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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Yuletide Knitting...

No, I do not suffer retrograde amnesia, I swear I know what month it is! After all, who can forget the stress of the holidays? That stress is actually what has brought about this wonderful little post. I have had enough. I can't stand the last-minute scramble to gather and wrap gifts as you wonder if you remembered everyone. This does not mean that I am done with Yule, however. I am simply done with the stress and I have decided to plan ahead. Thanks to the Twelve Months Till Christmas group on Ravelry, I have a forum in which I can plan to my heart's content, get ideas and feedback, and maintain a list of all my gift ideas, complete with links to patterns and online tutorials (for non-knit items).

As wonderful as the group is, however, it can not contain my excitement. I am so excited about the idea of planning that my lists have spilled out in to this blog and my crafting blog. My crafting blog tends to exclude all things knitty, so I decided to post a list of all the knitted goodness I intend to share with my loved ones this year.

My mother in law loves her cruises, but she always complains that her hair is whipped around too much. This pattern, found in the book Knitting in the Sun, seemed like the perfect thing for her. It can keep her warmer at night and is airy enough to hold down her hair during the day without making her overheat.

After some research in to the suggested yarn I decided that it was not the right fit for me, so I checked out a few other sites until I found a better yarn. The Brown Sheep Company is a long time friend of mine, so I thought it only natural to give them a try and their wool/cotton blend fit the pattern like a glove (pun most definitely intended) so I decided to go with their Cotton Fleece in Provincial Rose.

My stepmother enjoys country style, so I thought these ornaments fit the bill for her perfectly. I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out something else to go with them, but I have plenty of time to think of another gift idea. These ornaments will do for now, and I'm actually rather excited about them. All said, there will be six for her come Christmas Morning.

I will be using Peaches and Creme solids, in a creamy color. I am torn on whether to use glittery ribbon or plain yarn for the loops the ornaments will hang from. Again, however, there is time to make such decisions.

Anyone who knows us will tell you that my fiance and I are big Doctor Who fans. We are such huge fans, in fact, that my fiance expressed interest in owning a pair of socks with Daleks on them. To fully appreciate this you have to understand that my fiance never wears anything but black boot socks. Ever. So I resolved to knit him a pair of Dalek Socks for Christmas.

Because the pattern does not ask for a specific yarn, I am going with Debbie Bliss' Eco Baby yarn. I love that her yarns promote sustainability and Fair Trade, so I am willing to pay the extra dollar per skein they cost me. Not only are they a moral yarn, but they have gorgeous colors. Is there anything bad about this yarn? I don't think so. I've used Debbie Bliss' yarn before, in the Mother of the Bride handkerchiefs I am making for my wedding and I love the quality of her products.

If you say the words "Doctor", "Who", and "Scarf" in the same sentence, any fan of the show will assume you're talking about Tom Baker. As one of the most beloved Doctors of all time, Baker's scarf became legendary. Knit for the Doctor by Madame Nostradamus, it was an iconic part of the Fourth Doctor's outfit and has been seen in numerous episodes since Tom Baker stepped down as the doctor.

There are literally hundreds of patterns available for any Who fan wishing to knit themselves a Tom Baker scarf. Each one is as unique as the person who wrote it, and each of them resembles the Doctor's scarf in every way that is important. Luckily for me, my brother in law is a huge Doctor Who fan, and I know he would be absolutely thrilled to have a replica of the famous scarf.

The pattern calls for Brown Sheep Naturespun, and I am happy to comply. I really am a fan of Brown Sheep's materials, which are both high-quality and affordable. The link I've provided leads to a great online shop (which I have not ordered from yet) that has a great variety of colors at a very low price.

My other brother in law lives in Texas, so I have never gotten to know him very well. I know that he works with his hands, however, and winters can get a little nippy (yes, even in Texas). A nice pair of Fingerless gloves seemed like the perfect gift idea, and it will give me practice knitting something I have never made before.

Unfortunately the pattern calls for Lion's Brand Yarn, and I am not a big fan of Lion's Brand. Since both this pattern and the Doctor Who scarf pattern call for sport weight yarn, I'm simply going to substitute Brown Sheep Naturespun for the Lion's Heart Al-Pa-Ka. It also doesn't help Al-Pa-Ka's case that it was discontinued. Eep!

One of my sister in laws is pregnant and I could not be more excited. I have so many baby patterns I want to knit and I decided that a perfect gift for the little-guy-to-be was a set of three very unique baby booty sets.

The first set is designed to look like hobbit feet, with flesh-toned yarn making up a foot-shaped booty and Fun Fur decorating the top. My only issue with the pattern is that I hate Fun Fur, but since the pattern calls for Carron Simply Soft, an acrylic yarn, I am fine pairing the two.

Hopefully these booties will arrive just in time for the holidays, because one of the pairs I am making is called Elf Feets, and they are made to look like tiny elf slippers. Made from Paton's Classic Wool, they're sure to keep my little nephew's feet warm as well!

The final pair of booties look like High Top Converse All Stars. I've already knit one and woven in most of the ends. I just need to knit up the other one, weave in all the ends it will have, then sew them up and add laces and the star on the side. Made from Peaches and Creme cotton in lime green and white, they are way too cute!

I am a Pagan, so it is no surprise that many of my friends and a few members of my family are Pagan as well. For this reason, the Goddess for All Seasons has graced my gift list under no fewer than eight names. I've already begun one and have almost finished it, though I have to pause in my crocheting until I can create a bolster to shape the center with.

Unfortunately the link provided on the project page no longer works, but the tutorial can be found here. I am using Peaches and Creme, once again, this time in a solid white. The cones are easier to use for this project, because is takes a great deal of yarn and there are fewer ends to weave in.

But I am not stopping at the goddess. I am also going to make apparel for each major Sabbat, as well as seasonal garb for the days that are not marked by holidays. Each goddess will be gifted in a personalized case that also acts as a stand or miniature altar for those of my friends and family who travel a great deal. As of this moment I do not know what the cases will be made of or how I will personalize them. I would prefer to use a wooden box, marked with a wood burner, and stained a beautiful hue. Unfortunately that sounds expensive, though it might be worth it. I know the ladies receiving these figures will absolutely love them.

Both of these projects are part of a much larger gift and I am very excited to see the recipient's reaction. My best friend (who I call my sister) recently moved in with her boyfriend and neither of them have lived away from home before. I remember when I first moved out on my own and it was scary. I didn't have many dinner recipes so we ate the same thing far too often and the shortcuts my mother used when cleaning were a complete mystery to me. Because of this I felt it would be a good idea to create a giant House Warming basket for my sister and her boyfriend. 

Packaged within a light-weight and durable laundry basket and wrapped in a nice comforter, the gift basket will contain numerous goodies. There will be towels for each of them, embroidered with their names (thanks Mother in Law!), a spa kit for her to use on the days when she just needs to relax, a binder full of recipes, a binder full of sustainable cleaning tips, a list of books I know she would like, a bunch of fiction books I know she would love, several "adult" items, religious books and tools, a Goddess for All Seasons, and several kinds of dry home goods. Among these will be some Flower Power was cloths that are probably going to be packaged in with the Spa Kit and the Bag holder, because every home should have one.

The wash cloths are being made of Peaches and Creme cotton while the bag holder will be knit from some acrylic that I have hidden away in the back of my closet. I know she will love the gift, and I can not wait to get started!

There is so much to get done and only eleven more months to do it in. I know I can get it all done if I set my mind to it, but I could certainly use a little luck. So wish me luck, dear readers, and have a happy New Year!


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