Tag Archives: Christmas knitting


This is the jumper that I made for Alex last Christmas. It was a particularly busy time last December, and I thought that, if I simply didn’t mention it, my boys might just forget that they normally get something knitted from my at Christmas. I thought it  might just be possible to avoid one of our family Christmas traditions: the one that involves me finishing off a sock or a glove at 3am on Christmas morning while Steve finishes wrapping the presents.

Well, that plan backfired on me rather spectacularly. Somewhere in the middle of last December, Alex asked me if I had started making anything for him for Christmas, and that if I hadn’t, could he have a jumper? At which point Will chimed in saying how much he’d like a jumper too, and could his one be a Fair Isle tank top? Also by Christmas? I didn’t quite manage that, but they both had their jumpers by the middle of February.

Here are the details of this sweater:

Pattern: Fjord, by Marie Wallin, published in Rowan 42.

Yarn: Berocco Peruvia Quick. Gorgeous yarn, just completely lovely. It doesn’t show in the photos, but each colour contains flecks of the other colours in the range.

Notes: Although the jumper turned out pretty well, this is not a pattern I’d recommend. I altered it quite significantly (although unfortunately I can’t remember all the changes). I think it is a salutary lesson, if you are browsing for patterns on Ravelry, to look at the number of people who have already chosen to make that pattern. Anyway, this version is Ravelled here.

This year? This year my boys will both be getting socks. And I’ll start knitting them soon – before they come up with any more ideas of their own!

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This gorgeous young man, our son Will,  is about to begin a new era of his life. Having completed his ‘A’ levels in spectacular fashion, he leaves us this week to start his university studies.

He is sporting a sweater that I made for him last Christmas, one that is based on an original from a very different era.

This portrait of Edward, Duke of Windsor was painted in 1925. When Will asked me to make him a Fair Isle tank top I used this painting, in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, as the inspiration for Will’s version. You can see more details of the sweater on Ravelry.

Of course, starting new eras necessarily involves ending old ones. Our beautiful baby boy, with the broadest grin and the loudest laugh, has left his childhood behind and grown into an amazing, talented, considerate, handsome, witty and and endlessly interesting young man. I am bursting with pride as I watch him make this this transition and cannot wait to cheer him on as he embraces life as an adult.

But some things never change. Will, this is for you:

“So they went off together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.”

AA Milne, The House at Pooh Corner

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finished object: diagonal cross-rib socks

These are Steve’s (non-secret!) Christmas present, modelled by Alex. I hope he likes them! Here are the details:

Pattern: Diagonal Cross-Rib Socks, by Ann Budd, in Favourite Socks

Yarn: Malabrigo Sock, in colourway Stonechat

Needles: 3.25mm and 2.75mm

Modifications: I added woolly nylon to the heels to make them more sturdy. Other than that, I followed the pattern exactly.

What I learned: How to do the Old Norwegian cast-on. This was fiddly to learn, but is a pleasingly stretchy and unobtrusive cast on.

Notes: I found it quite hard choosing a pattern for this yarn. I’m not really a fan of variegated yarn –  I’m such a control freak that the unpredictability of the colour combinations makes me go a bit wobbly! I also dislike how multi-coloured yarns tend to obscure many stitch patterns, and yet how without any stitch pattern there is even less chance of controlling what the colours may choose to do.

I chose this yarn because the colours are so beautiful, and they are also the colours that Steve wears often, so I could be pretty confident that he would like it. And in the end, I think the simplicity of the stitch pattern works reasonably well with the Malabrigo.

As it has turned out, I don’t mind the stripes that have emerged too much. But there are elements to the colour patterns that the perfectionist in me would rather not have. If you look at the bottom photo, you can see that the stripes at the top of the sock are quite narrow; they get broader further down the leg and are broader still on the foot.

This is because the top of the sock is worked in larger needles to accommodate manly calves. After a few inches you change to the smaller needle. The slightly smaller circumference is what causes the broader stripe. Then on the foot, the circumference is smaller again, as the cable pattern takes up more yarn than stocking stitch in which the underside of the foot is worked.

However, moaning and control-freakery aside, I adore the Malabrigo sock yarn. Over the Christmas break I plan to finish off my Lacy Cable Stockings (also in Malabrigo) so that I have them ready to wear in the New Year.

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being yarn, and becoming a project

There’s something special about yarn before it becomes a knitted object, or before it has really even become a work in progress. Don’t you think? In its skeined form, the yarn is pristine, fresh from the spinner or the dyer, and has not yet been turned into a usable, workable ball. It is squishable, and smells fluffy, fresh and, well, yarny.

At this stage, it could become pretty much whatever I want it to be. Well, maybe not my personal ironing service, or chocolate, but apart from that, pretty much whatever I want.

Even if the yarn in question comes as a kit, with a cute pattern, it doesn’t mean that the yarn has to become the kit item. The gorgeous stuff in the photo is Lucia Sock yarn from Posh Yarn. It came as a kit for a sweet pair of Winter Cottage Mittens (Ravelry link) which I am tempted to make. But I have been hankering after making a pair of Eunny Jang’s Anemoi Mittens for some time now, so maybe this yarn will turn into some of those…

Still, no need to decide just yet. I’ve got to get the damned dreadful dreary delightful Christmas knitting finished first!

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A Tale of Two Stockings

I’ve finished one each of Will’s and Steve’s socks – yay! In the end I chose the Thuja sock pattern from Knitty, Winter 2005 for Will’s sock (on the left), using Rowan Pure Wool Aran. It was incredibly quick to make, just taking two evenings and two train commutes to complete. Steve’s sock is the Diagonal Cross-Rib pattern from Favourite Socks, made in Malabrigo Sock (yum!)

So, with one of Alex’s BMP Knucks also completed, that is half of my Christmas knitting done! I’m going to make the second of Steve’s socks next, as that is the most time-consuming item left, and then the other two things should be a breeze!

I still haven’t got it right with regard to taking photos during the hours of daylight; at the moment it’s dark when I get up, and dark when I get home from work. I think I need to be more organised and take lots of pictures at the weekends instead of as I go along during the week. These pictures were taken this evening, and for once it wasn’t the lack of light that was getting in my way: click here to see tonight’s obstruction!

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