An Estonian girl who has found a home in Sweden.

Monday, January 9

Handmade Gifts

January 09, 2017 Posted by Vaire , , ,

I went nuts last year. In the summer I got this idea to knit up some handspun gifts for my family. The idea was sparked by the shawl I spun and knit for my aunt. I figured that if I started in July, I'd have plenty of time to spin and knit for 6 people. Right?

Wrong! Three people got sewn gifts because I seriously ran out of time. Even with sewing, I was late. If I had visited over the holidays, I would have made it, but I didn't. I was late booking tickets, and I was late sending the package. All the manic crafting pre-holidays resulted in my one and only resolution for next year — no hand made holiday gifts in 2017!

Enough of whinging, on to the fun stuff!

Mossy Wildwood

First was the scarf for my dad. He picked the fibre, and gave me this desired measurements, I made up the pattern. Reportedly he is pleased with it. I love how the yarn turned out and I am chuffed that he likes it and will use it.

Zircon Gloves

Next were the gloves for my brother. I didn't have the right fibre for "no stripes", so I went and bought some new fibre. I stripped the blue and the green braids into tiny slivers, mixed them all up, combination drafted them into three singles, and the 3-ply still came up stripy! Happily, that level of stripyness was deemed to be not too stripy, and they fit. All in all, success!

Podster Gloves

Convertible gloves for SIL. She picked the yarn that I'd spun as an experiment, and requested the convertible mitt tops. I had so much trouble with these. First, trying to find a pattern that showed off the two different yarns, then to find a pattern with the convertible tops.

I am disappointed in two counts. One, the colours, and two, that there was not enough contrast between the 3-ply and the chain ply. So in the end I found a normal convertible pattern that fit my yarn and tension. I knit the cuffs and fingers with the 3-ply yarn and the palms and tops with the chain ply. I haven't heard back on those, so I have no idea if she is as disappointed with the colour as I am.

By the time I'd finished these, it was too late to try to spin and knit three more presents, so I switched to sewing. Mum requested small pouches to keep hear beads in, so I made 28 of them. This is what I meant when I said I went nuts. They may have been tiny, but in hindsight, 28 was a lot of pouches. In my holiday tradition is to forget to photograph at least one hand made gift before giving it. This year it was the pouches. I've asked Mum to snap a photo, but I haven't received it yet.

So. Why 28? Because I bought two of 5x5 cm pre-cut quilt square packs and used up all the squares. Three per pouch — two for sides and one for the drawstring tunnels. I forget exactly how many squares there were per pack, but they together made 28 pouches. In adding to the madness, I bought a new sewing machine to make these.

While I was dreaming up this project I realised that I needed features that my old machine did not have. The old machine was basic when I bought it in 1995, and it's ... less than basic? ... in today's standards. It does straight stitch and zig zag. That's it. There were more reasons to buy a new sewing machine. Like a topstitching foot, stretch stitches, three-step zig zag for sewing bras, and so on. I'll get into those when I do a post about it, but suffice to say, that I am very happy with my new "basic" machine.

The feature I needed for the bags was an overlock stitch that would bind and sew in one pass. I would have had to sew each seam (5 per pouch) twice with my old machine, and I really, really did not want to do that. As it was, even with the reduced number of passes, the first three or five pouches were fun, the rest were a pure grind. I grit my teeth and persevered, but that was painful to get through.

This proved my teenage self right — I knew then that I'd survive in a factory setting, doing the same thing over and over again, two weeks tops. I am never going to do this kind of project ever again! I love the result, my Mum was overjoyed, but I will not do a factory manufacture style project like this again. I have learned my lesson.


Sewing for fun again! This is a shark-whale mashup pencil case for my nephew from a free pattern on Craftsy. Simple, quick, fun, using both hand sewing and my new machine. My nephew started literally bouncing with joy when he unwrapped it. He LOVES it, with capital LOVE. This right there made all the effort for all the gifts worth it.


One more fun project. A flying squirrel for my niece from a free pattern on the internet. She is one year old, so she had no opinion on this, but I didn't expect any at that age. I had fun hand sewing it, and if she will play with it in the future, that's just a bonus.

That makes six gifts. I started in July and finished in December, and I won't be repeating this performance again for 2017. I love my family and I wanted to make them something special, but I am going to take a year off from this kind of pressure.