Holiday Knitting

Tomorrow is the first day of July. The first day of the second half of the year.

Tick tock.

It’s time to start planning and working on handmade holiday gifts already. I’m so great at planning ahead and getting everything made way, way ahead of time!

No. Not really. I’m a last minute gal no matter how early I start.

But.

But.

If I do one here and there, it’s got to help relieve stress six months from now, right?

Let’s do it. Together. Let’s get started. Okay?

snowflake_mug_cozy

This morning I made this Fair Isle mug cozy. Well, it’s supposed to be a mug cozy, but because I never swatch to check gauge, mine ended up too small. Fits this bottle nicely, though, so that’s cool.

Or something.

Anyway, it was good practice and my first colorwork project ever aside from stripes. Loved it. Will certainly be making more. They’ll make fun gifts for mail carriers, UPS drivers, the hilarious lady that works the register at Walgreens, firewood delivery people, etc.

Now, what else shall I put on my gifts-to-make list? And what’s on yours?

 

P.S. Ignore the glitter glue on the craft table. I used my daughter’s table because there was good light, okay?

Knitted Gifts

Knitted gifts. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: they’re really fun to receive. But while I’m still (and may always be) a slow, inefficient and clumsy knitter, I’ve been enjoying knitting again lately with the idea of giving gifts to those I love. I decided to challenge myself a bit by taking on a more complicated pattern than I’ve ever attempted. I wanted to make a shawl for my recently widowed grandmother as a Mother’s Day gift and I settled on a pattern called In the Land of Oz.  My Mammaw looks stunning in purple, so I ordered this Malabrigo Lace in the color Jacinto.

 

Gorgeous.  Malabrigo Lace is 100% Baby Merino and exceedingly soft.  It knits up into a tissue-soft fabric that is light, flowy (not a real word, but it can be just for today, right?) and elegant. I’ve knit with it only once before and it’s by far my favorite project and my favorite yarn.  It’s a Palm Fronds scarf:

 

 

But, back to the project at hand.  I decided that for this dainty wool, it would be a good idea to have a satin-lined project bag to help keep the yarn from felting as it spins inside the bag.  I made this is matching colors so that once the project is complete, I can actually gift her the shawl in the bag and she can use it to store the delicate shawl when she’s not wearing it.

 

 

My progress so far:

 

 

As you can see, I’ve got a long way to go before it’s completed.  I went ahead and confessed to Mammaw the fact that it will most likely not be finished in time for Mother’s Day delivery.  I’ve gotta be realistic.  I wish I could spend hours each day knitting, but that whole educating-my-children things just keeps getting in the way.  Have I mentioned we’ve been homeschooling this school year?  We have.  More on that in another post.

Anyway, Mammaw has seen the yarn, the bag and just the first couple of inches of the project just after I started it.  Being the precious, selfless, humble woman she is, she got flustered and said, “Now why in the world would you spend that kind of time on this old woman??”  Mammaw is magic.  That’s why.

I’ve also knitting up a little something for another special lady for Mother’s Day, but I won’t be posting details because she occasionally checks in on my blog.

Hi, Mom.

Ahem.  Moving on.

Okay.

So, back to the whole receiving knitted gifts thing:  It makes me giddy.  I feel so loved and super duper special when I am gifted something hand-knitted.

“Super duper” is Elliott’s phrase of the month.  Use it.  It makes life seem less stressful if you just proudly throw it into adult conversation.  Ignore the blank stares or raised brows you may get in return.  They’re just jealous.

I’m all over the place today, aren’t I?

So, where was I?

Right.

So, my friend Emily of Haramis Knits is a knitting master.  She made me these gorgeous fingerless mitts and showed that she ‘gets’ me and the colors that I’m drawn to.  Thank you, Emily. (Check out the goodies in her Etsy shop while you’ve got knitting on the brain.)

 

 

 

Another knitter from our little group is Gina.  I recently went through a hair-related identity crisis where I refused to get my hair cut or colored and instead, chose to wear a knitted hat every day.  For months this went on and in that time, my girls supported me by supplying me with all styles of handmade hats.  Gina made me this one and I love the pattern and color (betcha didn’t know I love green, huh?) so much.

 

 

And then there’s Susan.  Susan has recently given up knitting in favor of becoming a dyer, so instead of a knitted gift, she has given me some of the yarn that’s she dyed.  The colors are stunning, aren’t they? Now to decide what it shall become…

 

 

So, for the time being, knitting has taken front and center in my crafting life.  Sewing will always be a part of me, though, and I’m brainstorming to come up with more fun, new tutorials for you.  If you have any suggestions or requests, be sure to let me know!

