The Last Knits of 2017 and Then Some

You wouldn’t know it by the snow falling outside, but it’s 2018 and the frenetic season of gift knitting is over and done. Well, not done for me. There’s still a few unfinished projects still on the needles, but they’re smaller things. Still, I am happy with what I did get finished, and it’s no small amount of knitting.

Scarves, hats, shawls, and socks - 2017 saw a lot of gift knitting. | withwool.com
Scarves, hats, shawls, and socks - 2017 saw a lot of gift knitting. | withwool.com
Scarves, hats, shawls, and socks - 2017 saw a lot of gift knitting. | withwool.com
Scarves, hats, shawls, and socks - 2017 saw a lot of gift knitting. | withwool.com

This is the second time I’ve knit the Elder Tree Shawl as a gift. One of these days I’ll make one for me. The pattern can be subtle or so so dramatic, especially if you add beads to every leaf. I used a single skein of Colinette Jitterbug which made a shawl-ette perfect for wearing tucked in to a coat. I also added beads to the picot bind off for extra sparkle.

Scarves, hats, shawls, and socks - 2017 saw a lot of gift knitting. | withwool.com
Scarves, hats, shawls, and socks - 2017 saw a lot of gift knitting. | withwool.com

I wasn’t sure what to make for a friend of mine, so I asked her what she wanted. She requested baby socks. Funny how well asking works. I picked up 2 skeins of Patons Kroy Socks FX, each a different color, and got to work. The charts in Kate Atherley’s Custom Socks where really helpful for getting the measurements I needed once I knew the length. As for the pattern, I used my my own basic toe-up recipe and sized it down. Both pairs came out pretty cute if you ask me, and there’s room to grow too.

Scarves, hats, shawls, and socks - 2017 saw a lot of gift knitting. | withwool.com

I tried something a little different last year and put something for myself on the gift list too, the Owl in the Thicket hat. It wasn’t a reward for finishing everything else, but a gift for myself because why not. I bought the pattern and the yarn a year ago and never made it to casting on. So I pulled out one of my favorite knitting bags and made a kit. I wound the yarn, printed the pattern, got the right needles, put the beads on my Fleegle beader, and gathered all the notions. While I didn’t actually cast on until after New Year’s Day, it was so nice to have that kit ready and waiting. I’ve finished the brim and am a few rows into the body charts. It’s been awhile since I’ve knit such a complicated chart, and I’m enjoying the change of pace. The yarn is lovely too. Why did it take me a year to get started!?

As for the stuff I didn’t finish, the first projects was a pair of socks for the Bearded One. Still working on the cable design for that one. The other is a hat which I’m halfway through designing. Plus, there’s a handful of ornaments from previous years which I haven’t started yet. At least I have a plan. Is anyone else finishing up their gift knits in January or getting on with the new 2018 knits instead?

A Christmas Nautilus + A Break

Weird ornaments are the best ornaments. #knitting | withwool.com

The fiber guild’s last meeting of the of the year is a break from the usual routine. We have a potluck and play white elephant with handmade ornaments. For the potluck, I brought pumpkin spice cookies. For the ornament exchange, I decided to go cute - weird cute - and made a nautilus.  Actually, I made 2 of them because I wanted one for my tree too.

Weird ornaments are the best ornaments. #knitting | withwool.com

I used the Nautie pattern from the Spring 2006 issue of Knitty. To get a smaller version, I used leftover DK and sport weight yarn instead of worsted which made nicely-size ornaments. I’ve got the full list of mods and changes here if you want to make your own. Both the Nauties are about 5.5” from the back of the shell to the tip of the tentacles. You can’t miss them on the tree. I still have to embroider 2017 on the one I kept, but that shouldn’t take too long.

Now, back to the exchange. I’m glad I went with the nautilus instead of a more traditional idea. The nautilus got a lot of laughs and ooh’s and aah’s. It was also “stolen” a few times which did make me happy too.

Weird ornaments are the best ornaments. #knitting | withwool.com

The nautilus’ are far from last FO for 2017, but the others are still a secret. I’ll share them with you next year when I come back from my holiday break in mid-January. Until then, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. Maybe it be full of beautiful yarn!

Weird ornaments are the best ornaments. #knitting | withwool.com

Christmas Knits

Before it’s definitely old news, I did knit a few things for Christmas. I didn’t feel any obligation to knit for everyone on my list so there were no crazy deadlines to stress over. The projects were small, simple, and only took a few hours of dedicated work. I hope I remember this lesson for 2014’s holiday season. 

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The first projects off my needles were a set of kitchen towels for a friend who recently bought a house. I used one ball of Knit Picks Dishie, US 6 needles, and two of my own patterns: the Laddered Cloths and the Bridges Kitchen Towel

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The Cornered Slouch Hat, a pattern I released last December, was also a Christmas gift and I was incredibly tempted to keep it for myself. 

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Then, there were stockings. 

Big & Stripey here only counts as Christmas knitting because, A, it’s a stocking, and, B, I knit it during Christmas. My other travel project wasn’t working out and I wanted to just knit something. Decided I wanted to make a stocking with stripes and went from there. It was a simple thing to keep my hands busy during long car rides and low-key gatherings. I’ll block it eventually. Probably, right before it’s time to hang it up 11 months from now. 

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The tiny one continues my tradition of knitting a new ornament every year. I couldn’t resist putting a palm tree down the leg since the Bearded One and I have been surrounded by the things since we moved.

Now, no more talk from me about Christmas knitting until it’s time to start knitting for this year. The time will arrive sooner then it should. Always does. 

