2nd Annual Christmas Inspiration Bundle

Last year I put together a bundle on Ravelry of Christmas inspired knitting ideas (you can find that post here)  I thought it was a lot of fun so this morning I took some time to look through Ravelry and see what I could find for this year.

I did a search with the term “Christmas” and then sorted from newest added to Ravelry so I would find all the recent stuff.  I do love just doing random searches on Ravelry and eliminating the “hot right now” default search order because you can see some really interesting stuff.  There’s something out there for everyone is always my take-away.

Some of these will knit up really quick so if you’re looking for last minute gift ideas there are some great ones in this bundle.  Here’s the link.

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The Victorian Yuletide ornaments are by Jenn Sheelan who did the jar cover I did earlier this year in the panda yarn. I love her stuff and she has a couple of collections of ornaments.  Colorwork seems extra popular during the holidays and I loved the cowl and the fingerless mitts.  The Christmas present hat is adorable that that designer had a whole line of super cute holiday hats.  I’ve never seen a mug cap before but it seems like a good idea and might go well paired with a mug mat and a cute mug.  The Polar Bear Pouch is so adorable and I need to find a little person who would love it!  Sunny the Snowman is by Susan Claudino who did the pattern for Patch who I knit in October and who was my Rhinebeck trip mascot.  I will definitely be knitting a Sunny soon!

A couple more patterns to point out that are not in this bundle.  It’s not too late to join in on the Project Peace which is being hosted by the Healthy Knitter.  You can find more info on her blog but it’s a lovely free KAL.  I’ve started and the end product is a cowl and her hope is to bring a little peace into the world with knitters everywhere focusing on peace while knitting this cowl.  She offers daily reflections on her blog and I think the last count I saw was 19,000 knitters.

Another pattern I’ve been knitting is #Errnaments by PBJ Knits.  This is a $2 pattern but she is donating the profits to ChildAid, a nonprofit that helps children in Central America. It was created for the Just One More Row podcast and they are quick and simple mini sweater and stocking ornaments that make great gifts!  I bought the pattern for myself and gifted one to my friend Becky.

Hope you find something fun and festive to knit!!!

Last FO’s of the Year!

I hope everyone has enjoyed the holidays!  I can’t believe this is the last post of 2015!  I’m going to start with Christmas gifts that have been given and can now be revealed (most were finished pre-December).

First up are the fingerless mitts I made for two of my friends who went above and beyond this year and so these were more of a thank you gift as opposed to an actual Christmas gift.

Pattern is Minnesota Mitts Four Ways and is a great deal!  It’s only $2.50 and includes instructions for two types of fingerless mitts and two types of mittens.  These are the stockinette fingerless mitts (I hate ribbing so these were awesome!).  I used yarn from my stash – the neutral is Cascade 220 Superwash that I got from one of the rummage sale hauls.  The color is Stonehedge Fiber Mill Crazy Mill Ends which is a variegated yarn of various mill ends.  I did manipulate the color changes a bit as one of my friends loves pink so I wanted to get to the pink for one of her mitts. These knit up so quick and made great gifts!

Next up is this little star ornament which ended up being a gift for my hairdresser.

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I used the Knit Star Ornament pattern that was part of the 12 ornaments giveaway that was going on over on the HandsOccupied blog.  It was a great mix of knit, crochet and yarn craft ornaments.  I had hoped to make more but got sidetracked by the Ice River snood and hat but I’m definitely saving these for next year!

I got a last minute request to knit a, let’s call it – a building block scarf for Christmas.  It was something I had pinned years ago on Pinterest, a friend saw the pin and contacted me to see if I could make one for her son for Christmas.  I was able to find a pattern and had all the appropriate color yarn in my stash.  This is one of those projects that really requires the proper colors to make it work.  The pattern is Build-A-Scarf by Jessica Owen Day and is a great, quick knit.  I had that scarf done in no time and I knew it looked good because I took it out to work on and the 8 year old who was in the room said “hey, that looks like Legos!”  Score, one for me!

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And, then there were the Ice River patterns.  I shared the finished snood last week and have since finished the Ice River hat.  I did make a small modification that I saw on some other finished projects on Ravelry – I added the 3 stripes from the snood into the hat.  I love both!  And, of course, it’s been unseasonably warm here in the Midwest so I’ve not had a chance to wear them yet (although, I’m sure that’s coming soon enough..)

