Archive for December, 2006
Well I finished the majority of my knitted Christmas gifts: two pairs of mittens (one pair for each sister) and a scarf for my Dad’s girlfriend. The only thing I didn’t finish was the elaborate reversable cabled wrap for my Mom. The only consolation being that I never expected to finish it in time.
One of the great things about having a hobby like knitting is that everyone knows what to get you for Christmas, and chances are you can use everything you get. Accordingly, I received some very lovely gifts this year in support of my knitting habit. First, from another knitter (thank you, Kristen), a little purple bag in which to carry my projects, along with a sock (the second to come, I believe):
Daughter Emily gave me a turquoise bag, the logo being especially appropriate since I do want to get a tattoo someday, as soon as I figure out what I want. I think Christina has this bag, too. I have coveted it from afar.
We drew names on my husband’s side of the family, and it turns out that my brother-in-law, Chas, got my name. He has been into tie-dying for a long time, and paper making, too, I think. He used his leet skills (or 1337, as the gamers in my family would say) to create this gorgeous skein of blue and green yarn for me.
He said to let him know if I wanted any more — I don’t think he knows what he’s offering.
My mother-in-law (who wasn’t supposed to get me anything because she didn’t draw my name, but I appreciate it all the same), sent this lovely skein of Fleece Artist yarn, which came with a pattern for mittens or socks.
And here’s a couple of other skeins I happened to slip into my own shopping bag — Claudia Handpainted yarn in Jungle, and Schaefer Anne in Caramel Twist — they were just too tempting.
And how did I get such good pictures? With the new camera my sweetie got me. It’s perfect for me, in that it has a little warning light that goes on if I’m not perfectly still, and it has notes that pop up on the screen that say things like “use this setting if you’re indoors and the object is standing still” or “use this setting if you’re taking a picture of a baby” or “use this setting for soft-looking skin” (not kidding!). There is no setting for knitted objects, but all this yarn is so yummy I used the “food” setting for the pictures (again, not kidding!).
I hope everyone had a great Christmas day! We did! We opened all of Santa’s presents at home in the morning – then played for a couple of hours. After that, we went to Nick’s parents and did it all again. Here are the knitted items I gave:
I made these Log Cabin Socks (similar to my brother’s) for my mother-in-law. They are made of Jaeger Chamonix (48% Angora, 47% Extra Fine Merino, 5% Polyamide) using size 6 needles. I finished these just in time. The knitting was actually done on Friday but after a soaking and blocking, it took about 2 days to dry. The fit her just right and she will surely enjoy them – they are sooo soft, how could she not!?
These simple fingerless mitts (copied from Sherry) went to my sister-in-law, Beth. It is Tahki Shannon, which reminded me a lot of Kureyon – sort of coarse. It softened up, though, after a bit of soaking. I love the pooling caused by the thumb gusset!
Finally, I will be giving this to Gran later today (I hope). It was featured on this blog previously, here.
After all this, I just have one more present to give – that should be tomorrow. It feels like I have a lot of free time on my hands and my fingers are starting to itch. What should I knit next!?
I finished this on Christmas Eve, in time to block and dry before we gave it to Tim on Christmas Day. No picutre of Tim, but his head is a little larger than Zoe’s, so it fits him very well. I loved the yarn — Plymouth Cleckheaton 8-ply — and highly recommend it for warm winter items.
The ear flaps are not quite as tapered as the AE version, but the recipients are happy, so I’m not worried about it. Not bad for a made-up pattern.
I’m sitting here, eating Santa’s cookies and reveling in all the free time I have. Nothing to knit/sew, nothing to bake, nothing to wrap. Feels pretty good! I figure I better get a post in before bed, while I have the time.
We spent the evening at my brother’s house having our family’s traditional Christmas Eve meal – meat pie (or tourtiere), one of my all-time favorites. I gave a few knitted gifts to various members of my family… here they are:
These were given to Maggie and Molly, my nieces. Both the mittens and the hat are fairly generic. I didn’t use a pattern for the mittens. I just looked for the size of a typical girls mitt and went for it. When the mitt was done, I picked up stitches around the cuff in the fancy yarn. When Maggie opened hers (without reading the tag), she said “I bet I know who this is from!” I guess I have a reputation :) Both girls liked their hat/mitt sets.
Each year, we draw names between my two brothers and each of our spouses. This year, Nick had to buy for Brad. So, I had to think of something nice to knit for him. I chose the Log Cabin socks from Handknit Holidays. I followed the pattern for the small size, but used chunkier yarn (Plymouth Encore Chunky) and bigger needles. I picked Encore because I knew it would be hard-wearing and washer safe – they are for my brother after all. Luckily, Brad and Nick have the same size feet, so I had a built-in foot model and had confidence that the fit would be good.
This was by far my favorite knitted gift this year – given to my sister-in-law. It was extremely hard for me to give this away – I just love it. I used the free Brea Bag pattern from Berroco. It was pretty fun to knit and the liner came together pretty easily. The handle is a different story. I ordered the same one used in the pattern – but because another item I ordered from the same store was backed ordered, they didn’t ship the purse handle. So, my options were to give the purse, sans handle, and bring it home and add the handle later – or buy a purse, cut the handle off, and ditch the rest. I chose the latter. I can’t forget to cancel the order for the other handle on Tuesday!
