If you read the title and think that I’m talking about knitting for the pleasure of knitting, you’re wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I do love to knit and I do it instead of as therapy sometimes. What I love more is knitting something FOR someone and giving it to them. Hand-knitted gifts often trump more elaborate “store-bought” gifts by virtue of the hand-knitting. You actually created something for someone.
I was reminded of this when I gave my son a simple hat and scarf I knit out of Valley Yarns Sunderland. He doesn’t care one bit about the fiber content (as long as it’s not itchy) or how luxurious or locally sourced or hand-dyed that yarn is. He needed a hat and I had enough yarn left for a scarf.
The pleasure for me was that as soon as he saw that hat he put it right on his head and it didn’t leave that head anytime he was outside. He even wore it inside (our house is a bit chilly). That’s why you knit gifts and give them away — because it feels good.
Valley Yarns Sunderland is my current obsession. Check out this soft, heathery ball of lovely and knit a gift for a friend. It’ll make you feel SO much better!
In these last few days and weeks before your holiday celebrations you may have to begin paring down your list of gifts to make. If you have fiber enthusiasts on your list we have some wonderful products from our Holiday Gift Guide that might be just the perfect thing.
Whether your gift recipient is a knitter weaver or crocheter they’ll love the Gleener. It’s the ultimate fuzz and pill remover for your sweaters and home goods with 4 different surfaces to tame those fly-away fibers.
Yarn bowls are always great for smaller projects. whether knitting a hat, crocheting a shawl or weaving on a Zoom Loom, the adorable animals yarn bowls from Pawley Studios are the perfect addition to your project. And no matter who is on your gift list this year a WEBS Gift Card is always a hit!
Doris says, “I particularly enjoy crocheting afghans when the weather turns cold. And if they’re lightweight, pretty, and not too large or cumbersome, I enjoy wearing them as well. ”
The Lace Motif Afghan is made of two motifs arranged in alternating placements in rows and columns. Motifs are connected to each other while crocheting, joining as you go. For some measure of portability crochet the centers of all motifs first, weave in those agonizing ends in advance, then do the last rounds with assembly when you can spread out.
A simple, small scallop trim adds balance, stability and a pretty finish to the afghan edges. With over 2 dozen colors available in the Valley Superwash DK you can work up a Lace Motif Afghan to match any decor. Stay with Doris’ suggested 3 colors or go monochromatic! Who will you make this afghan for?
It’s always nice to think about the next generation of knitters and crocheters. Who will they be? Where will they learn? Well, the National Needle Arts Association isn’t waiting to find out, they’re making it happen through their Needle Arts Mentoring Program. This year they’ve teamed up with Custom Bee for a unique fundraiser that will certainly appeal to many fiber enthusiasts.
Color, especially when it’s related to clothing, is fascinating to me. It is a powerful thing, triggering emotional responses in all of us. Each color creates a mood or feeling, can demonstrate the personally behind the wearer and evoke memories. I have been researching color for a while for a series of articles I have written for Twist Collective. So when I came to choose the shade for my final Designer in Residence pattern I knew I should pick something that said WOW! So it had to be Red.
Red evokes emotions ranging from passion and power to rage and romance. Viewing red increases blood pressure, pulse and heart rates, and even stimulates appetite. These physical reactions may be why we associate red with activity. But red is also considered seductive…think of lipstick & blush colors. Being the shortest wavelength on the spectrum, red is the first color the eye sees, making it attention- grabbing— the reason that it is used for warning signs. Our learned emotional responses to red are equally varied. Red can signify a mark of honor (think red carpet), we “see red” when we’re angry, are “in the red” when business is bad, and are “caught red handed” (originally a reference to blood on the hands) when guilty. “Red herrings” divert our attention and we “paint the town red” when we let loose after a long workweek (the origins of that particular phrase are a source of debate).
In naming this design I thought about how red is also linked to special occasions…my year as WEBS Designer in Residence has had, of course, many special days. Red letter days are so called because important festivals, holidays, and saints’ days were inked in red on medieval church calendars. So while I have your attention may I ask you to join me over on my website. I post a piece on the 9th of each month where I chat about design ideas and inspirations along with photos of what is fascinating me, I call it On-line, On-nine.
She shared some of the sheep with friends and has asked them to give folks an idea of how they could be used and decorated. Susan B Anderson has made some adorable sweaters and shared the pattern so you can make them, too! Mary Jane Mucklestone worked some fair isle magic, and there are lots more ideas on the Juniper Moon Farm blog, and on their Facebook page.
