Holiday knitting

This year I haven’t had a solid gift knitting plan.  I’ve been largely off the grid for a long time, not keeping up too much with all the new patterns coming out and new faces coming on the scene.  So I don’t even have a current “quick gift knits” magazine on hand this year.  

But inevitably someone, at least one someone, will receive a knitted gift. 

As usual, I’ll probably be working up until the last minute, but my knitted items don’t have to go in the mail, so that works in my favor.  I’ll be spending Christmas day with my best friend and her family, including her eight-month old baby.  He got a baby blanket from me when he was born, and now he’s getting a grand striped (and slightly speckled) 100% acrylic (100% fun and machine washable) Baby Surprise Jacket.  

I’m hoping to work up some “stay-on socks” out of the leftovers, but they will definitely be fraternal twin socks, since the stripes are too large.  Although… should I be alternating leftover stripe colors to make fun thin stripes???  Perhaps!  I am working with Caron Cupcake yarn, so each cake came with a pompom.  Those might make cute toe decorations… I’m modifying the pattern a bit because the sizing is for a newborn, so I’m adding another 30% or so stitches to the cast-on.  We’ll see how it goes. 

In other gift knitting, on a stopover in Paris, I picked up some lovely lace wool and coordinating mohair silk for some semi-mindless chevron scarf knitting.  Although this WIP didn’t start out with a recipient in mind, I think I have identified someone. 

I knitted another scarf similar to this one a while back out of Stonehenge Fiber Mill’s Crazy, but it has so far not seen the light of day.  Despite blocking, maybe I’m not quite satisfied with the results.  I knitted up two skeins straight through, but maybe I’d like it more if I had done alternating stripes, one of my favorite ways to spice up a simple knit.

Another item that I suspect will not be finished by the holidays has been languishing in the UFO pile for a while, since, while it is decent TV knitting, it turns out I don’t love knitting multiple feet of stockinette in alpaca-silk laceweight on a size 6 needle.  The idea was to knit two long rectangles in different colors, in this case, silver grey and ecru, and attach them near the center in two places, at the shoulders, leaving a hole for your head to peek through.  The fabric naturally has some curl to it, so it could actually be a duo-tone scarf, and it can be twisted and tied in myriad styles.  The advantage of having two long horizontal rectangles is that it can also be worn in multiple styles as a garment, using knots at the corners, and in some cases even forming sleeves.  I took this idea from a Quebecois designer – my best friend and I chanced by her studio a few years back.  My friend served as the model while the designer showed us all the ways to wear the garment; but now, she doesn’t sell this model any longer.  Since we didn’t pick one up back then, the logical option seemed to be to make one. 
(She is smarter than I, though, using a knitting machine to aid her productivity.)

One last eventual-gift that probably won’t make it under the tree this year is a second rendition of my rainbow throw, since I only used around half the yarn for mine.  My aunt acquired the yarn years ago on a New England wool tour with my mother – and it’s quite likely that it’s the same one I went on with them, which means it was over 20 years ago!  I suspect each color segment of a strong wool and a coordinating mohair was intended as a scarf kit, to create something like this.  But when you have six colors to work with, it is much more exciting to think about something BIG!  I finished this throw a couple of years ago and have used it a lot this past year in the chilly weather.  So the plan is to recreate its twin and give it to my aunt.  She willed me a large amount of stash at one point, and in return I planned to knit her some items.  Her knitting has decreased due to rheumatoid arthritis, and it seems only a fair exchange anyway!  Once this project gets started, it will be a delightfully cozy lap-warming TV-knitting project. 

What holiday knitting are you working on this year?

I’m lichen it!

I come from a family of punsters, so even though I probably could help myself, I shamelessly choose not to.

This project didn’t even last me until the true start of my vacation.  I finished it as I was stepping off the plane in Porto, since as is typical for me, I stayed awake through three movies instead of going to sleep.

(I mean come on, it’s only a six-hour flight, which is barely enough time to get settled and fed and watch some media before they want you to eat breakfast! I usually do the less than smart thing and stay awake until the last 30 minutes of my trans-Atlantic flights.)

This time around, after frogging my first attempt and deciding to orient the colors in the opposite direction, I achieved the intended result.  [Blocking still needed…]

Pattern: Lunar Eclipse

Yarn: Freia Ombre Sport

Colorway: Lichen

Ravelry project page: Lichen

Notes: I pushed the envelope to get the most out of this gradient yarn as I could, so I added four or five ridges on to the written pattern instructions before beginning the initial edging triangle.

One skein of Freia Handpaints Ombre Sport will get you…

I’ve knitted a shawl and a couple of diagonal scarves in Freia Handpaints that will appear here post-blocking, and now I tried the Ombre Sport for the first time with the Lunar Eclipse pattern.

I think this is the sixth version I’ve knitted so far, and the first one with shifting color.  The arc gives it the familiar stripe going in one direction, shifting from top to bottom, and the edging turns that perpendicular so the shifting color direction is more side to side (sort of – with a crescent shape, all bets are off, as anyone that has tried to drive around New Orleans without a map can tell you!).

Here is a gallery of photos of the hottest off the needles Lunar Eclipse!




Lunar Eclipse – free pattern download!

Over the past few months, I’ve been working off and on on this pattern, Lunar Eclipse, which has been a really fun exercise in what to do with one skein of luxurious yarn.

From the Mountain asked me to design something with a skein of their worsted weight cashmere, which is hand-spun in a fair-trade agreement with Afghan women.  The stuff is beautiful.  It is a soft, two-ply fiber in a variety of natural colors, including ecru, grey, and several shades of brown.

The final result was this initial offering:


And then Abby asked me to add two additional edgings:

You could add your own edgings to this template – we’ve offered it in three charted patterns, two originally from Barbara Walker and one from Book 4 of The Stitch Collection by Lark Books.

This is a free Ravelry download, so feel free to share, and please post your final project photos!