Tag Archives: holiday crafting

Frantic Holiday Crafting Update

YOP3 sheep

On December 1, I set a goal of finishing a project every other day in December.  With just a few days to go, I’m happy to say that I did pretty well.

First off, I finished three secret for future publication.  (You can read vague details on my Ravelry project pages here, here, and here.)  I can’t show pictures of the finished projects, but I can share the yummy yarns that I used.

Yarn collage

All of these were new-to-me yarns, and I really enjoyed discovering each one!  On the left is Imperial Yarns Columbia, which is a great workhorse yarn, but with a bit more softness than you would expect for a sturdy, worsted weight, wool.  In the center is Rowan Big Wool, which has a delightful feel as well, and it works up very quickly since it’s a super bulky yarn.  And on the right is Valley Yarns Valley Superwash.  The colors in real life are much richer than what you see on the screen.

And then there are the projects I already shared on the blog, a crescent shawl I made for my sister with Mountain Colors Twizzle, which has stunning colors and a scrumptiously soft feel (thanks to the silk content); the plain, ribbed hat I knit for MC using Studio Donegal Soft Donegal; and the brimmed hat I crocheted for my friend using Patons Shetland Chunky.

I did manage two other finishes in December.  Both were inadequately photographed in the holiday rush.  The first was a lap blanket for my grandpa, crocheted with two strands of what Ravelry calls “vintage” Bernat Softee Chunky that I bought at the famous Smiley’s Manhattan yarn sale.

Grandpa lap blanket

I created an ombre effect by changing the strands I held together for each row.  I also made a little heart motif on some of the squares, since my grandpa just had a pacemaker installed.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to make new projects for my other relatives, so I dug through my collection to find some existing projects to gift.

Holiday gift Collage

I gave my grandma the original sample of my Pineapples for Everyone Shawl pattern, my uncle the hat I originally knit for MC (that was deemed “too fussy”), and my aunt a cowl I made as part of a CAL in January.

And then on Christmas Day, I did the last finishing touches (but forgot to photograph them) on the headband for my sister’s boyfriend.  It’s something he could wear to a football game in his current home (New Orleans) or in the new city he’ll be moving to after graduation (Houston).  Each side has a different flavor.

Geaux Saints I am a Texan

At this point, I’m averaging something closer to a finish every 3 days, which isn’t bad for the holiday season.  And, I’m on my way to (hopefully) finishing ten projects by the end of the month.

I have one more secret project to knit.  The yarn, HiKoo Simpliworsted, was a bit delayed in arriving and it looks lovely.


And I received a fabulous gift from Kim Guzman (interviewed here) on Christmas Eve.  She sent me some of her famous apple butter (yum!) and packed the box with yarn (the now discontinued NaturallyCaron.com Country).  So with that, I started a baby blanket for my cousin (who, according to Facebook, may already be in labor).

Heart blanket thru 2013-12-27

This is a refinement of the pattern I made for my grandpa, where the hearts are a bit pointier and the squares are easier to join as you go.  The color that looks brown in the picture is actually a dark purple.

In other yarn related news, my sister gave me some yarn from her recent trip to Montenegro for Christmas.

Ana yarn

It’s now official that my yarn stash is better traveled than I am, since I also have skeins from Italy and Patagonia.

How did your holiday crafting go? (And, my comments are now restored, so I’ll actually be able to read and respond to what you write!)

For more Year of Projects posts, visit this thread on Ravelry.

Frantic Holiday Crafting: Shopping Spree

Smiley’s, a discount yarn shop in Woodhaven, Queens (reviewed here), has an annual Manhattan Yarn Sale.  You can only buy yarn in bulk at this sale (3-10 skeins in each bag), so I have tried to avoid it for the last few years.  While it’s a great place to be if you have a sweater to make, it can also lead to impulsive yarn stashing, which is perhaps not so great if you live in a one bedroom apartment as I do.

Smiley's Manhattan Yarn Sale

Yesterday, I arrived at the hotel where this massive sale is hosted (the picture above shows about 1/6 of the yarn that’s available) right as the doors to the ballroom were opening.  Usually, there are crowds around the room so I thought an early start was the best idea.  You see, I decided in all of my last minute gift making mania to make a blanket for my grandpa.  I needed a bulky yarn and I needed some masculine colors.

