This year I decided most of my gifts would be handmade items. As well as my cookery and baking I love making things for people. It gives me an extra warm fuzzy feeling and feeds my need to buy fluffy, bright and colourful yarns and materials. I fill the dark days of winter with things I have made which I then either sell or give away. I learnt my craft from our gardener, Henry in Kenya when I was a child. Henry used to work in secret in his little hut in our garden in Limuru. I have been doing this since I was about 6 years old. It has taken a lifetime to perfect.
I am getting really excited about the things that I have made this year as Christmas presents because money is a bit scarce and I’m hoping the recipients will appreciate my efforts. I don’t want to present my loved ones with scratchy over sized hand knitted jumpers so I do try to put in some thought before I get started. I thought this year I’d make some long ‘dog-walking’ scarves. The kind that will keep you really warm on a cold morning/ evening walk. So I set about knitting up some fabulous yarns – which I found in a local store – the balls were made up of some beautiful colour combinations in pretty stunning shades! Oh this gorgeous yarn made two chunky weight scarves and the variegated shades gave the finished projects a glorious depth and richness!
I set about making the first one using fat (size 6 ½) needles and casting on 50 stitches. I almost wanted the scarf to double up as a wrap. I decided on a very simple knit one purl one ribbing stitch which provided a stretchy, bouncy garment that literally hugs the neck and shoulders.
Oh I just love it. The colours are a beautiful range of fuscia, plum, lavender, pink, green and brown – they stretch and spread across the scarf in a pretty obmre effect. So soft! So snuggly! So warm!
Next I used the same size needles to knit another, thinner scarf for another dog-loving friend of mine. She is quite small and I wanted one of those ridiculously long scarves for her. My pattern choice was 6 rows plain, 6 rows purl on only 35 stitches in a kind of undulating rippling effect. This time, the yarn was that same soft and snuggly stuff, in a different colour combination. The gradual blending of colours was really interesting – it stretched from one colour hue to the next. Purple, orange, plum, grey, lime green, brown. The shades did not go necessarily from lightest to darkest but the result is a very pretty scarf. I never would have believed it could look so nice until I used it.
And then. Perhaps my favourite thing I have made this season. A draught excluder for two of my favourite people in the world, Brooke and Becka (sorry if you were thinking I was going to say you but I do have many favourite people so maybe next time). I’m pleased with it because I had no pattern – I just looked up some pictures on Pinterest and then made it up as I went along.
B & B love dogs but they live in a large-ish ground floor flat in the next town to ours. It would be lovely if their landlord allowed them a dog or a cat but no. So, I made them this. Ta Dah! Isn’t it adorable?
I really, really want one of my own so when the Christmas season is over you can guess what I’ll be making!
For my lovely business coach I made a lacy open work snood in a colour I notice she wears all the time. Purple. She works out doors and believes in the power of fresh air thinking and physical activity to get you moving, deciding and and planning how to get things done. I was so pleased with this one. It took about 5 or 6 hours.
Well, as you can imagine that all took a fair bit of time but I did have a little stash of other items I had made. I popped them in with my Christmas hamper orders as a little extra thank you for my customers.
It was so much more relaxing making presents as opposed to heading to the shops and fighting the crowds. I may start earlier next year!
Hope you had a time of light, laughter and love with your precious ones. See you all soon