Crafty Stories

I like to tell stories through the creative arts. I may be slightly obsessed with books, movies, TV shows, yarn and fiber. Wanna hang out?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Knits for Men

Hello, and welcome back for another edition of "Jess's Holiday Knit Suggestions" here at Storied Yarns Central!

This week I've been thinking about what I want to make for the men in my life this year for the holidays, and I confess I've been a bit stuck at times. Most of the women in my life are happy to own a variety of scarves, hats, mittens and gloves. My husband, on the other hand, has only ever let me knit him ONE scarf and he only ever wears that ONE scarf and he doesn't see the point of owning two (or, heaven forbid, several). Ugh, what's a knitter to do?

In case you're in my boat, here are some pattern suggestions for the men on your knitted gift list. These patterns are all free, and they all work with 150 yards (or less than that) of worsted or bulky weight yarn. Maybe, just maybe, your guys will love these so much they won't mind finding room for them in their wardrobes! ;)

The scarf my husband let me knit for him was solid black, and very basic; it was, essentially, the same as this Basket Weave Scarf pattern. It wasn't the world's most exciting knit, but it was fairly simple to follow the pattern without having to refer back to it all the time, and if my picky husband likes it then I'm fairly sure yours will, too! Here's a picture of the one I made:

This year, the husband says he wants a hat. I'll have to get the yarn for it (I know; weird, right? I'm an indie dyer who has to buy yarn to make her husband a hat, but he only wants solid black and it's easier for me to buy plain black yarn as it is to dye it), but I'm already perusing the patterns. I really love this Antler Hat; it's got nice cables (which I've never quite tackled but I'm willing to try) and it's part of the Pacific Knits collection which I LOVE. (Please note: the hat pattern is free, the whole collection is not.) I also like that the Antler hat comes with a fold-up brim so in case it's not quite the right length when I finish it, it will still probably work out.

I might also just go with the Brother-in-Law Basketweave Hat so it will match his scarf. :)

If you prefer to warm their hands (you know, warm hands = warm heart, right?), fingerless gloves are always a nice gift. I made a fairly boring pair for my dad a few holidays back when I was still a newbie knitter, see?

He likes them because he can wear them when he goes shooting. If I were to make them over again I'd probably go with these Manly Mitts, because they have a little bit more style while still being understated. I really like them, actually - I wonder if I can get hubby to wear them? ;) If you're looking for a nice, basic pattern, it seems like the Fingerless Mittens with a Flap would be great for shoveling snow, driving around town or whatever else your man of choice might be doing outside at this time of the year

This year, I'm giving my dad a cowl, which should also come in handy while he's shooting. I just finished spinning a luxury merino/yak/silk blend for him - it's still hanging to dry on my yarn shelf:

When it's totally dry I'm going to knit it into the Wonky Cowl pattern, designed by my friend Brittany. My dad doesn't mind a little color in his knitwear so I think he will really like it.

In case you've been wanting to tackle your first pair of socks, this Easy Peasy Socks for First-Timers pattern works up quickly in worsted weight yarn to help you understand the basics of sock construction. Worsted weight socks might be a bit thick but they'd be great under a pair of boots this winter!

In case you have a man who's a little more adventurous and whimsical than my darling hubster, how about Invading Your Earspace? You can't go wrong with a hat full of space invaders, right? My husband has been joking around for years that he wants me to knit him a Beard Hat, and I'm telling you he'd better be careful what he wishes for because this might just be the year for it! ;)

Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed my list of manly knitted gift ideas. In case you need some yarn, the Storied Yarns Shop is fully stocked and ready to serve. ;)

Happy Holidays!!



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Quick Gifts to Knit or Crochet

Howdy! Long time, no post! Sorry about that. Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled programming ...

This is the time of the year when I mentally start to whittle down my Handmade Holiday List. You know, all those grand plans I had back in August seem maybe just a little too grand by November, so it's time to really figure out what I can and cannot accomplish between now and December 25th.

If you're feeling the holiday crunch like I am, I've put together a little list of gift knits (and crochet projects, too!) that seem like they wouldn't take too long to complete. They all use about a skein (or less than one skein) of worsted weight yarn. This way you get to make something special for a special recipient and keep your sanity: win-win!

Let's get started, shall we?

I love a good gender-neutral project; knit it up and keep it in your drawer so when you need a last-minute gift you've already got one! I think the Knotty but Nice hat pattern falls well into that category. Its all-over cable pattern adds interest whether you use a solid colored or variegated yarn and it would look equally snazzy on a man's head or a woman's. If you used a colorway like Walkers, this hat could easily go for either gender, too. After all, zombies are equal-opportunity killers. :)

"Walkers" on SW Merino Worsted

The Mustard Scarf by Jane Richmond is a pattern I've actually made myself. It looks particularly awesome in handspun, because the simple stitch pattern lets the yarn take center stage and the open, meshy style allows for differences in thickness without making the pattern seem off. This one's more for the women on your list than the men, but it's such a quick knit it'd be great for your kids' teachers! Here's a photo of mine:

I think this scarf would be gorgeous in my Goddess in the Storm or All Things Nice handspun; if that's not your thing, stay tuned as I've got several more skeins to add in this week!

I don't know about you, but when it starts to get chilly outside I grab a pair of fingerless gloves for use indoors and out! These Cozy Thermal Mitts do a fairly good job of straddling the gender gap, and at 110 yards for the small size you could actually get two of them out of a single skein of worsted weight yarn! Personally, a pair made in my new "Garden State" colorway would match almost anything I wear this winter (grey is definitely a staple color in my wardrobe), and it's a nicely neutral color palette to give as a gift to someone if you don't know all about their favorite colors.

If you have any babies on your gift list, these Ruth's Perfect Baby Booties would be an adorable and useful gift. Knit up a pair in superwash worsted weight yarn so Mom and Dad don't have to worry about hand washing on top of all the other Baby-induced chaos! :) Today I'm actually dyeing up several skeins of a brand new worsted weight (all-American, 100% merino, SUPER soft) yarn in my Nursery Rhymes colorways, too! That particular base won't be superwash but the hand washing is worth it to get yarn like this! Watch for news on that later in the week. ;)

This "Josh Lyman" colorway would be perfect for a baby boy!

Sometimes you may not know accurate sizing for a recipient on your list, so this Cabled iPad cozy or these Leg Warmers come to the rescue! Both of these gifts also come with the added bonus of being useful for any teens or tweens you might be making gifts for this year. Try a cozy in Mr. President for the guys on your list or Lady Bianca leg warmers for the girls!

If you're attending a holiday party, you might want to bring along a Hostess gift. How about a wine bottle cozy? If you use my Grapes of Wrath or Mr. D yarns you can incorporate the theme right into the yarn! Another hostess gift could be a pair of handmade slippers! I'm hoping to crochet up three pairs of this pattern this weekend; am I nuts?!? I hope not! If you don't own the DeFarge book, this pattern would be an adequate substitute!

Grapes of Wrath for the wine-lovers on your list!
Whatever you make this holiday season, the point is to put love in every stitch! I hope you enjoy your holiday crafting and have a wonderful Winter!!