Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas Gifts Part 2

I started this post a few days ago when I had a cat on my lap who refused to let me get up. Then I something interrupted me and I never got to finish it.

This year was heavy on knitted gifts from me. Mark is actually the only one who didn't receive a knitted gift. Well, except his parents, but Mark is responsible for those gifts just like I am responsible for my parents' gifts.

I started way back in July with the first gift. You may recognize these as being Endpaper Mitts. I have been wanting to knit these for awhile, and since it calls for fingering weight yarn and I have a whole Knit Picks Palette sampler, I dug through my stash and found a color combination I really liked. As I was knitting I realized that these are definitely in my sister's color palette and she has never received fingerless mitts from me. So I put them aside for her.

For whatever reason, this year she was the one who was easiest to knit for and by the end of September I completed her other two gifts. The hat is the Zig Zag Beanie from Fall 2008 Interweave knits. I used a strand of Elizabeth Austen Andes wool and a strand of light blue Kidsilk Haze. Last Christmas Becky received a shawl out of the same wool, so these match that, they are just a little fuzzier. I really like the hat pattern. It is really easy to memorize and make a very stretchy hat. I made one for myself later, although then I used a bulkier worsted mystery yarn from my stash and no mohair.

Since I knew Becky had that shawl which can also work as a scarf, and now a hat in matching yarn, I though I might as well found out the set with a pair of mittens. To make them a little warmer than normal I used a strand of Kidsilk Haze with these too.

The next present set I knit was for my sister-in-law. Rachel told me awhile back that she wanted another pair of mittens for Christmas. Then the next time I saw her she wanted a hat too. I took her to Uptown Fibers one weekend when we were both home and showed her some yarn options. I knew she wanted something gray and soft, and she quickly settled on the Ultra Alpaca. The mittens were simple enough to knit, but I hesitated over the hat. After browsing Ravelry for quite awhile, I found a hat that I thought I would enjoy knitting and would fit Rachel's style. The pattern is Hermione's Cable & Eyelet Hat, which I thought she would enjoy since she is a Harry Potter fan. I did alter the pattern a little. I cut back on the ribbing and did an extra repeat of the cables and lace.

I don't really have to guess about what my mom wants for Christmas, she is quite clear with her hints. For one thing, I knew that she wanted a warmer pair of mittens. A couple years ago she got a plain worsted pair, but those don't really cut the wind enough on the cold days when she takes Sadie for a walk. I let her borrow my Norwegian mittens, which she really liked, but I am not willing to part with those and I didn't have the yarn in my stash to knit her a pair of her own. Instead I decided to try something new and knit a pair of thrummed mittens. I did have to buy the roving to insert, but Pat Catan's had small packages of it for needle felting, so I was able to get a whole lot of colors. The base yarn is Mountain Color's Weaver's Wool that I used for the Foliage she received for Mother's Day.

Then Mom started talking about how nice it would be to have a short scarf that could be buttoned around the neck. After more Ravelry searching, I came across this pattern. Stashbusting kicked in and I made it as long as I could from the rest of that Weaver's wool and Cascade 220 I had used for her Christmas 2005 hat. It worked really well because I had about the same amount of each yarn.

Like I said, stashbusting kicked in. When we decided to keep Amelia, I realized that she would need a stocking too. I don't know how many people have stockings for their cats, but we have always had stockings for the dog, so it made sense to me. Plus, all the pet stores were selling prepackaged cat and dog stockings. I had enought leftover yarn from Mark's stocking and my stocking to make Amelia her own from the same colors. Unfortunately my Knit Christmas Stockings! book was still in storage so I couldn't make a mini Rustic Lodge stocking, but that is all right since I am not sure I had enough yarn of one color to do that anyway. This is my improvised stocking design. I knit it toe-up and made a short row heel. After we moved I hung it on the door knob of the coat closet and every now and then Amelia would jump up and bat at it, so I think it was a success.

My dad is the hardest for me to knit for because I just don't see him wearing that many knit things. When the weather got cold and windy I lent him a scarf, so I decided to make him his own. I was really happy with my yarn choice. At Calla Lily Yarn & Gifts I found di.Ve' Autunnoc. First, it is very soft wool, perfect for a scarf. Second, I love the subtle color shifts. This picture doesn't really show them, but the yarn very subtly goes from gray to brown to green. I used the One Row Handspun Scarf pattern from Stephanie Pearl-McPheee.

The mittens were the last to be completed, I finished them Dec. 23. I wasn't sure my dad would like mittens, mostly because Mark has been very vocal about his not wanting mittens. My mom said he would, and she snuck me his leather mittens that he said fit perfectly so I could have an idea what size these mittens should be. This was another first for me. While all the other mittens above followed my basic mitten recipe (as developed from the Mittens 101 article in Knitty), this pattern featured a thumb gore which I had not done before. The pattern is "Manly Mitts" from the Summer 2005 issue of Knitty. Funny thing is, by the time I was done with them Mark could admit that maybe mittens wouldn't be so bad after all.

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