Over the last several months, I've been working on several Christmas crafts—both sewing and knitting. Some are for our own home as decor, and most are gifts. Since some were mailed off relatively early or opened at early Christmas celebrations, I can now share them here, just in time for Christmas. The links with the knitting projects are to project pages which then include pattern links.
I will say, seeing all these projects together, I do feel a bit surprised I finished everything in time for Christmas!
I knit a Musselburgh hat for my dad, in a sportweight yarn. This was a long, but enjoyable knit. Since it's just miles and miles of stockinette, I knit a good deal of it without looking while at MOPS meetings or while watching something with Nicholas in the evenings. And the finished product feels professional and seems comfortable to wear. My dad really liked it, from what I could tell, and the quadruple layers over the ears are cozy. I would knit this pattern again, certainly. Plus, it's wildly flexible with gauge, to suit a lot of gauges.
A little red Purl Soho classic cuffed beanie is going in Cooper's stocking this year. We picked out the yarn together at our local yarn store on a mama-son date. I knit him this pattern in the baby size two years ago and he has worn it more than any other hat, so I decided to knit the next size up (kid) for him. He's caught glimpses of it and took a nap on the couch holding it before I blocked it. He will find it in his stocking on Christmas!
And I knit another Purl Soho classic cuffed beanie for a friend's sweet new baby due to arrive in the next few weeks. Knit in an ivory wool, in the baby size. It may not fit her this winter, but hopefully she will be able to wear it next winter, at least. It's so enjoyable to knit tiny things for friends' babies!
My last, and largest Christmas gift knit was a Fichu Bleu shawl for my Grandma Donna. I started this one early (back in September), since I knew shawl in sport-weight yarn would require a decent amount of knitting time, and I was just beginning to feel like knitting again after the throes of morning sickness. This pattern was a joy to knit. The segments of stockinette alternating with broken rib, as well as the intuitive shaping made for an easily memorizable knit, meditative, and also enough happening to keep my interest. Since the pattern calls for DK weight yarn, I did a few extra repeats, in order to use up as much yarn as I could. My grandma loved the shawl and wore it the rest of the day, keeping her neck cozy. I don't have any pictures of her wearing it, but I took a few beforehand to show the wearability of it. I would love to knit another one at some point. Plus, the pattern is free. My mom texted the day after we got home from a visit with my family and said that my grandma commented that the shawl was so comforting. I love that. And that is why I knit for very special people in my life.
There is actually one last Christmas gift knit that is just about finished, but I'll share later: a tiny stuffed, knitted bunny for Cooper's stocking. Fiddly and not enjoyable to knit per say, but the finished product is so cute, it's worth it once in awhile.
Sewing & embroidery
For some time, I knew I wanted to sew stockings for our family of four. I searched for a simple quilted stocking pattern, but could not find a pattern that I liked. So several weeks ago, I gathered supplies and drew up a template with Swedish tracing paper for a stocking shape that I liked. I found a neutral linen blend on sale, purchased a large amount of it, and chose another neutral contrast for it. Based on assembly of pouches and bags over the years, I planned out the order of assembly for the stockings, fully assembled one as a test, and then batch assembled the other three. I am thrilled with how they turned out, and they were actually rather satisfying to sew, since it went quickly with batch sewing. I opted for simple vertical quilting lines. There is something visually satisfying about seeing handmades stacked up together, at least in my opinion.
Since we had our stairs redone this year, the whole entryway feels more polished, and offers a nice place to hang our stockings. Next year, I may mark whose is whose with enamel pins or different color ties, etc. This year, we have them lined up in age order.
And I can take no credit for the beautiful watercolor below, it was a gift from my talented friend, Jessica! I love it. A handmade gift of which I was a recipient.
I also sewed a mug rug/coaster for a friend. I used this tutorial from Sotak Handmade YouTube channel for a QAYG (Quilt As You Go) coaster, and then hand bound the binding, using her tutorial for that as well. I love using up tiny bits of fabric, and playing with color and texture.
For Cooper, I sewed a patchwork pouch that he can use for little treasures, or all the tiny items that little boys collect. The fabrics are from various project leftovers, and some linen sample fabrics that came with a linen scarf I ordered. I opted not to do a boxed bottom, and cut my own panels to match my "quilt top," but otherwise followed this tutorial, also from Sotak Handmade for pouch assembly and adding fabric tabs to a zipper insertion. I'm really happy with the pouch, and hopefully Cooper will enjoy it too! He did catch a glimpse of the quilted panel, picked it up, and said, "Wow, wow, wow! Wow, wow, wow..." about eight times. He's eager to point out quilts or other projects around our home that I've made and say "Mommy tewed [sewed] this," or "Mommy made this." Makes it easy to want to make little things for my little boy while he is enthusiastic about handmades.
I also sewed a quilted project bag for my mom, out of a white and navy fabric, navy linen, and some leftovers from the quilt backing on a blue and orange quilt I finished several years ago. Much like that last two versions I've made, a ticking striped one, and a burnt orange one, I followed the Erica Arndt tutorial for a Drawstring Squishy bag with pocket. The size is an incredibly useful one, and I've found myself reaching for them most often when starting a new knitting project.
Lastly, I finished my cross stitch project that I was working on with my friend, Maeve. I'm very pleased with how it turned out, and I've written about it before, but found this style of pattern rather compelling, since it was tempting to just add one more plant or pot or item on the shelf, and I finished it much more quickly than I anticipated. Just got around to glueing it in the frame and hanging it and couldn't be more pleased. And it was so enjoyable to stitch and chat along with a friend in the process.
And phew, that's a wrap on a lot of Christmas crafting!
Since my last creativity check in, in late July, I've been rather prolific, in both knitting and sewing. As the weather gets cooler, I do find that I'm switching gears to more cool-weather projects. I'm eager to finish up some remaining warmer-weather works-in-progress. As ever, the seasonal change brings a fresh push of creativity and inspiration.
My birthday was at the end of September, and I typically like to reflect on my life (at whatever age I am) each year on my birthday. We don't have extravagent birthday celebrations, but with each birthday in our family, we try to make the day feel special and celebratory and fun. And this year, my birthday was just that.
Several weeks ago, I finished a new cardigan! This project was the first time I've done an all over lace pattern, as well as the first time I've made a drop shoulder construction cardigan.