Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Gifts

I think I did pretty well on Christmas shopping/knitting this year! Unfortunately, my schedule kind of fell to pieces and I wasn't able to finish two of the projects, but I didn't do too badly. Here's a peak at each gift- those that are knitted will have Finished Object posts to come!

For Mom:

A few years ago, Mom bought me a nice, wide shawl to wrap around my shoulders while I'm reading in bed. It's so much easier to use than draping a blanket around my shoulders- the blanket either gives me too much bulk around my neck, or I'm lying on bunched-up places. A few months ago, she asked if I ever used it, and if not, could she have it back?

Well, I was not giving up my bed shawl, so I decided to make one for her for Christmas. It needed to be wide, and long enough for her to wrap around herself and still have a little extra left in case the dogs wanted to snuggle underneath with her. I chose the Fall Breeze Shawl, and this is what I ended up with:

For Dad:

Dad isn't much into knitted stuff, but he does love bugs, especially cute sculptures of them. I found the perfect gift for him from the Etsy shop Jodieflowers. I chose the Screen Porch Spider. It's designed so that you can stick it onto a screen door, or you can also have the artist put a magnet on the back. I had her leave the magnet off, as I think Dad will want to just stick it on his desk. The artist also lets you make color requests; I requested non-girly colors, preferably blue, and got such an adorable green and blue spider! I love the little teeth! It also comes in nice packaging, and the legs are unbent, so Dad will get to bend them exactly the way he wants them:

For Grandma:

I've made Grandma knitted gifts for the past two Christmases. She uses the afghan I made her two years ago on a regular basis, but won't wear the scarf I made her last year because it's "too nice to wear." Lately, Grandma has been complaining about being cold all of the time. I thought a shawl that she could throw over her shoulders on top of a sweater might be a nice, useful gift for her. I wanted to make something nice, of course, but not too nice, as she would never use it. I settled on a simple pattern with a dark beige yarn:

For Grandpa:

Two Christmases ago, I made Grandpa a sweater vest. We could not get him to take that thing off for about a week, he loved it so much! Based on this, I decided another sweater vest might be in order. He isn't very temperature sensitive and I've seen him wearing sweater vests in warm weather before, so I decided to make this one out of a cotton/linen blend, so he won't overheat as easily. I heavily modified a basic pattern, and it's coming out pretty well- all I have left to do is finish the neck edging (which I have now ripped out three times, and the arm hole edging. It would be done, except that my hands were hurting from knitting too much cotton, and I had to take a break and knit with something else.

For My Aunt:

Since I was making my Grandparents hand-knitted presents, I needed to make my aunt something as well, so she doesn't feel left out. An easy, lacey scarf sounded like a perfect idea. It was a little slow-going, because scarves can get boring, but I'm happy with the result:

For Mia:

Much to her great dismay, dogs do need baths sometimes and Mia is no exception. After her bath, the poor thing is always so cold and shivers until she dries. She is so freezing that she willingly allows my mother to put a sweater on her. However, the sweater is too thin to do much, and acrylic, which doesn't really wick away moisture. I decided to make her a nice, warm, worsted-weight wool sweater for Christmas, so that she can be warmer after her baths. The pattern I chose is a little fancy for something that's only going to be worn after bath time, but looks gorgeous- I think I still might be suffering from guilt over moving away from home and leaving her (the family dog) with my parents. This is the second Christmas knit I didn't get done. I probably could have- I was going to bring the project home and knit all day Christmas Eve and most of Christmas (we weren't doing presents until the evening). However, I managed to leave the second ball of yarn back at my apartment when packing to visit my parents, so this wasn't really an option.

For Napoleon:

Mia, however, is not the only dog I have to knit for. Napoleon the Chihuahua doesn't technically belong to my family, but he is a frequent visitor to the house (he belongs to my brother's girlfriend). When Napoleon first started visiting, I was determined not to like him- I've never had a good track record with Chihuahuas, and Mia was feeling a little neglected because Po (that's what we call him for short!) was getting so much attention. However, he was equally determined that I would love him. He followed me around, to the point where I began to understand where the saying "follows around like a puppy" came from, and snuggled up next to me on the couch. The clincher was when his human called him to go home, and he hid behind my legs. It wasn't long before I was head over heels in love with this dog.

Unlike Mia, Po isn't only cold after a bath- he's freezing all the time. He loves snuggling next to people under the covers, a human armpit being his favorite place to nap due to the warmth. He's especially cold when he goes outside in the winter! When he first arrived, he was too tiny to wear store-bought clothing so I made him a coat at my mother's request. He outgrew that, and she was able to buy him one- but it's big on him, and makes swishy noises when he walks, and baby blue- such an easy color to get dirty for such an active dog! I decided to knit him a nicer superwash wool one in a distinguished-looking burgundy color. I had an idea in my mind of how I wanted the coat to look, with a cable around the entire edge, and ended up having to design my own pattern because I couldn't find anything resembling what I wanted:

For Napoleon's Human:

Napoleon's human has been really sweet about sharing him with us. My parents have become really attached to him, as have I. She makes sure that he visits frequently, and sometimes even lets him stay overnight. I visit my parents about once a month, and she makes sure I get my Napoleon time! She and I aren't really that close, but I wanted to make her a thank-you gift for sharing her dog with us. I thought some mitts to match Po's coat would be the perfect thing. They're pictured with Po's coat in the picture above.

For the Guy I'm Dating:

We've been having a lot of fun with an old set of Kinex that he found in his room the last time he went home to visit his parents. We were wishing we had some Legos to play with, too, so a big tub of Legos seemed like a great gift we could both enjoy.

For The Cat:

The guy I've been dating also has a cat. I saw some an adorable pattern for some catnip mice online, and decided to knit her a couple for Christmas. Her human provided the catnip, although it almost didn't make it to me- he put some in a plastic bag in his backpack. The cat got into the backpack and chewed through the plastic to the catnip inside. Nevertheless, he rescued the remaining catnip, transferred it to a plastic container, and I made these:

I think I did a pretty good job on presents this year- what do you think?

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