holiday knitting

Knitmas Gifts

It’s that time of year again, when knitters the world over anxiously ply their needles and all queries are met with a slightly panicked “Shh! I’m counting!”

That’s right, it’s the Giftmas season, and as usual I didn’t even think of my handmade gifts until the last possible moment. I had a general block on gift-giving this year; I had trouble coming up with ideas for everyone, even my mom and Ash, and usually they are the easiest. I did eventually overcome that, but it left me knitting at speed at least a few hours almost every night.

The first gifts I made were easy: the Baron and Baroness. You might remember this codename from last year–our friends, who happen to be in the SCA and therefore have an appreciation of wooly, handmade things–have been a huge help to use since we moved, and it’s really been a shame that we can’t hang out with them during quarantine due to a combination of health issues on both sides. We’re playing it safe.

But, I’m more than happy to knit for them. For the Baroness, I made two pairs of ankle socks. Both are Knitpicks Stroll, and the pattern is identical, though one is plain burgundy and the other has grey stripes (one of their heathered colors, I believe, though I don’t remember which one). The red for both is Stroll Tonal in Cherry Cordial. I really loved this yarn, but did start to get sick of it after knitting four socks with it!

That turned out to be problematic when I evaluated my stash to find something for the Baron. I realized I wouldn’t have time to make socks for him, so I thought perhaps a hat. And what kind of hat do you give to someone who spends a portion of his life in the 1600s?

A monmouth cap, of course.

These hats are workman’s caps from the 1400s-1600s, popular in Wales, though they eventually spread to other parts of the British Isles (Don’t worry, I’m going to do a whole history post about them next month, because they are kind of cool). I didn’t have enough of any one yarn in the right weight, so I went with stripes. And what colors of worsted did I pull out?

Burgundy and grey.

Remember kids: piecing is period

I swear, it was not intentional. This yarn was leftover from two completely different projects. I never meant to use them together at all.

It feels a bit “Where’s Waldo?” to me, but it also kind of makes me laugh. At least (in theory) he’ll be easy to spot at SCA events when they finally start back up?

The burgundy yarn is left over “Touch of Alpaca” from Lion Brand that I had from my sweater, and the grey is a worsted Knitpicks. Percosa? I’m not sure. It’s a singles yarn and was a joy to work with, but in my hurry I took absolutely zero notes. I used up just about every last bit of both yarns.

Next up was Ash’s family. Originally, I had a list of thinks to make for each of them, and considering I didn’t even make that list until Thanksgiving weekend, I was well and truly panicking at the thought of making a hat, three cowls, and two headbands in 4-5 weeks. I just can’t knit that fast!

However, I did find some things on Etsy, which knocked 3 projects off my list. Whew!

As soon as the monmouth cap was off the needles, I grabbed a crochet hook and started work on another cap. I resorted to crochet because the best yarn I had for the project was quite thin, and I knew I would need the speed of crochet. Toothless is modeling the finished product, which was about as off the cuff as it comes, and I started playing yarn chicken near the end.

The yarn was handspun by one of the members of the Baroness’s group. I was told it was probably wool, but after working with it I can say it most certainly isn’t. I suspect it is milk fiber or maybe bamboo, based on texture and sheen, but I haven’t had a chance to set any of it on fire to test. In the hank I thought it was closer to a fingering weight, but it came out more of a lace weight in the end.

Lastly, our friends back home. For T and R I made two of these squishy cowls that I very nearly kept for myself. I tried REALLY hard to get another one done in time so I could send that instead, but alas. I can only knit so fast, and so much. Another time, I guess. I kept the tag, so I can at least get more of the yarn. One is Urth Monokrome Worsted. It looked like a tonal yarn in the hank, but it’s actually a fade from a deep, royal purple to a pale lavender, and I love it. I have a small ball of the yarn leftover, and I’m not sure what’s going to happen to it, other than it’s MINE. The pattern is the Free For All Cowl by Jen Peck, which I am also in love with (the pattern, not the designer. Though I haven’t looked through her library yet…). It’s a free pattern, super simple, and it taught me a new technique, which gave me an idea for another design of mine that has been ruminating for a while, but I haven’t had a chance to work on (for obvious reasons). The second cowl (pictured) is Knitpicks Stroll Glimmer.

Maybe next year I’ll learn my lesson and start early?

We’ll see.

Like what you see? Check out Knitting for Living History.