Gift Knitting Redux

Last year I really nailed the gift knitting thing.

I knitted 7 pairs of toddler socks, a long one skein cowl, a barnraising blanket, 2 pairs of socks, 4 hats, a child’s sweater, I crocheted pot grabbers and knitted a large christmas pudding tea cosy at my mum’s request. Everything was completed in time to be wrapped and gifted completed.

This was largely a reaction to stressful and prolonged gift knitting experience in 2016. I had finished my nephew’s hoodie on January 8th, late the night before leaving to head home and having failed completely to finish a cardigan for my niece – she got it last year instead.

Last year, I thought I had learned my lesson. I started in the summer, I planned my gifts and paced myself. there were a few rushed finishes for posting overseas and couple of things that I forgot to photograph but it all got done.

However, usual service was resumed this year. I simply didn’t plan, largely because there was so much else going on this year and I decided that I would try and manage my own expectations and not knit so many gifts. However, try as I may it seems that as Christmas approaches I start getting these bright ideas that I should knit ‘this’ for so and so, and ‘that’ for someone else. Before long a knitted gift seems like a much better idea than anything I can think of to buy and out come the knitting needles and the frenzy commences.

I started with my nieces, they are just so knitworthy and they’re an age (teens – uni age) where I can make them things that I would like to knit anyway.  So I dug out some deep stash and knitted a Wolkig by Martina Behm from Knitty for one, and another deep stash skein of fine soft singles yarn for a lacy long cowl for the other – this was a simple lace pattern and I just made it up. I fear it my curl at the edges a little but I made it long enough to be wrapped 3 times which is how I envisaged my niece wearing it so a little curl won’t really matter than much and the colours are perfect for her.

Apologies for the pictures, they were take in poor night light immediately before being wrapped to catch the post the next morning.

I also knitted a little sweater for my toddler nephew. It’s just a top down raglan, made up as I went along to using a self striping Wool Gatto DK yarn that has also been in my stash for a long time.

You’ll have to take my word for it that that I knitted 2 pairs of socks for my sisters-in-law; I delegated the wrapping and forgot to intercept them for pictures first. Both were very happily received though.

Finally, This was the year I decided to follow through on a promise and knit some mittens for my partner. He has some fiddlehead mittens which I knitted back in 2010. They were knit from Cascade 220 as the pattern called for a worsted yarn and I’d added alpaca lining. However, last December, they had a slight accident in my absence when they needed a wash and ‘someone’ decided it was a good idea to put them in the washing machine.

The glove itself was ok but the alpaca lining shrank dramatically. As an interim measure I decide to cut out the lining and go back to what had been the provisional cast on and pick up these stitches and just cast them off and sew it down inside the cuff; the mittens could still be used by without a lining.

However, what he’d always really wanted was a replacement for some Scandinavian style mittens that date back to his post-graduate days in Minnesota about 30 years ago and which no longer have any palms. This year he was away for a few days before Christmas so I thought perhaps I’d surprise him by knitting some. A few factors conspired against me however:

  1. I couldn’t find a pattern that matched the design. I know, given how many mitten patterns are there out there surely someone has written up one like this? For all my searching I couldn’t find this one so I set about charting it.
  2. Something strange was going on in terms of stitch count between cuff and hand and the thumb placement was in the palm which I’m less familiar with. So I had to do some research into that to recreate it correctly. The fiddleheads, the only other colour work mittens I’ve made, have the thumb come out of the side of the hand which is a lot easier.
  3. I couldn’t get the right gauge for the stitch count with the first yarn I used without it being way to loose and making the colourwork rather indistinct.
  4. I thought I had an alternative yarn but then realised I’d given my white to a friend to finish a project so didn’t have any – luckily the new yarn shop in town stocks Jamieson and Smith so I could go and grab some.
  5. I got sick.

By, the time my partner got back I had a chart and had knitted and frogged the equivalent of one mitten but only had a cuff to show for all my efforts. I was able to do a little bit more secret knitting before we went away at Christmas but this year it was his turn to get the parcel with the knitting still on the needles.


The navy is his original mitt, the green is my attempt at re-creating it and my partial chart is there too. I’ve since finished the first mitt and need to get onto the second. After all, he has a birthday coming up at the end of the month!

I hope you had more luck than me wth your gift knitting this year.

Tess x




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