We draw names in our family...which is the very best thing ever! Nobody really NEEDS anything, but by drawing names everyone gets a little special something on Christmas morning. Part of our family lives very far from us, so really, the best present, would just be togetherness on Christmas. Since that cannot always happen like we'd wish...we pick names and share gifts. My favorites are handmade.
My little August picked his Grandpa's name for Christmas. Since he is three he painted a beautiful watercolor for him and Mama 'helped' him knit a Green Bay Packers hat. He played his role - he made the hanks of yarn into yarn cakes. He loves using that swift and ball winder. Usually, if we avoid a nasty tangle, it is helpful. Grandpa Jeff really loves the Green Bay Packers as a Wisconsin Native I suppose that is more of a responsibility.
The yarns were such vibrant colors I wasn't sure how I would like them together, and I guess when you love the packers - you'll love a bright green and bright yellow hat.
I made it the good old fashioned ribbed way - just the way I like hats and I used the same yarn that I love. It is Shepard's Wool and so soft! I recently heard that it pills up when you wash it, so far I haven't washed any of it, so I am not speaking from experience, just from the word around the yarn shop. Simon and Gus's hats are holding up really well and I suppose they are nearly a year old now, still soft as ever and in really great shape.
I cast on 96 stitches for this hat, just to be sure it would be big enough, and it fit on Shane's head, so it ought to be big enough, no offense love. I just k2, p2 the whole way around until it was big enough. I even used Grandpa Dave aka Santa as a model/tester.
If it makes Santa happy it ought to make anyone happy. Maybe Grandpa Jeff will send us a photo of himself in the hat? Merry Christmas Dad!
I went into Joseph's Coat, in search of some washable wool - soft enough to be a baby blanket. I had a pattern in mind. I'm not following it exactly, just loosely. I am knitting every row, to get a beautifully simple garter stitch, and I love how the blanket is turning out. I just visited the Purl Bee and strangely enough this very pattern (in a kit) is featured right now. I wish I could afford one of these kits, but I had to write my own adventure. I bet that Alchemy yarn is completely amazing! I chose something washable (for Mama Lexie's sake) and still soft enough for snuggles and wool for warmth and because I simply love wool. I have always been drawn to natural fibers, but after only a year of knitting I definitely prefer wool over any other fiber. There are some amazing bamboo yarns I've worked with and some blends that I like but if I can get wool, that's what I'm gettin'.
The yarn I chose is just a simple 100% Superwash wool made by Cascade Yarns. In one delightful ball you get 100 grams/3.5 oz. The suggested needle size is a 7. I've been using my dice needles that I got on our incredible beach vacation this past summer, they are actually a size 8. The yarn is made in Peru and really easy/pleasing to work with. I am loving how the blanket is turning out. I don't want to post too many photos of it, as I'd like to reveal the finished product when I'm completely done, with a sweet baby girl wrapped in it. Could be any day now, and that blanket is far from finished! Mama's got her work cut out for her. Somehow I'll squeeze it in with all of the other projects in my pot.
Happy Holidays! Happy Knitting!
We've had a houseful of love for the past couple of weeks and we will for nearly a month into the future. Don't get me wrong - that is the way I like my life - full of people and making constant memories. Really everyday feels like a special day - yesterday we decorated our tree - two days before we went and chopped it down. Even a venture to the mall (a place I detest) was fun with Simon and Gus - they got to see Santa and I got a couple of gifts while we were there. Everyday brings something new and exciting and it seems to fly by. The time I get to spend knitting isn't always guaranteed, but whenever I have idle hands I pick up my needles. I tend to have several projects going at once...so I can always just take 5 minutes and accomplish something - a row or two on a blanket I've been working on for my baby niece - due in a week, a row on the Birthdaymas hat for my dad, a quick scarf for a sweet friend's birthday (I can make one of those during a movie if I really set my mind to it) and I use super chunky yarn.
Amy took these photos - so I can't take credit for their fabulousness. But, the orange scarf, I suppose I can take credit for. She and I took a photography class near the beginning of the year and you can see she's got some talent just from these two photos. This scarf was a 'whip it up quick' project. I had a skein of chunky wool ease yarn that I'd picked up at Michael's or Joann's at some point - benefit to this yarn is that you can wash it and you don't need to worry. To give it a bit of flare I knitted it on my size 15 metal needles and threw in some variegated sock yarn. I have a bundle of balls of sock yarn that I'm hanging on to for when I finally finish that first sock and get sock crazed. Not sure why I ever did a blog post about it, because now I have to finish it at some point, but I'm thinking about taking another class in the new year...that will motivate me to master the art of knitting socks. Some of that variegated Deborah Norville sock yarn is beautiful though so I've been tempted to throw it into a hat before as well. It is 50% superwash merino wool and 25% bamboo 25% nylon. It is really soft and also machine washable. I really love it and I'm sure I'd love it on my feet, but I also love it mixed into this scarf.
I decided I'd knit two rows and purl one row which gave this scarf the ribbed look it ended up with. I don't have a pattern, I just made one up. I cast on 14 stitches to start and then just rolled with it. When I start a scarf, randomly, I just pull it apart near the beginning if I don't care for the pattern I've created. So there you have it - a scarf.
So many gifts I want to make - so little time. Every 5 minutes spent knitting counts.