Sunday, October 5, 2014

Get your knit on for Christmas gifts

With that first sip of pumpkin spice latte, I realize that Christmas will be here in no time. And unlike every previous year, I'm not waiting until November to start knitting. I've got a few big-ticket items on a my list to make, and I'm getting started early.

In my hunt to find awesome things to knit, I compiled my favorite sites for inspirations and patterns.

Knitting Resources

  • Knit Simple. I love this magazine because all the patterns really are simple! Plus, online they have free patterns.
  • Knit Picks. This site sells yarn, books and patterns. I usually buy my yarn online here (but try to patronize my local yarn stores as much as possible). This site has free patterns, too.
  • Ravelry. This is a site for knitters/crocheters to share their work. You have to create an account to access the good parts, but it's worth it. It's fun to keep a favorites page for inspiration. A lot of the patterns are free, and most of the others are under $10. 
  • TECHknitting. This site is great to learn new and even basic techniques that you've been putting off, like this girl! I've been knitting for 13 years, and I still just tied a knot to connect new yarn or change colors. TECHknitting showed me 10 different ways to make my finished project look more polished. Love it!

My Christmas Knit List

Advent Calendar Garland
We have a big fireplace at home, and I love to decorate it for Christmas. I've been dreaming of a beautiful garland that's also an advent calendar. Right now, I'm envisioning alternating mittens and stockings in Christmas colors across the hearth.

My inspiration comes from two different patterns, the Mitten Garland and the Mini Christmas Stocking Ornament. I plan on knitting one mitten or stocking per day: 25 days and I'll be done!

I bought red, green, blue, and white in Wool of the Andes Sport. It isn't the softest yarn (very much feels like wool), but no one will be wearing these super small, adorable mittens.

I'm not sure what I'm going to fill the stockings with this year. There are no little tots to dig their fingers in yet, but my dog would love to find a new treat each day! Or perhaps a lump of coal. Check out Grumpy, the lump of coal.

The Husband Sweater
While living abroad, a Russian friend who was a fabulous knitter taught me a little lesson. She insisted that when you knit gifts,  give them to people who are really going to appreciate them. This especially applied to boyfriends and sweaters. She stressed that you didn't want to spend all the time, money, and effort to make a sweater for a boyfriend because if it doesn't work out, the sweater will probably be thrown away. Therefore, I made it clear to my boyfriend that he wouldn't get a sweater until we were married. I guess getting a sweater really sealed the deal for him! (And I hoped it was my charm.)

I bought 12 skeins of Wool of the Andes Bulky in navy and one skein in silver and another in stormy for accents. I've since read that it can be itchy but I'm hoping that a good washing and some wear will soften it up. You can't beat the price for buying in bulk and the fact that it comes right to your door.

Here are a few patterns I'm thinking of making:
  1. Sankai Sweater - It is really basic but I could see my husband wearing it on the weekend and lounging around the house in it.
  2. 15 Jay/Cabled Hooded Top - This one has lovely cables and a hood. It looks super warm and kind of nautical in blue.
  3. Flax - It looks good for both men and women. I could practice by making his sweater and then make one for me! Wait, matching sweaters? It could be FABULOUS!
Good luck with knitting or crocheting for Christmas. Got any knitting questions we can tackle? Or share your favorite sites and projects for Christmas.

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