Selfless Sewing: Christmas 2021

Christmas is over, which means now I can share my Christmas makes with you! I have done completely Handmade Christmases in the past. Mostly because I didn’t have money, but I did have time and yarn. As I started to earn more over the years I also started being more strategic about which gifts to buy and which to make. Some years I didn’t make any presents at all. This year I decided to sew gifts for my two sisters.

My middle sister does the most incredible Jack Sparrow cosplay. It seemed obvious that she needed a pirate shirt in her life and repertoire. I used the same basic pattern and instructions as for my own pirate shirt, but with a few modifications. My sister’s shirt is made in a mid-weight linen, where mine is made of handkerchief linen. I also made her shirt slightly narrower – the entire shirt circumference is one Width of Fabric. I did a lapped shoulder seam on her shirt, where mine has no shoulder seam at all. And I sewed her shirt on the machine with French Seams.

Most of the visible stitching, such as at the collar, hem, and cuffs, is done by hand. The buttonholes are done by machine. Doing so much of the work by machine made this shirt MUCH faster than mine, which I sewed completely by hand. My sister was beyond thrilled, and that made me happy.

For my youngest sister I made a pair of plaid pants. Truth be told, I started these for her birthday in August, but then I got bogged down with fitting, and gave her something else for her birthday. It was nice to pull these out a few days before Christmas and have them almost done already! I based her pants off my modified pants pattern (which is based off the Cigarette Pants from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual), and then adjusted them to her measurements. The fabric is from Hobby Lobby. I really wanted to make pants from this fabric for myself, but I had already made myself a pair of grey plaid pants earlier in the year, and two pairs of plaid pants in one year seemed like overkill. The pants turned out fantastic! I accidentally cut them too short for a double-fold hem, so I finished them with black fold-over elastic instead.

Do you make Christmas gifts or do you prefer to buy presents?

Two Things

  • I have always wanted pretty stitch markers. I’ve been on the point of buying some several times. But every time I walk away thinking, “But are these the ones I REALLY want??” So finally I have made some. And I love them! I pulled the shells from a necklace a friend was getting rid of a few years ago, strung them on short lengths of nylon coated jewelry wire, decorated them with assorted seed beads I had laying around, and secured each one with a crimper bead.

stitchmarkers

  • I have finished my husband’s Christmas hat! I couldn’t wait, so I gave it to him last night. I was worried I wouldn’t have enough yarn, but after I finished the decreases I had just enough left to tie it up in a festive package.

He likes it immensely and feels that it makes him look cool, like a rugged Alaskan fisherman. I think I’ll keep him.

Shhh!

This is a hard time of year to write a blog post. Christmas is quickly approaching, and so many of us are making Christmas presents that are supposed to be a secret. How do you blog about something that is a secret??

So this is a super secret blog post about some of my handmade presents.

Just finished (as in today): Mom’s Christmas socks

Pattern: Rye by Tin Can Knits

Needles: US 4 / 3.5 mm

Yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers, Colour 9489

So squishy. So quick to knit. I spent 8 days on these socks. You, too can finish these before Christmas! And sized from “baby to big” they will make a great gift for any member of the family. Plus the pattern is free. You can’t get better than that.

In Progress: Hubby’s Ribbed Hat

hat

No pattern

Needles: US 5 / 3.75 mm

Yarn: Zauberball (unsure of the colorway) – held double

We bought this yarn together on our honeymoon. I started the hat on US 2 / 2.75 mm needles and quickly realized it was going to make me blind and angry. So I moved up to US 5 / 3.75 mm needles and am holding the yarn double. It’s still slow going, but I’m not going to stab someone with the needles halfway through the hat.

And that’s it. I am not knitting any other Christmas presents! It’s because of the huge sweater I finished just a few weeks ago. And my wedding. And honeymoon. You know, small things. I can’t remember the last time I made so few gifts. And I can’t wait to be knitting for me again!

In Review

Now that Christmas is over, I can show you a few more of the presents I made.

Sparkly bracelets worked up quickly as presents for friends

Pattern: Beaded Waves Cuff by Laura Nelkin

Yarn: Valley Yarns Superwash DK in Natural and Cascade Yarns El Cielo in Bordeaux

Size 6 seed beads

photo (1)
Stripey Wristwarmers for my sister

Pattern: made up as I went: the gloves are knit in 2×2 ribbing with garter stitch rows on both ends

Yarn: I Love this Cotton in White and Orangeade (I tea-dyed the gloves so the colours wouldn’t be quite so glaring)

For my youngest sister I decided not to knit anything. A few years ago I taught her to knit, so for Christmas I gave her some knitting supplies and a binder of patterns I had picked out and thought she would enjoy. She was very pleased and immediately picked out a pattern to start knitting with her Christmas yarn.

A Stitch in Time

I am almost done with my Grandma’s Christmas sweater. I’ve been working on this since September, starting with the sleeves. Then I soldiered through the back, which I thought would never be done. After several brief meanderings through other projects I cast on the right front earlier this week, and lo and behold! A semi-finished object! Now I only have to knit the left front, do the sewing up, and knit the lower border on. This sweater is practically done! I can almost taste it.

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The back and right front (sleeves not shown)

(Is yarn-tasting a thing? Should it be?)