Friday, December 25, 2009

Holiday Knits!

I like to make something knit each year for my boyfriend's family. (My own family lives in Florida, so woolen accessories don't really see a lot of use!) I am always looking for inspiration for projects that will impress the recipients. Although I do not look for holiday related items specifically, I thought it would be fun to post on Christmas about holiday knitting books.

Holiday Knits: 25 Great Gifts from Stockings to Sweaters by Sara Lucas and Allison Isaacs

The book is split into three sections, based on how long the projects should take:
  • Quick Crafts (about a weekend): Hat and Scarf striped with texture (very elegant), Men's striped hat and scarf, beaded box ornaments, brimmed baby hat with a pocket for a little bird!, Ball ornaments (use needle felting), Baby booties, Stuffed Snowman and Caterpillar
  • Plan ahead projects (a week or two): Mother and Daughter Ponchos, Mittens, Winter Tote, Candy Striped Bolster, Angora House Socks, Ruffle Scarf (very feminine), Striped Stocking Caps, Classic Christmas Stocking, Old-fashioned Christmas Stocking, Striped Christmas Stocking, Tipless Gloves, Throw Pillows, Gingham Cosmetics Bag
  • Long term luxuries (two weeks or more): Holiday Hoodie (complete with hand pocket in front), Lap Robe Blanket (4'x4'), Patchwork Rug
The baby hat with a pocket for a toy is super cute. The hat pattern itself isn't super exciting, and unfortunately the cute bird toy pattern is not included. I like that the projects are separated by time... based on how much you've procrastinated you can still get some gifts done! Many of these patterns are quite classic, but the collection is fairly versatile. I may not be rushing to Amazon to purchase a copy for myself, but I figure that if anything inspires you to do a project then it was worth a read!

Handknit Holidays: Knitting Year-Round for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Winter Solstice by Melanie Falick

Wow. call me impressed. These are beautiful, well designed. Everything looks expensive and like it would be fun to create.
  • Designs for the Home: Knitted and Felted Ornaments and Garlands, Pompom garland, Family of Funky Stockings, Wire Menorah/Votive Sleaves, Lace Photo Mats, Hannah's Tablecloth, Alchemy Kitty & Pup, Menorah Pillow, Floral Tree Skirt, Striped Stocking, Aran Tree Skirt with matching stocking, Mrs. Claus Doll, Winter Solstice Table Runners, Regal Frost Cushions
  • Warming Up: Candy Cane Hat (So cute with upturned swirls of color), Fur-Trimmed Hood and Gauntlet Gloves (shown on cover), Vintage Beaded Gloves, Snowy Triangle Scarf and Hat, Stained Glass Scarf (doubleknit), Over the Knee Socks, Holly Leg Warmers, Nutcracker Slippers (they look like Ballet shoes!), Log Cabin Socks, Community Afghan, Color and Texture Afghan, Keefely Mittens (with a cookie recipe), Flap-top Mittens
  • Dressing Up: Ribbon Scarf, Sparkly Kiss Cap (I could eat this one up!), Santa Hat, Zigzag Poncho/Skirt and Dog Sweater, Crisscross Shrug, Santa Lucia Crown, Snegurochka's Party Hat, Sugarplum Pullover, Swedish Heart-Warmer Shawl, River Forest Gansey, Cardinal Joy Hoodie, Evergreen Shawl, Wisconsin Winter Stole, Brussels Lace Camisole
  • Packing up (Caryalls, Gift Bags and Last minute gifts): Flower Pins, Balsam Sachets, Evergreen and Christmas Rose Gift Bags, Felted Wine Bags, Counterpane Carpet Bag and Accessories Pouch, Elf Caps, Apres-Ski Kerchief, La Luz Eye Mask
All of the patterns in this book are beautiful, interestingly designed and well executed. For example: Hannah's Tablecloth is beautiful. As the author describes, Hannah wanted to create a knit tablecloth like the ones that had been passed down in her family, so she designed these lacy strips that hold linen napkins together. Brilliant!

Knit Christmas Stockings!: 19 Patterns for Stockings and Ornaments edited by Gewn Steege.

The stockings in this book are diverse and cute. I enjoyed that the book was shaped like a stocking. The patterns were spread out onto multiple pages (5-6/stocking) which makes it more difficult if you like to photocopy the pattern for when you knit. (I like to make notes in the margins, and I wouldn't do that to a book!)

Pattern Highlights:
  • Winter Wonderland's dangling 3-D snowmen on the cuff.
  • Star Brocade: textured, elegant, and simple. The stars are created with knits and purls giving it a unique (from when I've looked at) stocking pattern.
  • Snazzy Argyles! Too bad these don't quite fit in with my own plans, or I'd be working on them NOW! In addition to stockings, there are patterns for ornaments at the end: little stockings, sweaters, mitts and felted knit treats.
A good source of inspiration. There is really only one standard stocking shape, but the variety of decorations makes them very customizable.

Merry Christmas, my fellow knitters!