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.

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!

The Best People

One of my coworkers walked up to me last night: “I have something for you.” She handed me this.

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“I’ve had these for 10 years and they’ve never been used. I thought you would enjoy them more than I will.”

Why, yes, I will enjoy them!

I work with the best people.

The Haul

Ok, so now that I’ve talked about how Christmas is not about stuff, here are some of the things I received from friends and family. It was a good Christmas.

My mom gave me a gift card so I could buy exactly what yarn I wanted.

Also, this, which she picked out for me. My mother knows me well. Thank you, mom.

I am definitely going to wear this shirt to my teaching job

My littlest sister, whom I taught how to knit, came full circle by knitting me a hat. The best part – she needed help to finish it, so I was given an unfinished project. My knitterly heart was ecstatic!

My sister the artist made me an Evenstar pendent based on the Lord of the Rings.

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A good friend gave me this. I am so excited to add it to my tree.

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This is from my lovely boss at the music studio: Thank you for a wonderful year of teaching!

And the Piece de Resistance: Look what my wonderful boyfriend gave me! He picked it out himself and I love it so much! ❤ ❤

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Opal is my birthstone

How to knit a cowl in 10 steps (or fewer*)

 

Step 1: Cast on a scarf

Step 2: Knit valiantly until the project sucks your soul away

Step 3: Abandon the scarf for 3 years

Step 4: Find project while rummaging through stash

Step 5: Decide to finish the scarf

Step 6: Decide you are too lazy to actually finish knitting a whole scarf (besides, you never liked that yarn anyway)

Step 7: Decide to make a cowl instead of a scarf

Step 8: Pretend you meant to make a cowl all along

Step 9: Hide the evidence Give away excess yarn

Step 10: Marvel at your ingenuity while enjoying your new cowl (or, you know, giving it away for Christmas)

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Yes, that is a TARDIS in the background

*Steps 3-5 optional

Pretty!

Look what I made!

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A while ago I was talking to one of my best friends and wondered what she would like for her birthday. She requested a tatted necklace in autumn colours. Well, her birthday has come and gone, but that just means I can give it to her for Christmas. I’m smart like that.

I’m thinking about playing with the chain style a little bit. Also starching…. Does anyone have any good suggestions about starching? I’ve never tried it before and I’m afraid it will gum up my beads and make them not sparkly 😦

If it turns out well, perhaps I will make some for my Etsy shop.

Introducing the Birthday Cowl!

I finished it. I turned this beautiful yarn…

Yummy handspun
Yummy handspun

…into this beautiful cowl. I am so proud of myself. I used literally all of my yarn (In this case literally means what it really means: there was not even 1 inch of yarn left over).

Beautiful, warm cowl
Beautiful, warm cowl

Also, look what my lovely coworker gave me. I work with the best people.

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