On deciding to crank out a few hand-made gifts after all

An in progress photo of a baby sweater with both sleeves set aside on stitch markers. The body of the sweater is just about ready to be bound off.
Harvest, knit in Rohrspatz & Wollmeise Pure held double

A couple weeks ago, my sister announced that she was pregnant with her first child. As I eagerly await the gender reveal*, and hope that they don’t change their mind on learning the sex of the baby, I realized there was no reason I couldn’t cast something on my needles to add to their Christmas gift. They’re excited, I’m excited, I have some yarn that looks like a rain forest, new born sweaters don’t take very long…. so it looks like I’m taking back what I said about not knitting for anyone. (Remember that post I wrote about it’s ok to change your mind?)

Naturally, as soon as I said that the flood gates opened and I started to think about whether or not there was anyone else I should be knitting for for the Holiday season. I’ve had my loomed warped for a month or so with a table runner I’ve been working on for my mom, it now has an end of December deadline on it. I found this interesting/simple sewing pattern for handmade hand warmers and have a handful of friends that spend their time ice fishing or generally suffer from cold hands. In other words, I made it less than a week before caving and creating a spreadsheet of projects to complete before the end of the holiday season.

I can’t help it! The desire to keep people warm is in my DNA, as is the desire to create. So on that note, I have some last minute gifts to crank out. Here’s to my sanity!

Completed Harvest with matching Barely hat

*I’ve read a few articles discussing how gender reveal parties are inconsiderate to future transgender children. I will love this baby no matter what, but will also enthusiastically knit little tutus if it’s a baby girl (unless she’s anything like me, then she’ll stop wearing them in favor of outfits more equip for climbing trees). I can’t help it, they’re so stinking cute. To be fair, I would also knit them for a little boy, without judgement, if he wanted them.

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Vest by: KnitPicks

I can’t help it, I love Halloween. The costumes, the colors, the stories, and the traditions are all wonderful and exciting. I was the child who wore pumpkin earrings (that I still own) for the entire month of October. I borrowed my mother’s Halloween pins and looked forward to being allowed to wear my pumpkin socks (which I outgrew before I could wear again). Every year, my mom still breaks out her Halloween pins and dutifully pins them on Halloween cardigans and you can’t help but smile that her dedication to decorating for the holidays extends to her person. I was reminded of this when searching Ravelry and stumbled upon a Halloween vest that KnitPicks designed back in 2006, and can’t help but feel guilty that I have no desire to make one for her.

As I’ve gotten older, I break out my pumpkin earrings less and less, but I have not lost my enthusiasm when it comes to the holiday. These days, I break out purple and black striped tights and wear them with a black dress and tall black boots. If I go to a costume party, I find myself piecing together costumes from items I found while thrift shopping and items that I’ve created.

Though I should have assumed, a quick search of Ravelry revealed an entire section dedicated to costumes! Perhaps next year I’ll add a hat to my Halloween work attire in the form of a Mummy, Candy Corn, Wig or Pumpkin Top. I could even knit my dog a turtle costume!

Despite loving fall, I think one of my current fallacies is that I struggle to plan my decorations ahead of time. For example, it would be easy to knit mini pumpkins during the summer, when having wool on your lap is sweat-inducing. Last June I knit Christmas stockings for my sister and her husband, but I didn’t truly sit down and work on the rest of their decorations until after Thanksgiving. Perhaps one of my problems is that I don’t feel inspired to knit holiday-specific items until it’s time to use and enjoy them, and by then it’s too late.

Maybe next year I’ll make use of KnitPick’s Halloween yarn sale, which makes me wonder if I should have gotten more of a head start on my gift knitting for the upcoming holiday season… It’s hard to believe that I haven’t started yet (I’m usually just over halfway done by now)!

Stay safe this Halloween and remember, all Halloween candy goes on sale November 1st…

On finishing projects

Flax Light in Cascade Heritage, drying from being wet blocked

This has been my week of finishing projects, both my own and others. For starters, I finished my Camp Loopy project (about a week too late to get rewards for it, but what can you do). Despite missing the challenge deadline, I’m super proud of myself for completing an adult size fingering weight sweater in a little over a month. Sure there was no colorwork or cables, but that’s still over 1000 yards worth of knitting in five days over a month. This includes the number of days where no knitting happened. So basically, in a pitch, I could crank out a sweater faster than a month if I needed to (hopefully I never need to, see my post on deadlines)

Pattern and yarn used unknown

In addition to finishing my own sweater, I had the privilege of completing two additional sweaters. The first is a Kimoto style sweater that my coworker knit for her future niece or nephew.  While I’m not sure what the pattern is, it’s been a while since I’ve done any garter stitch seaming that required me to think about how the pieces fit together. My coworker will need to add a tie to the side of the sweater to keep it closed, but being able to hand her a sweater that took her hours to knit and me about an hour to seam up was satisfying. It’s one of the few moments where I’ve wondered if the process of knitting or the final product of knitting brings me the most joy.

Pattern and yarn unknown

Next up, I visited my Cioci (amazing crocheter) and picked up a sweater that she knit several years ago that had been sitting unfinished in her closet. This one required more work, as it was an adult sweater and I needed to knit the neckline after seaming the pieces together, but was also more mindless because of the bust and armhole shaping. I’m excited about my next drive down to visit my Cioci, it will be nice to set the sweater that we collaborated on into her hands. I love the idea that we worked together on something that will keep her warm, even if that means admitting that the acrylic yarn she chose is the opposite of what I would have chosen (does acrylic really keep one warm?), but I will acknowledge that I am biased towards natural fibers (and that there is a time and a place for synthetics, ie nylon to reinforce sock yarn).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of weaving in ends and don’t often choose sweaters that require seaming (although I think this is moreso because I hate purling). While I finished these two sweaters as favors, there has been something wonderful about putting together the pieces of someone else’s work. Weaving my own magic into their garments, if you will, while watching individual pieces transform into sweaters. I’m not saying that I’m going to start a side business of seaming garments for people, I’m just saying I would have a good time doing it.

And just in case you thought finishing three sweaters in less than a week wasn’t enough, I also finished a pair of fingerless mitts that I started before August’s Camp Loopy challenge. The pattern was heavily modified due to a serious game of yarn chicken. While there is nothing currently on my knitting needles, I do have an embroidery project going and plans to warp my loom to make a table runner. Or at least that’s what I tell myself I should be working on as I spend my suddenly large amount of “free” time on Ravelry looking for my next project or surrounding myself with my stash trying to decide which skein of sock yarn wants to be worked next (after all the holidays are rapidly approaching and I haven’t even created my knit list yet).