Monday, November 30, 2009

Here's Something to Go With Your Wonderful Knitted Gifts!

My dear friend Lisa recently sent me a note with a heads-up about her friend, Meg, who produces KnitKnotes, which are hilarious and beautiful notecards for knitters. This one is my favorite:
(it's a little hard to read on my monitor - it says "I made this. I expect to see you wearing it.") Bwa ha ha ha!! Anyone who has ever made any knitted gift ever will appreciate THAT sentiment. The cards include a space for your tender message and care instructions for your labor of love. Go check out her Etsy store - she also has holiday/knitting cards that are great-looking and funny. All printed on recycled card stock too.

By the way, if you are unfamiliar with Etsy what a treat you have in store for you! And oh how many hours you will spend clicking on the Color Finder and the Shop Local section looking at ceramic mugs with loons on them and pearl earring sets and deciding if you can justify buying a hundred different skeins of hand-dyed sock yarn. Oh wait, that's me.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Black Friday Deals - 24 hours only!

I thought I'd jump into the Black Friday madness and offer three patterns at 50% off for 24 hours only! That's a mere $2.50 a pattern! If my website had doors, you could bust them down like a Walmart at 3 in the morning!

These patterns will be 50% off until about 10pm on Friday (when I go to bed). I chose these three patterns because they each are great for gifts. They look cool, work up quickly and are great for almost everyone on your gift list.

First up is the Double-Knitted Felted Clutch:

This pattern uses one of my favorite techniques - double-knitting! Double-knitting is an easy way to make a tube on straight needles. Sound crazy? It's not! It's fun and easy. These little clutches make great teacher gifts, girlfriend gifts or daughter or granddaughter gifts. You can needle-felt or embroider decoration or just sew on a fabulous button and be done with it.

Here's one I made as a sample:

Here is Barb, who took a class with me and her beautiful bag:

Next up is the Easy Mosaic Knitting Pillow:

Another one of my favorite EASY techniques, mosaic (or slip-stitch) knitting is an EASY way to do complicated-looking colorwork with no bobbins or two-handed stranding. This pillow is knit in bulky-weight yarn - the back is garter stitch stripes, so this is another quick gift. Great as a hostess gift, for yourself or as a house-warming gift.

Here is a sample that Maureen, one of my sample-knitters, made for her daughter:

Here is Marina (of Marina's Soap Sock fame!) and her pillow made at a class I taught:

Finally, there's Fingerless Gloves Two Ways.
This is one of my favorite last-minute (or not-so-last-minute) gifts. Gus has had a lot of teachers who got these as presents. They're also great for surly, hard-to-buy-for, teenagers because they look cool and leave fingers free for endless texting.

The pattern is written for a true, thumbed glove worked in the round:

And also, in thumbless mock cable version worked flat and seamed up:

(these really go fast!)

Here is charming Sue and her gloves from a class she took with me:

So there you are. Go crazy! Bust the doors down! Try a new technique! Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Perfect Gift Set (If I Do Say So Myself...)

(There's a preview of a special Black Friday deal at the end of this post)

Okay, I've posted this pattern before. But I told you I'd post some ideas about great holiday presents and I have to admit that Marina's Soap Sock and Matching Washcloth fit the bill nicely!

Remember this:

And this:
The mighty Marina's Soap Sock (free pattern here)! Double-knit in worsted weight cotton, these can be knocked out in a jiffy! A jiffy, I tell you!

Then, with your leftovers, you can knit this:
The matching washcloth (free pattern here)! Simple garter stitch with a nice eyelet edge. This pattern is great for baby blankets as well, since it's knit corner to corner.

Another beauty shot:

I have to say that these 2 items get the most use of anything I've ever knitted, which is weird since I probably put the least amount of effort and time into knitting them. So be it.

Now, as an extra-special touch, go to your local crafts store and buy some soap-making supplies. All you need is glycerin, a mold and maybe some dye or scent. This will set you back about $10, and I think you can get about dozen bars of soap out of it. And it is so EASY - you'll laugh and quit your job and do nothing all day but make soap! You cut some glycerin from the block, nuke it in the microwave for a minute (I use a 2-cup glass measuring cup), then add some dye (you can use food coloring or cake icing dye) and scent (or go au naturel), then pour it into the molds. It takes about an hour to cool. And then you're done. That's it.

By the way, this is also a great kids activity - my son and I made A LOT of soap when we did it - more than the dirtiest family could use in a lifetime.

Now find a little basket, roll up the washcloth and tie with a ribbon, and put your beautiful handmade soap and your Soap Sock in the basket as well, and you have the prettiest, most thoughtful little gift ever. Perfect for your sister, your daughter, your neighbor, your kid's teacher, a hostess gift, your co-worker.

Two Thanksgivings thoughts: First, I'll be offering several patterns for 50% off on Friday as a special kick-off to the holiday season. They'll be posted on Facebook first, so go join the Facebook group, if you're not already a member!

