s hard to have puppers: one of my dogs is sick. Grace is lethargic and not eating and we don’t know why, and it breaks my heart. She was at the vet yesterday, no fever, no obvious answers, so she got some medicine and soft food. Today she’s refusing the soft food so she’s back to the vet today to get some blood work done. I’m kind of a mess, partly because I’m worried and partly because it brings back bad memories. We lost a very special dog at this time of year four years ago, and it feels too similar. I know it’s not; the symptoms are different. But it’s still triggering some powerful stuff, and I’m struggling, if I’m being honest. Winter is tough for me, emotionally, and it’s been a stressful few months for everyone in my house, so I think I’m already worn down. Thankfully, I have wonderful bosses who are understanding when I need time off, and lovely friends, and my knitting. Always my knitting! It can be a good distraction at times, and when not a distraction, a comfort.

I’ve been doing some Christmas knitting, though not as much as I wanted to be doing. I made some very cute mitts for my youngest nephew. The white glows in the dark, so maybe that will be a fun surprise for him.

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These were so fast to make that I think I need to make some for my boss’s twins, who are even smaller than my nephew, so those mitts would take no time at all! And I could use up some leftover yarn bits too. Win for everyone, right?

I’m almost done with a pair of socks, too. These are my second pair of Petty Harbor socks, though this time I just did a stockinette foot rather than carry the pattern down.

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I’m almost out of the purple, and I’m debating about just using the gray when I run out. Why not have a longer gray toe? I do have a second skein of the purple, but then I’d have more ends to weave in. And if I just use the gray, I can plan ahead and get a whole pair of short socks out of the second skein of purple. Really, I’m just kicking myself because if I’d done gray heels like I’d planned, I’d probably have plenty of purple to finish. Oh well, that’s kind of the nice thing about socks: they go into your shoes and it’s all right if they’re not perfectly matched. So I’m going to take my little sock and go sit with my sick pupper until it’s time to go to the vet, and cross my fingers that we get good news.

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?

Knitting Gone Wrong

I found out recently that one of my nephews was in need of mittens. I’d made him a pair a couple of years ago, but somehow one got lost, and plus he’s grown since then. Aunt Knitter to the rescue! He has a winter birthday and a pair of mittens would be a lovely gift. He is currently infatuated with Lightning McQueen so that was my inspiration. I had just the right colors of Knit Picks Brava Worsted in my stash, I chose Tin Can Knits’ World’s Simplest Mittens, and cast on. How could I go wrong?? (*dun dun DUN* This is called foreshadowing.)

Wow, the first mitten went fast! Just a couple of hours over two nights and I had a finished mitt. I thought it looked kind of big, and the proportions seemed a little off, but the length measurement matched the pattern specifications, so off I went onto the second mitten.

From the start, I questioned myself. It said to cast on 28 stitches. That number seemed wrong. I didn’t remember casting on that number the first time. But oh well, I’m getting old, I’d slept since then, whatever. I kept going. This mitten went even faster than the first; I finished all but the thumb in one night. Woohoo! Yay me, right?

HAHA. No. I held the first mitten up to the second. The second mitten was MUCH smaller. Not really shorter, but the body was a lot narrower. I counted stitches and discovered I’d cast on 32 stitches the first time. No wonder 28 didn’t sound familiar! Somehow my eyes had landed on the stitch count for the child size in DK weight the first time, and the second time I actually did it correctly. Sigh. At least I have one mostly-finished mitten in the right size. I spent the rest of my knitting time last night frogging the first mitten so I could reuse the yarn. Waste not, want not, right? And I’m grateful that it’s small, so I have time to get it finished before the birthday party this weekend! #mustknitquickly

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This is the “bad” mitten

Have you ever had a disaster trying to make two things the same size?

Weekend Knitting, plus Yarn

Thanks to my girl and her band activities, I got to spend the entire day Saturday knitting. Well, at least as much as my hands could tolerate. I had to take breaks periodically, of course. But I was focused on one goal: finish this second sock, which is a Christmas gift. I got pretty close.

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Since then I’ve gotten farther, and I only have about an inch left before starting the toe. This one will be a FO before you know it!

Her competition was out of town, which meant a LYS stop for me. We went to True Blewe Yarns in Columbia, MO and I found lots of really pretty yarns. Lots of yarns I appreciated, several I picked up and carried around, but it was the strangest thing: most of them weren’t calling my name. I didn’t feel like buying yarn just to buy pretty yarn. (GASP! Am I feverish??) I want more sock yarn, but I want self-striping, and I want more colors, not just purple. I have quite a bit of purplish fingering weight, waiting to be made into shawls, so I didn’t really want to get more. I don’t know, I guess I just wasn’t really feeling it that day.

Okay, that’s not completely true, because you KNOW I didn’t walk out empty handed. I thought about the pieces I’ve wished I had to wear, and chose these accordingly.

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I’ve used the super bulky Spuntaneous and LOVE it, but hadn’t seen the worsted version before. I’ve wanted another neutral gray cowl, so I’ve got enough here to make a lovely long one to double.

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I don’t have a lot of blue clothes in my closet. I don’t like blue things in my house, really. So why have I been drawn to this vivid royal blue lately?? No idea, but I decided to give in. This one is already on the needles and on its way to becoming a Squishy Soft Cowl, like the dark green one I just made.

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I’ve bought this Wonder Woman yarn before. I made a gorgeous cowl, put it on Etsy as a showpiece, thinking it would never sell, and it sold! So I had to send it away, and that made me sad. Now I can make something for myself to keep.

I have one more new project on my needles. This is a Be Simple Variations with my new green Classic Elite Magnolia. I’m already loving it.

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Hope your weekend was as productive as mine!

 

Knitting Injury

Let’s start with the good news: the long holiday weekend gave me so much knitting time that I was able to complete two socks! It was very satisfying, as I’m sure you can imagine. One is a plain vanilla sock in KnitPicks’ Felici Spaceman, and the other is a Strutting Peacock in KnitPicks’ Chroma in Lakefront.img_5260-1img_5261-1Sadly, last night I noticed that the middle finger on my left hand was hurting, especially when I closed my fist. I picked up another sock project to see how I hold my fingers while I knit, and discovered that I keep that finger bent when I knit socks on little DPNs. So it would seem that I need to take a break from knitting. I’m hoping that if I rest it this week, I’ll be good to go on Saturday. We’ll be on a day-long road trip for the girl, for All-State Band Auditions, and I need to be able to knit that day, otherwise I might actually go crazy. For this week, then, my lunch break project is crochet, an Artfully Simple Angled Scarf in Zauberball. I chose it mostly so I could use my new Furls crochet hook.img_5262-1Give me some hope: who else has had minor knitting injuries that healed quickly?

 

 

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!