Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Christmas in July?

I've never really understood the concept of Christmas in July. It seems like a flimsy excuse to have a party, and gives big business another reason to have a sale. I think summer should be enjoyed for that it is, and leave Christmas in December.

However, any serious knitter will tell you that doing some Christmas knitting in July is a very good idea. If you intend to give knitted gifts, start them now, or else fall back on really small knitting, like headbands, washcloths, and cell phone cozies. And then worry when your best friend gives you a really stunning piece of jewelry and your gift to them is a set of knitted mug coasters. If only you had more time...

This year my Christmas in July knitting is focused on Christmas stockings. I love to make Christmas stockings! They can be so festive. They can be any size, which is great for using up leftovers or precious yarns. There's only one, so no "second sock syndrome" unless you really want to make two that match.

Some of the first items I ever listed in my Etsy shop were Christmas stockings. They followed a design that I made for all my gifts that year - ragg wool stockings in color variations or red, green, and cream. I loved making them.

I also like to make small stockings, in many little sizes, that can be used as ornaments on the tree, or hung anywhere around the house. For these, in addition to the traditional Christmas colors, I like to use other colors, and other textures. I like to hang small stockings on as many doorknobs as I can, as well as on the tree!
My challenge, in knitting Christmas stockings, is in the patternwork. I love the patterned stockings, but in multicolor knitting, this can often mean long floats of yarn on the wrong side of the work. This is not ideal for a stocking that's actually going to be filled with gifts. Corners and edges can catch on the floats and snag, or get stuck. What fun is that?

I could make fabric linings and sew them inside the stockings. But the idea of that just doesn't thrill me, even though I do like to sew. Maybe someday I will try it. Until then, my answer is to find color patterns tah only have a maximum three-stitch carry. That eliminates longer floats.
This pattern met the need. It reminds me of an overshot weaving pattern. The other thing I like about it is that it doesn't jog as the rounds change, which can be very noticeable in some stitch patters. This stocking turned out a little long, and I could have shortened the leg and the foot just a bit, but I was stubborn and knit to the end of a pattern repeat. Plenty of room for an extra gift or two!
These stockings will be going in the Etsy shop soon, even though it's not anywhere near Christmas. In addition, I'll be adding some fluffy berets, and some woolen headbands. Maybe looking at cold weather knits will help alleviate the heat!

I've already found my next simple stitch pattern for a stocking, and may get started on it this weekend. Can't wait!

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