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?

A Tale of Two Scarves

This is the story of two scarves that lived very different lives.

In September of 2019 I bought two balls of Cascade Paradigm Shift in the Seattle colourway. I loved the bold colour shifts throughout the yarn. I warped my loom for a scarf, started weaving, and then stopped.

A year later, in September of 2020 I pulled my loom out and wove the rest of the scarf in a day. I initially thought the scarf would be too wide and bulky to wear comfortably due to the heavy cotton yarn in both warp and weft, but the looser weave structure makes it very fluid and nice to wear.

A few months later in December of 2020 I needed a last-minute Christmas gift. The cotton scarf was the wrong colour for the recipient, but I remembered how it wove up in a single day and decided to weave another scarf.

The warp was a variety of fingering weight wools in white, with a stripe of pink on one side. The weft was half a skein of Less Traveled Yarn’s Creosote Collection on their Lafayette base. It was mesmerizing to watch the colours shift with every throw of my shuttle.

It took longer than a day to weave, but it was such a lovely experience. The fabric is much finer than its cotton cousin, and it turned out the perfect width.

I twisted and knotted the fringe and then sent it off to its new owner.

I’ve been trying to use up my stash yarn (and avoid buying more), and I forgot how quickly a skein of yarn weaves up! I have the other half-ball of this variegated yarn and a skein of Eggplant to use as a warp. Now I just need to figure out who in my life needs a purple scarf.

Making a Tree Skirt (from Stash)

I love Christmas. It’s my favourite holiday of the year, and I get so excited about it. For me, the Christmas season starts the day after Thanksgiving when we set up our tree. This year we put our tree up a little early, and my husband remarked that we needed a tree skirt, specifically a red one. I am always happy to show that my crafting skills are practical, so I told him I could make a tree skirt. Now I just happened to have about half a yard of red knit velvet left over from making my Renaissance Gown, as well as a similar amount of thick grey felt that has been in my stash for several years. I did some measuring and drawing and then cut my fabric.

tree skirt1treeskirt back

Since I was working with scraps (or “cabbage” as couture sewists call it) I did have to piece both the inner and outer layers, but this meant that I was able to use all but the smallest bits of my fabric. If I was making this again I would have paid more attention to the grainline of the velvet. You can see that the texture of the pieced section reflects light differently because the grain is perpendicular to the rest of the fabric instead of parallel. In the end it doesn’t matter much as the piecing hardly shows when the skirt is on the tree. (Please forgive the cat hair – my cat has decided that velvet is her new favourite texture.)

pieced 2

I originally meant to sew everything on this tree skirt, but after a while I got tired of sewing, and I realized that the hem was massive and likely to shift, meaning that the more time I spent on the hem the more likely it was to become distorted. In the end I pulled out my trusty hot glue gun and glued the hem down – this way I was able to lay the whole skirt flat to minimize distortion while I worked on the hem. Normally I wouldn’t use hot glue on a fabric project, but this won’t ever be worn by a human and it will only be used for a month out of the year, so it’s not likely to have a lot of wear and tear.

pieced 1

With the hem sorted, the last thing I needed to do was to attach closures. I had some “Merry Christmas” ribbon in my stash, so after sealing the ends of the ribbon I glued it onto the back of the skirt, and then tacked it on with needle and thread for good measure.

ribbons

With that sorted, I felt that my crafting was proven to be a life skill and I was ready to move on to my Christmas knitting.

P.S. Speaking of Christmas knitting, if you’re in the market for an awesome hat, I highly recommend the Drosseln hat. I may be a bit biased, but I think it’s a really fun knit, and you can get it for 25% off until Christmas with the code, “LoveMyLYS” Happy Knitting!

Post Christmas and a Giveaway Winner

Well, friends, I hope you had a delightful yesterday. My husband and I spent Christmas day with his family, talking and knitting (for me) and eating too much. My advent garland did not get finished in time for Christmas, but I have reconciled myself to that. It is quite lovely, though, to see 9 knitted ornaments on my tree.

knitted ornaments on a christmas tree

Today I am resting and getting ready to go back to work. I’m planning to do some crafting prep work while I’m off, since I tend to only work on things throughout the week that I have already started. I will be warping my loom and cutting some fabric, cuddling my kitty, and drinking a fair amount of tea, all while watching something delightful in the background.

At some point I will also need to make a Post Office run, because Heather from The Knitting Nurse has won this hand-felted gnome ornament!

christmas ornaments

Heather, email me with your address at dramaticlyricATgmailDOTcom so I can get your prize to you. And congratulations. I hope your gnome makes you smile for many Christmases to come.

Not Enough Knitting

Whew, is this a busy time of year! I can’t believe the holidays are already upon us! I think they come faster and faster every year.

christmas tree

This year between work and chores and family and travel and baking I’m having a hard time finding time to knit. I have knit 3 rows on a slipper and 6 rounds on a sock this week. Clearly this is not enough knitting. I am off work for the long weekend now, though, and I am looking forward to rectifying the knitting situation.

knitted ornaments on a christmas tree

I hope that your holiday weekend is as full or relaxed as you want it to be and that you can spend it with the people you most want to be with. Happy Christmas, all.

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P.S. If you haven’t entered my gnome giveaway yet, you have until Christmas day when I will be choosing a winner.

Would You Like to Win a Gnome?

christmas ornamentsOver the past few months I’ve shared lots and lots of gnome pictures with you. I can make a needle-felted gnome in an hour or less, and that means I have a lot of them. I don’t think there’s a limit to how many gnomes a person can have, but they are starting to build up into a bit of an army, and I’m a little worried about an insurrection. In the interest of keeping the peace and the Christmas Spirit, I want to share my bounty with you. If you would like to have this adorable gnome ornament, leave a comment below telling me about your favourite Christmas ornament.

