handmade holiday

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I have pretty much the same goal each year when it comes to Christmas presents: I want to give something that is handmade.  I came pretty close to reaching that goal this year with about 50% of the gifts I gave to dear friends, which is actually much better than I’ve done in a couple of years.

Now that Christmas has passed and the friends that received these gifts have seen them unwrapped, I thought I’d post a couple of my accomplishments as proof that yes!  I can make something and give it away and on time this year too.  Shocking!  Yes, I know.

The first photo is of a pair of tipless gloves that were inspired by a pattern in Holiday Knits.  I love this book.  So many great gift ideas for last minute crafting, plus other projects that you can plan ahead for if you’re smart and organized.  I loved using this super soft cotton yarn in a pale blue hue, and they were pretty quick to put together.  I sort of created my own pattern for the thumbs and although they probably don’t look the best, I hope they are functional (i.e. will keep my Brooklyn friend’s thumbs warm!).

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I also had some fun with gift wrapping this year, trying to reuse some materials around the house and personalize things at the same time.  I like the look of used tissue paper and how it gets more wrinkled the more it gets used.  I reused some pretty baker’s twine in different colors and then attached metal rimmed tags stamped with the recipients’ initials.  I had lunch with three lovely ladies that opened their gifts, and then wore their twine and tags as necklaces.  Unfortunately, I forgot to snap a photo of that cute moment!

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And then lastly, I thought I’d save this photo and story for the end of this post because it’s a good way of displaying how I have no real sense of size when it comes to knitting.  Swatch?  Who has time to make a swatch when you’re trying to get something done pronto?  Apparently not this girl, as was demonstrated by this very photograph.

The back story: a dear friend of mine rides her bike everywhere.  Even in bad weather and up here in New England, that means in the snow!  She biked through bone-chilling icy conditions a couple of weeks ago to visit me at a craft show, and I noticed that her hands were so cold!  She also wears a beautiful pin on her coat lapel that I love so right as soon as I decided that I was going to make her some wrist warmers, I was determined to use the same four colors of her pin for inspiration.  I picked out my yarn and as I was checking out at the register, someone asked me if I was going to make the warmers using an ombre effect.  “Oooh, intriguing … ” went the thought in my head, but then I decided I wanted to do the daisy stitch I had already picked out instead.

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When I got home I wound up all four pretty skeins into little buns and cooed at the fact that they had yummy color names like “chili pepper”,  “salsa”, “saffron” and “toasted almond”.   And then I put them all next to each other and hmmm, that ombre idea sounds like more fun.  So I went back to the Holiday Knits book and decided to make the tipless gloves pattern again but in a larger size for a women’s medium.  Cast on and go!

Fast forward to about midway (and 4 hours of knitting) and I realized, “This is getting pretty large.  I’m increasing for the thumb gusset but her hand can’t be this huge … I must be doing something wrong”.  But did I stop?  No.  Four more hours later, I finished the glove and had my husband try it on for size.  “Who is this for?” he asks.  I’m afraid to tell him.  “This glove is large enough for a sasquatch,” he laughs.  I had to laugh too because he was right – it *is* large enough for a sasquatch!  And my friend is anything but that!  Sigh.  Lesson learned.

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So back to my original idea of doing the daisy stitch warmers* and another six hours later, it’s much better and closer to being a realistic size for my friend.  But alas!  I was meeting her for lunch the next day before she was heading out to Canada for a couple of weeks, so I did not have time to complete the second side.  I let her unwrap both of them and we had a pretty good laugh at my mistake.

I hope I am able to get closer and closer to my goal of a completely handmade holiday sometime within the next decade perhaps.  I love the feeling of receiving something handmade myself, so to give that feeling to someone else makes me feel warm and cozy inside.  A couple of other gifts that I gave this year were handmade by artisans or made by locally based companies, so hopefully that counts a little bit toward my goal (like yummy food gifts).

Oh and what are my plans with that sasquatch glove?  I am going to try felting it in hot water to see if it will shrink down in size a little bit.  If that works then I’ll make the other side and give them to my husband to use.  🙂

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season this year and wish you many crafty days in the year ahead!

(* I tried to access the pattern link that is provided on the Flickr photo page but it says the URL cannot be found.  I think Purl Bee revised their website a little while ago so it might be a broken link.  You can try to access the pattern here on the Ravelry site but you may also have to be a member.)

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2 thoughts on “handmade holiday

  1. You’re so good! Unless giving my mom a packet of my cards counts, the only things I could remotely call handmade gifts are the cookies I gave away. 😀

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