Bernat Softee Chunky stash

I was tempted to buy more yarn, but I held firm.  I *only* bought 21 skeins of Bernat Softee Chunky.

Bernat Softee Chunky

Now I just need to finish this blanket by the end of next week :).  I did finish one project this week, but not for the holidays.  This will be sent out to the publisher tomorrow, along with some other secret projects I’m working on.

I’m still having some problems with comments, so if I don’t respond to yours quickly, it’s due to technical difficulties.

Frantic Holiday Crafting: Finish 3

It’s amazing how a little challenge can make your fingers fly.

Nice boring hat blog

This is a nice, boring hat for my special guy that I just finished.  I used the same yarn to make a slightly fancier hat a few weeks ago, but in using my secret knit testing tactic (asking him to “try on a hat” to see if it would fit someone else), I discovered it was too fancy for his tastes.  I knew the yarn, Studio Donegal Soft Donegal in Charcoal, would be perfect for him, though.

Grey days

I’ve been wearing “the fancy hat” though it’s a bit big on me, but I may give it to my uncle for Christmas.  After all, I’m less than 20 days away and with many unfinished gifts.

Since I set a challenge to myself last Sunday of finishing a holiday project every two days, I haven’t exactly met my goal.  But I have finished three projects.  (You can see the others here and here.) I feel like I’m on track, and, like most crocheters/knitters, I have a stash of finished items hanging around that can be gifted if necessary.

Some amazing yarn arrived in the mail on Friday for two upcoming designs that will be published in a magazine next year.

Imperial Yarn

I’m loving the feel of this Imperial Yarn Columbia 2-Ply.  I’ll be knitting up a secret project with it next.  One of the great joys of being a designer is having the opportunity to use all kinds of wonderful yarns that I wouldn’t usually have access to.  I’ve been wanting to try Imperial Yarn for a while and it isn’t disappointing.

Valley Yarns

I’ve also been eager to try Valley Yarns out.  Some of the students in one of my knitting classes took a field trip to WEBS in the summer, and I didn’t go because I’m trying to bust my stash.  Luckily, I get to sample the Valley Superwash now, so I don’t have to be too jealous!

I’m having some problems reading comments on my blog right now, but I’m hoping they are still coming through.  If I don’t respond to your comment, it hasn’t been fixed yet.

You can find links to more Year of Projects posts on Ravelry here.

Frantic Holiday Crafting: Finish 2

This is the second project I finished since I challenged myself to finish a project every two days in December.

OB hat

I crocheted this hat last night.  It’s for a friend of mine who bought one of my crocheted hats at a craft fair a few years ago.  We went to Smiley’s to shop for this yarn a few weeks ago.  She wanted a remake of the hat using black and grey yarn, and I held three strands of Patons Shetland Chunky together to make it.  It’s super cozy and made with a small brim, just as she requested.  I didn’t weave in the ends, though, because I’m not sure about the size and since she commissioned it, I want it to fit exactly as she wants.  (She lost the original before she could measure the circumference, and described the fit ans not too snug and not too loose.)  The next step is to schedule a fitting.

For more Finished Objects, visit Tami’s Amis.

Frantic Holiday Crafting: Finish 1

declared my intent to finish a project every 2 days during December on Sunday, and here is my first finish.


Crescent shawl blog


I knit up a simple crescent shaped shawl for my sister using a skein of Twizzle that Mountain Colors sent me for review.  (Review spoiler alert: I love it so far!)  I could have finished the shawl with just one skein, but I was so engrossed in the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead that I didn’t realize how close I was to the end of the skein until I was on the last row.  I didn’t want to rip back, so I just cast off with the other skein.  Lucky for me, the colors coordinate beautifully.

This took 4 days to make, but I hadn’t started my challenge yet so I’m feeling super accomplished right now.  Oh, and I never said that finishing a project would include the blocking – hence my sneaky picture of the center.  (The edges are not ready for prime time currently.)

Now which project should I take up today?


Growing up, I was fascinated with the Nativity scene my maternal grandmother would set up during the Christmas season, and I remember being eager to place the baby Jesus into the manger after midnight on Christmas Eve.  That Nativity set was the one physical object that I most associated with the holidays during childhood, and since I first saw crocheted Nativity scenes, I’ve thought about making one for my mother.  I bought Carolyn Christmas‘s Amigurumi Nativity pattern in paper form a while back, but never had the time (or the right yarn on hand) to make it.

