This was the first Winter holiday season where I gave multiple knitted gifts. Five people got felted bags; for the ladies, they were purses, and for the two guys they were just felted bags for holding small items. You can see how to make them here at Crazy Aunt Purl’s blog. I did the fuzzy yarn and bracelet version for the ladies; for the guys I made the tabs slightly wider, used cord to create the bag closure, and used a combination of two worsted yarns. If you are looking for a knitted bag for your tarot cards, these also work great.
I also knitted a couple simple hats for people — again, you can find the pattern at Crazy Aunt Purl’s blog, though I picked up items from a couple of her entries: Here and here . I enjoy her patterns, because she assumes I am a beginner and explains thoroughly, and they just seem . . . friendly. 🙂
My two bigger items were gifts for my husband. He asked for a poncho to keep warm around the house, and had input as to the pattern and the yarn. You can find the pattern here at Lion Brand Yarns (it is free, as are the ones at Crazy Aunt Purl’s blog). He chose the Homespun yarn in Williamsburg, Montana Sky, and Black. Although I’m not as fond of acrylic, this knitted up just fine, and was as easy as the pattern suggested. I remembered to leave long enough tails at the beginning and end of my color changes, and then used them to whipstitch the two halves together. I had trouble making the exact gauge the pattern called for — size 10 needles were too small, and size 11 made a 4-1/4″ square instead of 4″. Since my husband is a large individual, I went with size 11 needles, but then I ran out of the last color at seven rows instead of 9 (as the pattern called for). No problem; just something to be aware of. He likes it, and I had fun knitting it.
The second gift was a scarf. I finished the poncho a couple weeks before gift time, so when he casually mentioned he’d like to have a grey scarf, I thought, “No problem, plenty of time.” I wanted to make it soft, and had in mind something that progressed through shades of grey, so I went to our local yarn store and perused their inventory. It’s lovely going to a yarn shop, because everyone is used to people fondling the yarns and even smelling them. 🙂 I found this lovely Mainland yarn by Plymouth Earth (made in Peru) that is 80% baby alpaca and 20% silk. It didn’t have the progression of shades I’d hoped for, but is soft and such a pleasure to work with. The silk gives it a lovely sheen. The paper wrapper on the yarn called for size 7 needles; in retrospect I could have used 8 (I tend to knit tight), but the size 7 needles made it tight enough to show off the pattern. It is a simple pattern, again from Crazy Aunt Purl, but this time in her book, Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair (Laurie Perry). It has a garter stitch edge and ends, and is alternating blocks of knit and purl. I was hoping to keep this gift a surprise, so I could only knit when he wasn’t around or was sleeping. On size 7 needles, six feet of scarf takes forever (or at least, it feels like forever). I finally finished it on the 23rd, so had it done in time. I wish I could have taken my time knitting it, because the yarn is such a pleasure to work with.
I received knitting goodies as well as gave them. 🙂 A friend sent me a knitted shopping bag (open weave) which I have already used. She also sent the pattern (clever lady!) so I can make more for myself or others. With the bag she included a knitting novel, so that will be fun. My husband gave me that copy of Knitting for Good! that I mentioned here , so eventually I will review that. But my favorite gift is a bag of yarn he bought for me at the local shop, with three skeins each of two colorways of Poems by Wisdom Yarns (made in Turkey). This wool yarn is a bit stiffer than I would prefer with a scarf, but I love the colors and the way they are changing. Am using the same pattern I did with my husband’s scarf (with size 9 needles), and enjoying the process. (No need to hurry this time!)
The weather here has been cold and rainy, so it has been pleasant to do all this knitting. And to look forward to doing even more! 🙂