Gifts of Christmas

With Christmas having come and gone, I pause on this New Year’s Eve to reflect on some special gifts of Christmas – both received and given.

  • friendship with an octogenarian
  • four part harmony sung with family
  • beauty appreciated by our 2 year old niece
  • worshiping at my father-in-law’s Christmas music concert
  • reminiscent laughter
  • reuniting with an out-of-state cousin
  • fun of surprising the Optometrist with unexpected gifts
  • the Optometrist’s excitement in seeing me open some sparkly gifts

As a homeowner I have come to realize how we don’t need more store-bought stuff, and neither does anyone in our families. Therefore, as a knitter, many of our gifts to others were some of my hand-knit creations:

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Egg to Alligator & Flower Fairy in a Tulip

These little reversible toys were Christmas gifts for our nephew and niece and are from the book Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys: Magical Two-in-One Reversible Projects by Susan B. Anderson. I remember playing with a sewn topsy-turvy doll at my grandma’s house when I was young. One side was Little Red Riding Hood and when you flipped up her skirts the Big Bad Wolf dressed in the grandmother’s clothes lurked underneath. I hope our littles will enjoy playing with these like I did in my childhood days.

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This Christmas gift was for my Mom, a Hitchhiker shawl/wrap, pattern by Martina Behm. I knitted one for myself this summer and enjoyed the pattern so much I wanted to make her one, too! I used Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the Mansfield Garden Party colorway and chose it because the color variegations match many of the colors she often wears.

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This set of six coasters were adapted from a Knook pattern (isn’t it just easier to learn to knit or crochet, rather than try to master this gadget?) and were given to my Uncle & Aunt. I used one of my favorite yarns, Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton in Ivory.

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For the past four years I’ve knitted Christmas ornaments, which has become a fun annual tradition. The pattern I originally selected in the fall was beautiful and required some simple color work, but was proving to be overly time intensive and the finished size was larger than I wanted hanging on the tree. So I moved on to Plan B, the free Santa Baby Ornament pattern by Susan B. Anderson. (I think the name of the pattern implies a small Santa ornament vs. the song by Eartha Kitt). It was a coincidence finding another pattern by Miss Anderson, and I enjoyed knitting these very much. Even though I knitted nine of these little hats, they were quick (appx. 30 minutes a piece), fun and, most importantly, low stress.

Also, a brief fall recap of items knitted during the fall amid dropping temperatures and changing leaves:

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Entries into the County Fair: Ember’s Embrace (3rd place ribbon), Big Red Dog (3rd place ribbon), baby booties & hat combo (2nd place ribbon). Total prize earnings = $14.00. Woo hoo! (It should be noted that this money has already been spent to purchase…you guessed it, more yarn.)

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This Tanzie headband was knitted for my student teaching partner, TJ. After working with her all semester I wanted to give her a little thank you gift and figured a hand crafted one would mean more. Since she frequently wore beanies and other fun hats, I thought she would enjoy this ear warmer. I (eagerly) asked her to open it after our last class period and she was so pleased I chose to use blue for the crocheted flower, which turned out to be her favorite color (the easy tutorial I used can be found here). I saw her at an end of the semester luncheon and she was wearing it, which made me happy.

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Two other fun love gifts were sent to my best friend Addie, who lives in Florida. She’s the proud owner of two Siberian huskies, so as a part of her birthday care package, I knit a husky dishcloth, which she loved. And since Florida falls/winters are much warmer, this thin scarf can either be used as a light layer or a fun, bright accessory.

Finally, this fall I also completed my first mystery knit along (KAL). I remember seeing information last fall about the Stephen West KAL and thought it would be a fun challenge. This fall the timing worked out for me to dedicate a month to this year’s “Exploration Station” project, almost exclusively. I enjoyed working with the Ella Rae Lace Merino yarn (still have some left over for small projects – i.e. baby booties), was pleased with my fun color choices, grew as a knitter learning some new stitch techniques, didn’t let minor mistakes get me down for too long, and am proud that I kept up the pace with the weekly clues! The shawl is a sportier look for me, which is fun on days when I want to have a more casual look.

Now in my knitting queue for the New Year:

  • finishing a baby blanket ASAP
  • finishing a pair of socks for the Optometrist
  • hopefully a hat for me?
  • maybe also a cowl for me?
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