Sunday, January 20, 2013

Christmas Stockings

So, after a small repose, here are the Christmas Stockings that I made for this Christmas for a friend. It was quite an adventure since I have not officially done stranded knitting before. I took on the assignment hoping to learn and be experienced in stranded knitting and I believe it was a successful opportunity.
Here are the original four Christmas Stockings
Assignment: I was given four old traditional American knitted Christmas stockings and asked to produce three additional stockings in similar fashion. They were to have the names of three additional family members that have been welcomed to the family since the last stocking was made. I had a limited color palette of blue, red, off-white and green. The motifs were to be similar as well.

As you can imagine some research was in order. I managed to find a really old pattern that fit the bill perfectly. In fact it is possible that it was the same pattern that the grandma who made the original stockings used. I also searched for some newer chart patterns to incorporate into the stockings so that they would not be exactly the same, but would look like they belonged with the others. I came up with swirls, snowflakes, reindeer, Santa heads, dancing couples and houses. The original stockings looked like they were made with sport weight yarn but I didn't figure this out until after I purchased all the yarn that I wanted to use. I settled on a worsted weight, strong yarn by Nature Spun. It is 100% moth proofed wool and they carried the perfect colors to use. I used two skeins of each color: 112W Elf Green, N46W Red Fox, 116WBlue Boy and N91W Aran.

After I gathered all of the materials came the hard part; figuring out the math to make all of the charts work in the stockings. I started with about 62-64 stitches for each stocking. This number range worked well with all of the charts and with the stitches needed to spell out the names. Here and there some decreases and increases were needed but nothing too major. I made small schematics to figure out the order of charts for each stocking and to keep me on track. To do this I estimated the average number of stitches in length each of the other stockings was and then decided where to add blank rows as padding between the chart patterns for the new stockings. I also decided ahead of time which colors I would use for each of the charts and how they would look in regards to the rest of the colors.
I think they turned out pretty well and the new owner of these stockings was quite happy to see them. It really made me feel special to be a part of their family tradition in this way and it was much more economical than paying for a class to learn how to do this. Yes I did make some mistakes along the way and the last one turned out much better than the first. All in all it was worth the experience and I even had fun doing it.

The actual knitting for each one took less than a week, and that was knitting done while I watched TV, took care of the baby and helped kids with homework. So, if you have been trying to gear up for that big project but you are nervous to start... I say "go for it!" You will be happy you tried something new, and if you don't like the result remember that you can always rip it out and use the yarn over again.
These are the three that I made!
It really felt so great to accomplish my task and get these three stockings knit! Now I am tempted to make some for my own family. Maybe :)

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year!!!

I am not at a fancy party although I did have a sip of champagne... no I am at home watching my darling little one and rushing to finish as many 2012 projects as I can before anyone now notices that it is no longer 2012.
Ha. I actually did greatly diminish my "projects to finish" list. This is good. Because that was one of my resolutions for 2012.
So... since I still have some left I guess I will continue with this same resolution but I will let you in on a secret. Ripping (aka frogging) is highly underestimated!! It really is incredible how awesome and free you feel when you just decide to let go of those not so perfect projects made with funky yarn that you have hiding in your closet and under the bed. Really if you are not enjoying it and not going to keep it, why not just get rid of it.
With that I say to New Years resolutions: "Bring it!"