Last minute gifts

Merry Christmas, readers!

It’s a shock that 2014 is already around the corner. I’ve been going at this blogging thing for about one and a half years now. I know I’ve been lacking on the crafting posts but I really haven’t had time to knit with everything I have going on in my life. However, Christmastime is always when I get my craft on. I finished a couple last minute gifts and made up a really cool hat design that I’d like to share with you guys. Look for it on here and Ravelry in the next couple weeks.

I really want to share a picture but I’m afraid the person I’m giving it to will see it before she receives it this weekend. But if you really want a sneak peak head on over to my instagram: @haiitsvi.

I probably finished it in record time. I did the ribbing on the brim last night and finished the remaining part of it today. I’ve been knitting for about 5 hours nonstop hehe.

Let’s blog about Christmas for a second

I was planning on doing a bunch of separate posts for all the things I’m about to write about but I’m not very good at keeping up with my blogging so I’ll just talk a little about everything in 5 parts starting… now!

Part I: Christmas Knitting

I think most people can agree that the Christmas season starts (immediately) after Thanksgiving, and that’s when I started on knitting my Christmas gifts. You’ve already seen what I made for my friends so all that was left was the ornaments for adult relatives. I made a variety of knitted Christmas ornaments which I was planning taking pictures of and making a post on before Christmas but in all the pre-Christmas mayhem and time crunch, I completely forgot… again. Here’s a picture of some of them wrapped up lol:

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Some patterns I completely improvised and some I took from patterns. Here are a few of my favorite Christmas ornament patterns that you can put to use for next year’s holiday season: Wreath Ornament, Christmas Decoration I, Christmas Decoration II

Part II: New York

Ok, so first on the Christmas festivities stop was Long Island, NY where my mom’s side of the celebrated Christmas early. We opened gifts on Saturday night. I have about a million cousins (ok maybe I’m exaggerating a little) so Christmas gift giving is more for the little ones, and this goes for both sides of my family. The gifts I got this year were minimal but I’ll always appreciate cash and giftcards! :P

Present explosion! But almost none of them were for me...

Present explosion! But almost none of them were for me…

Hold up. I did get this one from "Santa."

Hold up. I did get this one from “Santa.”

The most notable part about my Long Island stay was the spontaneous trip to Manhattan taken by my brother, cousins, and I. I’ll be writing more about this later! Considering I visited an East Village yarn shop, it was a pretty big deal and exciting moment in my knitting experience.

Part III: Back to Delaware

On Christmas Eve, my family road tripped back to Delaware in time for a little get together with some members on my dad’s side of the family and midnight mass. Here’s my Christmas mass outfit!

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And it started snowing! For a moment I really believed that we could have a white Christmas, but it melted by morning :(

Part IV: Cookie Cutter Pancakes

The lack of snow however, did not stop me from making Christmas shaped chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.

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So these were a little tricky to get the hang of but here’s some tips on how to do it:

  1. Make your favorite pancake batter recipe.
  2. Gather your cookie cutters and make sure they are the metal kind. You don’t want to get any melted/burnt plastic in your delicious pancakes!
  3. Coat the cookie cutters in oil. I didn’t have any PAM spray handy so I used a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil to coat my cookie cutters which became very messy very quickly.
  4. Place the cookie cutters on your pan or griddle.
  5. Pour the batter in the molds. It helps if your batter is on the more liquidy side.
  6. Once one side is cooked (bubbly on the top side) lift the cutters out with a pair of tongs (they’ll be hot).
  7. Shapes with a lot of little crevices are tricky to make. I found that the bell and ball ornament shape were the easiest because they had very little small segments. If things get stuck use something (for me a chopstick) to push the pancake down as you lift the cutter out.
  8. Flip them over and cook the other side.
  9. Serve with your favorite toppings!

Part V: A lot of children and some more present opening

After breakfast, it was off to my grandparent’s to open gifts with my dad’s side of the family. And if you think the six cousins I have on one side of the family is a lot try 12 (with one more on the way and 2 more cousins on the other side of the country.)

Three of my little cousins and ALL the shoes.

Three of my little cousins and ALL the shoes.

So I’ve heard that this is an Asian thing, piling up all the shoes at the front door. That’s just a little glimpse of how huge my family is. We ate, caught up, played with babies, and opened presents. Christmas really makes me want to be a little kid again. I have to admit I was a little jealous of the sets of coloring books, crayons, and markers that were being gifted.

Coloring!

Coloring!

So what did I get? The best gift was definitely a pair of button earrings from an Etsy seller. Only one pair of uncle and aunt really get my quirky sense of style. I would have been satisfied with a repeat Christmas 2 years ago when I got mostly yarn, but no yarn this year. I got some lotions and other beauty supplies, a scarf, and a bracelet. Again, most of the gifts were for the wee ones and I don’t blame anyone. How could you resist buying toys for adorable children?

