Just a quick little post here as I get a breather between opening gifts and cooking food for Christmas dinner!
Yarny gifts were acquired.
I actually finished something I can show you this week! It’s a Christmas present for my three-year-old niece:
I used to knit Christmas presents for almost everyone in the family, but once I started designing, that went right out the window. My sister-in-law still makes wistful comments about the baby sweaters I used to make for her daughter, though. So hopefully this will be a nice surprise. :-)
This is a great pattern! I followed it pretty much as written, although I did change the cap sleeves to long ones because my sister-in-law requested dresses appropriate to wear in winter.
Did you know baby/toddler sleeves aren’t always tapered from underarm to wrist (and if they are, it usually isn’t much)? I didn’t, but luckily I looked at some other patterns before I decided how to do the sleeves. I was ready to sail in there with my usual decrease rate for adult sleeves. Guess I have some things to learn before I start designing sweaters to fit my upcoming little one…
Yarn: Berroco Vintage (wool/acrylic blend) in 5159 Elderberry, 4 skeins. This yarn is now pretty much my go-to for washable baby/toddler knits. It’s nice to knit with–not squeaky at all–and it blocks well. Plus my niece’s favorite colors are purple and pink, so this magenta should hopefully be perfect.
Notes: I’ve never knit a dress before, so I was surprised at how long the skirt took and how much yarn it ate up! But I love the finished product. The twisted stitches at the chest give just enough visual interest without being too busy. And the ruffle is so dang cute:
We’re heading off to (hopefully) sunny California on Monday for the holidays. It’ll be a nice change from the endless snow/rain we’ve had here. And I even have a teensy-weensy baby bump to show off (although it kind of just looks like I’ve been eating too many Christmas cookies).
I’m planning to kick back, relax, and get tons of knitting done. It should be a blast!
I hope everyone out there in blogland is having a great holiday season! I took advantage of the free time during the 24th and 25th to whip up a set of slippers for me:
Pattern: Options Slippers for Women by Kris Basta (Ravelry Link)
Yarn: doubled Araucania Toconao, left over from a large sweater design I have yet to blog here, but will soon (it’s in testing and should be released pretty soon!). The yarn is squooshy on its own, but holding it double on size 8 needles makes an incredibly thick fabric I want to squish all the time. I used about a skein and a half for both slippers.
Notes: The pattern is pretty interesting–there are lots of options (duh, see the pattern name). You can go with a bulky yarn or a worsted held double, several different types of soles, and use one of several methods to attach the soles to the uppers. I went with the knitted sole, but broke out the crochet hook to “sew” them together.
I’m pretty proud of my crochet job, actually. I am not a crocheter by any stretch of the imagination, and I sort of winged it (wung it? Surely not) on the exact technique… but the join turned out fine and, dare I say it, even pretty!
And I finished these just in time! This is what the backyard looked like on December 26th:
I don’t know if you can tell, but it’s snowing in this picture. Hard. We got about 7 inches of snow in four or five hours… nothing insane, but definitely conditions that make me appreciate having warm, squishy slippers.
T minus five days until Christmas! After seeing some seriously panicked threads on Ravelry, I’m really happy I decided to go easy on the gift knitting this year.
No one in my family reads my blog regularly except for my husband (hi honey!), so I feel safe in sharing my gifting plans. I’m going to give my Texture Times Two hat and scarf to my mom.
I usually try to hang onto my samples, but she loved them so much when I showed them to her that I can’t resist surprising her.
I also mailed off the Sweet Peasy for my niece.
The Latte Baby Coat, though… I decided not to send it. After blocking, I discovered the buttons I’d been planning to use were too big for the buttonholes (boo!). Also, the front edge is a little ruffly. Possibly it’s one of those things only I would ever notice, but I hate gifting imperfect things, y’know? So I think I’m going to buy new buttons, reblock it, and give it to her next month.
But even that’s not enough to kill my relaxed mood. So different from last December, when I was frantically trying to finish these:
Are you knitting any gifts this year? How’s it going?
A quick little FO today: ornaments gifted to my mom for her tree!
