Some elements of Christmas crafting were right down to the wire this year! I finished two gifts on the 23rd. Whew!
I started with the best of intentions. In September I began socks for my father-in-law. He is tall, so he has size 12 feet. I always forget and then slowly remember that it takes twice as long to knit a men's size 12 as it does to knit a woman's size 6. Math, I know, but it always comes as a shock to the time budget in my head.
I'm very pleased with the way these came out. It is my own pattern. I started with grey toes and a red foot, but quickly realized that it would be much better to have a grey foot with a red toe. All the color transitions are joggless. It is one of those little touches that make you feel good.
The stripes around the top were the trickiest part. I knit the first round of the color change without purls and then did the next row in the ribbing pattern. The result is that there are no jogs and no purl bumps to disrupt the straightness of the lines. It's the small details that keep this knitter interested. I would just like to mention that the grey yarn is KnitPicks Stroll. I was pleasantly surprised at how soft and pretty this yarn is and I would definitely enjoy making more socks with it.
Two years ago we went on a day trip to Western Massachusetts to visit my brother-in-law. Of course we stopped by to visit Webs, the Northampton brick and mortar location for yarn.com. I had had a small amount of forsight and tried to pre-plan some projects to shop for. One of them was a cute fox hat for my brother-in-law. I've had that yarn sitting in the "ready to go" project area of my stash ever after. This year, I decided that I would bring the project along, and try to complete it before we went home from our holiday visit. Well, surprise! This project was started on the 21st and finished on the 23rd. Maybe my time estimator is just broken. It was wrapped up and under the tree on the 24th and was warmly received! I was worried because the recipient has now moved to New York City, but city living can’t make him fancy and he's still the same guy at heart. He was excited to receive it and I was thrilled at how much he wore it while we were there.
I loved the yarn on this project. It had subtle color changes, but because I was holding the yarn doubled, there really wasn't any pooling and it is nice and thick and squishy. The yarn is now discontinued, which is why it was in the sale room at Webs.
And finally, this is one of the loveliest things I've made in quite a while. I absolutely did not think I had the time. All the time that the fox hat yarn has been staring at me, so has some very fine white cotton crochet thread. This year, I intended to make a crocheted edge on a linen bread cloth for my mother-in-law. I had an antique pattern I loved, but when I finally sat down to work on it, like most antique patterns, I could not get the gauge. My little squares of fillet crochet came out very rectangular. I came to this realization on December 15th, and we were flying out on the 20th. I hope to go back to the project, but at that point in the holiday season, I simply did not have the heart to fret over something that might never work out. I had seen this china doll pattern at the end of October when it was first posted on Ravelry, and immediately knew it would be perfect for my MIL for Christmas, but even then I didn't think I would be able to finish it in time. Well, after the fillet crochet debacle, I decided I was just going to get the doll done. Late nights for a week and I did almost have it finished. Somehow, mine came out slimmer than the pattern must have intended, because the clothes didn't fit. But the construction was simple enough that I was able to decrease stitches around and increase rows so that she has some very nice fitting underthings. The pattern is from Rabbit Hole Knits. She has lots of cute patterns, including a walking suit for the doll.
The main alteration I made to the pattern was to make the doll blonde instead of brunette. For her eyes and mouth I used bits of yarn from my father’s socks from last post. The dyes leaking into each other just made the most beautiful subtle colors, and I’m happy I got to feature them. Her cheeks were painted on with watercolor paint, which seemed like a very authentic touch. I love the use of bobbles around the hairline to give her curls.
And finally, the last of my little projects, Christmas Tree Christmas tree ornaments. Again, this year things were not timed out well, and I had another pattern I wanted to do but ran out of time! I like the ways these came out though. The tree was quick to do, and these used up all my stash of green sport weight yarn. I used a glue gun (not my favorite) to attach tiny buttons for ornaments and lights or garland. They fit nicely into flat mailers.