At the beginning of the year, I started planning to make the set.  I definitely don’t have much in the way of “flesh tone” yarns in my stash, so I appealed to the folks in the Surmount the Stash group on Ravelry.  The generous mamajulia stepped forward to send me some yarn she had leftover from a project, thus helping me avoid a trip to Michael’s that might result in a stash explosion.

The last few weeks have been tough for me, so over the long weekend I wanted to pick up simple that I could make without too much thought.  The Amigurumi Nativity seemed like the perfect project, but of course, I couldn’t locate the pattern.  I searched high and low and finally gave up and was ready to order another copy.  And that’s when I learned that it’s now available as a Ravelry download.  I’m a longtime fan of Carolyn’s work, and I’m always happy to support another independent designer, so I bought the pattern on Rav, added it to my Kindle Fire, and set to work.

My first three heads (perhaps for Mary, Joseph, and the Angel).
The first three heads (perhaps for Mary, Joseph, and the Angel).

I plan to vary the skin tone for the three Wise Men, so my amigurumi version will be similar to my grandmother’s set.  This is officially my first holiday project for 2013.  (Last year at this time, I was just beginning my holiday crafting list, so I feel like I’m on pace for this year, too.)

I also made some progress on my temperature scarf.  I have one row for each day of 2013 through May 24th.

Temperature scarf through 2013-05-24.jpg

I’ve used all but one color now, and it is really interesting to watch the scarf unfold.

As for reading, I’m about a third of the way through American Gods by Neil Gaiman.  I was on the waiting list at the New York Public Library for a while.  I don’t really know what I expected, but I’m enjoying it so far.

And, back in March, MC and I watched The Bible miniseries, and that got us talking about the actual Bible.  I’ve never read it in its entirety, and since – regardless of your faith and religious beliefs – it’s such a significant work in the development of Western civilization, I decided that I should actually read it all the way through.  After a little bit of research, I bought The NRSV Daily Bible: Read, Meditate, and Pray Through the Entire Bible in 365 Days last week.  Although it is tempting to read more at each setting, I decided to follow the book’s pacing.  It has been interesting to read the Bible in these little snippets, and I think I’ll probably remember each section better since I’ll have more time between readings to reflect.

For more Work in Progress Wednesday posts, visit Tami’s Amis.  For more Yarn Along posts, visit Small Things.

2013 Holiday Stashdown Challenge – January update

In January, I participated in the Calm Cowl CAL with Crochet Happy and I made a gift that I plan to give to one of my aunts for the holidays.

The Finished List

1) Cowl for an aunt – Galler Yarns Prime Alpaca – 339 yards – Calm Cowl by Suzana Davidovic

The Still to Make List

1) Mom – blanket and Amigurumi Nativity by Carolyn Christmas.

2) Sister – something with sing these slipper soles.

3) Dad – winter accessories

4) Dad’s partner – winter accessories

5) CG – boa scarf

6) MC – something cozy and wintery

The Maybe List

1) Carlota

2) OB

3) JS

4) JP

5) JM

6-8 ) My cousins

9-10) My grandparents

11-12) My aunt and uncle

13-14) My two little cousins – Toys or blanket

How about you?  Are you thinking about holiday crafting yet?

2013 Holiday Stashdown Challenge!

Last year, I hosted a Holiday Stashdown Challenge to encourage myself and anyone else who was willing to play along with me to make our holiday gifts early and to use as much stash yarn as possible.

The successes: I used up over 3,300 yards of yarn from my stash, made gifts for 14 people, and had all of my holiday crafting finished before Thanksgiving.  (You can read more details here.)  A few other bloggers seemed to find some crafty inspiration, too, like Audrey-Lee and Mary from Needles and Hooks and Books, Oh My!

Unfortunately, I could never get a link party to work (if someone knows how to do that from a self-hosted WordPress blog, please tell me!) and sometimes, there was not much progress to share.  I don’t plan to post weekly updates in 2013, but instead I plan to share an update on the first Tuesday of each month.

I’ll kick off the New Year today with a tentative list and some ideas for my 2013 holiday gifts.  (Since it is the beginning of the year, I’ll dream big.  I’m sure the list will be greatly reduced by the time the holidays roll around!)


I plan to finish this blanket, which I originally planned to give to her in February for her birthday.

