So, okay, December starts TOMORROW. And the holidays officially kicked off last week. I'm not ambitious enough to knit all my Christmas gifts, but I did happen to finish up one the other day. I made my mom an Irish Hiking Scarf in Noro. (You can get the free Irish Hiking Scarf pattern here.) I have to confess that it didn't start out as a Christmas gift. Months ago my mom-- who rarely asks for anything-- asked if I'd make her a scarf. It took me awhile to finish thanks to my insane schedule. But since I happened to get it done on the cusp of December, I figured I'd just go ahead and wrap it up because, really, isn't one of the best parts of a gift the part where you riiiiiiiiiip off the fancy paper?
I'm really pleased with this scarf for a couple of reasons. First of all, when I asked my mom what color she likes, she said, "all of them." Instead of feeling overwhelmed by this, my mind instantly thought, "Oh, she means she wants something in Noro." Since I first discovered Noro I was smitten. I return to it again and again-- my comfort yarn. I'm also pleased because it was only two years ago that cables befuddled me. I worked on an Irish Hiking Scarf in 2008 that I kept putting down because I felt confused by the whole concept. This time around, cables felt very easy. Granted, it's not a rocket science project, but working a six-foot long project like this was good practice. I really, truly want to make an Aran sweater in 2011 and this scarf suggests to me that, if I pick a fairly simple pattern, I can actually do it. That strikes me as nothing short of remarkable, as I used to look at cabled sweaters and think, "Never in my lifetime." So here's to progress.
I'd love to hear what y'all are working on for gifts-- either for yourself or others. Soon I'll do a post about Great Gifts FOR Knitters. But today I'm wondering what your idea is for Great Gifts FROM Knitters. Do you do small projects so you can crank out a lot of them? Or do you just pick one or two people who are worthy of your knitting-- who will really appreciate it-- and make them something complicated and time consuming? How far in advance of December do you start? What's the best/worst compliment/comment you ever got on a handknitted gift? Is the Boyfriend Sweater Curse true?
Meanwhile, for those of you looking for inspiration for gift-making, there are a couple of classes coming right up. You can call the shop or pop by to sign up. Here's info:
December 4 1:00 - 4:00
Have you always wanted to try a fair isle project and weren't sure how to begin?
Stranded knitting (which includes fair isle) means working with two colors in each row.
This class will teach you the keys to success with stranded knitting, including how to read color charts,
how to keep your stitches even, and how to work with two yarns at once.
PREQUISITES: Students must know how to cast on, knit stitch, and how to bind off.
MATERIALS: 2 colors of a worsted-weight wool yarn: at least 150 yds of main color + at least 50 yds of contrasting color
size 7 needles (16"" circular + dpns)
blunt-tipped tapestry needle
Best Ever Towel
Learn to knit with two colors, one at a time.
This introduction to slip stitch technique will show you how to make a beautifully textured fabric that has a different look on front and back.
It makes a great towel but can also be made into a great baby blanket.
PREREQUISITES: How to knit and purl.
MATERIALS: Needles, size 8 or 9
Blue Sky Organic Cotton, 1 each of 2 or 3 colors.