Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas Stockings

Christmas stockings have always been one of my favorite holiday traditions.  Growing up, my Mom hand knit stockings for all of the kids in my family.  Mine has a Santa in a chimney on it.  I've always treasured it.

Because the stocking my Mom made for me makes me so happy, I decided I would make one for my own son this Christmas.  I found a free knitting pattern on-line and dug out some leftover yarn my Aunt had given to me, and went to town.  I didn't have the correct needle size for the pattern, but figured bigger is always better, right?  Well, the proportions came out kind of funny -- sort of ended up as a giant tube.

Well, there were still two weeks until Christmas, so why stop there, right?  I decided to use smaller needles and pay better attention to proportions and make one for Brian.  I developed a diamond pattern repeat and went to town.  It came out much better.

Still a few days left before Christmas... I kept knitting!  This time I made one for me.  I had run out of red yarn, but had some nice blue.  To keep it seasonal, I was thinking about a pattern that was sort of starry nightish.  That reminded me of some mittens that our friends in Norway had knit for me many years ago.  I dug them out of the mitten drawer and copied down the pattern with a few edits to adapt it to the stocking.

Hand-knit Norwegian Mitten made by Marie-Brit
pattern adapted from mitten for stocking

I finished it on Christmas eve  - just in time!
No, it doesn't say "retch"

Here are our stockings loaded up by Santa on Christmas eve.  Henry's stocking may look funny, but it's very functional!  I'll probably make a better one for him in the future.

And the look on his face Christmas morning made all that last minute knitting worthwhile!

What's all this?

Is that for me?
This is fun!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Failed Experiments

It is often said that great things are often discovered by accident... this was not one of those times.  If there is one thing that I have learned (over and over again, it seems) it's that there are no shortcuts in felting.  I made a last minute decision (the way I make most of my decisions) to make felt slippers for all the ladies in my immediate and in-law family for Christmas.  I had a pair for my Mom already finished, but I needed felt to make five more pairs, and only had a few days left to do it.  I had some pre-felt (slightly felted material) scraps laying around from a previous project, but needed bigger and thicker pieces, so decided I'd try to combine them into a larger piece.  I did't feel like I had time for traditional methods, so concocted an idea of basting the pieces together with sewing thread and throwing them in a hot water cycle in the washing machine...  the idea being that the layers would fuse and firm up as it felted.  It didn't work.

And I'm not sure why I thought it would work, because I've actually done something like this before with similar results.  Wishful thinking, I suppose.  I guess some lessons have to be learned over and over again.  I saved this crazy mess to someday be the innards of something sculptural in felt.