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!).
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!
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.
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.
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.)