all my free Christmas craft tutorials in one post

 


Every year I try to make at least one ornament to hang on my homemade ornament tree that sparkles in my knitting room all December. I've posted many tutorials over the years so I thought it was time for me to put the links together in one post. Here's that post!



This post from 2013 gets over 100 views a day every December.
I'm happy I can help so many of you turn your piece of needlepoint into an ornament.
The step-by-step tutorial is here: Mr. Bunny

And if you have needlepointed a Christmas stocking, yay you!
Step-by-step tutorial shows you how to turn it into a stocking.



I'm very fond of wooden peg dolls.  Learn how to make these glittery angels with button halos here.


No Sew Santa's Helpers


If you are lucky enough to have a little dolly to knit for, I have many free patterns for you!
You can find them here. Popsicle Toes above, is quick and easy and can be found here.

Woodland Elves

Christmas Dollies


Winter Trio

This simple tutorial has been popular  with my readers year after year. 
Button Snowman

Christmas Pixies and Whosical Trees


Candy Cane Scarf


I think I got them all! I hope to have one or two more ornament tutorials to post this December.  Maybe three if I can buckle down!

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Nissehue Christmas Hat (free pattern)










If you celebrated Thanksgiving I hope it was wonderful and grateful in every beautiful way that the day can inspire. It's a common tradition around most Thanksgiving dinner tables, and it is for us, to go around the table and share something for which we are grateful. This year, at age four, our grandson totally understood about gratitude and expressed his thankfulness so genuinely and sweetly. My heart melted at the innocence and wonder of his newly minted awareness of something so uplifting as gratitude. He encouraged us to clap for everyone after a gratitude and had us go around the table several times, as one expression of thanks was not enough. We all had smiles on our faces the entire time. I came away from that dinner with a lot to think about, thanks to a little four year old. 

Since this is a knitting blog I'll move right to this sweet little hat pattern which is free by the way! It comes in one size: toddler/pre-schooler, but see my note below to make a larger size. I love that it's knit in fingering weight yarn which makes it extra lightweight and not too warm. I used leftovers from past projects and I always appreciate a project that can bite away, even if only a tiny bit, at my stash. My grandson loves it and looks adorable in it. I made the hat longer by doing the decrease rows every 12 rows instead of every 10.  I also made my gauge looser at 28 sts per 4" rather than 30 and was able to block it a little wider to fit my grandson's larger noggin. My stripes are 4 rows wide. I think you could make this into a teen or adult size hat by casting on an extra 12 stitches. I'm guessing because I haven't tried it, but think it would work.


Nissehue, free pattern from Elsebeth Judith

My Ravelry project page for all the details

The gorgeous sweater was made earlier this year.

You can find the pattern here: Full Heart Pullover by Danielle Chalson


I always like to make at least one Christmas craft but this year I might go a bit overboard and make three or four. I have some ideas I want to try so get ready for some Christmas craft posts. Also, my house is decorated and it looks so pretty--that means a Christmas decorating post is coming soon too!



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sending love your way









My Thanksgiving table is set for tomorrow and I went old school with my aunt's china and my grandmother's linens. At the last minute I decided my old silvery turkeys needed to be gold, so quickly they were spray painted then aged with some watered down brown paint, and voila, a few hours later they graced my pretty table.


I have been on a mission for the last few years to refresh my faux garland, but by the time I shop in December wherever I go they are completely sold out. This year I went early and bought this garland when they were putting it out--on Halloween! The guy was literally unboxing as I walked by, so I waited and tried not to look too eager, then took 4 boxes off his hands with a smile. He told me that this was really popular and it was their last box and would get no more in. This is on Halloween! I also found the deer and doe, (all of this happened at good old Target) and when I brought them home decided they would look pretty on my fall table, not just for Christmas, so they've been out all month. The garland is made of faux magnolia leaves with some of the leaves painted gold. It's really pretty, and since we have a huge magnolia in front of our house, I thought it would be perfect. 


It will be a busy weekend. After our family leaves on Thursday evening, my husband and I will finish the last of the clean up (doesn't it seem to take forever?) and prepare the turkey carcass because on Friday I'll be making turkey soup. I hope you'll join me again! While the stock is simmering away I'll begin decorating for Christmas. I give myself three lazy days to complete it and then we'll end the weekend with our downtown Christmas parade on Sunday night. Our little family will be meeting several other families--a long time tradition for over 40 years. It's very fun and a bit nostalgic with our now grown up children bringing their little children to the same parade. I hardly know what to say about the recent parade tragedy and all the looting and unrest happening here in the US. My head and heart cannot even comprehend what is happening. I leave in an hour to pick up my 4 year old grandson who will "help" me with the Thanksgiving prep work. I will hold him extra tightly and give him more kisses than usual I'm sure. If you live in America, I hope you have a restful and grateful Thanksgiving. Sending love from the bottom of my heart. xoxo Kristen


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Don’t Ask Again: A new sweater pattern from Isabell Kraemer









I just finished the Don't Ask Again cardigan designed by German designer, Isabell Kraemer.  A plain vanilla cardigan is just what I needed in my sweater wardrobe, but no matter what color you choose, this sweater pattern will help you build a timeless sweater wardrobe or refresh an older one. As you're planning your knitting queue and thinking about what will be fun to knit and wear, don't forget to add the classics! Your wardrobe deserves at least several classic styles that don't go out of style; sweaters you'll want to wear again and again.