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There is one more FO but it has not reached it’s final destination so more on that later.  My brother definitely liked his TCU hat (unable to get him to model that) but it fit him great which was a super exciting bonus!

There is still plenty on the needles and I will share more on that next week when I start looking at ahead to my 2016 knitting plans!

What’s on My Needles This Weekend (or Merry Christmas to me!)

With the unexpected surprise of finishing my Christmas knitting by Thanksgiving I decided to participate in The Knitmore Girls‘ #Grinchalong this year.  If you don’t listen to their podcast (and, you should listen!) this is the second year they have done the #Grinchalong.  Last year I was in too deep with Christmas knitting to even think about it.  The contest rules are simple – do something that brings you joy and do NO Christmas knitting.

This was all going to play out well because I managed to hit a shop updated on Voolenvine Yarns so I treated myself to one of her Christmas colors – Deck the Halls.  It was set to be delivered on 12/5 and I planned on casting on the Verdure Shawlette by Fluffy Fibers (who also has an awesome podcast!).  However, the USPS did not cooperate and my yarn took quite a journey.

All was not lost because that first weekend of December I headed to Ann Arbor, MI to visit my best friend and her family.  I had read that Spun Ann Arbor was opening that week.  I mentioned to my friend that I’d like to stop in and check it out.  I need to insert a short back story at this point.  Before my friend had her four kids we got together each December and spent at least a day, if not a weekend doing our Christmas shopping.  We managed to continue when the kids were little but as they got older and had more activities it got to be a bit of a scheduling issue.  Sometimes life gets in the way but one day those kids will all be grown and so we adjust.

Back to my recent trip – I arrived at her house around noon and we took her oldest to his friend’s house and then had an entire four hours to ourselves!  We lingered over lunch and then headed to the yarn store.  It’s located in an historic old building in downtown Ann Arbor.  The building has been converted to house several small stores.  The shop was absolutely adorable and I loved it!  It was quite busy as it was opening weekend so I had little interaction with the staff who were busy assisting other customers.

I mean, look how cute it all was!!!  I always find it interesting to bring a non-knitter with me.  My BFF is a trooper and this wasn’t her first yarn store with me.  She was fascinated with the yarn swift which was in constant action with the lovely purchases.  Spun carries a wide range of both local Michigan yarns and other well known brands.  I was going with my eye out for Fibre Company Tundra to make the Ice River Snood by Curious Handmade.  I found it and they had it in the colors it called for – Snowdrift and Glacier (what perfect winter names!)  How could I leave it there?  And, then I touched it and it was all over – those lovely little clouds of poof were coming home with me.  It was a bit of a splurge but it was exactly what I wanted and it just seemed meant to be.

It may come as a surprise that I did not spend our entire four hours at the yarn store but I do try to be considerate of my non-knitting friends.  We did check out a few other shops, including a cool store called Found that did a lot of upcycling crafts and then stopped for a spot of tea at a great tea store down the street.  It was downright heavenly and I’m sure we both needed that time so much.

I came home and cast on the snood and knit it in two days – a record for me.  I also knit so long the last night that my shoulder was sore for two days.  I blame this on a very addictive knit and the Survivor finale.  Anyway, the pattern is amazing and I love how clearly she writes and even color codes her patterns.  The fabric this yarn created is just to die for.  I’ve barely taken it off since I finished it (and it does need a bit of blocking, maybe tomorrow).  I loved it so much and had yarn left over that I cast on for the Ice River Hat which I’m doing in the stripe color and perhaps adding a few of the neutral color stripes.

Sometimes knitting is something more than just a finished object. Sometimes it represents a time, place, memory of where it was knitted or where the yarn came from or what was going on at the time.  For me, every time I put on this snood and hat I will remember the unseasonably warm, December afternoon that I spent with my BFF enjoying the beauty of the season and the comfort of a 30 year old friendship.  That certainly makes this the best #Grinchalong project as nothing could bring more joy than knitting and my friends.  Maybe the post office did me a small favor by shuffling my Christmas yarn all over the country…

So, this is my Christmas present to me and now that yarn and that hat are calling my name.

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I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!  And, if you don’t celebrate I hope you are enjoying festivities at this time of year and I hope that you take some time and knit something for yourself!

Great Knitting Debates: Gift Knitting Edition

Back in the saddle this week – totally planned on doing a post last week but the week got away from me.  Good news is that I did get in a fun, knitting-related adventure which I will touch on later.  But, first, let’s talk about gift knitting because ’tis the season!

