Knit Happens at Christmas

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When I learned how to knit three years ago, I had no idea how much of a Christmas tradition it would become. What started as a pair of socks for everyone turned into special orders to specific knitted items and/or specialized projects.

I’m not complaining in the least because I love giving handmade gifts. Sometimes I wonder if my friends and family feel that way – there’s always that little voice that wonders if they’re thinking, “oh no, not again!” However, everyone’s excited responses told me I hit the mark this year!

My Christmas knitting odyssey began in early August. My stepmother very specifically asked for lightweight dishcloths. So, I tracked down some Sport weight cotton and got to work:

Yarn: Premier Yarns Cotton Fair (Violets and Cocoa)
Patterns From: Eight Linen Washcloths

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Next, I knit up some socks for a few friends that haven’t received socks since the first knitty round of Christmas. I made a simple 3×1 ribbed sock with a touch of color work in various worsted weight yarns (my yarn stash came in pretty handy!). Then, I got creative and paired each pair of socks with a book. Now these simple socks are “Reading Socks!”

Yarn: Various stash yarns, worsted weight
Pattern: Ann’s Go-To Socks

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One of my friends is a fellow Twi-Hard, so I made her a replica of a hat worn by Bella in the movie version of Eclipse. This was my first attempt at color work beyond the heel and toe of a sock. While I love how it turned out, this project reinforced my overall preference for textured patterns instead of color work.

Yarn: Lion Brand, Vanna’s Choice, (Green and Natural)
Pattern: Twilight Eclipse Bella Striped Hat

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My love of lace knitting got a nice workout with a scarf I made for my aunt. I found this pattern while playing on Pinterest and it turned out to be a beautiful and relatively easy pattern.

Yarn: Paton’s Classic Worsted Wool, (white)
Pattern: Birch Trees Scarf

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When I made my mom a kitchen towel last year, my sister wanted one, too. So, I decided to make one for her for Christmas. While a bit unconventional, this towel is highly absorbent and very sturdy. A row of buttons allows for the towel to be secured around an oven handle.

Yarn: Sugar n’ Spice Solids and Twists (Wine and Cottage)
Pattern: Triangles Towel

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Last, but not least, I made my mother something very special. Her kitchen window has long been in need of a pretty curtain or valance. I just so happened to come across a stunning lattice lace curtain pattern and thought it would look fantastic on her window. It’s one of the larger pieces I’ve ever made and it turned out beautiful!

Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Sport (Platinum)
Pattern: Dappled Lace Cafe Curtain

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One section of a 48″ panel

Knitting gifts is always fun, but now I’m excited to pick up my knitting needles and make a little something for myself!

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c.b.w. 2015

Merry Knitty Christmas!

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Another Christmas means another year of knitting gifts for family and friends. I made everything from socks to cowls to kitchen towels, which made for an interesting few months of knitting that never left me bored.

If you’re on my Christmas list, don’t scroll down any further unless you want Santa to bring you coal.

I’m serious, Santa is watching you.

Spoilers!!!

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I love working with cotton yarn, so for two people on my list I made cotton dishcloth and kitchen towel sets.

Tile Stitch Kitchen Towel (improvised pattern)

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Triangles Kitchen Towel

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Paired with Stacked Barrels and Simple Weave Dishcloths

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For a friend who doesn’t love a good kitchen towel, I made her a set of spa cloths in her favorite colors. I paired them with a bar of lavender soap for the ultimate spa experience.

Baby Fern Stitch and Basic Diamonds Spa Cloths

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Friends and family that received hats last year, got cowls to match their hats. The Leaving Cowls were made using leftover hat yarn, while the Present Cowl was made to look like jeans (something I know my friend would like and it matches her hat without being too matchy matchy).

Leaving Cowls

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Present Cowl

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While visiting family over the summer, a little prodding revealed a family member likes to wear scarves. I had no idea what to get him for Christmas, so this piece of info came in very handy!

Men’s Cashmere Scarf (or wool!)

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What would any knitting marathon be without pulling out my sock loom? For the ultimate Harry Potter fan, I made a pair of Gryffindor themed socks using a pattern called Hermione’s Day Socks. It was very tempting to keep them for myself!

Hermione’s Day Socks

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Last year I tried and failed (more than once) to make a pair of fingerless gloves for someone who really wanted a pair. So, this year, I was determined to find the right pattern and learn how to make a thumbhole. The first pair was an epic fail, (they are now a ball of yarn), but the second pair came out perfectly.

Peaks Fingerless Mitts (from Sock Loom Projects by Isela Phelps)

100_4864The gift knitting continues as I work on a baby blanket for a friend who is expecting. I’ll post pictures as soon as it’s done.

Happy Holidays!

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c.b.w. 2014

Knit Happens at Christmas

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With Christmas only a week away, I am busy wrapping all the presents I made over the last couple of months. In a year of financial challenges, I have to say I’m pretty thankful for my crafty skill set. Not only are handmade gifts one-of-a- kind (and from the heart), but they are a lot easier on the wallet.

