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.

christmas knitting

As I am sure I’ve said in the past, I usually don’t do much Christmas knitting. After frantically getting ready for a craft show right before the holidays, the last thing I want to do “for fun” is more knitting. However, every once in a while a project pops up and I acquiesce. This year I am working on a pair of mittens for my nephew. They are the largest pair of mittens I have ever made in my life. Did I mention he’s 20 years old (and perhaps 10 feet tall)? Firstly, I am more accustomed to making fingerless mitts, so they are never as long as the whole hand. Secondly, he’s just got really long fingers. Thirdly, I have a habit of making things to fit me (and I have little hands).

mittens for Michael

As I was making these mittens, I just kept laughing at how long they were. I asked Rich to try one on and it looked fine. I also realized that it appeared to be long enough to fit my foot, so I will admit to putting it on. I’ll wash it, I’ll wash it! Since it was such a quick project, it kind of inspired me to make a tube sock… Yeah, that seems weird, being “inspired” to make a tube sock, but maybe it wouldn’t take me four years to get a pair done. I suppose it would also help to use worsted weight yarn.

Comparing the size of my mittens to the pair I made for Michael

comparing

comparing

friday’s question

And now it’s Christmas.  But I didn’t do any Christmas knitting this year (spoiler alert).   In fact, it’s not something I do very often.  A few people out there have gotten handknits for gifts over the years, perhaps when I was more ambitious.  Rich has received a few hats; my mom got a half finished scarf (which was finished later) and a pair of mitts; my sister, after moving to Florida, was given a zippered/felted pouch.  After several weeks of mad knitting of mitts, I just want to take a breather from the needles.  And by the time I’m ready to get back to it, Christmas is over.  Next year?

Question: Do you knit or crochet a lot of Christmas gifts?  Do you only give these gifts to certain people?  What is your favorite project of the year?  Of all time? 

birthday supplemental

Yesterday was my 26th birthday. I didn’t get any fiber-related gifts. No add-ons for my wheel, no nifty little gadgets, no yarn, no books, nothing. I guess this thing has officially moved from being a hobby to a business. Think about it – who is going to give you a new stapler for your office? Does your mom buy you a new keyboard to take to work? No. I suppose the other possibility is that I have everything I need. But then again, there are a few more books on my Amazon wishlist…

I remember – it feels so long ago now – buying the Kromski Sonata as a birthday gift to myself. That post was from 2007, if you can believe it. I hadn’t graduated from college yet. I hadn’t gotten married yet. I hadn’t bought a house yet. I hadn’t even opened my Etsy shop! Wow – so much can happen in such a small amount of time.

best ever

It is possible that I have the most amazingly thoughtful and awesome husband EVER to exist!  He takes me to wool shows!  He suggests road trips to yarn stores!  He buys me tools without needing a suggestion!  He helps me with my business, encourages me to keep trying, and just plain loves me.  Wow.

And he came through again for my birthday!  He gave me my gift and card, saying I had to open the gift first, not the card.  Once I removed the paper, I knew what it was.  He said if I guessed, he’d take it back, so I kept my mouth shut.  But I was right – it was the fast flyer for my Kromski Sonata!  Squeeee!!!  The package, however, said “Fast Flayer”.  Keep those fingers outta there!  And inside the card, he wrote, “Good for one overnight trip to The Woolery”.  Waaah!!  Of course we have to wait until the weather improves, but gee whiz, how cool is that?  I’m going to save my money from the show this weekend and take it to the Woolery.  Neverending thrills.

kick-ass birthday presents!
Books from my mother-in-law and flyer from Rich.

dyed on my birthday
Dyed on my birthday.

 

christmas mitts

Have you ever had a skein of yarn that just doesn’t want to be knit into anything? I had some lemon yellow Lambs Pride that I tried to make into several different items before it became a cabled hat. More recently, I had a skein that I spun and dyed around Christmas last year, but it just now has settled into a pair of mittens.