I feel that there are several issues which will cause quite a debate if brought up on the company of knitters.  One of those is definitely gift knitting so I thought I would share my thoughts on the subject this week.  I’m a huge fan of gift knitting.  I knit gifts every Christmas, and some years they become MLK Day gifts or Presidents’ Day gifts but that’s okay.  I also do not take into account the person’s “knitworthiness”  This is a term I’ve heard and seen thrown around with more frequency of late.  And, I feel it makes us knitters sound very snobby about our knitting.  No, I’m sorry, you’re not worthy of my knitting time.  Maybe I’m just lucky and I feel that everyone in my life is knitworthy.  But, I don’t think that’s it.  I feel everyone deserves a hand knit gift.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not knitting everyone I know a pair of socks, or even a scarf but there are plenty of little knit items I’ve made as Christmas presents over the years.  Years ago I read a book (can’t recall the title) and it was about using feng shui to clean your clutter.  It had a lot of good things to say but the one that really stuck with me was that once you give a gift it’s the receiver’s and you have to (in Elsa’s words) let it go.  In this case the author was talking to gift receivers and saying that even if it was a gift, if you are not using it, it does not fit or whatever the issue you are free to let it go.  Just because it’s a gift is not reason to hold on to the item.  I think of that when I’m giving a gift as well.  Maybe the person won’t know how long it took me to knit the item and maybe they won’t like it but that’s not really the point.  Maybe it ends up at their Goodwill store – well, hopefully someone will buy who does really want it.

I don’t normally knit for the same person year to year.  And, sometimes, I like to surprise people with a hand knit gift.  I’m not knitting it for their reaction but for my enjoyment of knitting and of gift giving.  And, let’s face it – how many socks/shawls/scarves do we as knitters actually need?  I’m going to knit all the time so I might as well share the joy of a handmade items with others in my life.

Sorry for the poor picture quality but these were all taken pre-blog and before I started working on my photography skills.  These are all gifts I’ve made in past as gifts for Christmas.  I would say that of the 4 I have no idea what happened to 3 of them.  I can tell you that the angel in the bottom corner was eaten by mice in my friend’s attic.  I will also say that my friend was so upset about it that I knit her another one.  Status of the replacement angel is unknown.  None of these (well, maybe the angel) took much time and I have no idea if the person who received them really liked them or not.  I was not even present when the wine or the stockings were opened.

So, where do you stand on gift knitting?  I hope if you are gift knitting that it is all going well 🙂  More on last weekend’s knitting adventure next week but now I have some knitting to get to!

FO Parade

I think I have a record number of FO’s this month.  Unfortunately many of them are Christmas gifts and some of the receivers might actually read this blog so I’ll just show some hints and will post full pictures post Christmas.

Let’s start at the beginning.  A third mermaid blanket.  This completed an order for two from a friend.  I think they will look super cute on Christmas!

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Pattern: Mermaid Tail Lap Blanket Yarn: Knit Picks Brava Worsted

Moving on, while I was writing last week’s post I came across a super cute little ornament pattern that I had to make up for someone on my list. More on this later but here is a sneak peak!

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Also on the Christmas gift list – another sneak peak!

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And, last but not least – from this month’s on the needles post – the infamous TCU hat.  Once I got going on this it actually knit up quite quick and I think it turned out great!  I don’t do much colorwork but there is still quite a bit of give in the hat so my floats were not too tight – yea!!

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That makes 4 (or actually 5 – I made two of the striped project) FO’s for November.  More exciting, and what I’m calling the Thanksgiving Miracle of 2015, I’m finished with all the Christmas knitting!!!!

I’m going to spend December working on a few “extra” Christmas projects for those little things that pop up.  I mentioned the ornaments on HandsOccupied site and she’s really been sharing some cute patterns.  And, I’m going to join The Grinchalong which is hosted by the Knitmore Girls.  I had a moment of weakness and ordered some Christmas yarn from Voolenvine Yarns on Wednesday.  I think I’m going to cast on the Verdure Shawlette by Fluffy Fibers and no pressure, maybe by next Christmas I’ll have a cute new shawlette to wear!

