Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas gifts

I hope that you are all enjoying this holiday season! Christmas snuck up on me this year, but luckily I was prepared. Most of my gifts I had finished early, which was great since things at school were really busy and exhausting the last couple of weeks before break. The last day of school was a Friday and my family exchanged gifts on Sunday. I just did some last minute finishing of projects and sewing in of ends and I was ready.

For my niece I made a poncho. It can easily be pulled over her head, which is important since she is five and must do everything herself. Also I used superwash wool, so it will not only keep her warm, but it can be washed.

knit poncho capelett

For my nephew I made a hat. The earflaps were requested by him. I also used superwash wool for this hat.

brown knit hat

The day before we were to exchange gifts, I momentarily panicked. Could a three and a five year old possibly be excited to open a hat and a sweater? Yikes! So I quickly crocheted some little finger puppets. Turns out they were more excited to see the clothing items than the toys, so they were just a nice little bonus.

crochet safari animals zebra elephant lion
Safari animals for my nephew: zebra, elephant and lion.
crochet garden critters bugs animals ladybug bumble bee butterfly
Garden critters for my niece: ladybug, bumble bee and butterfly.

My dad is often found working out in the yard, even in the cold weather. I have made him some hats before, but he can always use more. Again I used superwash wool for warmth and washability. I knit them in a simple ribbed pattern.

knit hat greyknit hat navy blue

For my sister-in-law I made a couple of pairs of boot cuffs. I had seen a pin on her Pinterest about converting old sweater sleeves into boot cuffs, so I decided to knit her some instead.

knit cabled boot cuffs pink coral
Cabled boot cuffs made with baby alpaca yarn, these were so soft!

knit ribbed boot cuffs purple
Ribbed boot cuffs.
 For the teacher I work with, I made this ear warmer with a crocheted flower.

knit ear warmer white cream pink crochet flower

I still can't believe that Christmas has come and gone! Now time to knit some items to restock my etsy shop and start working on things for spring. My how time flies!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Classic Stockings

     I've spent much of my time the last few weeks knitting stockings. It seems as soon as I finish one and post it on etsy, it sells! And so I start another. I'm so glad that people are loving them as much as I do.  As I mentioned in a previous post this stocking was inspired by a picture for a vintage stocking pattern.

hand knit stocking wool roving cream white

detail hand knit stocking wool roving cream white

     The original stocking was knit in a cream color. It has such a classic, beautiful look to it. I hadn't really thought about trying any other colors until I recently had a request for a version of the stocking in red and cream. I was thrilled to give it a try.
     I picked up two different yarns to make the stocking out of. There was a red in the wool roving that I've been using, so I got some of that. The color was not exactly what the customer had described, however, so I picked up a beautiful color of red and some cream in baby alpaca.
     I sent pictures of both yarns to my customer to see which they liked best, but couldn't wait to get started on the stocking in baby alpaca. The yarn was so soft and it was such a beautiful color. I had nearly finished the stocking by the time I heard back. She ordered the baby alpaca stocking, and I was able to send it to her the next day. It turned out beautifully and I see many more of these in my future!

hand knit stocking baby alpaca red cream  white
Red and cream stocking in baby alpaca.

detail hand knit stocking baby alpaca red cream  white
Close up of cuff detail on the baby alpaca stocking.
     Since I had also bought some wool roving in a cherry red, I went ahead and knit a stocking using it. Although I like the red of the baby alpaca much better, this version also turned out nicely and is now in my etsy shop.

hand knit stocking wool roving red cream  white
Cream and red stocking in wool roving.

detail hand knit stocking wool roving red cream  white
Close up of wool roving stocking.

hand knit stocking wool roving red cream  white
The all cream stocking hanging next to the cream and red stocking.
     This holiday season is almost over, but I'm already thinking about next year and what yarn I want to order. I'm considering trying to dye some of the wool roving to get the right color, since it is a bit cheaper than the baby alpaca. I may get some of each. I'd also like to try some shades of green and perhaps some striped stockings with less detail than these ones. I can't wait to get started! Also before next holiday season I plan to edit and release the pattern for these stockings. I was hoping to do it this year, but I'm quickly running out of time and there are so many other things I need to work on- like finishing making Christmas gifts!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Owl Ornaments

Here it is! I finally finished writing up the pattern for my owl ornaments. They are pretty quick and easy and they turn out cute every time!

knit owl ornaments buttons pink purple teal

Materials needed:
Us size 4 (3.5 mm) dpns
Small amount of worsted weight (or similar) yarn in desired colors 
Crochet hook (approximately US E4/ 3.50 mm)
Buttons for eyes

There are a few options for the owl.  The body can be knit in seed stitch, plain garter stitch or garter stitch with stripes. Also the head of the owl can be knit in a different color. There are seed stitch wings or garter stitch wings.

knit owl ornament purple white teal
Seed stitch body owl.
knit owl ornament purple pink
Garter stitch with stripes owl.

To make owl:
For owl body: co 24 st (Leave a long enough tail to sew up bottom of owl when finished.)
Join in the round.

For seed stitch version:
Round 1: (k1, p1) to end
Round 2: (p1, k1) to end

For garter stitch version:
Round 1: knit to end
Round 2: purl to end

For garter stitch with stripes version:
With color A:
Round 1: knit to end
Round 2: purl to end
With color B:
Round3: knit to end
Round 4: purl to end

For all versions repeat rounds until piece measures 1 ½ inches.
Begin working head as follows:
Change yarn color if desired.
Next round: knit to end
Repeat until piece measures 2 ½ inches from cast on.
Place the first 12 st on one dpn and the second 12 on another. Using the 3 needle bind off method (see pictures below), bind off all stitches. If you prefer, you can bind off in the round and sew the top seam together after.

knit owl ornament seed stitch wing
Seed Stitch Wing
Seed Stitch Wing:
Co 5 st
Working flat,
(K1, p1) twice, k1
Repeat last row four more times.
P2tog, k1, p2tog
P1, k1, p1
Pull yarn through remaining st.

Garter Stitch Wing:
Co 5 st
knit owl ornament garter stitch wing
Garter Stitch Wing
Working flat, knit 6 rows
K2tog, k1, k2tog
K 1 row
Pull yarn through remaining st.

Co 3 st
K 3 rows
Pull yarn through remaining st.

To finish:
Sew in all ends except the cast on end. Fill with stuffing and sew up bottom of owl using cast on tail (see pictures below). Sew button eyes, beak and wings to owl. For loop to hang owl with, use the crochet hook to make a slip knot and chain 30 st. Sew to top of owl.

Co: cast on
Dpn(s): double point needle(s)
K: knit
K2tog: knit two together
P: purl
P2tog: purl two together
St: stitches

knitting three needle bind off
The first step for binding off- put half of the stitches on one dpn and half on the other.

knitting three needle bind off
Next knit one stitch from the front needle and one stitch from the back needle at the same time.

knitting three needle bind off
Once you have two stitches on your right hand needle, lift the first stitch over the second and off the needle as you would in a normal bind off. 
knitting three needle bind off
Continue working until all stitches are bound off. 

 After the owl is finished being knit, stuff it and sew up the bottom.

knit owl ornament tree
The owls can be done in many different colors. The original ones I made in various shades of white and grey. 

These owls are a great way to use scrap yarn and there are lots of color possibilities. The eyes can also be crocheted as I did with many of the white owls. Enjoy and happy knitting!