Now I’ve finished my blogging frenzy and caught up with the things I haven’t been able to blog about, I thought it would be useful to pull together a list of the all things I made for Christmas gifts this year. I had a lot more free time than money this year, so thought handmade gifts would be a good option. Some took a little while longer than I had anticipated, but I learnt something with every single project and really enjoyed making them. The recipients also seem really pleased with the gifts, so definitely worthwhile. During the process I also fell in love with Malabrigo Worsted yarn, and with making fingerless mitts. They keep me hands warm enough in most situations, and I can still use my phone (plus I can co-ordinate the colour with my nail varnish!). Anyway, here’s a list of gifts I made for Christmas in 2012:
They’ve kept me busy for the last 2-3 months so now it’s time to knit something for myself!
I thought I’d like to knit my Dad something for Christmas but wasn’t sure what. Then I came across a nice pair of gloves, bought the pattern and yarn, and then got stuck. I had no idea there were so many different sizes in gloves and I had no idea what size my Dad would be. I measured mine and my boyfriend’s hands and the sizes in the pattern seemed huge. I asked friends for advice, and everyone was extremely helpful. The pattern designer even spotted my cry for help and came to my rescue. I was all set to go. Then I started knitting. Oh my word. The whole glove is a rib pattern, so a bit slower than regular knitting (all that switching between knit and purl stitches!) and combined with the fact I was making them in 4 ply yarn on 3.25mm needles, it made for very slow progress. Once I realised this was going to take a LOT longer than I had anticipated, and still might not even fit, I abandoned that idea and put them to one side to make for my boyfriend at a later date (so I can measure as I go!).
So then I needed a different present for my Dad, when I remembered my friends had recommended the Turn a Square hat pattern (fortunately in worsted weight yarn so much quicker). So I chose some new yarn, and eventually got going. I only had a few days before Christmas but I was off work so could dedicate time to it. The cast on took a few attempts (the yarn was quite fluffy and split easily therefore I found myself knitting into part of the strand thinking it is a full strand), but I got there in the end and once I got started on the hat part it was all smooth sailing. The hat is a little long I think – it’s a bit too long for my boyfriend (in photo) and when Dad tried it on he had the same issue. I think if I was to repeat it I’d start decreasing a little before recommended in the pattern. I’m really happy with the colours though, and think I have enough to knit another one the same so may do that for my boyfriend.
Here’s the hat being modelled by my boyfriend:
Turn a square hat
And a close up of the stripes:
Stripes close up
I can definitely see myself using this pattern again, especially with this sort of yarn so that the colour gradually changes as you knit. It’s a good project for trying a new type of cast on – the hat itself is really straight forward but the tubular cast on and rearranging of stitches is a little tricky if you’re used to just a long tail cast on. My project notes are in Ravelry.
Wondering what to make for a fellow knitter? I found this great little decoration to add to your Christmas tree which is knitting themed. I made it for my Grandma (who bought me the Knitty Gritty book last year which started me knitting) for Christmas:
Knitter’s tree decoration
It’s a quick knit and you can customise and use up some of your scraps of yarn to make nice mini balls of wall for the decoration. The hardest part was finding some beads to fit on a cocktail stick! I went for slightly larger than the cocktail stick (7mm I think they were) and used glue to secure them.
My pattern notes are on Ravelry, and the free pattern is available online.
When I got my Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi book for my birthday, my sister commented that her boyfriend would like the lion (he’s Leo starsign), so I made him for Christmas. It was really quite fiddly (when I made Norman the Gnome I used 4mm needles but for Leo I used 3.25mm despite still using DK yarn).
All was going OK until I tried to thread the i-cord through for his legs. It was far too tight for them to fit through! I decided to keep him the size he was and instead I made individual small legs and attached them to the outside of the body. My pattern notes are on Ravelry and here he is in all his glory:
Leo the Lion
I really would recommend the Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi book – I’ve done a few of the patterns from there now and every one has been really clear and I’ve been happy with the end result.
Knitted gifts aren’t for everyone (though there’s many more options than there are with cross stitching fortunately). I wanted to make some accessories that anyone would appreciate. I did get some yarn and patterns ready to make Christmas decorations, though I couldn’t decide on what to make and many of them seemed to involve lots of separate parts and seaming (I *hate* seaming!). I did make this mini Christmas tree, but didn’t know what to do with it.
Teeny Tiny Christmas Tree
Then I remembered seeing some great little hats and scarves to put on bottles of alcohol which a friend had made. I dug out the pattern and gave it a go. Fortunately I’d got over my fear of stripes having completed the Nemo mittens, so I made three different sets of hats and scarves for various booze for family members:
My project notes are available on Ravelry. What’s even better is that they have been repurposed by my sister and her boyfriend, who have added winter accessories to their meerkat toy. Great to see them being put to good use!
Michael Meerkat with hat and scarf
My Mum and her brother always have a bit of fun on Christmas trying to find the most ridiculous/useless gift for each other. This year, I thought I’d join in and knit Mum something silly. I looked around Ravelry for inspiration, and then it hit me… a toilet roll cover! We’ve always commented on how pointless these are, so I just knew I had to make one. I was initially tempted with a doll one (like the beauty below):
Classy toilet roll cover
Then however, I spotted something which I just couldn’t understand. A toilet roll cover which looks like a black forest gateaux. Because of course it’s totally normally to have cake in your bathroom. It was perfect. So I sourced the materials, learnt a few new skills (making and attaching the cherries was a new thing for me), et voila…
Black forest gateaux toilet roll cover
Mum wasn’t sure what to make of it. Fortunately I had already told my sister what I had made for Mum, so she was ready to reassure her it wasn’t a serious present and I didn’t really think she’d want a toilet roll cover. Once she realised that I think she appreciated it!
It was fun to make something different, and useful to learn new skills too. If you’re interested in making your own, you can view my Ravelry project notes, the free pattern is available here, or if you fancy something different there is a whole book of toilet roll covers.
You may think there are a lot of Mmmmmm in in the title of the post. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of knitting with Malabrigo Worsted though you will totally understand why. I’d heard people talk about it and seen groups of people on Ravelry who are obsessed with Malabrigo but I was sceptical and didn’t trust the hype. How wrong I was!
I asked for ideas of Christmas gifts from my knitter friends and fingerless mitts in Malabrigo Worsted seemed to be a popular response. So I ordered two different shades, planned the patterns, and waited for the order to arrive. Once it did, I just couldn’t stop squishing the yarn. It’s just so lovely. Really. I’m not exaggerating. Then I started knitting with it. And did more squishing. And completely fell in love. Fortunately, you can usually complete a pair of fingerless mittens in less than half a skein, which means I did also get some cheeky ones for myself out of the yarn as well!
These are Malabrigo hand thingies in Pearl:
Squidgy hand thingies
These are Cozy Thermal Mitts in Velvet Grapes:
Cozy squishy mitts
And these are i carry ur heart mitts in Velvet Grapes (for me!):
I heart you mitts
The recipients seemed to really like them, in fact one would like me to knit more (her Mum also wants a pair!). And seeing as I love both the yarn and patterns so much I’ll be happy to oblige of course.
The one downside of Malabrigo Worsted is that it does pill, but I can overlook that minor thing when it’s so incredibly squishy. Seriously, you *have* to try this yarn if you haven’t yet. Did I mention it’s lovely and squishy? Look…
Malabrigo Worsted in Pearl