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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.)
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.
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?