We decided we were all in a nostalgic 80’s kinda mood and dressed ours up with some leg warmers and headbands and a little glitter. Go get yourself a single sheep, or a set, or even a T-rex! Supplies are limited so grab them while you can, they’re only available through December 15th, 2015.
The final accessories of your bear use all the skills you’ve used in previous weeks of the KAL. We would love for you to share your bears with us on Facebook, Ravelry, Instagram, or Twitter. We can’t wait to see how you’ve accessorized yours!
With the holidays staring me in the face, I’m thinking about quick gifts – something small that I can weave in quantity on a single warp, yet lovely enough to be personal and appreciated. Although I’m in the tribe of weavers that believes one can never have too many handwovens in the kitchen, towels are more than I can bite off at this point. But what about…potholders?!And mug rugs? Narrow warps (fast threading) and small pieces (fast weaving), easy to make in sets by changing weft or treadling. And if I’m really down to the wire, I can full or felt the woven fabric and cut into individual pieces without having to hem because it won’t ravel.
For design ideas, I looked at some scarf drafts because they, too, are woven on a narrow warp and I can change to a heavier yarn to make them a good size for potholders. The two drafts that jumped out immediately are Draft #3 Pinwheel Scarf and Draft #58 Shepherd’s Check Scarf. Both are examples of Color and Weave, a technique that involves alternating stripes of light and dark colors in the warp and weft. I love the pinwheel, which is an 8-shaft pattern, because the shapes are so much fun. You can find many other treadling and tie up variations online to play with and make non-identical sets. The Shepherd’s Check uses 4 threads per stripe and the good news is that it can be woven either on a 4-shaft loom or a rigid heddle loom! With 4 shafts, you can weave a straight draw twill by threading and treadling 1-2-3-4, which will give the weave a diagonal slant. On a rigid heddle, you weave plain weave and still get the wonderful checked houndstooth look.
Then we have the yarn choices. I would go with a wool for this project because it will make a thick potholder that will protect the cook’s hands from the heat. Jaggerspun Heathers is a wonderful (and too often overlooked) wool with 498 yds in 100 gram skeins. One skein each of 2 colors will give you enough for dozens of small gifties like these. I chose a couple of color combinations from their beautiful range of heathery tones to show in this drawdown. ( For the Pinwheel use Teal and Midnight and for the Shepherd’s Check use Chokecherry and Walnut) Another great option would be Valley Yarns Northampton which has a huge color spectrum ( For the Pinwheel use Lake Heather and Ocean Heather; for the Shepherd’s Check use Garnet and Fawn). Sett at 8 epi, this yarn will make thicker potholders. And both of these yarns will felt wonderfully!
Do you have any ideas for last minute gift weaving?
Last week we started putting up some holiday decorations in the store and displaying our new items for holiday shopping. We’re featuring a wide range of gift-giving ideas sure to please your crafting friends and some nice things for you to include on your own holiday wish list.
We continue to carry old favorites like Kristin Nicholas’s ever-popular lamb cards, the best travel knitting light around, and hand moisturizer that should be in every knitter’s bag, particularly during the cold winter months. Laura Nelkin offers two new holiday ornament kits featuring a beaded star and beaded lights called Adornments. And don’t miss the adorable selection of Mochimochi toy kits in styles ranging from tiny ballet dancers to miniature Santas.
If you’re looking for one large item to splurge on, don’t miss the Knitter’s Pride Royale Interchangeable Needle set containing 9 sets of birch wood needles (sizes #4-#11) with smooth metal tips, color-coded cables, and a carrying pouch. This is the perfect gift for the special knitter in your life.
Please stop by and see what’s on offer–you’re sure to find something for the crafters in your life. Don’t forget that we’re open four more Sundays this year: November 29, December 6, 13 and 20 from 12-5.
I’ve been paging through our Holiday catalog and there are so many great ideas for gifts this year! And with Thanksgiving happening in a few days I’m looking forward to a long weekend of gift making. The most requested items on my list this year are mittens and stuffed animals.
What about the kids? We have 3 great patterns for the younger folks in your life. The Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bear and Hot Chocolate Run Penguin are a welcome and squishy addition to any child’s favorite pile of stuffies. These patterns also benefit Safe Passage so you’re doing TWO good things when you make these projects. We also have our new Holiday Bears that were featured on the cover of the catalog. I have a couple babies in my life that these would be perfect for, I’m going to tuck a jingle bell in the ends of their hands and feet so they’ll double as rattles! And all 3 of these patterns are easy to customize by changing the color of the bears themselves, and all of the accessories.
What are the smaller projects on your gifts-to-make list this year?