That’s all for now. I hope to show the rest tomorrow or the day after. Stay tuned!
Sorry, no pictures yet. But the news is that I finished all of my homemade gifts this afternoon. Well, with the exception of one part that never arrived (more on that later). All I have left is baking and wrapping. No sweat!
I promise lots of pictures once the gifts have been given.
|Quick update: then back to my knitting. Yesterday I finished Nigel’s stocking, and I think it’s my favorite of all.|
|I loved working with the La Lana yarn — “hand-dyed using plants native to New Mexico and exotic dyes of antiquity” — but, hey, it made my hands green.|
|Here are my other works in progress.|
|The blue and gray thing will be an earflap hat of my own design, which is supposed to end up looking like the American Eagle version.|
As I consider that I still need to take Corie to the dentist, finish Christmas shopping, buy groceries, bake and wrap presents before Saturday when the family comes, I’m seriously thinking of moving to Plan B, which is that my sister gets a scarf for New Year’s.
My Mom visited the other day and brought a little surprise for me. It is a darning egg that belonged to her mother before she was even married.
Maybe now I can fix this mess.
By the way, I’ve been neck deep in Christmas knitting with no time to blog. I’ll have lots to show soon, I promise.
Cookies and hats, that’s what I’ve been up to lately. All of them yummy, too.
These three hats are made with Beatrice yarn, which has its positive aspects (lovely colors, cushy finished product) and slightly negative (it’s made of three strands of thin yarn, which sometimes leads to splitting if you’re not careful). The pattern I like a lot, especially the clever use of i-cords on the top and on the ties. The cap without ties is just my simple variation – a 4 x 4 ribbed hat with i-cords on top.
I’ve been knitting so much I haven’t blogged lately, but I have a lot of output to show, so I’m going to keep going. These items are all Christmas presents, but if you’re reading this, they’re not for you.
I added fringe to a scarf I made earlier, and was very pleased with it. This is only the second time I’ve fringed a scarf, and this time it came out much neater.
And then I ventured into hand territory, with some bright orange hand warmers and fuzzy mittens. I was quite taken with the mitten pattern. It comes from Knit Mittens! by Robin Hansen, a book which has other patterns that didn’t work out quite right for me. (I suspect that there may be mistakes in the printing of the other patterns, but haven’t had any much luck finding corrections online. The closest I’ve come is a website with a pdf file that contains the first page of each pattern, apparently identical to the pages that are in the book. Am I missing something?)
These particular mittens are based on the Nepalese Mittens on page 86, and the pattern seems flawless. I like the folded cuff, the subtle shaping around the wrist which occurs when you slightly draw up the thread that sews the cuff up (does that make sense?), and the fact that you do the thumb first and get it out of the way. The ones in the book are made with Lamb’s Pride worsted, but I used a similar weight fuzzy yarn, the label for which I cannot find. It goes fairly well, I think, with the beige scarf/wrap I made of Rowan Little Big Wool. Or, was it Big Little Wool? I forget.
What’s Left? You may very well ask, given that there are only 6 knitting days left until Christmas. I have to knit an earflap hat for my daughter’s boyfriend, a pair of thrummed mittens for my other daughter’s boyfriend, Nigel’s Christmas stocking (the one in the middle), a pair of bright green cotton socks for my daughter, and then finish my sister’s scarf (2 out of 3 tentacles done so far). Can I do it? But of course. That’s what end of year vacation days are for.
Knitters, fellow bloggers, and the handful of sympathetic friends and relatives who comment on our posts — I have two things for you today.
First, my nephew Ian’s Christmas stocking is done. It looks like it will hold enough cookies and toys to make his parents nervous. Mission accomplished!
Second, the Yarn Harlot has issued another challenge to knitters to support the Tricoteuses Sans Frontières (Knitters Without Borders) project, through which knitters and friends-of-knitters dontate to Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). MSF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 “in recognition of the organization’s pioneering humanitarian work on several continents.”
It occurs to me that the Yarn Harlot is kind of like Batman — she using her special powers to help people. Like Batman, the Harlot is very, very cool, if not as mysterious or independently wealthy as he. And if she carried a grappling hook and flew the Batjet, then my nephew might want to dress up like her for Halloween.
Check it out – I think it rocks:
It is just over 2 weeks before Christmas and I have had a cold for over week now. I have so many little projects on the go, I have resorted to this method of carrying my knitting around:
I like to think I’m being clever, but I’m pretty sure it is just sad.
I have actually regressed in my Christmas knitting. I (by I, I mean Sherry) decided that something I was working on was being stitched a little too tight. Over lunch today, I ripped it all out and started again. Thankfully, it is a pretty quick knit so I’ll be caught up soon. It was another one of these things:
Over the weekend, I was a little bored with knitting for others so I started my Endpaper Mitts. I finished one and I love it.
I’m using Gems Merino (Pearl) in Teal and Sandalwood. I didn’t mean to pick colors so close to Eunny’s. I must have gone through about 52 color combos at the yarn store before settling on this one.
Here is a nice close up of my tubular bind off. I also did a tubular cast on (my first time for both) but it wasn’t really picture-worthy.
I’ll leave you with this, another xmas gift: