Tag Archives: ornaments

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!)

Mom

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.

Sister

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…

CG

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.

MC

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.

Stashbusters

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?

FO Friday: Chubby Sheep revealed

Yay, I can finally share the secret project I was working on because the pattern has been published!  (You can download my free Chubby Sheep pattern here.)

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been collaborating with Galler Yarns, a family-run yarn importer in Monroe, New York.  I was asked to design some toys using Flore II, a kid mohair/wool/nylon blend yarn made in South Africa.

Strangely, when I saw the yarn, I didn’t think of a goat but rather a sheep.  (Yes, there is wool in the yarn, but it looks more “mohair-ish.”)  I kept the goat idea in the back of mind while designing, though.  I always imagine goats eating anything and everything.  (According to the British Goat Society, this is actually untrue and goats are quite particular about their eating habits.)

So I decided to make this sheep a very rotund,  non-stop eating machine.  Originally, I planned to add legs, but once I finished the body, I saw that the sheep was able to sit on his own and actually looked pretty cute that way.  I worked on the sample during the long Thanksgiving weekend.  That Sunday, MC and I went for a nice walk in Central Park.  It was a bit brisk out, but a beautiful day.  I took many great pictures of the sheep (and of another top secret project I can’t talk about yet!).

Chubby Sheep, enjoying the fall foliage while sitting on a park bench.
Cuter than a hacky sack.
Posing for the camera.

That weekend, the Christmas tree vendors were just setting up around our neighborhood.  With that inspiration, I decided to add the option to transform the Chubby Sheep into an ornament.  On Monday, on the way to the post office to mail the sample, I snuck behind one of the Christmas tree stands and captured a few pictures of the ornament version.

The ornament version.

My acrylic amigurumi critters always have very smooth, dull surfaces.  I like the way the mohair in the yarn makes Chubby Sheep look fuzzy.

For more finished objects, visit Tami’s Amis.

Free Pattern: Chubby Sheep

I’m excited to share my first free pattern on the blog, Chubby Sheep.

This is one of the super secret projects I’ve been working on, in collaboration with Galler Yarns.  The Galler Yarns blog has a growing collection of free patterns.  They also have a Facebook page.

Download Chubby Sheep PDF Pattern or the Kollabora Make-A-Long Version.

(Note: A correction to Rnd 24 was made on 12/7/2012, so you should download a new copy if your version is older.)

I made this using Flore II, an awesome blend of kid mohair, wool, and nylon.  The kid mohair really makes the difference in the final texture.

Just in time for the holidays, the pattern also includes (optional) instructions to transform Chubby Sheep into an ornament or hanging decoration.

Exact gauge is not critical for this project but stitches should be small so that fiber filling doesn’t show.  This project uses about 100 yards (91 m) in the main color and about 35 yards (32 m) in color b. You will also need a small amount of brown embroidery floss, a stitch marker, fiber filling, and a yarn needle.

This pattern was tested by aimeefae, anamoji, ayoung, and ss9904 on Ravelry.  It takes about 5-6 hours to complete.  Enjoy!

If you like the pattern, show me some love on the Chubby Sheep page in the Ravelry database :).

Handmade Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Handmade Gifts to Make

Happy Thanksgiving!

In the U.S., the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) signifies the official start of the holiday shopping season.  In the spirit of keeping the holidays a little more handmade and small business and a little less mass produced and corporate, I’m sharing several holiday gift guides today.

Handmade gifts to make

This time of year, many crafters are using every spare moment to make holiday gifts for their loved ones.  Tracie Barrett‘s Gift Giving Guide on the Fibers by Tracie blog gives some great suggestions for quick-to-make holiday gifts and Fearless Leader recently posted a teaser for the Crochet Liberation Front‘s upcoming Official Guide to Super Awesome Gift Giving.

My personal favorite last minute crochet gift projects are scarves made with bulky yarns (or multiple strands of yarn), hats, and cotton washcloths.

For scarves and washcloths, I turn to my stitch guides for inspiration.  Don’t have any stitch guides?

Not sure how many stitches to start with?  This post in my Crochet 101 CAL explains how to use your gauge to figure out how many stitches to start with if you want to make a project of a specific size.

Some of my holiday 2011 washcloths.

Hats make wonderful, quick holiday gifts.  Some of my favorite crochet hat patterns:

Stocking Caps. (Photo (c) House of White Birches.)

I just reviewed 60 More Quick Knits, which has some great knitted hat patterns, as well as patterns for mittens and scarfs.  My favorite crochet mitten pattern, amazingly available in 8 sizes from infant to XL adult, is Heart Strings by Cathy Pipinich.

Amigurumi can make a fun gift, too.

Filled with great gift ideas!

Speaking of books I haven’t had a chance to review yet, there are three great patterns in Little Crochet: Modern Designs for Babies and Toddlers by Linda Permann that would make speedy children’s gifts: Cozy Crawlers Leg Warmers (6 mo – 2 years, and available here as a free excerpt), Tiny Tee Appliques to add to store bought or hand sewn clothes, and Beanie and Bonnet (in baby, toddler, and child sizes).  (Beanie and Bonnet errata available here.)

handmade gift bag can be a wonderful addition to a handmade or store bought gift.  These bags can be also reused, unlike conventional wrapping paper, making them more eco-friendly.Kathryn from Crochet Concupiscence has a great list of crochet patterns for bags in this blog post.  The Mel Stampz blog has a list of 50 templates and patterns for papercrafts gift bags.

Deborah Atkinson from Snowcatcher has excellent crochet patterns and tutorials in her Snowflake Monday posts.   (It would be great if you could contribute to her charity of choice, Bike MS, so that she can send you a PDF of her 20 most popular designs.)  These snowflakes would make great holiday decorations or embellishments for gifts.  Some of the patterns would also work well as a set of holiday coasters.

With all of this holiday crocheting and knitting, you may be running low on yarn.  So why not stop by your Local Yarn Shop to celebrate Small Business Saturday?  You can even register your American Express card in advance to get a $25 credit on your statement if you spend at least $25 at a small business on Saturday, November 26.  Your LYS employees are guaranteed to have some additional project ideas and maybe even a few new patterns or yarns for you try out.  (If you’ll be yarn shopping in NYC, check out my Visitor’s Guide to New York City Yarn Shops.)

If you aren’t in the mood for knitting, crocheting, or papercrafting, handmade food gifts are another option.  I like to make jar mixes:  I don’t exhaust myself with last minute baking, the mixes last longer and can be used after the holidays end, and the jars can be reused in the kitchen or for craft storage.  Nestle‘s Very Best Baking is a good site for finding classic gift recipes.  My favorite jar mixes to give are the classic Toll House cookies mix, the chewie brownie mix, and the hot cocoa mix.  For those who don’t like chocolate (and there are some of them out there), I like the pumpkin cranberry bread mix or the oatmeal chip cookie mix (substituting butterscotch chips, raisins, or craisins for the chocolate chips).  You can also check out the Best Cookie Mix in a Jar Recipes and Dry Soup Mix Recipes pages at Allrecipes.com for more ideas.  If you can’t find canning jars in your area, there are many online options for ordering these days.  Just remember that if you are shipping jar mixes, you need to be careful about packaging.

Enjoy the first gift guide, and feel free to share your favorite gifts to make in the comments!