I could tell that much care was taken with the writing of this pattern. It's very easy to follow and uses a few technique twists on the basics--the sleeves use a modified contiguous set-in sleeve that creates a good fit that is easy to do. It is knit top down with faux seams up the sides and the back that you could eliminate if you chose to. I do love it, it fits well and looks equally good worn open or buttoned up. My fit has a little positive ease.


Even though I say the contiguous set-in sleeve technique a "new" twist, it's common now and in fact so common that I rarely see the separate set-in bell shaped sleeve of twenty or so years ago. Some pattern companies still write the separate bell sleeve into a pattern, but most designers now use either the short-row technique or contiguous technique for achieving the same bell shaped look but with a better fit which is easier to achieve. If I am following an older pattern, I always rewrite the sleeves to use either one of the above techniques for a more modern adaptation. But these newer techniques are not without their foes. One complaint of the contiguous sleeve is the lack of structure as it has no seams. I've never had a problem with that, but I'm guessing with a bulkier yarn it could be a problem, so if you want structure to stabilize the shoulder, you could use the short-row technique as that does add more structure. This particular pattern is a modified contiguous version as it has a saddle shoulder. FYI, here are my directions for how to knit a set-in top-down sleeve.


I made a few small modifications to this pattern which are on my Ravelry page for reference, but for those not on Ravelry, I include them here as well.


Modifications:


-The button bands are simple and charming. I added one mod to the bands by adding two extra knit rows on either side of the buttonhole row = 4 extra rows per band. Did the same for the button band.

-I also brought in my neck by decreasing 2 sts in each shoulder area of the neck trim--dec 4 sts per row X 3 rows = 12 sts dec total. This brought the neck in a bit as I like my neck a bit more fitted.  

 DAA by Isabell Kraemer

My Ravelry project page

I used Rowan Valley Tweed


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Betagen


I cannot believe this sweater is finally done as it was a year in the making. First, I have to tell you that the yarn is divine, an organic blend of Manx Loaghtan, a rare breed close to extinction that is native to the Isle of Man, and Merino, a not rare breed at all. I was attracted to the idea of supporting a rare breed, and with the make up being 75% Merino, I knew it would be soft. It is soft with a lovely stitch definition and I have a hunch it will resist pilling. I wet blocked it and it behaved perfectly. The pattern, I loved it too, but wondered the entire time if it would fit. It's knit bottom up, so body and both sleeves are knit in the round up to the yoke, then all are gathered together on one long needle with decreases to shape the shoulder slope up to the neck, also making short rows to raise the back neck, all the while working on the chevron pattern. None of that is really extraordinary except for the fact you can't try it on as you go so I had no idea if this was going to fit. The decreases seemed to be going way too slowly and the short rows seemed to be not enough, so rather than deal with it at the time, I gave up and stuffed it in a basket out of sight and mind. That was last year. A week ago I picked it up and resolved to get it done. I wanted to wear it! I read all my notes that I had scribbled on the pattern from last year, but nothing made sense. My note taking skills are terrible. I then reacquainted myself with the chevron stitch repeat (which I love the look of and is fun to do) and jumped in. My modifications: I sped up the decreases, also adding about 20% more of them, plus added more short rows--making a silent prayer that it would work out. I finally got to a point where I could try it on and that's when I realized that with a good block, it might just fit! Phew! I was so excited I spent the next few hours finishing it up. So all's well that ends well, but I will remind myself that bottom up circular yoke patterns are not a favorite of mine, and if I hadn't made the modifications, this would have been very large. I wore this last night with a pencil skirt and boots and got a lot of compliments, mostly from my husband, he loves it and I'm very happy with it too. If this pattern intrigues you, I purchased the kit from Rosy Green Wool in Germany and felt they were a very nice company to work with. Shipping to the US is reasonable and they have a beautiful yarn selection and gorgeous colors. Perhaps their most popular yarn is Cheeky Merino Joy. I made a child's sweater with it and it's heaven. They have a passion for animal welfare and all their yarn is GOTS certified so I was happy to support them. 


There are more knitting posts to come. I've finished two test knits, one for me by Isabel Kraemer and one for Carter from Yankee Knitter. As soon as they are published I'll make a post. Have a good weekend!





