Friday, 9 December 2011

Knitting countdown to Christmas

Once again I am eschewing the horror of Christmas shopping by knitting Christmas presents. I won't be able to make something for everyone, but I'm not too far from my goal (and would be closer, if I didn't keep appropriating gifts that were meant for someone else).

The gift I'm most excited about is a family of dolls for my niece. She discovered a doll book in my mother's craft library that was my favourite as a child - Eva's Dolls and Puppets, published in the 1970s.

First published in Danish in 1969, and in English in 1972

The dolls are adorable, but even better, the book includes instructions and patterns for a whole wardrobe of knit, crochet and sewn clothes. And there is even a little story to go along. I yearned for this doll family as a child, so I'm delighted to be able to bring them to life. I'm going to knit the dolls, my mother will embroider the faces and attach the hair, and then we'll leave it up to my niece, a budding crafter, to make the clothes. (Though I might contribute a few knitted items).

Happy Christmas from the doll family

I've finished the mother and baby already, and should be able to whip up dad and son in a couple of days. They are knit from the toes up in the round, so require minimal finishing. I was particularly impressed with the feet of the adults, which incorporate a bit of short row shaping to create the heels. So you have a place to put the cute boots and shoes you make them.

Another project I'm extremely pleased with is my Tess slippers. This is my first steeking project, and I'm pleased to announce that the first slipper was a success, and the second is well on it's way.

The steek (or cut) is done between the stripes at the ankle 

This pattern is a great way to practice steeking if you've never done it before. They are a quick knit, so there is less fear of destroying a vast expanse of knitting. But anyway, if you use shetland wool there is hardly any danger of unraveling. I'm doing mine in red and white (very Christmassy) and I'm so impressed with how well they fit. Unfortunately I won't be able to appropriate these for myself because my kitten finds Shetland wool absolutely irresistable - I'm afraid she would ferociously attack my feet every time I wore them.

Attack cat

I can't share too much about the biggest Christmas knitting project, because it's for my mother and she occassionally reads my blog. I'll just say it's a jacket from Vogue Knitting magazine. I've finished the body and all (!) that remains is the arms and a large fold over shawl collar. I figure if I manage to finish up the arms before I travel back to the States on the 19th of December (or more likely, on the flight over), I'll have just enough time before Christmas to whip up the collar.

That should be enough to keep me busy in the run up to Christmas. Then after Christmas I have to try to finish a pair of gloves for my husband (one is done, I'm just suffering from second glove syndrome) and knit up a pair of socks for my father's birthday in January. And then I can get back to selfish knitting until next Christmas.

Has anyone else succumbed to Christmas knitting mania, and is so, what are you making?