Saturday, September 11, 2010

CHRISTMAS IN JULY (and August and September and...)

What would you do if you heard a cry for help?  Ok, what would you do if you were a crafter and you heard a cry for crafting help?  I hope we would all "do unto others as we would  have others do unto us", right?

I was in JoAnn Fabrics one day and overheard a woman on her cell phone lamenting the fact that her daughter had to have a lion head made by Monday and here it was Thursday and she didn't sew and didn't know what to do.  The little angel on my right shoulder stuck my nose in her business as soon as she had gotten off the phone and within a few days, I had made her a lion head from yarn and an old ski mask pattern I had lying around.  She failed to tell me, though, that her daughter had an emormous head and it was all she could do to get it over the aforementioned noggin.  But it served it's purpose, she was extremely grateful, I made a friend and ended up getting the lion head back for my daughter for halloween.  This is a photo of the lion head along with the lion costume that I made for it when she returned the head to me.

I bring up this story to illustrate that I seem to always be sticking my nose in to other people's business because I can't resist a cry for crafting help.  It was to just such a cry that prompted me to embark on my most recent knitting adventure.
I was browsing around Ravelry, minding my own business when I noticed a post asking if anyone could knit a Christmas stocking for her soon to be born daughter.  Aww, what could be sweeter than to knit for a new little baby to be.  I'm thinking pink.  I'm thinking small, quick and easy.  I thought wrong!

I made arrangements to meet the woman at my local yarn shop, Bliss Yarns and after a quick introduction over her very pregnant belly, she showed me the pattern she wanted knit.  It was published in 1948, it was intarsia and she wanted one knit to match hers, which had been originally knit by her grandmother and her husband's, whom she had someone knit for her in another city.  Not one to back down from a knitting challenge, I went home with her chosen yarn and a pattern that had seen better days. 

Over the next few days, I watched all the internet videos I could on intarsia, gathered my supplies and my courage and cast on.  I'm sorry now that I didn't get pictures of my progress along the way because it was quite a scene: trips to the pool with red, white and green balls of yarn dangling from every possible point on my needles, and sticky notes strategically placed and replaced as I worked my way down the Christmas tree and Santa Claus which were knit into the middle of this enormous sock.
After most of June, all of July and the better part of August were over, I had completed the Christmas stocking.  Did I mention I'm a loose knitter?  Did I mention that although the yarn called for size 8 needles, I used size 3?  Did I mention that my stocking came out large enough for my husband to sleep in?

Now of course when I was knitting this thing, I knew it was turning out large but when I blocked it, it just seemed to stretch to even more gigantic proportions!  Only having 25% wool in the yarn, there was no hope of felting it (although I tried, Oh did I ever try).  I finally had to face the fact that I had failed and that I had to break it to this woman that I had failed and that I had to knit this agonizing project that had taken most of my summer, over again.  The latter being the hardest to face.  But all those things I did and this time, picking up size 1 needles, started knitting again.  This is what resulted.

Still too long

and still too wide.

So I have offerd to hunt for differnt yarn and to somehow make this work to match her other stockings.  It looks like I will be knitting right up until Christmas.  I didn't have any Christmas knitting to do right?

So take my advice, keep your crafting feelers on and make sure they are long enough to butt into other people's business because you never know when it will result in a costume for your daughter or a sleeping bag for your husband.


  1. OH CARIN! I miss you sooo

  2. You are one awesome mama! That lion costume is wonderful!

  3. Hello! Do you have a pattern for your Christmas stocking? That is the same vintage pattern my grandmother used and I would love to knit one of those stockings for my new nephew. I would be willing to pay you for a copy! My email is

    1. Hi,
      The pattern can be purchased through the mail from this website: Good Luck!

  4. Love these stockings. My great aunt used to make them for wedding gifts for her great nieces and nephews. I have to say they are probably the most cherished of my possessions. My aunt passed on many years ago, and God bless her daughter, who finished our collection. Beautiful.