Christmas Gifts 2013

christmas gifts allI consider my gifts from this year a success because I actually managed to finish them (mostly) before Christmas day. My mom’s and sister’s gifts were still wet when I gave them to them, and I ended up remaking my dad’s gift,  but I still had something for everyone to open. This is unlike two years ago when I gave my mom and dad each a ball of yarn and promised I would make them each a scarf, which I didn’t finish until the next summer. I think I had success this year because I started early and was realistic in what I would be able to make in the time that I had.

Mom: Felted Slipper

moms slippers

I make these for my Mom because she has constantly cold feet . The pattern is Loafer Slippers Felted Women’s by  Monique Rae which I bought off of Ravelry. I’m usually really cheap and won’t buy a pattern if I think can figure something out myself but I had never tried felting before and wasn’t super confident I could make a well fitted slipper. I am SO glad I bought this pattern because they have the best fit, which I think comes from the decreases around the heel in the last row (so they don’t slip off the heel when walking) and the loafer shape because the front bit sits higher on the ankle on top of the foot. I made a size 8/9 and used two balls (one for each foot) of Paton’s Classic Wool Worsted in Wedgwood which worked fine, but took a LONG time to felt to the level I wanted it to. I put it through the wash on the hot cycle once (which did barely anything) then boiled them in a pot of water for about 40 minutes (they began too look more felted but they were still very large and this didn’t shrink them much) and then put them in the dryer while still wet. The dryer made the most difference and after one regular cycle they had shrunk to about the size they should be and felted to a point where the stitches were barely visible anymore (how I wanted it). I left them at this size to give to my Mom and told her I could shrink them more if she wanted but she liked them a little larger so she could comfortably wear a large sock inside.  If I made them again I don’t think I would use variegated wool because of the way they are designed I don’t like how the colour change appears and think it makes them look less felt-like with the structure visible. I would also probably not  use a worsted wool but maybe a roving instead to really get that truly felted texture. One of them also shrank to be about a half size smaller than the other for no apparent reason because they were both identically made. I tried to shrink the larger one by putting it in the dryer for longer but it still  wouldn’t shrink down as small as the other one. She absolutely loved them and basically hasn’t taken them off since I gave them to her and says that they are the warmest things she has ever worn on her feet.

Brothers: Brioche Beanies

brothers hatsI made both of my little brothers (Age 20 and 14) beanie hats using a brioche stitch. Even though these hats are very simple it took me a long time to decide what design to use because I wanted them to be warm as well as something that they both would actually wear (so they couldn’t have any fancy stitch work or cables because neither of them would wear them then.). The older of my brothers also has an uncommonly large head (diameter of 25″ or something like that) and always has trouble finding hats that fit. For each hat I used one ball each of Paton’s Classic Wool Worsted, one in navy and one in dark grey. The rib for each hat is a little over 1″ long knit on 4.5 mm needles, then changing to 5 mm needles  I simply used the brioche stitch and changed to stockinette for the decrease stitches at the crown. The hats were knit flat and then seamed up the side. The grey hat fits a head of about 25″ and the navy blue a head of about 22″ with a loose fit. I have seen both of them wear them on multiple occasions now, so I’m glad I was able to make then something that they will wear, even if they are pretty simple.

Dad: Double Knit Hat (work in progress)

dad hat in progressInitially I had made my dad a beanie like my brothers, but I wasn’t happy with the way it fit him. I recently tried double knitting for the first time, so I decided to take apart the hat I had made and try to make a toque that is double knit all the way up.I initially made the beanie using Paton’s Classic Wool in Dark Olive, and I have another ball in forest that I may may use for the lining. So far only the ribbing is done, but will post more when it is finished.

Sister: Felted Purse

sisters purseI had not initially planned to knit anything for my sister for Christmas because I had just knit her some minion mittens (turned 9) for her birthday at the end of November. I then ended up buying her a bunch of little presents for Christmas (including a Harry Potter time turner!) so I thought a little felted bag to put them all in would be perfect. I used one ball of Paton’s Classic Wool Worsted in Red (her favourite colour) and I used absolutely ALL of it. I added the little heart pin because I though it was cute and might still add some buttons. I wish it was a little larger but I only bought one ball of wool (the last red one at Micheals) and used all of it. The entire bag is knit in stockinette using 2 strands of yarn at a time on 8 mm needles. I knit the front flap first, then knit the body in the round. The strap is just an i-cord made from stitches picked up along the edge of the bag. I felted it at the same time as I was felting my moms slippers and used the same methods.

Grandma and Aunt: Star Ornaments 

I used the pattern Stjärna by Karolina Eckerdal available for free on Ravelry to make three sets of stars of various sizes each for my grandma and as a thank you gift for my aunt. For the largest of each set I used the number of stitches in the pattern (each point is 19 sts along the edge), for the medium there were 15 sts along each point, and for the smallest  there were 11 sts along each point. All were made on 2.75 mm needles and  the largest had a finished size of about 5″ across, the medium about 4″, and the smallest about 3″. I used Lions Brand Bonbons in yellow, white and green stripe, and light purple cotton for my grandma and dark green, red, and dark purple metallic for my aunt. I forgot to take pictures of them before I gave them away, but they look just like the pattern.

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