Everyone thought my little ornaments were neat, while they were literally a last minute thought for me. If I had time I would have made a few people more substantial things but what’s a college crafter gonna do? I did wear the sweater I made earlier this year and got loads of aunts asking for commissions haha. And plenty of people trying to get me to sell on Etsy without the knowledge that I’ve been there, done that, and basically given up for now. I actually have a better time and earn more just from taking commissions from family and friends so I’m just going to continue with that for now.

And that’s how my Christmas went! I hope all my readers had a merry Christmas, and even if you don’t celebrate I hope you did something fun. I’ve got a few posts lined up for the time between now and New Years so keep on the lookout for more from me.

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String!

I’ve broken a personal record. From Thanksgiving break to earlier this week, in a span of 21 days, I knitted 8 Christmas presents for my friends before leaving for Winter break.

The horrible photo

blogger that I am forgot to take pictures of the gifts before I wrapped them up (except for the socks because I wanted to get a before/after blocking shot) but here they are with their loving new owners!

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P1050725Tip from a college gift giver on a budget: Don’t waste money on wrapping paper! Brown paper bags are just as nice, and you’re recycling so it’s good for the environment as well.

P1050728Fingerless Mitts (click for Ravelry pattern) – this pattern comes in three sizes, and Chris claims that fitted him perfectly.

P1050730Little Bow – something I whipped up on the spot and all Rachel asked for. Just double up on yarns, knit a few rows in garter stich, and wrap one color tail around the middle. She’s wearing it with a bobby pin

Incognito Cowl – Jackie loves mustaches, so when I saw this pattern I thought it was perfect for her. It’s not the best picture for seeing the mustache but a cool pattern nonetheless. This pattern also comes in 3 sizes.

Seed Stich Beanie – if there’s something that I’m good at doing it’s making up hats on the spot. I made this beanie with a ribbed brim and seed stich body. The decreasing pattern got a little wonky because of the od numer of stitches but the result is still great.
P1050731Brandon Ribbed Beanie Hat – A really quick hat to knit up and a great pattern for gifts for guys. Duke has like no hair so I figured his head would get cold in the winter time :P

P1050733Happy Sea Turtle – I knitted this pattern once before for my turtle-loving high school French teacher and if anyone loves turtles as much as Madame Kennedy, it’s my roommate Kerry.

Orca Whale – Jonathan’s a Marine Science major so I figured I couldn’t go wrong with an amigurumi orca. I need to make more amigurumi. They are so fun to knit!
P1050714Basic Dude Socks – I have a lot of mixed feelings about these socks. They were the first pair of socks I’ve ever knitted, so they were quite an accomplishment, but the pattern was a little confusing for a first-time sock maker so I had to do the first toe about a million times after watching a million videos and reading a million articles before I got it right. I took this picture before wrapping them because I was planning on doing a before/after blocking post. There they are on top of my accounting notes. Ok so their Dude Socks, why are they pink and green? Well, my friend Brian who is also the Treasurer for the Knitting and Crochet club (and doesn’t know how to knit) had been asking me for watermelon socks since forever aka the first meeting. I set out on making them for Christmas but them being my first socks, I wasn’t sure how they would fit. Well, the cuff isn’t nearly as stretchy enough even after using the knit through the front loops bind off as seen here but they didn’t seem stretchy at all. So in short, Brian can’t actually wear them as socks (more like slippers) because they won’t fit around his ankle. Maybe next time, I guess.

Now, I’m sitting on my couch at home watching Once Upon a Time, much needed after this crazy semester. I’ll be working on some gifts for family members in the upcoming days. I’m knitting ornaments!

Is it too late to start looking for Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanza/Winter Solstice gift patterns?

I just started this morning :/

Firstly, it’s had enough finding time to knit. I’m going to get myself in trouble with all of this knitting I need to do with all of these group projects due and finals coming up. With any luck I’ll finish all my friends’ gifts by the time we come back to school in February after Winter break/session. Plus, I need to make some gifts for family members. Why did I take up such a time consuming craft?

Secondly, it’s pretty difficult to decide what to make. It can’t take too much time because I’ve got so much other knitting to do and it can’t be too difficult because I don’t want to have to start it over a million times. And I want to give everyone something different that they would each appreciate.

Thirdly, what the heck do I knit for non-significant other male friends? What kind of knitwear says, “I’m glad that we’re friends but it’s not like I slaved over this for you.” It doesn’t help that guys are harder to read than girls. Maybe I’m over thinking this…

I need to figure this out by Wednesday because I want to go buy the supplies over Thanksgiving break. Wish me luck!

Do you like to make all your Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanza/Winter Solstice gifts? Are you having the same problem as me?