Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care ...

(click photo to see a larger version)

Done and blocked!! These are gifts for my brother (striped) and his fiancee (Fair Isle) as they celebrate their first Christmas as an engaged couple.

Pattern: from Nicky's Knitted Christmas Stockings, by Nicky Epstein
Yarn: Lopi
Needles: size 9
Time: approximately 10 days for each stocking, mostly evening knitting
New techniques learned: Stranding (2 and 3 color), duplicate stitch, short rows, Kitchener stitch
Adaptations: The original pattern called for Wool-Ease and size 7 needles, so these worked up a bit larger than the ones shown in the pattern. The ones in the pattern are approximately 22" long,and mine are 24" long. The Fair Isle Snowflake stocking had a fair isle chart for the snowflake but mentioned that it could be done in duplicate stitch, which is the route I took.


These were really fun to knit, and I'm a teensy bit sorry I have to give them away. They look quite nice hanging from my fireplace.

The pattern was very clear and easy to follow. The booklet starts out with one main stocking pattern, and the other stockings are all variations on the main pattern.

I love the way they look in the Lopi, but I didn't actually like knitting with the Lopi. Eventually I got used to it, but at first it felt like knitting with burlap, and it hurt my hands.

These are knit flat and then seamed. I still have yet to knit a traditional pair of socks, so I'm a bit sorry that I didn't do stockings made in the round, but I still learned short rows to turn the heel, and I kitchenered the toe (not too bad -- it might be more difficult on regular socks because of the thinner yarn, but I thought these came out fine).

The Fair Isle at the top of the stocking wasn't as difficult as I had feared, though it was slow because I'm a thrower and was trying to carry both colors in my right hand -- it usually ended up with me dropping the unused color and picking it up again when needed. I still managed to knit a bit too tightly, so the top pulls in a bit in the Fair Isle section, but it's not too bad and it blocked out almost totally. The neat thing about the pattern is that the top of the stocking is 10 rows of the green, and then a turning row -- the top is then turned in and tacked to cover the loose strands of the Fair Isle. It made it much easier because I wasn't quite so worried about the strands. Our current Christmas stockings (knit by someone else) are all Fair Isle, and the strands make it almost impossible to pull our goodies out smoothly.

The duplicate stitch took me just about forever. I had to rip it out a few times because I was off a stitch somewhere, making the pattern lopsided. At one point I wised up and just covered my mistake with another duplicate stitch in the original green -- it doesn't show at all. And the strands from the duplicate stitch are a bit messy on the inside.

I can't wait to make stockings for our family.