Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Knitting

Some years I’ve knitted presents for people. One year I knitted for almost every member of my immediate family. It was a bit of a mad sprint at the end, and a lot more stressful than I’d anticipated it being when I started doing it. I took a couple years off of holiday knitting after that.

For the most part, knitting handmade gifts isn’t exactly cheaper than buying a present. But there really is nothing like a handmade gift, especially if you’ve had the time (and taken that time) to strategize something that could really suit them.

This year I ended up knitting for a couple family members, as well as a few friends who weren’t expecting anything. Christmas for me this year was as much about focusing on giving where it wasn’t expected as it was about décor or decadent food. It was a way for me to remember how blessed I’ve been with friends this year, and I thought about that, sometimes, when I was knitting away.

But first off, I made a shawl for my mom, using the Shaelyn Shawl pattern, which isn’t too challenging a knit but is really pretty.

I knitted this with a single strand of Henry’s Attic Zephyr, which is 50% merino wool and 50% silk. It’s a nice, soft yarn with a pretty sheen and is very low on the itch factor. This was a rather fine gauge knit, on size 3 needles.

The next shawl was for my friend Alison, using some of the same color I used for my mom’s shawl, but double-stranding it with a green color of the same fiber.

This was a chunkier version of the Shaelyn Shawl on size 6 needles, but just as soft.

I made the third shawl using Stephen West’s Boneyard Shawl pattern, double-stranding the blue and green sections with a grey strand of the same fiber (I was pretty obsessed with this fiber, as you can probably tell).

This was also done on size 6 needles.

Miracle of miracles, I did knit something using another fiber! This is one I’ve loved for years, another Henry's Attic fiber, this time alpaca. I did these for my friend Rob and wanted something simple and in a nice neutral. This yarn is all-natural colors, I assume they strand together colors from two different fleeces.

They’re the ribbed hand warmers from Purl Bee. I added a thumb to them, using a 1 x 1 rib on the thumbs so they’d have some texture, and knit them on size 3 double pointed needles.

This hat was done last, for my husband—I had the luxury of knitting it up quick and last-minute, as I could wait until December 25th, if possible, to finish it! I ended up finishing it up the day before. It’s 2 strands of the Henry’s Attic Zephyr (surprise, surprise) and another, slightly lighter red strand of another Henry’s Attic yarn that is 80% alpaca and 20% silk.

This was also a Purl Bee pattern, the large rib “thank you” hat. It’s a great, quick, and satisfying knit.

I also did this on size 6 needles. It was a slightly tighter gauge but had a nice amount of give and wasn’t too stiff.

I gotta admit it’s satisfying to knit up a bunch of presents. It’s fun to pack up some of them and ship them across the country to new homes. And I also like seeing the pile of ‘em before they go out!

In the new year I'm gonna try to start immediately knitting for next Christmas, including a "present project" every 1-2 months. That'll keep my pace regular without making it too stressful. We'll see how that goes.

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