 

Holiday Inspirations

Well, there’s a whole bunch of Christmas knitting going on here at my house.  I just finished a custom order for a customer/friend for Christmas.  Many of the projects at the front of the line are hopefully going to be for Christmas.  As I sat down to write this post I was not entirely sure what I would write about but as I was scrolling through Instagram I was inspired by a post from HandsOccupied.  She shared a free pattern which is the first of her 12 Ornaments of Christmas and the first one is a cute star (check it out here).  I’m totally making one of these soon and can’t wait to see the rest of the ornaments.  I love quick, easy projects like this!

Anyway, it got me thinking so I did a quick search on Ravelry to find some other awesome holiday projects.  I put together a bundle on my Ravelry page so check it out here.

Christmas Ideas!

All of the patterns I chose are very Christmas themed and most are smaller projects but I have a few larger, more ambitious projects.  I think it’s clear that Christmas really brings out my love of Scandinavian knitting.  Something about the holiday just calls for all the awesome red, white patterns that are found in those patterns.  I like to be able to have some quick knits that I can give as gifts when needed.  They are super handy to have on hand or something that can be knit up quick if the need for a last minute gift arises.  I hope this inspires some holiday knitting!!

Do you know about creating a bundle on Ravelry?  This was the first time I created one and I think I enjoy the function. Basically, when you add a pattern to a favorite you can also add it to a bundle.  It cuts down on some of the scanning through all the favorites to find that one baby pattern or whatever you may be looking for.  I think I may create some more the next time I fall down the Ravelry rabbit hole.

Also, side note – I went through my favorites to bundle some of these because I love Christmas and I knew I had a lot of patterns already favorited.  And, I learned you should never go through your favorites because you see all of the awesome patterns that you needed to make “right now” and then you want to make them all.  And, I planned four more projects while flipping through, sigh…

Happy holiday knitting to all!

What’s on My Needles This Weekend

It’s hard this month to share much because it’s a lot of Christmas knitting but I feel that it’s a pretty safe bet that my brother does not read this blog so I can talk about the hat I’m knitting him.  When I was in Fort Worth in January and made the stop at Mad Tosh Crafts I found these kits for various Texas colleges that would knit up a scarf or hat.  They had TCU (Texas Christian University) kits (which made sense as the store is about 10 minutes from campus) so I picked one up.  Despite the fact that my brother was born and raised in the Midwest he has become southern quite fast so a nice warm cap would serve him well and he does work for the Athletic Department at TCU.  Now, if only I could knit a colorwork hat between January and Christmas!

According to my Ravelry page I started the hat in June and the first couple of inches knit up fine – standard ribbing and then I hit the problem section.

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The hat is knit flat, I’m sure due to the colorwork but as I continued to work I realized there was a huge issue with the chart. When it’s complete the white will spell out “Horned Frogs” which is the school’s team name.  As you can see the “g” is below the line so that’s what is in the picture and you need to start that and knit on it for a few rows before you find out if it matches with the rest of the words.  I should’ve realized it was a problem when my yarn was down at the “g” and I needed to start on the bottom of the “H” but I carried on and learned quickly that my letters were not matching up.  I counted, counted again, read the chart, double checked the written instructions and still got no where.  My next step was to turn to Ravelry.  The kit is put out Camas Creek Yarn and I found a group online and posted my question.  Basically, there were too many stitches and it did not tell you were to start the chart work.  I waited about a week and got no response.  I also sent a private message and not no response.  I finally tracked down an e-mail address on the website.

At first, I thought things were going to work out.  I finally got an e-mail response!!  She indicated she did not see an error on the pattern and offered to give me a call.  I responded with my phone number and some times I was available.  A week later she responded to my e-mail (after never calling) and explained the “g” dipped below the line (which I knew) and hoped that helped.  I gave up at that point.  Basically the pattern had you cast on 112 stitches and the chart for the colorwork was 74 stitches and there were no instructions on where to start the chart because obviously it needed to be centered.  I did the math myself and went on with my day.  The kit was really nice and the yarn was spot on for the colors of the school but I was disappointed with the lack of pattern support.

Once I finished the writing I decided to go ahead and join to knit the rest of the hat in the round.  I saw no point in continuing to work flat and having to purl back the long rows.  Plus, I was running low on yarn and needed to decrease the amount of the decrease rows to get it done.

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I used the Knitulator on Eskimimi’s site (you should check it out if you need to decrease or increase evenly across a row – it’s magic!) to figure out the decreases and just ignored the rest of the written pattern.  Good news is that it should be done before Christmas!!