Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Yarn Along {getting head start on a handmade christmas}

 A few years ago, after the birth of a surplus of babies in our extended family, my sisters and I decided that despite the huge rise in the number of children, our families still wanted to give Christmas gifts to  each other's children. Over the course of three years, 6 new babies arrived between the three of us.
We decided that the only way to continue though was if the gifts were either handmade or thrifted. My sisters and I normally buy or make for each other anyway because we're just like minded that way, we all enjoy creativity, and love a good bargain at an antique store.

Half the fun of making something or buying anything used/vintage/antique for each other is telling the person how we got it or made it, and what a deal we scored on it. While other families might find it weird to openly disclose to each other how little they paid for their siblings' gifts, in our family, it's not only expected, but the thrill of it is part of the gift itself. 

Between the three of us, there are ten kids, and two more are expected by Christmas. So this means if I'm going to knit anything, I need to start now. Especially with a new baby arriving in October. And it doesn't help any that all my children's birthdays are already in the autumn. 

I decided that this year each of my nieces and nephews will get a hat, and maybe something small like some mitts if I can swing it. I'll probably get them something else small that they can do as a family-a game, or some music etc-which also means a lot less stuff to clutter up their houses.

 I have to be careful, because I also don't want to be that aunt that is known for giving only hats, mitts and underwear. blah! What a stigma. To and adult, hand knit items have more wow factor, and if not exciting, at least appreciated because of their practicality. To a little kid though, it might be a wee bit boring. Maybe i'll fill them with firecrackers or something. (totally kidding-but I know they'd love me if I did.) 

These little hats are super fast-i'm not really following a pattern for these, just kind of switching  up needle size  and cast on number of stitches according to whatever yarn i'm using, and eyeballing it. (And trying them all on my own kids to make sure that they'll fit the kids i'm knitting them for.)
I decided for the girls that i'm going to put some wooden buttons on the brim that Reuben has made me (handy children are such a blessing), and for the boys, I'm going to do some stripes. The forest green hat with yellow wasn't supposed to be Green Bay Packer colours but sort of turned out that way. Luckily, the intended recipient's Daddy is a Packers fan. Maybe he'll get one to match!
Every time I do jogless stripes, even though it's ridiculously simple to do, I feel like I have super powers and have to oogle a while over the magic of it all. 

This is how I feel after making a stripe where the beginning and end are so well hidden that you'd never find it unless you knit it yourself.

Almost as fascinating as a heel turn! 


  1. We do the same thing in my family, maybe it's because we are both from a family of three girls? I don't know, but it's fun. Getting the best deal is a huge part of the fun.
    This year I am knitting cowls for the girls and hat for the boys. I love your hats.

    1. I'm glad to hear we aren't the only ones who do this. (some friends think that we're a wee bit nutso.)
      Cowls! That's a good idea.....hmmm...

  2. This cracks me up!
    Oh how fun you'll have so many to knit for! I miss knitting for my "little" kids.
    Happy knitting.

  3. Love the end photo.. Laughed out loud! Love love love your family tradition! Happy knitting and thanks for stopping by to say hello!

    1. Haha i wasnt sure how many people would get that reference...but it's a favorite around here!

  4. You can do it!! I love giving hand knits and I know your nieces and nephews will love them :)

  5. Love the stripes on the hat, and I agree, they make you feel so smart. Love the mittens on your other blog post! They look wonderful!

  6. I always say I am going to start Christmas in July, but I never do..... How great of you to be so on top of it!!

  7. I love this idea and wish we could do it with our extended family. My MIL would be on board, I think, but my mom would definitely not, and my BIL would not, and our niece I'm not sure about. I always make her boys something and/or buy them pajamas, so I think I'm well on my way to being that great-aunt. We do similarly within our immediate family, though, and that's 10 of us. :-)

  8. I love the idea of a handmade Christmas all around. You have 10 children to gift and my whole family (both sides and grandchildren) is a total of 8 people. Unfortunately only my mom, husband and kids appreciate handmade items and they have plenty. I am sure everyone will love your hats (and mitts if possible).