Second, my heartfelt best wishes to all of you out there for a happy Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for YOU!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Teensy Weensy Sweater Ornaments!

Okay, first a shout-out of appreciation to the newest additions to the Momogus Knits Patterns family - Circle of Friends Yarn Shop in Elkin, North Carolina, The Open Door to Stitchery in Great Neck, New York, Down Cellar in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, Knit A Bit in Westfield, New Jersey, Knit Your Dreams in Quincy, Illinois, and The Knitting Gallery in Colts Neck, New Jersey. If you're in any of their neighborhoods (or the neighborhood of any local yarn store!), pop in and give them your business. Without you, local yarn shops will start to close and you'll be stuck wandering the aisles of A.C. Moore, trying to get someone to show you how to do Kitchener stitch. Scary!!!

Now, on to more holiday knitting stuff. In Berroco's weekly email newsletter this week there was this!
I don't know about you, but I am the original sucker for tiny knitted objects! These are little sweaters that can be holiday ornaments for your tree, or adorn your wonderful holiday present wrappings or just make you squee from their adorable teeniness. The free pattern is here. It takes dk weight yarn and size 4 and 6 needles. The little capelet in the middle kills me! I wish I were 8" tall so I could wear it! If you are certifiably insane, there are two other sets from 2007 and 2008 that you can make as well.

As I said, if you have the inclination (yes!) and the time (well, maybe....), even just one of these ornaments would make a sweet present for a teacher or hostess or your own tree.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Felted Bowls Anyone?

Last year the only knitted gifts I made specially for the holidays were little felted bowls. Unfortunately, because I gave them away I don't have pictures. But they were awesome - trust me!!

Here are some things I like about felted bowls:

1. They're quick - you can knock out a bowl during an episode of "Top Chef" or "Mad Men" (ask me how I know!)

2. They use very little yarn. Over the years of many felting projects I have accumulated a bazillion little balls of leftover Lambs Pride Bulky, my favorite felting yarn. I can't make myself throw them out, and I can't give them away to any of my designated leftover yarn recipients. So they sit in a drawer in my yarn cabinet (yes I have a yarn cabinet - wanna make something of it?!) until it's time to make felted bowls!! Little balls of leftover felting yarn are perfect for felted bowls! If you run out, you just use another little ball of leftover yarn and make a striped bowl.

3. Felted bowls are awesome for containing little giftees. Last year I made felted bowls for a bunch of my school-mom friends and put little felted hearts in them. (Brace yourself if you follow the link - they're mighty cute!!)

I'm linking to a great free pattern from alice*thelma for felted bowls of several sizes. Her pattern calls for worsted weight yarn, but you can also use bulky weight and follow the instructions for the smaller sizes and use #13 or #15 double-points.

Instead of buying another gift bag, why not knock out a little felted bowl? They're great for holding jewelry or potpourri or knitting notions (like stitch markers, etc) or action figures (ask me how I know!) or little felted hearts.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Not to Scare You, But.....

.....the holiday season is creeping up on us, and not in a slow way!! I got sucked up into the vortex of Phillies/Halloween/Boston and was merrily in autumn mode until I got startled by a phone call to my sister in which she said she was finishing her Christmas shopping online. Yesterday. November 8. Yikes. Yeah, I haven't given Thought One to holiday gifts.

So now I've started thinking about the holidays. For knitters this can be a fraught time. I swing back and forth between "Everybody's getting knitted presents this year!" and "Nobody's getting knitted presents this year!" The happy medium between those points is where I'm most comfortable. Last year, in a fit of selfish genius, I knitted every single thing I wanted to knit all year and then went through and gave away most of it during the holidays. Because really, I don't need 8 pairs of fancypants mittens. The only things I made specially were little felted bowls for my school-mom friends.

So, not to scare you and not to urge you to "get going on your holiday knitting" because we all have enough stress this time of year, but I'm going to start a series of posts with suggestions for great quick holiday gifts, but only if you feel like knitting!!! C'mon, enjoy the holidays and reduce the stress!!

First up is.....Fingerless Gloves (Momogus Knits NS1)!

This pattern flies out the door of the Tangled Web this time of year (in fact it's the November special right now). You can make the ribbed, thumbed, gloves on double-points (the gold ones above), BUT the mock-cable, knit-flat-then-seamed, gloves, these:

are easy and fast and look really pretty. They're a great teacher gift (ask me how I know!!) and are also great for that hard-t0-buy-for teenager on your gift list. They look cool and let those teenagers' thumbs fly for maximum texting.

Stay tuned for more easy stress-reducing ideas to make your holidays fun and festive!! Some will be my patterns and some will just be some of my favorite other-people's patterns or ideas.

In the meantime, enjoy the beautiful autumn around you.