Wednesday, November 20, 2013

DIY Christmas Gift Ideas #4

Reversible Brioche Rib Cap and Neckwarmer

Today's handmade gift idea is a warm, cozy, cushy stocking cap and/or a matching neckwarmer.  The Reversible Brioche Rib Cap is suitable for either a man or a woman.  It is warm and stretchy, and fits a range of head sizes.  The matching Reversible Brioche Rib Neckwarmer is a fun accessory which can be worn in different ways to create different looks.  One ball of each color should make both a cap and a neckwarmer.

The Brioche Rib stitch may sound daunting to some, but it is actually not difficult to do.  In fact, I find the basic stitch to be good for relatively mindless knitting.  Because it is knitted in two colors, it looks more complex than it is.  Shhh...don't tell anyone that only one color is knitted at a time!  The basic fabric has only a two-row repeat for the cap (which is knitted in the round), and a four-row repeat for the neckwarmer (which is knitted flat).  The most complex part of the cap pattern is the decreases for the crown, and the most complex part of the neckwarmer pattern is working the buttonhole.  The two-color brioche rib fabric has one color predominant on one side, and the other color predominant on the other side.  The patterns for these accessories contain tips and many photos of the techniques used in the projects, to help you knit the item successfully.

The neckwarmer can be worn in so many ways!  It is fastened by a button, and can be worn with the fastener in the front, in back, or on either side.  Wear it over or under your coat, depending on your mood.  The collar can be worn up or down, or with one side up and one down, to create many different looks.  See this blog post for ideas:  An Unexpected Opportunity for Creativity  In the meantime, here are a few photos to get the creative juices flowing:

These fun projects work up relatively quickly, and either or both would make a great gift!

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Friday, November 8, 2013

DIY Christmas Gift Ideas #3

Another textured Christmas stocking is the Bavarian Twist Stitch Christmas Stocking.  The Bavarian Twist Stitch technique uses stitches that are knitted into the back of the stitch.  This creates a very crisply textured fabric.  The Bavarian Twist Stitch stocking has twist stitch cable patterns combined with  a ladder-like rib stitch, to create vertical stripes on the leg and foot of the sock.

Bavarian Twist Stitch Christmas Stocking
The 12-page pattern contains both written instruction and charts for most of the stocking, with the exception of the starting I-cord band, the heel and the toe shaping.  A photo tutorial is given for the heel turn and picking up stitches for the gusset, and another photo tutorial is given for picking up stitches from the i-cord band.

This pattern can be made very inexpensively, as it uses only one skein of Loops & Threads Impeccable.  A bonus...this yarn is on sale for $2.99 at Michael's this week (November 3-9, 2013)!   Plus, if you buy it on the 8th or the 9th, they have a coupon for 25% off your entire purchase, including sale items:    Good deal!

This yarn is quite sturdy and comes in a wide range of colors.  It is 100% acrylic, so it can be machine washed, if you (or its recipients) desire.

If you love working cables, this stocking is for you!  Enjoy your knitting, and make something absolutely fabulous for a friend or loved one this Christmas.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

DIY Christmas Gift Ideas #2

Perhaps you prefer color patterning to textured knitting.  Today's post focuses on two fair-isle patterned Christmas stocking patterns, both knitted with worsted-weight yarn.

Christmas Trees Stocking
This stocking has a Christmas Tree pattern on the top, and poinsettias along the leg.  The heel is worked in a stripe pattern, using short rows to turn the heel. The 10-page pattern includes fair isle charts, and lots of instructions and photos of the techniques used in the pattern.

 The Christmas Trees Stocking is knitted from Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted, one skein each of two colors, using size 6 and 8 needles.

Another fair-isle Christmas stocking pattern is the Poinsettia Stocking.  This one is somewhat similar to the Christmas Trees Stocking, but with a slightly different look.
Poinsettia Stocking 

The Poinsettia Stocking has a Poinsettia pattern on the top, with a striped pattern on the leg and foot.  This 10-page pattern has a chart for the fair isle pattern, and written instructions for the rest of the sock.  Many photos of the techniques used are included, as well as tips and technique instruction.  The sock is knitted from Loops & Threads Impeccable (one skein each of two colors), or use your favorite worsted-weight yarn; needle sizes 6
and 8.

Here are a couple of close-ups of the completed stocking.  The sock has an attached I-cord hanging loop.

Either of these two stockings would make a lovely, long-lasting gift for a friend or loved one. 

Visit Mountain Mist's Craftsy Pattern Store »

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

DIY Christmas Gift Ideas #1

This time of year, many knitters are looking for ideas for quick projects to make as gifts for family and friends.  This series will focus on some unique handmade gift ideas.

If you are looking for a Christmas gift that will be used for many years, why not consider a hand knitted Christmas stocking?  The Christmas Garland Stocking uses two skeins of  Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted, a sturdy yet beautiful wool/mohair blend yarn.   The pattern creates a Christmas stocking with a textured garland pattern at the top, and rib and cable stripes along the leg and foot.

The Christmas Garland Stocking pattern is a 15-page digital download that includes lots of technique information, both charts and written instructions for making the sock, and photo tutorials on techniques utilized in the pattern.

Here are some additional views of the stocking, in a Christmas green colorway:

 And a closeup of the garland pattern:

Several other Christmas stocking pattern styles are available in my shop, as well.  Happy Knitting!

Visit Mountain Mist's Craftsy Pattern Store »

Saturday, November 2, 2013

An Unexpected Opportunity for Creativity

One of my new pattern designs is a matching stocking cap and neckwarmer in reversible brioche rib, in two colors.  I was excited about using this technique, because the fabric looks slightly different on each side.  Each color makes a column of knit stitches on one side of the fabric, and a column of purl stitches on the other, so each side of the fabric has one color slightly more prominent than the other.

The folded-down collar is the "back" side of the fabric
In rhe course of designing and writing the pattern, I had made up a half dozen of these, and I wanted to include pictures of each one in my pattern.  So I spent some time this summer doing photo shoots of the different colorways I had made.  I always try to come up with interesting shots, as doing these photo sessions can get somewhat tedious.  As I began playing with this neckwarmer, I found more and more ways to style it!  Who knew a simple rectangle could be styled in so many different ways!  For example...collar up, collar down, one side up and one down, collar turned down like a shawl collar, button closure in the front, back, or at either side, under or over a coat...what fun!  Below are some of the many possibilities. 

 If you are interested in this pattern, it is available for sale at any of these venues:

 I love the versatility of this simple accessory!  What is your most versatile accessory?