Well, I am finally looking at the end of my 'planned' gift knitting. Today I will finish my sister's second sock, run it through the washer and dryer, and wrap those puppies and get them all ready for the mail tomorrow - ten days past my hoped-for mailing date, but not shabby, nonetheless.
If you are still knitting franticly away, or stuck for some ideas of what to knit, here are a few quick ideas for you with free patterns...
The Winter Issue of Knitty is out, and while they always have some really great free patterns, the focus in this issue seems to concentrate on one-skein or other quick projects. If you want a lace project that is fast and also very elegant and feminine, there is a LOT of buzz on the lists about the Ice Queen, a lace smoke ring or cowl done with beads - very beautiful. Speaking as someone whose list of favorite things would have to start with lace-knitting and beads, this is definitely on my to-do list.
The Tudora is a quick neck-warmer worked with cables and a single button, really pretty and practical. Halcyon is a lovely lace scarf with a edge detail of ribbon threaded through eyelets. I have been looking for an excuse to buy more of that gorgeous Louisa Harding Sari Ribbon at Kiwi, and I think this is it. I love lace scarves as they are quick gratification for the lace itch, and their light weight means that you can wear them all day without feeling too heavy or wrapped up. I get tons of compliments anytime I wear one, and I think this one needs to be added to my collection.
And Oh My Gosh you have to take a look at Square Cake, a really beautiful small bag done with my two favorite elements (say them with me, now), lace and beads! In two different sizes, small and smaller, this would also be a quick and delicious gift to make.
In the 'more involved, but just as gorgeous' category would certainly be Aoife, a bolero jacket accented with Celtic-style cabling. I can already picture it for myself with a rich color - perhaps a deep garnet, with the cables done in a contrast color such as a black yarn with a bit of sheen (maybe I can figure out how to throw some beads into those cables!).
This issue also includes their usual selection of great sock patterns, something I think Knitty is well-known for, and I am already mentally queuing up the Chevrolace Socks and Azure.
But the pattern from this issue that I find the most intriguing would have to be Jeanie, a stole that combines cables and dropped stitches in a way that I haven't seen before. Each element separately, yes, but not in combination like this. Very interesting texture!
It seems as though everyone on the two main knitting lists on Yahoo is knitting at least one (many are knitting several) Fidget. What the heck is a Fidget, you ask? A Fidget is a short, thick, very warm scarf that buttons at the neck, or as my husband called it, a neck-warmer. The pattern is free on the One Sheep Hill website, and I can testify here that it is a quick and easy knit. I made one Friday at the same time as teaching Knit Doctor and giving a private lesson. They only require about 100 yards of chunky yarn, size US 9 needles, and four buttons. Can't get much simpler than that.
And if you have a little spare time for gift knitting - and even if you don't... Our own Desi's husband is a sergeant with TPD, and every year the department does a Holiday party for the kids in our city that fall through the cracks of other charities here in town. We have had a collection box at Kiwi for the last couple of weeks that has been filling up with knitted hats and scarves (that is where my Fidget is going tomorrow). Can you take some time out of your day and knit up a quick hat or scarf to make some child's Holiday warmer and brighter? Don't have the time? Maybe bring by an unwrapped gift for a child. The deadline is nearly upon us, this Wednesday, the 12th, and shame on me for not mentioning it here earlier. My husband and I have had a really, really hard year financially with one blow after another, but we have a roof over our heads, food on our table, and warm clothes to wear - in other words, we have it a lot better than too many people out there. Let's share and make the world just that little bit better.