I will announce the winner on Christmas Day.

*Small Print: Due to postage costs, I will only be able to ship to US addresses.

Good luck!

More Ornaments and Learning Patience

This Christmas I decided to knit an advent bunting. The patterns are all by Frankie Brown, and my plans are all here.

I wrote about the first few ornaments here.

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Day 4: Frankie’s original pattern has a snowflake with buttons for today, but I wasn’t really feeling it. So I switched out the snowflake for a gingerbread cookie. I used US 2.5 DPNs, and The Fiber Seed Sprout Seedlings in Fawn for the main colour, and the embroidery is done in Ella Rae Lace Merino in Natural. A little search through my button stash, and day 4 is done and dusted!

knit star ornament

Day 5: Frankie has an angel for day 5, but I decided to knit a Christmas tree instead. I used Ella Rae Lace Merino DK in colour 201 (such an evocative name) for the tree, and The Fiber Seed Sprout Seedlings in Ginger for the trunk. Decorating this tiny tree was such a delight! I bent some gold wire into a star shape for the topper, then wrapped a bit of my yellow handspun around as a garland. Finally, I sewed on some coloured beads as ornaments. I think it’s pretty nifty.

knit christmas tree ornament

Day 6: I’ve started to have some wrist pain over the last few days, and as I was knitting this tiny stocking I got to the point where I just couldn’t keep going. So I set the stocking aside for a few days. I’ve had wrist pain before, and it’s usually from overuse. I get this idea in my head that I can just keep going and going with no consequences instead of stopping when I start to have problems. So this time I set the project aside and rested. It made me think how fortunate I have been to be in such good health for so long. It gave me time to reflect and be thankful.

I finished the tiny stocking on December 10th. The yarn is Ella Rae Lace Merino in Natural for the top and Knit Picks Stroll Tweed in Marine Heather for the main portion of the sock.

knit stocking Christmas ornament

Today is December 11th, and I am 5 days behind on my advent knitting. I don’t know if I will finish it before Christmas or not, but I’m not letting myself be stressed about that. I’m enjoying the making that I can do, when I can do it. And for now that is enough.

knitted christmas ornaments

In Progress

Is anyone else struggling with Startitis right about now? I feel such a weight of “MAKE ALL THE THINGS NOW” that I hardly know what to do with myself. Do I give in to the madness and wake up next week with 25 projects, or struggle valiantly to finish at least a few of the things? Here’s what I’m currently working on.

  • Slippers for Grandma (Ssh, don’t tell). I’m using this pattern and 2 yarns held together: the white is my own handspun (it’s a singles yarn in Southdown wool) and the pink is the leftovers from my Watermelon Socks.

knitting with white and red wool

  • I’m in the middle of a crochet shawl using Miss Babs Yowza! in the colourway “Friday Afternoon.” Assuming I get it done in time, the pattern will be released in the March issue of Knotions Magazine.

crocheting broomstick lace

  • I’m a sucker for unusual patterns, and these socks have been on my list for a long time. Worked on US1 DPNs and using Knit Picks Felici in Mint Chip. I love KnitPicks sock yarns for their softness, thinness, and ability to be washed and dried(!) without harm or shrinkage to the sock. I try not to put them in the dryer, though, just to be on the safe side.

knitting a sock

  • I’ve had 6 balls of Burly Spun by the Brown Sheep Company since 2013 when I bought the yarn to make a jacket. I couldn’t get gauge, so the jacket never got made. This yarn has been weighing on me, so I decided to weave with it and make a long vest. This one is totally stash-busting. That makes it not count as a new project, right?

  • And, of course, I have the Advent Bunting (today is day 6)…

What are you working on? Are you knitting gifts?

The First Few Ornaments

December is here, and I have begun my Advent Bunting (the plans are all here).

Day 1: Using Nuna by Mirasol Yarn and US 2.5 DPNs, I busted out the tiniest mitten ever.

tiny mitten

No blood, no sweat, no tears. I can totally do this for 23 more days.

Day 2: It turns out that I have precisely 1 colour of yellow yarn in my stash, and it is not a warm flamey yellow. It’s a good thing I know how to make my own yarn.

spinning

The candle part is in Ella Rae Lace Merino in Natural, and I used US 2.5 DPNs again.

tiny candle

Done and dusted.

Day 3: This teensy weensy gingerbread house is darling!

gingerbread house

I used a Sprout Seedling by The Fiber Seed in Fawn for the main house color. The door is in KnitPicks Stroll in Rainforest Heather, the windows are also Stroll in Dandelion, and the snow on the roof is Ella Rae Lace Merino in Natural. All the tiny bits were rather fiddly, but totally worth it.

3 ornaments

How is your Christmas knitting going?

5 Decorations to Knit this Holiday Season

Last time we spoke I told you all about my grand plans to knit a holiday bunting. But not everyone wants or needs a bunting. Sometimes you just want something a little smaller and less intense to celebrate the season. I’ve come up with 5 holiday decorations that you might just love to knit.

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These cute and easy trees would be super fast to knit up. Bonus: read Phil’s blog. She is hilarious!

knitted christmas trees
© The Twisted Yarn

These super cute snowmen are great as soft figurines and for hanging on the Christmas Tree.

knitted snowman ornaments
© Wendy Phillips

If you don’t have a lot of space for a Christmas Tree, this one might do.

knitted charlie brown christmas tree
© beforesunrise

If you like traditional bauble ornaments, these will be a great option for you.

knitted bauble christmas ornaments
© Ranée Mueller

And, of course, what list of Christmas decorations would be complete without at least one nativity?

knitted nativity
© Angela Turner

What is your favourite part of decorating for Christmas?