Monday December 9, 2013
I love a Christmas ornament knitting pattern that builds on something else, whether that means literally using a material for structure (as in my Christmas wreath ornament) or just as inspiration.
This Fair Isle band is a perfect way to easily make a glass ball ornament more interesting. © Sarah E. White.
Through the years I've used the Christmas ball as a literal frame for ornament patterns and as a shape to work with without a real ball underneath.
Both my Cat's Eye Lace ornament and the Fair Isle Christmas Ornament Band use a glass ball underneath to give them structure, and I think they're both fun ways to jazz up plain balls.
On the other hand my Christmas Ball ornament takes that simple shape and knits it in stripes to form a ball that's stuffed and then hung from the tree. That one may actually be my favorite, but they all go to prove that it's easy to add a bit of knitting to your tree!
Saturday December 7, 2013
Knitting gifts given when it's cold outside usually need to be adept at keeping the recipient warm. It's a bonus for procrastinating stitchers everywhere that projects worked in bulky yarns are both really warm and really quick to knit.
by Tanis Gray. Interweave Press.
Tanis Gray has collected 50 such options that are great gift ideas for the women (and babies) on your list in her book Cozy Knits. A couple of these projects I'd really like to cast on for myself right about now (in the middle of day four of being snowed in as I write this).
A lot of the projects in this book are accessories, which are of course a great choice for gift giving because the size doesn't have to be that exact (I made fingerless gloves for a bunch of people last year, but I think I'm taking this year off from gift knitting). If you're looking for more fun options for knit accessories, check out Cathy Carron's awesome book Hattitude, Nicky Epstein's Signature Scarves for some really fun embellished projects (naturally) or Judith Durant's One-Skein Wonders.
I'll have plenty of quick knitting options throughout the month, but some of my favorites include the bulky fingerless gloves you can knit in an afternoon; the super simple Roll Brim Hat for women; and the fun stash-busting Horizontal Scarf. Still kind of regret gifting that one.
Have a favorite go-to pattern for gift giving? I'd love to hear about it.
Thursday December 5, 2013
It doesn't take much to make knits and purls look a little different. I love stitch patterns that throw in just a little bit of texture or a slightly different way of doing things that makes a big difference in how a project looks.
Horizontal Dash Stitch swatch. © Sarah E. White.
One example of that is Horizontal Dash Stitch, which is mostly Stockinette but has little sections of purl bumps on the right side at regular intervals. This breaks up the smoothness of the fabric just enough to make it more interesting without adding too much difficulty for the knitter.
I used this pattern in a preemie-sized baby blanket, which is a great charity project for the holidays or any other time. I used a multicolored yarn for that project, and those purl bumps break up the colors a bit in a way I really like.
Do you like simple texture patterns like this or would you rather stick to Stockinette? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Wednesday December 4, 2013
I have a lot of gift ideas here on the site of course, but there are lots of great books on the topic of gift knitting as well that you ought to check out if you're looking for some new ideas.
60 Quick Knits from America's Yarn Shops
. Sixth & Spring Books.
While not strictly about gift knitting, the new 60 Quick Knits from America's Yarn Shops is a good choice if you're looking to knit something quick for a loved one. These projects all use Cascade 220 or 220 Superwash, and they're mostly pretty small so they won't cost you a lot in money or time.
Last-Minute Knitted Gifts and its companion, More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, are both a lot of fun because the patterns are arranged by how long they take to knit. If you have just a couple of hours you'll find things you still have time to make, but there are also projects for when you have a little more time to commit.
Combine quick knitting with the frugality of using a skein of yarn out of your stash with the ideas in One Ball Knits Gifts. Or check out the lovely patterns and spirit of Gifted by Mags Kandis. Knitted Gifts by Ann Budd and Knits to Give by Debbie Bliss also have some great ideas. Now you have no excuse not to get knitting!