Pattern: Smitten (a Holiday Garland) (Rav link)
Yarn: Leftover Malabrigo Worsted from the Give ‘Em the Slip Set, leftover Malabrigo Rios from SoCal, and I think the gray is leftover Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted from something lost in the mists of time.
Notes: This pattern is really easy and fun! The worst part of it was knitting worsted yarn with size #3 US needles, but even that wasn’t too bad. I sewed the loop wrongly on the first one (it’s supposed to be on one side only, not across the whole mitt), but I liked the way it looked so I did them all like that.
Now I’m wondering if I could use the same pattern for baby mittens, hmm…
Hope everyone out there in blogland had a great Christmas!
I know I did. I made a Knit Picks wishlist for the first time this year, and boy did my family come through!
The yarn is the KP Wool of the Andes sampler in bright colors (I can’t wait to start in on colorwork hats and mittens, yay!). The needles are Harmony DPNs, which I’ve wanted for a while. Unfortunately, I got two sets of size #9 needles, but I already called Knit Picks and packaged up the duplicates to exchange for another size.
Then there are two stitch dictionaries–I keep checking these two books out from the library and am thrilled to have copies of my very own! My MIL also got me the adorable sweater keyring.
And last but not least, this amazing Namaste case for essential accessories:
I also got one other yarny gift… but I went back and forth on whether to post it here. I decided to do it, but be forewarned:
THE PICTURES BELOW MAY CAUSE DISTRESS TO PEOPLE WHO LIKE YARN.
You sure you want to see this?
Okay… but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
This is what I saw when I looked in the gift bag she handed me (with no warning, I might add):
And when I dumped it out:
I think I may have hyperventilated a little bit (and not in the good way). Most of that yarn is CUT, people. Not to mention tangled beyond hope of sorting out. Someone took a bunch of yarn–mostly acrylic, but some wool–wound it into dozens of hanks, and then CUT THE STRANDS. Seriously, WTF?
SIL told me she found the bag at a yard sale for $1.00 and had to get it for me. I tried to be appreciative, but I was kind of terrified.
Any suggestions on what to do with this mess?
Never let it be said that I don’t jump into things with both feet. For my first Finished Object Friday, I present not one, not two, but ten knitted stockings!
Now, before you get too impressed, I’ve been working on them since February. I promised my mother-in-law I’d knit everyone in the family a stocking with their name on it after seeing the pitiful state of their stocking collection over Christmas 2010. I don’t want to disparage another knitter… but let’s just say the lady who made several of them in the early ’80s (out of eye-searing green and red acrylic) should probably have kept her colorwork floats loose enough to actually be able to get things in and out of the stockings. I’m just saying.
So at the beginning of this year, I ordered a bunch of heavy-worsted weight yarn, settled on a pattern, sketched out the colors and design, and went to work.
The first two went quickly. I actually thought they were pretty fun at that point. But as I kept going (interspersing them with other projects so I didn’t go insane), I started to get more and more sick of the pattern, the yarn, the need to pay attention to the colorwork, weaving in dozens of ends at the end of each one… I definitely had to grit my teeth and just power through the last few.
I am so beyond delighted to have these done.
After hearing me moan about having trouble blocking them all to the same size, my darling husband got some heavy wire from the hardware store and made me a blocking form!
The before and after pics show why this was desperately needed:
Here are the specs:
Pattern: loosely based on Ysolda Teague’s Last Minute Stockings (Ravelry link), with lots and lots of mods
Yarn: Cascade Ecological Wool and Eco+ for the red, green, and white. The different contrasting color for each family varied. Full details available on my Rav project entry here.
Needles: Size 9 (these were even a little big for this yarn; it’s supposed to be chunky, but I don’t believe that for a minute).
Notes: I actually would much rather have followed the pattern to the letter (so cute and rustic!), but I was attempting to at least kinda-sorta approximate the wretched ’80s stockings, so I had to follow specific guidelines. I did the names stranded rather than duplicate stitch… the floats are slightly visible through the fabric at the back, but it isn’t bad.
I did learn a new technique, the figure 8 cast-on. Even after 10 times, I still think it’s awesome.
My mom saw a few of these last time she came out to visit and gave me the big puppy-dog eyes… but I told her she’ll have to wait a year. At least. And when I knit them for her family, I get to pick the patterns.