Knitted Christmas Awesome (In Progress)

Last Christmas, I decided I wanted a nativity set.

I’m not quite sure where this admittedly random idea came from, but there it was.  I didn’t want a store-bought version, I wanted it to be homemade.  Heck, I wanted a knitted nativity set!

A bit of internet searching and I found this – the Jean Greenhowe Christmas Special!  Published in 1991 (we’re the same age!), it includes a pattern for a full Christmas crib.  The Ebay store I bought this from doesn’t have it anymore, but I recently discovered that Spotlight also sells these booklets in their yarn section for about $18.  jean-christmas

How awesome is this!  It’s pretty much knitted nativity perfection.

full-nativity

There’s a bit of nostalgia involved here, too.

The first ten years or so of my life were surrounded by toys hand-knitted from Jean Greenhowe’s pattern books by various relatives.yarn

This is a very slow project – I’ve been gradually gathering cheap, acrylic yarn in as many colours as possible, magpie style.  All these patterns are supposed to just use “scrap yarn”, but when you don’t have that on hand, it’s a very expensive project.

I wrote out a list of all the pieces that need to be made and it came to about 25-30 colours.  Add $18 for the pattern book and it’s looking pricey!  Fortunately, I’ve been swooping on yarn in op shops wherever possible, so it’s become a little cheaper.

mary-jesusI’ve actually been really enjoying the process of knitting this.  It’s a nice contrast to making a full garment – ten rows of stitching and a couple of decreases and hey presto!  You just made a beard!

My goal is to finish this by Christmas 2014.  I’m thinking of it as in lieu of Andi’s Knit A Christmas Sweater in 2014 knitalong, which I almost jumped on, until I remembered I live in Australia and will be wearing as few clothes as socially acceptable that time of year.  Most years for Christmas I just wear my swimmers all day.

I also recently found a couple more Jean Greenhowe pattern books for $3 each at a church stall at the Mount Tamborine markets and I’m itching to make a tiny policeman.  I  need my friends to start having babies so I can indulge in knitting some adorable toys.

OAL: Chuck

Alrighty!  Here we have my knitted piece for the Outfit Along.

The idea of the Outfit Along is that you sew and knit two pieces that go together.  I’m using the official sewalong pattern for the dress (Simplicity 1803) and was planing to make the knit pattern, the Myrna cardigan.

But… it’s winter here.  So after buying the pattern, I decided that maybe I should knit something more weather appropriate.  I’m cold most of the time at this time of year, because I have so few clothes suitable for winter, so it seemed a bit silly to knit a light cotton cardigan.

I’ve been eyeing off the Chuck Sweater, also from Andi Satterlund, for a couple of years now, so that became the knit to go with my pretty dress.chuck-frontI had a whole bunch of red wool yarn stashed from my first attempt at knitting an actual item of clothing a few years ago.  I changed my mind about the whole garment, so it’s just been sitting in my wardrobe for ages.  Time to finally use some of that stash!

I knit the size M with 8ply yarn and 5mm needles.

It turns out I'm pretty terrible at sitting on fences.

It turns out I’m pretty terrible at sitting on fences.

This knit up insanely fast.

Two main reasons for this:

1.  I’d put aside my Peacock eyes cardigan in 4ply yarn and 3.5mm needles in order to knit Chuck by the OAL due date.  Tiny yarn, tiny stitches – it’s  a project that is taking forever.  By comparison, I flew through Chuck.

2.  My family had just gotten the final season of How I Met Your Mother and binge watched it over 2 1/2 days.  And I knit the whole time.  Lots was done in those few days!

Confession: I made two mistakes in the front panel, resulting in some columns being too wide.  You can’t tell.  Or maybe you can now I’ve mentioned it.  Eh.  Whatever.back-chuck

I also wanted it a few inches longer, but because I prefer that length over full skirted dresses.  I measured it against other knits and it still turned out shorter than I’d hoped.  Live and learn!

Stay tuned for the rest of the outfit – spoiler: it contains a ludicrous novelty print.  Hurrah!