This was the year of the neckwarmers. Faster and more visible (usually) than socks, cowls and scarves can be knit up in hundreds of ways and are easily tailored to the desires and style of the intended recipient. Plus, nearly everyone needs at least one and wears it/them regularly during the cold, blustery months winter brings. So for this Christmas, neckwarmers were the running theme.
This is one my favorite’s, knit for my father’s wife. Like me, she is a fan of blue. I was gifted this lovely, funky, thick-thin wool awhile back and found it to be the perfect choice for the Wasabi Cowl. Coupled with a handcraffted glass pin from Moving Mud, the piece was stunning. Aria has requested one (it looked amazing on her!) and I hope to eventually knit one for myself as well. Ravelry notes here.
My dad has been bugging me for a piece of my knitting for years and this handmade holiday seemed the perfect time to come up with something for him. This scarf is made up of two strands held together, one of a medium grey alpaca from a local farm we visited with the girls last year, and one of a variegated silvery grey wool. Combined, the two created a scarf almost as heavenly as the cashmere recommended in Men’s Cashmere Scarf pattern from which this is made and the color goes perfectly with his hair. I hope it keeps him warm and toasty on his long walks to his new job in DC. Ravelry notes here.
My sister loves orange and earth tones. I got this gorgeous orange-red wool on a trip to Rehoboth last year, a little splurge I knew I would never be able to wear against my pale skin. I coupled this Mustard Scarf with a maroon twirly glass pin, also from Moving Mud and the results were divine and oh-so-soft (a must for her sensitive skin!). I hope it lives up to her fashionista stylings. Ravelry notes here.
My mother-in-law is not easy to buy for but she really likes red, so I started there, coupling a maroon alpaca hand-dye with a slightly lighter kid silk haze for a shimmery Cozy-Dee Cowl, a free pattern from my favorite local yarn store. I then spent one morning hunting through the city for just the right buttons and found these at a local bead store. I’m told they are made from found bone, meaning no animals were killed to create them. The cowl was a hit, matching her winter coat better than I imagined. Ravelry notes here.
This piece was a bulky alpaca/kidsilk combo. The quick and easy pattern created a gorgeous slanted braid design that I really liked. I made it short for my sister-in-law (and coupled it with another gorgeous glass pin) but I can imagine it looking lovely much longer and perhaps a bit thinner, wrapping the wearer another time or two. Ravelry notes here.
This last piece isn’t a neckwarmer. My darling husband (See Honey? “DH” does stand for darling husband ; )) was gifted one of those a couple years ago and had specifically requested a “hat that covers my ears” this year. So, I whipped up* a Windschief, in a lovely orange wool. I made it in the largest size (the Nelsons are the first to tell you of their exceedingly large heads) and extra long and I think it’s just what he had in mind, long enough to cover his ears and turn up just a bit. It looks good on him too. Ravelry notes here.
Good thing I’m surrounded with people who love and can wear orange. I love it and love knitting it but look ghostlike with it against my skin.
And that pretty much sums it up. Only two individuals on my gift list didn’t receive handmade items this year and both were due to personal style or requests. I’m determined, though, to eventually figure outsomething woolen/handmade that these picky peeps will love; I’m already noting ideas for next year. Stayed tuned for the handmade goodies I whipped up* for the girls…
***A point of clarification in the interest of total honesty: “Whipped up” is probably not the most accurate phrasing to use when describing the way these items were knit up. A clearer description might be “knit in small increments of time over days and days, during any spare moment when a child wasn’t crawling on me or ill and in need and I stayed up very late many nights in a row”. That description is a little “woe is me” though and not at all how I actually feel about creating handmade gifts (it’s quite exhilarating, actually) so “whipped up” is used for a livelier, more festive feel to the post. If you want to knit one of your own, however, know that while each of these was a fairly quick knit in the scheme of things – especially the cowls – they were not all “whipped up”.