Nyssa Jayne Makes It! on shoesandblues.com

Christmas Knitting

I have been making quite a few things over the last couple of months, but I haven’t taken as many chances to photograph and blog them as soon as I finish them.  Christmas was surprisingly busy, plus my dear kitty Tilly, seen here asking for dinner, has been sick, which has been a little rough.  He’s okay for now, his main ailment is that he is old — he is anywhere between sixteen and nineteen years old, depending on which certificate you look at — which really can’t be helped.  Knowing what a stubborn little furbag he is, he’s probably making me worry prematurely (“I’m pretty sure [the mean ones] stay alive out of spite,” one of his vets suggested after Tilly tried to take her eye out), but I can’t help it, it’s my job as his cat companion and food dispenser.

Another reason why I haven’t blogged the things I made is because they were gifts!

Eleanor's blanket

First up is a baby blanket I made for our pals John and Maggi and their brand new human, Eleanor.  I got Maggi’s blessing to make a blanket before Eleanor was born, as I know some new parents either have family who make heirloom gifts, or don’t have a need for such a thing.  Maggi was thrilled with the idea though, so after the baby arrived (Neil and I are superstitious), I got to work.

Close up of chevron blanket

I suggested chevrons to Maggi — I wanted to riff on granny square blankets, every 30-something pal of mine has got one that was made for them as a child, but I also wanted to respect that Eleanor was a child of 2016, not 1985.  I had this idea in my head that she’d take this blanket to college, like we did with our blankets, and when asked about it, she’d roll her eyes and say, “our parents were so obsessed with chevrons when we were kids, weren’t they?”

Speaking of taking things from your childhood home, that’s my mother’s coffee table she received as a 21st birthday present back in 19-seventy-mumble.

The yarn is Knit Picks Swish worsted.  I chose this yarn because Maggi could chose the colours online and have an idea of what she might get back in return, plus it could be machine washed and tumbled dried, things I figured were important to new parents.  There are a squillion chevron baby blankets on Ravelry, I happened to chose this one, omitting the yarn-overs and incorporating left and right leaning make-ones instead.  Super quick, super easy, the only reason why it wasn’t delivered sooner is because I was waiting for some brand new blocking boards to arrive.

I had some yarn left over, so I made a bonus gift.

Matching hats!

Matching hats!  These are the Classic Cuffed Hat from Purl Soho, a very simple ribbed beanie in a couple of sizes, including adult and infant (although mind you, the infant size is by no means small).  It’s a great base pattern and I’m tempted to revisit it for myself later, perhaps with some cables or lace.  This used up pretty much every scrap of yarn I ordered for the blankets, which is the most satisfying thing ever.  Maggi has shown me a picture of Eleanor being cute in her hat and I couldn’t be more stoked.

My next gift was for my godmother-in-law, Aunty Jan.

What a shawl.

Neil and I have been talking about what makes a thoughtful gift.  Aunty Jan, who lives in England, often sends us some money on our birthdays and for Christmas, crisp notes straight from the bureau de change, and it’s enclosed in these fantastic handmade cards, which usually stay up long past whatever the occasion is.  Neil has at times expressed something akin to guilt over these gifts, mainly because he works and I am usually employed, but I suggested that Aunty Jan likes to do this, there’s something about the small sacrifice that provides meaning.  Because we work, we don’t always have time, which is the sacrifice that is present in a handmade gift.  One day, the dynamics will be different, and we’ll be sending money to the young whippersnappers instead.

zoom in on shawl.

The pattern is Sweet Shoppe Shawlette, a top-down shawl pattern basically designed for the kind of pretty yarn you buy as a souvenir when on holidays.  The yarn is Bertha by DirtyWater Dye Works, and I bought it at Gather Here when on a small trip to Boston last year.  I already had the idea that I wanted to make Aunty Jan a shawl, so when we visited Gather Here, I narrowed down some appropriate yarns and Neil picked a colourway he thought she’d like, so it was a joint effort.

The pattern was quite simple and if you’re in the market for your first shawl, this one is a bit of a winner.  I found that I couldn’t memorise that honeycomb stitch, which was a little annoying, I’m usually quite good at that, but other than that, there was no issues with it.  I did do a few more repeats of the honeycomb stitch to use up as much yarn as possible, so it’s slightly larger than pattern suggests.

I’m looking forward to showing you some of the other things I’ve made recently too — there’s some trousers, some shorts, two skirts, another shirt for Neil, and legit winter coat to come!

January 4th, 2017
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