Each time I brought that yarn out, my mom always remarked that she liked it, so I decided to give her the mittens for Christmas. As far as I know, I haven’t made a pair for her yet. Enjoy!

mitts

mitts

mitts

last minute photos

Of last minute gifts! At least Rich’s hat got done relatively early. I worked on it the weekend I was in Cleveland with Cosy. Originally I had gone through my stash and was going to make it green and brown. Then I realized those are two colors he cannot see very well (they look very similar, I guess). So instead I made an emergency trip to Hobby Lobby, since I have no yarn shop, and bought the yarn right in front of him. I think it was store brand. He seems to be pleased regardless of my struggles.

richard's hat

For my Florida sister, I made this little zippered pouch. It’s from Weekend Knitting; the pattern is the Felted Stash Accessories Bag by Leigh Radford. I used stash yarn, mostly Brown Sheep Company Lamb’s Pride, which has always been a favorite yarn of mine. When I first saw it in my first real yarn shop, I fell in love with their colors. Ever since I’ve loved singles.

Putting the zipper into this was a challenge. In fact, my mother did it on Christmas Eve. I had never done it before and neither had she. Maybe in the future I will attempt a zipper again, but with fabric, not felt.

april's zippered pouch

christmas knitting still!

Surprisingly I’m getting my Christmas knitting done. I have two more projects that are about half finished; one is a pair of fingerless mitts for Rich’s dad and the other is the scarf I started months ago for my mom. That is the one I’m thinking of wrapping incomplete. Cheryl says it’s okay! Otherwise I’m making good progress.

for someone

I dyed some more fiber, using up the last of my BFL. Must reorder again. Perhaps in the future I ought to buy a larger quantity. These two balls are 6 ounces each. I wanted to follow Cosy‘s lead and try spinning 4 ounces and then plying 2 of different colorways. They both contain a bit of the same blue. It’s so hard for me to ply a yarn with another yarn rather than plying it back on itself. I like to keep things pure. But besides the option of interesting color combos, I’ve decided I’m getting tired of winding all that yarn into a center-pull ball!

dyed

questions to myself

Is it cheesy to wrap up a half-finished present and give it to someone for Christmas? I thought I’d have the chance to do my own knitting with all this spare time on my hands since I’m not concentrating on the sale, but I was wrong. Apparently there are only, um, 2 weeks until Christmas? oops. And I have some special orders to do, which means I get to make OTHER folks’ Christmas presents in addition to my own. I suppose I  could have said no.

But after the holiday is over, what am I going to do?

ella rae This yarn I purchased in September while at the Knit One birthday party. I’d like to get started on another sweater in the new year. It looks like the “Button Me Up pullover” was my primary choice.

I really dig Zephyr Style patterns though. So far I’ve never tried any of them – I’ve just been pining from afar. “Glee”  and “Ms. Marigold” are two favorites – love the minimal seaming on both of these. Nothing says I can’t do all three!

What else? Strangely enough, I think I want to play with crochet a little more. It was fun to add it on items here and there. Seems like lots of knitters are dabbling in crochet also. I learned when I was 11 or 12, but it didn’t inspire me like knitting does now. The funniest thing? My favorite part was winding the yarn into balls. I used to rewind the yarn from one ball into another, even though it was unnecessary.  And I used to comb my cat’s hair back and forth between the two brushes. What did I think I was doing? Who knew I’d end up here?

christmas knitting: GO!

Now that the cardigan is officially complete, I couldn’t wait to get started on my next handspun project, especially since this one is ALL handspun. As I mentioned a few days ago, I am knitting the Handspun Scarf for my mom’s Christmas present (no worries, she will never read this).

handspun scarf

I just began working on it yesterday, so I’ve only gotten through one and a half repeats of the pattern. But it’s looking like it will work out fine. My major issue is with the yarn, not the pattern. I knew from looking at the yarn, that it wasn’t “even”, but I had no idea just how uneven it was! I am worried that all the obnoxious imperfections are very noticeable in the fabric. Maybe blocking will help? I do like seeing the colors come out, something I am fascinated by in using my handspun yarn. That’s one of the main reasons I would like to do more knitting with handspun, even though I still don’t.

handspun scarf