Last year, I made a ridiculous number of socks for my family and friends. I’m sure they would have all loved another pair, but I decided they needed another accessory to go with those snazzy socks. My recent obsession with making hats came in pretty handy this holiday season. Starting in September, I sat down and knit a total of five hats in all different styles, (six if you count the one I made for myself). From the basic ribbed hat to a super cute owl hat, my circular needles got one heck of a workout!

From here on out, it is spoiler city for my family and friends. Don’t scroll down any further, unless you want to spoil your Christmas surprise! If you keep going, at least act surprised when you open your gift.

Seriously,  no peeking.

As for the rest of you, scroll past the stars to see some super cute hand-knit hats!

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This hat has already been ripped open and worn. My friend simply couldn’t wait until Christmas! It’s a simple 2×2 ribbed hat made out of my mom’s favorite yarn, Red Heart (Color: Aran).

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It goes with everything!

I used the same 2×2 rib pattern to fulfill a family member’s request for an Indianapolis Colts Blue hat. She wanted a big, thick hat to wear to the games, so I got to work. This super warm hat was made with Valley Yarns Northampton Bulky in Colonial Blue.

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Go Colts!

Pattern: Basic Ribbed Hat by Anne Laird

Last year, I made the Lucy Hat for myself. A family member loved it so much, I decided to make her one for Christmas. After finishing it, I admit I was quite tempted to keep it for myself. I love the color! This hat was knit with Paton’s Classic Worsted Wool in Plum Heather and Dark Grey Marble.

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I seriously want to keep this hat!

Pattern: Lucy Hat by Carina Spencer

Another family member has a thing for sports, so I made her a beanie in University of Arizona red and blue, (as an ASU alumni this hurt a little!). I combined and modified two patterns to make this hat (I liked the general shape of one pattern and the decreasing sequence on the other). I used Paton’s Classic Worsted Wool in Bright Red and Navy to knit this hat.

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Go U of A? Nah.

Pattern: Sorry no link for this one as it’s my own creation.

A friend of mine is obsessed with owls, so I made her a hat with an owl cable brim. To give it some serious personality, I embroidered eyes into every other owl and dubbed it the Peek-a-boo Owl Hat. This hat was made with Paton’s Classic Worsted Wool in Harvest Yellow.

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Peek-a-boo Owls!

Pattern: Owl Hat by Jennie Powell

Of course, some people just don’t like to wear hats, so I had to make some socks and other accessories. Another Knit Happens post is forthcoming, so stay tuned!

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c.b.w. 2013

Busy Knitting Needles

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As soon as I got done knitting socks for everyone in my family, I was free to jump into some fun projects for myself. Since Christmas, I’ve learned a few new skills including how to work short rows and play with slip stitches. All I can say is thank goodness for my favorite how-to book, Knitting 101, and youtube videos I can watch over and over again until I’ve mastered a particular skill.

Project: Lucy Hat (Knitscene Magazine, Winter 2012)

Gotta love that asymmetrical brim!

Gotta love that asymmetrical brim!

I fell in love with this hat the first time I saw the pattern. The style was perfect for my new wool peacoat, so I knew I just had to make it. Of course, that meant learning how to do short rows on circular needles and a woven stitch pattern that involved slipped stitches. From start to finish, this hat was a huge learning experience!

This project also introduced me to fabulous yarn that I know I will use again. Patons Classic Wool Worsted is a sturdy yarn that doesn’t split easily and it comes in a beautiful array of colors.

Project: Four Part Sampler Hat (Red Heart Winter Warmers)

Cute and Warm!

Cute and Warm!

Confession time: This hat is actually my second attempt at the pattern. I royally messed up the first one and it’s best left on a shelf where no one can see it! Part of the problem was my very tiny head. The pattern was simply too big, so I had to make some adjustments to the pattern along with using a different, thicker yarn, (Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice, Grey Marble).

The learning curve with this hat had to do with figuring out how to work a pattern “as established” in the midst of decreasing rows. In addition, I learned how to work another variation of a slip stitch.

When it was all said and done, I ended up with a super cute hat!

Project: Textured Scarf (Knit Simple Magazine, Winter 2012)

Textured Scarf

My new favorite scarf!

My recent sick days at home allowed me to finish this scarf in record time! I love knitting textures that are geometric and rustic, so this pattern was absolutely perfect for me. The best part is how easy it was to create the 3-D effect! All it takes are some strategically placed knit and purl stitches. Nothing fancy required!

Aside from the texture, my favorite part of this project is the yarn. I bought it two months ago because I loved the color, (Lion Brand Wool-Ease, Blue Mist).  Aside from blue, there are tones of purple and yellow mixed into the fibers. The result is a rich blue with a lot of depth – perfect for textured knitting patterns!

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Currently, I’m working on an afghan with really chunky yarn and a texture rich pattern, (Triangles & Squares Afghan, Knit Simple Magazine, Winter 2012). I changed the pattern by using more than one color of yarn, so I can make stripes that alternate between muted tones of blue, green, brown, and cream.  So far, I love, love, love the rustic feel of this project! I’ll share pictures when it’s done!

This month I joined Ravelry, so if anyone out there is part of this community let’s try to connect and share projects!

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c.b.w. 2013