I’d also like to make her the Amigurumi Nativity by Carolyn Christmas. And, if there’s any time left, a pair of these cute hexagon slippers.


If I don’t make her a pair of slippers boots using these slipper soles, I will be sad.  Because that has been my plan for the past few years since I bought them ;).

Dad and Dad’s partner

I’d like to make them each a full winter accessories set with a hat, scarf, and convertible gloves.  Of course, I’ve never made convertible gloves, so they may be incredibly difficult or annoying to make…


She is one of my best buddies from high school.  I started this boa scarf for her in late November and will probably finish it in time for her birthday in March.  If not, then December, 2013 is my back up plan!

Side note: This is one of the best patterns I’ve read.  It’s Anne by MK Carroll.  It includes a written pattern (in US and UK version), stitch symbols, and lots of explanation.


Perhaps a nice warm hat or a pair of cozy slippers.  If I get ambitious, I may resurrect the idea of making him a sweater.

My cat seems to like the sweater idea.

Other folks

I’d like to make gifts for my friends Carlota, OB, JS, and JP.  I don’t really know what yet.  And, if there’s time, I’d like to make something for JM.


I had a lot of fun making little ornaments in December.  In a perfect world, I’d make about 40 of these to include in my holiday gift cards for family I don’t exchange gifts with, or to use as gift tags.

And I’d really like to make snowflake cards.  I did make a few snowflakes this year, but I didn’t find a glue that I liked to affix them to cards properly.

Again, in the imaginary world where I have unlimited time and resources, I would make about 50 snowflakes for cards.  Or maybe I should take a hint from Attic24 and crochet my holiday cards.  I welcome suggestions for making snowflake cards from those of you who are snowflake pros :).


When do you start your holiday crafting?

Holiday Stashdown Challenge, Week 31

(Join along with me any time if you need a head start or moral support for your holiday crafting.  You can read more details here.)

I think I’m officially finished with holiday crafting for this year.  (I say “I think” because you never know how I might be feeling about starting a last minute project!)  But if you’re still trying to get in some last minute gifts, I will take this moment for a little shameless self-promotion.

In the past few months, I’ve had several patterns published that make great last minute gifts.  For the ladies in your life, you might want to crochet the Chevron Shell Cowl or the Ribbed Mobius Cowl.  If you’re a knitter, the Givin’ Me Fever Pom Pom Hat is a funky option.  All three work up quickly and the patterns are available for free on Kollabora.  (And if you don’t have the appropriate yarn in your stash, you can buy the yarn on the same page as you can find the pattern.)

If you’re looking for a fun gift for anyone, why not join in the Chubby Sheep CAL.  Crochet one of these cuties with us through January 31 for your chance to win prizes while (virtually) meeting other crafters!  You can download the free pattern here.  There’s even an option to convert it into a Christmas ornament, if you’re in the holiday mood.

And if you haven’t already, you may want to check out my giveaway for Crocheted Granny Squares (Twenty to Make) by Val Pierce, courtesy Search Press, here.

How’s your holiday crafting coming?  Are you working on any last minute projects?

Holiday Stashdown Challenge: Weeks 29 & 30

(Join along with me any time if you need a head start or moral support for your holiday crafting.  You can read more details here.)

I didn’t post a holiday crafting update last week.  Most of my crafting time lately has been used up on several secret design projects, but I did pick up some quick holiday projects, too.

I’ve been working on some ornaments.

This tiny sweater is actually finished now.

I made another one of these cute sweater ornaments, and I also started two of these granny tree ornaments.

I'm looking for a coordinating brown yarn for the trunks.

And… I decided I wanted a fun, no thinking project to work on in between my designs.  I’ve been eyeing Queen Anne’s Lace scarves for a while, but didn’t want to use the brain space to try and figure out the free patterns I found.  I decided to plunk down some cash for a well written pattern that explains everything: Anne by MK Carroll.

The investment was totally worth it because I can crochet away without trying to interpret the pattern.  The pattern is written and also charted with the written pattern side by side again.  I’ve just started this scarf, and it will be for my best friend from high school, CG.  I don’t plan to give it to her until her birthday in March, though.

My plan is to make this long and narrow, kind of like a boa.  CG is an artist and dresses with a lot of bold colors, so she could actually pull off that look.  I’m using this great yarn I bought during my trip to Philadelphia.

How is your holiday crafting going?  Feel free to share your holiday crafting journey in the comments!