Saturday, January 10, 2015

Homemade Christmas

Every year, my mom, sister & I do a homemade gift exchange.  Everyone else in the family is welcome to participate, too, but so far they've decided they don't know how to make anything.  Ahem.  Anyway, whoever I'm gifting always knows they'll be getting a knitted gift from me....there's no surprise there.  This year I was a little up-in-the-air about what I would make for my sister.  Nothing was really jumping out at me, and since we live 4 hours apart, I don't see how she dresses day-to-day, so I didn't really have any great ideas about what to make.  I decided that rather than surprise her with something I've spend a lot of time on, and a lot of money on the yarn to make, only to have her not really love it, I'd ask her for some suggestion of what she might like.  I sent her a link to the Pinterest boards that were made up for the Indie Gift-a-long, since I wanted to participate in a couple of the KALs for that, and asked if she saw anything she liked.  

She sent me back links to 3 or 4 patterns and the just-vauge-enough suggestion "I like jewel tones".  I had plenty to run with, and she still didn't know exactly what she would be getting.  

I was off to The Fiber Universe, my LYS, in a flash.  I love the Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock Yarn that they carry, and they had two jewel tones in stock: purple and emerald green.  I'm kind of a sucker for purple, and I thought I had seem my sister wear other things that were this color, so that's the one I picked.  The cowl I settled on took almost 2 skeins of the sock yarn.  It's a nice floppy, cozy cowl!

Here's my sister opening it....she thinks she likes it, but hasn't quite figured out how it works.  This cowl is shaped differently from your typical "far wider than it is tall" cowl shape.  This one has about a 32" circumference, so when it's folded flat, it's about 16" across and something like 24" tall.  That makes for a nice squishy cowl that piles up on itself all around your neck.  To add to the squishiness, I used the sock yarn held double rather than using the dk-weight yarn called for in the pattern.  My gauge didn't match, but it's easy enough to modify the cast-on number so I'd still get a 32" circumference.  

Here, she's figured it out and is modeling it for me.  Since this pic is a little on the dark side, I posted the pic I took of the cowl on myself the minute I finished it.  It's not blocked yet since we were in the car on the way to Thanksgiving dinner, but you can see the stitch pattern a lot more clearly.  

Anyway, I liked the cowl shape and my fingering-weight-held-double-mod so much that I based a new cowl pattern on those two things.  The pattern is currently in testing and will publish in early February!

Here's my sister and mom with their two handmade gifts.  Natalie with her cowl, and our mom holding some of the homemade goodies that my sister made for her.  That's some sort of flavored coffee creamer in one hand and some herbed butter sticks in the other hand.  I remember there were also cheesecake bars in the cooler on her lap.  It was a very dairy-heavy gift!  Absent from the photo are the button hangers my mom made for me, and which my husband immediately claimed because they are his "favorite hangers to use for his work shirts".  Hmmm....who knew he had a "favorite hanger"?
Believe it or not, the cowl was the only gift I knit as a Christmas gift.  There was one more Christmas-themed thing that I knit, and I'll post about that soon.  But I'm happy we always do the homemade gift exchange...those gifts are by far the most fun to give and receive!

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