So now that I’m recovered from the marathon of finishing knits for the holidays, I figure it’s safe to share the gift knits I made!

purple Ishbel shawlI mentioned at the beginning of the summer that I was making a shawl for my grandmother, and that was the first of the planned gift knits I finished. There are over 12,700 versions of the Ishbel shawl by Ysolda Teague, and I’ve made three of them now. This third I made with the large size of stockinette and the small lace section, and it turned out to be the perfect size. The lace is so nice and intuitive (I feel like a broken record saying that about certain patterns), and the Ella Rae Lace Merino yarn I used was a great color and also had a nice twist, so the yarn shows the lace really nicely and blocked out beautifully.

edge of Nefertem shawlNefertem by Kirsten Kapur is another really lovely shawl to knit. It was the first shawl I’ve tried with a half-circle shape, and my first crocheted bind off. The yarn wouldn’t necessarily have been my first choice, but my mom picked it out for me because she liked the colors, and I bought another skein of Opal Smokey Eyes so that I could make something for her. It was a hit – and not just for my mom. The lace was definitely the type that needed attention, and blocked out to be striking, and the stockinette section went quickly. The crochet edge took a few tries – I sized up the crochet hook I was using a couple times so that my chains wouldn’t be so hopelessly tight – but it ended up being one of my favorite parts of the shawl.

espresso Waffle Creams socksI’d been stalking Anne Hanson’s Waffle Creams sock pattern since before it was released outside of the BNK 2012 bundle – the gorgeous twisted cables, the squishy waffle texture all over the rest of the socks – how could I resist? I may have pounced on the pattern more than purchased it, and earmarked two yarns for it, one for my father-in-law and one for me. I notice that most of the things I earmark for me take a backseat to baby knits for friends and colleagues and gift knits for birthdays and holidays, and this pattern was no exception. I cast on months ago for socks for my father-in-law, since the socks I’d made him for the holidays last year were such a hit. Knitpicks Stroll Sock yarn in Fedora – I don’t remember buying it, but I’ve used Stroll before and it’s held up really well, and I wanted a yarn that would be masculine enough for the recipient of the socks and that wouldn’t distract from the pretty cables. It’s a great pattern – I love the texture just as much as I thought I would, and the cables took me a bunch of tries to figure out on the first crossing; but after I found the sort of instructions I needed on a Knitspot forum on Ravelry, I was all set. They weren’t a quick knit, and I definitely fudged the heel and a little bit of the foot (I just can’t keep counting to make sure the twisted stitches come out correctly when I’ve finally gotten to the foot of a sock for size 10.5 feet), but I still like the way they came out, and my father-in-law was just as delighted by this pair of handknit socks as he was for the last, which is what I wanted. I’m still looking forward to making myself a pair (I have some MadTosh Sock in a lavender color)!

Finally, the ones that got away (without photos). The socks for my dad didn’t so much get away as the pattern they were knit from is still in my notebook and not yet available, but you’ll see them at some point. I made my little sister a pair of flip-top mittens from Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride in the Cranberry Swirl color – she loved them, and I loved the way the yarn knit up. Pretty and toasty warm! For my best friend’s birthday, I made a Honey Cowl in a size between the short and medium, with blue for the background (knit stitches) and red for the slipped stitches – her favorite colors, especially when put together. I know that I used Berroco Lustra in a shiny red (it is not my favorite yarn, but I specifically wanted the shine for the slipped stitches), and I think that the blue was a Cascade 220. For a pair of friends in Washington, I made a quick ribbed cowl from a super bulky wool, and a gorgeous Twin Leaf Loop from Botanical Knits by Alana Dakos (which I can’t wait to knit more from).

It was a very handknit holiday, which is just the way I like things – and after a marathon weekend, I’m relieved that everything was finished in time. One would think that it would be time for some knits for me now…but there are a couple babies on the way at work, and I’ve taken the ludicrous step of starting a promised pair of socks for next Christmas already, so we shall see how that goes. I hope everyone’s holiday knitting was successful, and all the best in 2014!

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