Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category
I had so much fun knitting the holiday ornaments and gave out almost all of them as gifts. The only one I kept is the first one that I made – it wasn’t the greatest job of figuring out when to start decreases at the top, but I couldn’t bring myself to rip it out and start over since it was my first one. I’ll make another (better) one for our tree for Christmas 2013 – right now I’m a little burned out on them. I gave out a total of 12 ornaments to friends, neighbors, family and teachers. I also spent time sewing little drawstring gift bags for each ornament, which was almost as fun as knitting them. My craft goals for 2013 definitely include more time on the sewing machine.
Along with the ornaments, I also knit my mom a pair of socks for Christmas. I’d made her a pair last year and she liked them so much that I promised her another. I used a different pattern this time for some variety – I knit the H Socks from my 2-at-a-time Socks book by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. It was an easy and fun pattern and Mom really liked the design. The socks took about 10 days – with all of the holiday craziness I didn’t finish them until early Christmas morning, and quickly (and quietly) wrapped them and snuck them under the tree. I made them using a couple of skeins of blue yarn that I’d found buried in my drawer of old yarn from my crocheting days – they had to be at least 10 years old, but the yarn was acrylic and in great shape and it knit up just fine. My mom can’t wear wool, so I have to use acrylic yarn for her socks. I wanted a worsted weight yarn since her floors get very cold in the winter so she wears thick, warm socks.
I’m glad to be done with the holiday knitting so I can finish a couple of other projects that have been languishing on the needles for the past few months – as well as start some new ones. I already cast on a pair of simple stockinette socks in a fun self-striping yarn – those will be my take-along knitting to keep in my purse and knit on when I have a few moments here or there or when I need something mindless to work on. I have a couple of other things in mind as well that I’d like to start soon too.
So, on to my knitting goals! These may be lofty, but hopefully are do-able. There’s still so much that I want to learn/do when it comes to knitting.
- Knit a minimum of one pair of socks each month. I think this is manageable – and I love knitting socks. I also want to learn new patterns and techniques, including trying toe-up socks and some other types of heel construction (such as an afterthought heel).
- Knit a Fair Isle project. I had a lot of fun with the KnitFreedom video e-book course and the felted bag project, so now I want to go on and try a non-felted project to see how well I can manage the tension and different colors. I’m thinking maybe a hat or mittens would be a good first project.
- Knit a sweater. I successfully knit two shrugs a couple of years ago but have never tried an actual sweater. I’ve got yarn and a pattern for a simple kid-sized one that I’d like to work on this winter – although it realistically might not be finished in time to wear until next fall. We’ll see.
- Knit a shawl. I see so many beautiful projects and patterns on Ravelry on in the podcasts that I watch – I’m a bit daunted by the idea of charts, but love the challenge of lace knitting. Going along with this one is…
- Get comfortable knitting from charts.
- Last but not least – my goal is to blog here a lot more regularly than I did in 2012 about my knitting journey, my projects and everything I learn along the way.
Happy New Year and Happy Knitting!
Or at least with knitting a certain kind of project, anyway.
We are in the swing of the holiday season right now and for once I haven’t left my holiday knitting until the very last moment. Back in October, I was at the local yarn store and happened to spy a couple of sample ornaments. I loved the look – a clear glass bulb covered in a knitted sphere. I knew I had to try making one.
The pattern was available at the LYS, so I bought it and also picked up a package of the clear glass ornaments at Michaels pretty cheaply. My first attempt at the pattern wasn’t perfect – I began the decreases way too soon and the stitches at the top of the bulb were very stretched out. But my second one was better. And the third even better…
Until now, after finishing TEN ornaments (so far), I am not only feeling like an expert – but I’ve become addicted to making these. They’re quick and easy – good for a project to work on while watching tv or podcasts. And I can make one easily in a night (two at the most if I get knitting time both nights). I plan on using them for gifts for everyone from the girls’ teachers to neighbors and co-workers (shhh).
I think they’re cute – and they’re a great way to use up leftover sock or fingering weight yarn. I joke that I’m making ‘sweaters’ for the ornaments, although Ron says they look like ‘ornament socks’. I have two of the patterns (both are from Kalamazoo Knits) – Deck the Balls and Deck the Balls with Texture. There are several more patterns available (such as Deck the Balls with Lace and Deck the Balls with Aran), but I think I’ll stick with just these for now. I like the lace patterns, but would probably want to try those on colored glass bulbs instead of clear.
Maybe next year.
As I’m somewhat prone to procrastination, I didn’t really think much about Christmas gifts for 2011 until the season was well underway. In my defense though, it really didn’t feel much like Christmas this year, between having almost no snow to speak of in December and my mood in general being on the rather glum side. It really wasn’t until a couple of weeks before the big day that I began to seriously shop and consider what we were going to do in the way of gifts for grandparents, etc.
I’d had in the back of my mind for a while that I wanted to knit a pair of socks for my mom. She’s 78 years old, lives alone in a house with extremely cold floors in the winter time and it had been a while since I’d made her something as a gift. Originally I’d started a pair of socks for my oldest daughter but quickly realized that I was not going to have enough time to both finish that pair and knit a whole other pair for my mom, so it made more sense to give the pair I was currently working on to my mom instead and knit my daughter a pair sometime later, since hers weren’t specifically a Christmas gift.
I love the colors of this yarn that I used and was (slightly) tempted to hang onto it for a pair of socks for myself, but as it’s 100% acrylic yarn and my feet need to breathe, I decided it was best to use it for this particular gift. Acrylic is washer-safe for easy care for my mom and I knew she would love the colors just as much as I did. The pattern was the same Winter Sock pattern that I’d made twice before – it’s a good, easy, quick knit and I knew it would make a thick, warm pair of socks for my mom.
Not having my mom’s feet available to judge size, I used the next-best thing – my oldest daughter’s feet. She’s in a women’s size 8 shoe now, which I knew was roughly the same size my mom wears. My feet are much wider than my mom’s, so mine aren’t a good judge of fit for her socks. I simply guessed – and hoped, that the fit would turn out right. And thankfully after my mom opened them on Christmas and tried them on – it did!
I finished the socks three days before Christmas, but I wasn’t done knitting for the holiday yet. After deciding to make the socks for my mom, I thought about the fact that my mother-in-law would be there on Christmas morning while gifts were opened, and we didn’t have a gift picked out for her yet. Since I was hand-knitting something for my own mother, it only felt fair to make something for my mother-in-law too.
I knew I wouldn’t have enough time for another pair of socks, so I decided on something that would be a quicker project to complete, but still useful – and pretty. I found a free pattern for a Cotton Lace Scarf by using the Lion Brand iPhone app and luckily had the perfect yarn already in my stash. I began the scarf on December 22nd and worked on it every moment that I was sitting down. Which wasn’t a lot of them since we also were completing a big bedroom shuffle in the house, which necessitated painting, moving furniture and trying to get the house in somewhat decent shape for guests before Christmas Eve.
I finished the scarf in time – at 3am on Christmas morning, that is. And quickly packed it into a box I had ready and waiting, wrapped it and stuck it under the tree only hours before the kids had us awake and ready to attack the pile of gifts.
I only have one photo of the scarf – I forgot to take any pictures of the finished item in my rush to get it done. But it turned out really pretty and I wouldn’t mind making another one someday – when I’ll have a little more time to actually enjoy the process.
For Christmas 2012, I am determined to decide on and start any holiday-related projects in plenty of time! Like maybe October.