Category Archives: ornaments

Holiday Knitting 2013

Another holiday season has come and gone – and I completed a few knitting projects along the way…

As usual, I knit a pair of worsted weight socks for my mom – she has cold floors and likes the extra thickness for warmth. She has three pairs of handknit socks now, so this pair is the fourth. Her other pairs are in blue, green and a variegated blue/purple, so I thought I’d give her something in a neutral color this time. I have a lot of yarn left from the stash that I inherited when my Aunt Pat passed away a couple of years ago, so I chose two skeins of Lion Brand Wool-Ease – which gives Mom a hint of wool but keeps in her acrylic comfort zone. One of these days I’ll convert her to wool, but figure I’ll do it a little at a time. :)

I used my go-to worsted weight sock pattern, which is the Winter Socks from the Magic Loop book. It’s a very easy, quick knit – I started the socks on December 20th and finished them tonight, December 29th (and that’s with taking a day off to finish another project that I’ll post about soon). I worked on them while Mom was here over Christmas, but hadn’t quite finished them before she had to head home, so I’ll drop them in the mail this week.

Along with Mom’s socks, I knit a couple of other quick projects. Knowing that the socks wouldn’t be done on Christmas day, I still wanted to have a gift for Mom to open. And Ron’s aunt was going to be coming along with his dad on Christmas morning, to keep him company since this is the first holiday season since Ron’s mom passed away in September, so I wanted something for her to open as well.

I’d seen some photos and videos around about arm knitting, so I watched a couple of tutorials and decided to give it a try. I made two arm-knitted infinity scarves in two evenings – they were extremely quick to make (less than an hour each) and pretty easy too, as soon as I got the hang of it. I’ll post a description and quick tutorial of what I did soon, but I think it’s a great technique for making gifts. The scarves are thick and warm and were well-received by both recipients.

Last year I had knitted ornaments for teacher gifts – this year I wanted a little variety. I found a pattern for a ‘Spa Day Facecloth’ that I liked, so I made five of them in first couple of weeks in December. I paired each one with a bar of sandlewood soap and gave the sets to each teacher and a couple of our TravelingMom team as well.

The last holiday craft was one I did with the girls and didn’t involve knitting. I’d found this idea on Pinterest and thought it was really cute. Hannah and I picked up a package of red ornaments at Michaels, along with some tan acrylic paint and tiny red pompoms. Add in each of my girls’ thumbs (plus a black Sharpie), and we made Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ornaments. They turned out really well, although next time I would label each thumprint so as to keep track of which came from whom. We gave these to neighbors, friends and family.

Christmas 2013 022

Overall, the holiday knitting and crafting was a success – but I’m definitely looking forward to some knitting for fun, without a strict deadline. I’ve got a couple of other pairs of socks to finish, and I’d like to make some larger projects coming up too.

Bring on 2014!

A New Year and Knitting Goals

IMG_6511Another year has gone by and I wanted to take a few moments to give an update on my holiday knitting projects and what my goals are for 2013…

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 IMG_5666(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. :)

IMG_6652Along 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.

IMG_6690I’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.

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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…
  5. Get comfortable knitting from charts.
  6. 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!

Deck the… Balls!

IMG_6419I have become a slight tad obsessed with knitting lately.

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.

IMG_6374The 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).

IMG_5674I 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. :)