The Holidays – A Recap

In years gone by, I have “planned” on gifting knitted items, but like many, I never got around to casting on until it was too late to complete everything.  Though I still managed to write out a list of Christmas gifts that was way too long to accomplish, I started my Christmas knitting in early October.  Even though my last few items are still being finished, I am proud to say my immediate family was able to unwrap their hand-knits on Christmas day WITH all of the ends woven in!

The original list consisted of one lace cowl, two pairs of slippers, three pairs of convertible mittens (one with convertible thumbs for iPhone use), three adult male hats to match the mittens, a hat, mittens and cowl set for M, a cowl for M’s former daycare provider, and two other children’s hats.  Unfortunately, the lace cowl for my sister took almost two months to complete and I had knitting for M’s second birthday in the mix as well.  Below are the items completed thus far, the rest to come very soon!

I had decided that each year I would rotate immediate family members so that there was only one intricate project per year.  My sister was the lucky recipient this year.  The lace cowl, pictured below, is not the most challenging pattern, but I ran out of yarn and found myself unable to make it back to my LYS in a timely manner, severely slowing my pace.  I did really enjoy the pattern (Seahorses Nachaq by Lisa Akers) and though I used Cascade’s Kid Seta Noir, not providing quite as much stitch-definition as I might like in the future for this pattern, I do like the overall effect and outcome.  Not to mention, the gold with a touch of sparkle is perfect for my sister!

Next up was the set for my daughter.  I had taken her to our LYS months earlier (the same time I bought the first skein for my sister’s cowl) and let her pick out one skein of yarn, knowing I would use it for her Christmas present.  She picked out a stunning skein of Fiberphiles‘ hand-dyed 100% Merino Super Squish Worsted in the Emerald Isle colorway.  I started with the Lacy Julian Hat by Raya Budrevich and knit a pair of simple mittens that I knew wouldn’t compete with the beauty of the hat pattern. Unfortunately, M wasn’t really in the mood to pose for the camera before Christmas mass and I have yet to get her to stand still while wearing the hat and/or mittens.

For my mother, I had planned on knitting two pairs of slippers, one knit and one felted.  However, I only managed to complete the Non-Felted Slippers by Yuko Nakamura, as they were quick and easy to work up.  They did come out a bit large, as my feet are enormous compared to most and I seem to always forget it.  Regardless, my mother seemed to really enjoy them and how cushy and comfy they are.

My brother-in-law was meant to have the Chilly Podsters by Glenna C. for his convertible mittens.  But after numerous problems/concerns that had nothing to do with the pattern (which is wonderfully clear) and everything to do with having NO idea how large his hands are, having the world’s shortest double-pointed needles and my circulars in use elsewhere, and my apparent refusal to do a gauge swatch.  He was able to try on one of which I had completed the entire hand and only had the convertible mitten flap and thumb left to complete. Now I can rest assured that these mittens will not be enormous on him and know just how long his fingers are for the mitten flaps.  After coming to the realization that these would not be complete and that I no longer had time to make my father mittens as well, I quickly tore threw my stash and pulled out the yarn for their hats…. the week of Christmas.  I had so little time, I didn’t even look for a pattern.  Mainly, because, let’s face it, I would have spent more time deciding what was the best hat pattern than it would have taken me to knit both hats. I simply cast-on and knit in 2×2 ribbing for a couple inches, switched to stockinette and started a spiral decrease with four k2togs evenly spaced until the hat was the right size and shape before finishing the decreases and stitching the last four stitches together. I completed my brother-in-laws first, keeping in mind that he is about 6’3” and made his hat proportional…. without any real idea as to how large his head is either…  I finished this hat the day I drove us to my parents’ place for the weekend.  Knowing that I still had my father’s hat to cast on, I had him try on my brother-in-law’s “just to see how off I was in the size and shape.”  AND LUCKY I DID! I cast on 15 stitches less for my father’s hat and they both fit them perfectly!

The only other project I have completed from my list, a week late, is the cowl for M’s former daycare provider. It’s a simple stockinette chunky cowl with ribbed edging, but it’s nice and over-sized and comfy; definitely serves it’s purpose well!  Not to mention, I found the perfect shade of Lion’s Brand Thick & Quick so she can show her Redskins pride, even if I don’t understand it.

Though I have decided to scrap a couple of gift ideas to maybe save for next year and I still plan on knitting just a few more children’s items for some close friends who I plan to see next weekend (uh oh), the overall Christmas knitting was a success, leaving everyone happy and warm.  But this year, I’ll probably throw myself full force into the Christmas in July spirit so I have enough time to actually complete all of my intended knitting.

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