Cheers!

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I cut things a little close this year but the annual ornament tradition continues. 2009 saw a stocking, 2010 had mittens, and 2011 got a stocking hat. 2012 gets a cuddly and portly house complete with doors, windows, our initials, the year, and a smoking chimney. The ornament has a high profile spot on the tree and makes me smile every time I walk past. 

I hope you’re enjoying the holidays with lots of food, good company, and piles of finished gifts. Cheers!

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The Other Side

I’ve spent the last few days trying to finish up just a few more projects so I can start 2012 with a clean slate. This has only really worked with the last of the cookie dough.

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Normally, this would be the time to show off some artfully arranged photo with cookies stacked on top of each other or neatly arranged near a hot, tasty beverage; however, I just didn’t feel like it. Also, they were too tasty to sit around that long. We were woofing these things down as soon as they were cool enough to not burn away our palettes. 

The recipe: Gingersnaps from the Smitten Kitchen. I first saw this recipe in November and immediately put it on the list for Christmas making. The dough eventually becomes four dozen cookies so I just baked half to take to various holiday gatherings. The second batch I made yesterday didn’t last the afternoon. Somehow, I can see these cookies becoming a regular occurrence around here which is the greatest recommendation I can give. The Bearded One concurs.

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Christmas has been good to us this year. Lots of food, friends, family, and happy times. There was one last bit of knitting on Christmas Eve but making a tiny stocking hat before bed was just fun instead of frenetic. 

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Shadow got a ball of catnip and a new bed (which he has since ignored) for Christmas. Also, all the boxes he could stand to sleep in. Hilarity ensued. Didn’t take him long to get back to his normal self though.

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Thanks for reading and sticking around through 2011! I’ll see you in 2012.

Le Pom-Pom

A few nights ago I was feeling a bit like a grump but the feeling has mostly passed and I’ve returned to the whole Christmas thing. The latest Adventures of Superhero Girl sums up my feelings on the matter pretty well. Anyway, presents have been wrapped. Plans have been made to bake cookies. Christmas music, though, still isn’t going to happen. I can only listen to Bing Crosby sing “Frosty the Snowman” so many times before my right eyebrow starts twitching.

The whole Christmas Grump unfortunately didn’t just start two night. It’s been around at least since the start of December and is probably the reason my gift knitting is done. Just didn’t feel like burning that last drop of midnight oil to knit something for everyone on my list. Blasphemy, I know. My love of yarn is still eternal though. It just made a brief layover for pom-pom’s.

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Pom-pom’s may be questionable additions to clothing but make excellent ornaments 100% of the time. Way back in November I saw the Clover pom-pom maker at work and was quite intrigued. After buying a set, I dug out all of my leftovers to have a bit of fun. Makes me glad I  don’t get rid scraps and odd grams of yarn even if I don’t particularly like it or know what to do with it at the time.

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It took me a while to wind a few dozen grams of sock yarn onto the arms but the end result is worth it. Plus, who knew purposely cutting yarn could be so much fun. It’s almost as fun as fluffing the giant ball of wool that comes out of that thing.

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Another fun thing about pom-poms, they’re pretty easy to play with. I turned this one into an apple without any trouble at all. I just slipped the loop through an eyelet and pulled it into place. FYI, the leaf is from the ever so handy Winter Leaves pattern by Lee Meredith. 

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Before I go, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Skip the stress and the have a some fun instead. I’ll see you on the other side.

O Christmas Tree

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Pattern: Holiday Bird Ornament

Yarn: Worsted

Needle: US 4 (3.5 mm)

@rav

My default Christmas gift is the Christmas ornament and I look for the for the perfect pattern all year. The Holiday Bird Ornament from The Purl Bee was this year’s choice by a landslide. Digging through and matching up my scrap yarn was almost as much fun as the knitting. By the time I was finished, I had a kaleidoscope of red, green, blue, purple, yellow, and white.

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Most of them have migrated to their new nests but these two stayed with me. Fair Isle has been preying on my mind lately and I couldn’t resist mixing it with this pattern. The birds were great practice because of their small size but large stitches. Had I known how well they’d turn out I would have made more to give.

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Since Fair Isle wasn’t finished with me and I had a little extra time before the 25th, I knit up this cute mini stocking in honor of the first Christmas in the new house. Now I want one for 2010, 2011, and beyond. Since 2010 will be my third year making ornaments, knitting them will officially be my own holiday tradition. I can’t wait.

The Holidays are upon us but only if you knit (or crochet)

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I started my Holiday knitting early this year by accident.  If left to my own devices, gift knitting would have taken over in late September instead of late July.  I'm definitely not going to complain though since I might actually finish everything I have planned.  It's not just Christmas, there are also lots of birthday gifts to finish.  Almost everyone I know has a birthday in the next four months.  With all these deadlines, gift knitting has taken over my thoughts completely. The recipients have been decided upon as have the respective patterns and yarns. I even made up schedule of when things needed to be finished.  Yes, the battle plan is complete and hopefully there won't be too much revision.  Must resist the urge to keep adding to the list. 

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One goal on the list that I can tell you about is the accoutrement gift.  Basically, it's a small knitted gift that I can personalize and give to everyone on my list. For 2008, it was ornaments using the Knit Ornament pattern by Leigh Radford.  The pattern was a wonderful base because I could easily make each ornament unique without taking up too much time. This year's gift has already been decided but I'm not revealing it just yet.  In the mean time though, I'm getting back to my Hemlock Ring and a few episodes of Dr. Who.  Just because it's gift knitting season doesn't mean I can't make something for myself.