Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Holiday Knitting

November 1st marks the start of holiday knitting for my children. I have named this the year of the sweater. Last year was the year of the quilt, and each kiddo received a mama-made quilt for Christmas. This year I hope to give will be giving each of them a mama-made sweater.

The decision to knit each of my children a sweater was an easy one. This year I have made four sweaters for myself with relative ease. I figure three child-sized sweaters would be a piece of cake. The hard part has been selecting the pattern and yarn. For Aine, I have selected the Tiny Tea Leaves pattern. I really like the simple lines of this cardigan. The adult version has been in my knitting queue for some time. A pattern for the boys has been harder. Would a hoodie be best? Or a sweater with a pouch pocket? Or a cardigan? Or what about a Harry Potter initial sweater? With all the choices muddled in my head, I think I have finally settled on a simple raglan pullover following Elizabeth Zimmerman's pithy instructions. My knitting skills should be good enough to face up to the task. Of course, this may change as the month progresses.

The next issue is yarn. I am really trying to only use yarn that I already have. The problem is finding a sweater's worth of yarn in my collection. I have quite a bit of sock yarn and single skeins. When I reviewed my inventory, I realized I could definitely make Aine's sweater with four skeins of Dream in Color Classy that I have. The color is Chinatown Apple and a bit darker than she likes, but I think it will work with her coloring and current wardrobe. There isn't enough yarn for the other two sweaters, so I will need to buy it. I think both sweaters will also be in the red family. Eamon and Benton both call red one of their favorite colors. I think I will stripe Eamon's sweater with black which is another of his top colors. Since Benton's other favorite is green, he may just get a solid sweater.

Aine's sweater is first in the queue, and I cast-on today. My gauge was spot on, so I was able to proceed without needing to change needles several times. While we were at the park, I was able to knit about 15 rows between swing pushing, sand mountain surveying and game refereeing.
Following along with Ginny's Yarn Along - Tiny Tea Leaves Sweater 
While knitting, I haven't been reading much besides patterns and reviews. My constant companion lately has been Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman. EZ is the quintessential mother of knitting. Her straight-forward instructions are brief and scare me a bit. I like a little hand-holding in my patterns. Her style is refreshing and encouraging though, so I think it will all work out.

22 comments:

  1. LOL! I was just commiserating with Nicole at Frontier Dreams about how confusing I thought EZ's patterns are! But, given that you've already knit yourself 4 sweaters this year & plan to knit 3 between now and Christmas, I'm guessing that you've had a wee bit more knitting experience than I ;-). Love the Chinatown Apple! Such a great colour.

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  2. Wow! My jaw dropped reading you made a quilt for each of your kiddos last Christmas. I'm amazed and rather envious!
    I've got a tiny tea leaves to get working on as well. Happy knitting! I'm looking forward to seeing the boy's sweaters!

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  3. Mama-made knits are the best. Can't wait to check back in and see how everything is turning out!

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  4. I love EZ's books :) And good luck with your project- I found EZ's patterned yoke sweaters really quick to knit for my son a couple of years back :)

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  5. I love the using what you got. Shopping in our own stash is an awesome idea, I just have to stay out of yarn stores : ) Can't wait to see the sweaters. I am hosting a handmade Christmas Craft along every Thursday, please link up and help inspire others to get started on gifts. http://crunchycatholicmomma.blogspot.com/

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  6. Wow, great projects. I have a quilt on my list this year - for my (one!) son - for Christmas, and a sweater for his January birthday. That is challenge enough for now.
    :)
    Happy knitting

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  7. It's funny, I have never knit an EZ pattern, I think I should add one of her books to my Christmas list!

    Love the colour of the yarn you're using, it's stunning. I know what you mean about trying to use up stashed yarn, something I am trying very hard to achieve myself ;)

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  8. Wow! A sweater for each!! That is awesome!

    And love the title of "Knitting without Tears" - that gives me hope! But, until I have the courage as well, it is crochet for me!

    Have a great week!

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  9. Well, I am speechless and maybe just a wee bit envious ;)! Sweaters for all of the children by Christmas and it's November...wow! I think you are amazing Heather!
    xx

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  10. I'm hoping to knit up sweaters for the three littlies and one granddaughter too. So far I have granddaughter and littlest girl sorted :) The grown children are getting hat/glove/scarf sets as 4 little sweaters and 5 grown would be just too much for me to handle, even though I started October. How lovely to gift all your children a mama-made quilt, surely you didn't start as late as November with them?

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  11. And here I am trying to get hats made for everyone by Christmas...love that color yarn!

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  12. I love your resolute attitude about your knitting Christmas projects! I would have to begin long before now to finish a sweater for each of my children. Hats off to you! Can't wait to see them. And I agree with house full of jays...a quilt for each child? That is some accomplishment. Did you put them on your blog? I'll have to search.

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  13. What a wonderful gift to give your children.

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  14. I'm struggling with the idea of making ONE quilt for my granddaughter!!! You are an inspiration!!!!!
    And you don't even sound the least bit stressed over the idea of 3 sweaters!!! you go girl!!!

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  15. I'm inspired, too! Everyone generally gets the same hand-knit thing from me over Christmas, too. But, never a sweater! You go, girl! EZ is one of my favorite companions as well. I have also had my eye on that Chinatown color-way for a while so will look forward to seeing what sweaters your boys get. Tea Leaves is such a sweet sweater!

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  16. If you look at the Completed Projects 2010 tab, you can see the quilts I made last year. They were rather simple quilts, and I admit to finishing the binding on the last one on Christmas Eve day.

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  17. I absolutely love the color of the yarn! I am sure it will be a beautiful sweater.

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  18. Oh, you're doing well! Good for you!

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  19. Thanks so much for making sense of that buttonhole problem for me today! I can do that. So easy. Will try again this very night :-)

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  20. I'm finally feeling brave enough to start thinking about Elizabeth Zimmerman. Not to actually act on any of those thoughts yet though...
    Good luck with the many sweaters. I have just finished my first two cardigans, but not as gifts, cause it would have been too much pressure to try to knit them secretly. I think I will be doing two tiny tea leaves for spring. I'm going to go look at your quilts now...

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  21. Wow - I vaguely imagined at the beginning of June that I might be able to knit my 2 - admittedly grown - up daughters a sweater in time for Christmas. I think I may be too late now. Good on you - your children will love them. The tiny tea leaves will be gorgeous in that yarn xxx

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  22. Oh yes, EZ is the grandmother I would have loved and adored. And somehow I'm thinking it'll be easier to knit each kid a sweater...a quilt seems like soooo much work.

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