last minute holiday knits*

We are down to the last few weeks before the final Christmas of this decade. Many of us may still have a few folks on our lists with question marks rather than a check next to their names. I mean, I haven’t done any shopping or making, so I’m definitely in that camp. I’ve compiled a collection of quick projects (*knit AND crochet), most of which are one-skeiners, that will hopefully help you with that odd person on your list, make you feel productive, and use up a bit of stash at the same time. Garments are adult-sizes – no baby or children’s patterns have been suggested.

Please note, some links will take you to Ravelry pages!

CROCHET

1.5 Hour Beanie from Jess Coppom

This super fast beanie from Make & Do Crew is a fun, quick project that can be modified for different yarns. I used a heavy worsted (my hand-dyed Arianwen) for this sample, but the pattern calls for bulky. Work it up in a solid color yarn or different yarns to create vertical stripes. Make a pompom of the same yarn or a different color.

Desert Winds Triangle Scarf from Jess Coppom

Another great single skein project from Make & Do Crew, this triangular shawl/scarf is also quite easy to adjust. When I made this one, I didn’t have a full 4 ounce skein, so I just worked the increases until I was halfway through my ball of yarn (weighing as I went) and then started the decreases. Worsted weight, DK weight, even a heavier yarn – it all works! A great way to showcase a lovely handdyed yarn (shown here in Enid).

Spring Blossoms from the Unraveled Mitten

And of course, home goods are always a hit, especially for that person you know loves to decorate for the season. Or that person who you can’t begin to guess at sizes. These coasters can be worked up in any color, so match it to their decor, make it holiday-inspired, or just do what you want. Work up a big stack and then divide them up among your friends and family. These will make great hostess gifts for parties too!

Two-Tone Slippers from Jenna Watson

They might be called “two-tone”, but these slippers can be any number of colors! I worked up a pair last holiday season for my SIL and I felt so smug as she opened them. I used a bright yellow and gold to match her old living room. I remember how she said it cheered her up. Does she wear them? I don’t know, but I gave her a handmade gift and my job was done. Later I made a pair for myself using little odd balls of left overs from all the crocheting I had done for my holidays shows. So quick and fun, I’m a convert to crocheted slippers!

KNIT

Uncooperative Hat from Christine Parker

Clever and snarky at the same time, this hat will be as fun to knit as it is to give to the lucky recipient! While it’s not a one-skein project, you will have fun digging through your stash to find different coordinating colors for the text, ribbing, and pompom.

Helix Mitts from Sybil R.

I’m mildly obsessed with all the mitten patterns from Sybil. I’ve been trying the crochet ones, but haven’t quite gotten the hang of it. Perhaps when I’m not also watching The Crown and can focus a little more, I’ll be able to achieve greatness. In the meantime, these garter stitch mitts are really awesome looking and perhaps require slightly less of your undivided attention.

Non-Felted Slippers from Yuko Nakamura

Sure, slippers and socks can be a little more tricky when it comes to gifting, but these are way too cool to pass up! Knit with a super bulky yarn (and no felting required – which can be so unpredictable), they will work up fast. Don’t have the right weight yarn? Try holding two strands together to make up the difference. Another great way to eat up that stash!

Winter’s End Cowl from Rebecca Shepler

Rebecca is a friend of mine and a very talented artist. I love the funkiness of the pattern and all the various ways to wear it. Maybe not something for that less adventurous person on your gift-giving list, but definitely something to consider for your stylish friends and family! Also a great way to show off an interesting yarn, or just keep it neutral.

sampling

I used to knit A LOT. Every day. I had projects with me at school, at work, getting my oil changed, sitting in church, in the evening, etc. But my hands and wrists started to protest, so I slowly transitioned away towards other things. Also, I got bored. I felt bad for not wanting to do it anymore.

In the last two years, since opening the Shop, I’ve come back to knitting. Not just that, but I’ve been exploring crochet much more too. And I’m loving it again! My latest FOs have been more for my own enjoyment and curiosity. My new favorite yarn is ENID, the DK weight Blue-Faced Leicester that I’ve been dyeing. I’ve made three shawls and a hat so far.

GE Hand-dyed Enid DK weight
>> Reversible Pleat Hat from Purl Soho
>> Desert Winds Scarf from Make & Do Crew

Brown Sheep Co. Shepherd’s Shades heavy worsted weight
>> Wall Basket from Yarn Craze (Rav link)

the final push

For some reason I couldn’t resist jumping on board one last show this year. Why not? I’ve already surpassed my own expectations. First I booked two weekends in a row, then three. Why not add another craft show? Just go for it, right?

I’m going to be in Youngstown again, but at a location never before experienced. I went to the B&O Station once when I was a little kid and all I remember is that it was an expensive restaurant at which we didn’t stay to eat. Now it’s a fancy hall where they have wedding receptions and, apparently, craft shows.

lastminmarket
The B&O Station
530 Mahoning Ave, Youngstown, OH 44502
December 21 & 22, 2013

12 pm to 7 pm
12 pm to 5 pm

I am working on a few new items for this weekend. Even though it should be low priority, I couldn’t stop myself from spinning. There will be 11 new skeins of yarn. And so far I have six pairs of mitts done with the intention of doing two or three more this week. Also, I’ve been fooling around with crochet more. I got one clutch done (another in the works) and a button-up neckwarmer. It’s fun! It’s new! I was getting bored!

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boredom + books

There is a good possibility that I am bored.

I’m tired of shuffling through the same piles of fluff, browsing through the same uninspiring books, spinning the same basic yarns. This feeling of apathy is making it much easier to sell unwanted materials and supplies. FYI, there are still a few grab bags in the shop in case you need some felting or carding fiber.

The next purge has taken place in my library. I’m sure many of us buy knitting/spinning/fiber books because they are on sale or seem interesting at the time. A few years later you realize you’ve never made any patterns from that book or it just doesn’t fit in with your lifestyle. I have a book on shawls — huge shawls. What do I make? Mittens, hats, a very occasional sweater. Never a king bed sized shawl. Out with you!


Getting rid of things is exciting.

But getting new things is also exciting.

So, since I was in need for some inspiration, I took advantage of KnitPicks’ book sale and picked up four new titles for my collection:

I thought it was time to revisit crochet. It’s been 15 years since I learned how to do it, but I haven’t moved much beyond a single chain. I’m 27 now, not 12. I can do a granny square, gosh darnit (I hope). The first book has several lovely, modern patterns that make crochet look nice, not farty. And the second is, as mentioned in the title, an encyclopedia, so it should help expand my general knowledge of stitch possibilities. We shall see.

The Zimmermann book was purchased because I did not have any of her books already, and I felt that I was supposed to have at least one. The last book is full of different types of yarn. I have a few other art yarn books, but this one is far more extensive. From what I’ve seen flipping through it, it looks fairly promising. Now the key is to utilize these books and try something new, not leave them on the shelf for destashing in another five years.