If you'd like to make a comment, please click here or scroll down. I reply to each comment and that response will appear directly below your comment. If you would like a personal reply, please know that I use the Blogger platform and they do not give me your contact information when you comment. If you would like a personal reply you can contact me using the contact form on the right side at the very end of my websiteIf you would like to receive Knitionary posts by email, please subscribe here.





tips on how to spend less over the holidays (and any day)

Hello there. This is not a knitting post, but a post about how I am learning to spend less money. If you would like to spend less this holiday season, I hope this post will help you, even if only in a small way. Every little bit counts!


I feel I'm a frugal person at heart, but I had gotten into the habit of being more careless than I like to be with money and it made me unhappy. There has to be a hundred reasons why we develop bad spending habits and I don't have the background to dig too deeply into this, but I didn't have to dig deeply at all to realize that my biggest problem was that I was being heavily influenced by what I saw. If I saw something pretty, I wanted it and didn't seem to have the tools to say no and ended up with purchases I regretted. But how on earth was I going to SEE less and how could I develop the tools to say no when I did see something I wanted?


First thing to do was figure out where and how I was being influenced. There's not only the TV/radio/print ads of old, but now we're bombarded online by ads in our inbox, ads in social media, ads every time we look at the computer or phone. So I wondered, if I actually saw fewer ads, would I could I spend less? The answer is yes, but I still had to develop a few skills. 


Besides being highly motivated and sincere in my quest to spend less, I took the following steps to help me from buying unnecessary things. Maybe they can help you too.


1. I unsubscribed from the store emails. I get zero emails from Nordstrom, Pottery Barn and the like, and gulp, I've unsubscribed from knitting sites too with the exception of my local yarn store and a few designers I'm devoted to. This eliminates over half of my temptations. Every few months I take the time to unsubscribe again from whomever finds me. It's an ongoing battle but worth it.


2. I unsubscribed from influencers. This was a tough one because I love to follow pretty blogs, but if a blogger emails me daily or their main goal is to sell me stuff or ads are popping up all over the place, they have lost this reader.  I understand that for many bloggers it is a full time job, often they have a team of contributors, and having ads and shopping links are how they make their money. I don't begrudge them that, but I need to take care of myself. 


3. I'm no longer on any social media. This was a terrible place for me in many ways, but one of the surprise benefits is that I spend less. I find I make fewer impulse buys as I simply don't see the ads and influencer talk on FB and Instagram so I have no idea what is blowing up the internet and what I need to be buying or doing. It's been a year and a half since I left and I do not miss social medial one bit.


4. I ignore sales. This was not an easy one. I used to be highly influenced by a sale price; buying something I didn't need (more yarn is just one example) just because it was on sale.  Now I know I actually save money by buying what I need at full price only when I need it and I waste money buying something on sale that I don't need, but think I will need one day. But that one day rarely comes and I'm usually stuck with something taking up space that I don't want/need. The exception is consumables we regularly use in our home.  


5. When I shop, I have a plan and a budget and try to stick to it. But even with that in mind, it doesn't stop me from number 6:


6. Impulse Buying: When I shop online or in person, I still have an impulse to put things in my cart. Before checking out I ask myself these questions:


-Do I really need it?

-How often will I use it?

-Can I borrow it? 

-Do I already own something similar?

-Is it worth the price?

-Is there an environmental impact that will make me crazy?

-This item will likely take managing; am I willing to give it the time and the space it needs to be managed?

-I have a strict one-in, one-out rule, so what will I remove from what I already own and is it worth the exchange?


After answering these questions, most often I remove the items from my cart and leave the site/store empty handed (except for what I went specifically for) and feeling pretty good about myself. 


Lastly, I find outside encouragement by reading these inspirational blogs:

This Evergreen Home

Becoming Minimalist

Balance Through Simplicity

Be More With Less


I also love reading self help books. These two books were most helpful to me when I was new with the process of wanting to own and spend less:

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta  Magnusson. Don't be put off by the title. It's a charming little book that makes sense.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. If you haven't read this yet, you should. 

Both books are available at the library and both are in audiobook form. They still inspire me and make me smile and I have reread them a few times. 


Now, zip to a new subject! I love the picture below; such concentration. We had our 4 year old grandson spend the night on the Saturday before Halloween. He was pretty sad to see Grammy and Papa's paltry Halloween decorations so we headed to the craft room to set that right. We created spiders, witches and jack o' lanterns and all were taped to the front windows to give our trick or treaters a good scare! We also made a play house!


BOOKS. I just finished this good murder mystery by the author of The Girl on the Train: A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins. Audiobook narrated by Rosamond Pike. 










As always, I'd love to hear your tips and feedback, especially about this tricky subject. If you'd like to make a comment, please click here or scroll down. I reply to each comment and that response will appear directly below your comment. If you would like a personal reply, please know that I use the Blogger platform and they do not give me your contact information when you comment. If you would like a personal reply you can contact me using the contact form on the right side at the very end of my websiteIf you would like to receive Knitionary posts by email, please subscribe here.










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