Have a super duper day!

I’m Pretty Convinced

So, I’m pretty convinced that there is no better gift than something handmade.  Hand knits are especially wonderful this time of year and this one in particular makes me feel like snuggling everything in sight every time I see it.  Isn’t it gorgeous??

It’s my new iPad sleeve that my very, very dear friend Emily made for me.  Emily is the core of my knitting group that meets weekly.  We usually meet at my house, but rotate occasionally.  Most times, one of us will bring some kind of baked good.  Occasionally we’ll have some wine.  We always have a great time and these girls have become like family to me.  Love them mucho.

Back to Emily.  Emily is our guru.  Our pro. Our inspiration.  She’s a knitting ninja.  I can’t tell you how much she’s helped me learn and how many of my projects she’s saved from being scrapped altogether.  Her precision and lightening-quick fingers allow her to crank out knitting projects about as quickly as I can sew.  Check out her blog, for goodness sakes.  She’s amazing!

(She’s also ahead of schedule on her holiday projects and orders, so she has some openings.  And I don’t know about you, but I think that this iPad Sleeve would make a pretty awesome Christmas gift!  But…you didn’t hear that from me. ;) )

If you’re a knitter and you are on Ravelry, check her out.  She’s created some pretty awesome patterns that you might want to try.  This iPad sleeve, in fact, was her prototype.  She designed the Kindle sleeve that you saw on her blog and as soon as she published the pattern on Ravelry, people requested an iPad version.  I’m the fortunate recipient of the very first one in existence and I’m feeling pretty happy about that. :D

Anyway…yeah.  Handmade gifts are now on the forefront of my mind as I start thinking of the holiday season.  What you will be knitting, crocheting, sewing, gluing, etc for the holidays this year?  Links are welcome!

Double your pleasure, double your fun! *Winners announced*

During my last two visits to New York City, I visited two stores owned by two sisters. Located in ultra-cool SoHo, these two stores are where I would spend every waking moment if I lived nearby.

The first store is Purl SoHo. It’s a wonderfully small little place that seems to always be filled with knitters on the hunt for the ultimate in luxury yarns. The walls are lined in bins stuffed full of yarn in glorious colors and magnificent textures. It’s easy to get lost in a whirlwind of project inspiration and the staff is very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful.

The second store, just a few doors down the street, is Purl Patchwork. It’s a store for quilters and other crafters with a passion for unique and wonderful fabrics. The staff there is just as wonderful as the girls down the street.

What makes these two stores doubly special is that they are owned and operated by a pair of sisters, Jennifer and Joelle Hoverson. These creative masterminds have done an amazing job of providing a lovely and inspirational atmosphere in both of their stores as well as on their websites. I did a little Googling and discovered that they’ve both been featured on Martha Stewart’s sites. And with good reason. Joelle’s apartment in Brooklyn was featured for it’s gorgeous design and decor. Jennifer was featured for her use of lovely fabrics at her wedding. You know these girls are good if they have Martha’s stamp of approval. ;)

So…you may have picked up on the ‘double’ theme throughout this post: 2 NYC visits, 2 stores, 2 sisters, etc….

So……you may want to know that I’m giving away 2 items today!

It turns out that Joelle has published two books: Last-Minute Knitted Gifts and Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts and it turns out that these awesome ladies have provided me a copy of each book to give away to two lucky Green Wife readers (one book each)!

The books include patterns for such love projects as this throw…

(I’m pretty sure I could spend a lifetime curled up with that throw by that fire.)

…and this elephant!!!

I want to kiss his forehead and rub his ears.

And this scarf…

And…

And…

Just gorgeous.

The giveaway will run through 5pm Tuesday (Jan 12). To enter, post a single comment telling me which book you would be more interested in receiving if you win. Annnnd, since I’ve recently started a Green Wife Twitter account, I’ll add in a second way to enter this time. Follow me on Twitter, mention that you followed in your comment (along with your Twitter name) and you will get a second chance to win!

**We had a sudden change of plans today, so I’m updating from my phone. Rather than using random.org, I wrote your names on scraps of hotel notepad and tore them. Hey, I didn’t have scissors, k??

I drew Lyndsey and Shanyn! Congratulations, girls! Email me your addresses at Abbie(at)thegreenwife.com and the lovely Purl ladies will get your books shipped to you. I can’t wait to hear what lovely things you create with these patterns!

Nevermind the wine in the plastic hotel cup.