secret projects

It's that time of year again... When the skies go dark way too early, and I have to hide upstairs to work on secret handmade gifts, that is.

Last year I did a very handmade Christmas, which was wonderful actually. I made my husband and I some coordinating (but not matching) stockings. As a child, I loved our stockings almost as much as I loved the presents. My sisters and I each had our own personal ones, and it was so fun getting them out year after year.  I wanted to bring some of that spirit into my own holiday celebrations, and so, I made them.

I also made my sister-in-law a blanket (this blanket!). It's the one that got away, really. If she didn't love it so much, I'd really regret not making it for myself. But I've just come back from a weekend visiting her, and when I saw it still spread across her bed, I knew it was a good one.

But all those projects did eat into a lot of holiday time, and while I wouldn't say they were stressful, I decided not to put myself through that this year. Sort of. I am secretly making some birthday gifts for my husband instead (which I can safely write about here, as I know he doesn't visit this blog at all. Phew)

He LOVES handknit socks. I mean, I do too, but he really raves about them. I've only made him 2 pairs so far, and they're definitely extremely well-loved by now. But with him being a man, he has large(r than my own UK 3's) feet which require more than one skein for a pair, so he hardly gets socks from me. But for his birthday... oh ho ho...

These little beauties use some yarn that I bought especially at the Alexandra Palace Knitting and Stitching Show. I bought three whole skeins to be on the safe side, in all fairness, I'll probably only use 1.8 of them, but I do have another project in mind for the leftovers (with some other sock yarn that isn't enough to make man-socks out of...)

I'm combining two patterns to make them. I'd gone with the seafarers socks in the past for him due to their simplicity, and I know that the fit works for him. So I'm using the shaping from them, and the broken rib stitch pattern from Ravelry, to add a little more texture and visual interest to them.

It's been a bit of a tricky process, as we 1. live together, 2. commute together, and 3. work in the same building, so I've been trying to sneakily get work done during my lunch breaks, and on the odd occasion when I have to catch the bus somewhere. I've got this tiny little makeup bad that they're shoved into, and they live in my purse at the moment. I'm constantly praying that I don't lose a DPN on the go.

Completely different to socks, I'm also making him a birthday present part two, because we did go to Bath Spa on my birthday, and while I know he will love the socks, I feel like socks and spa days aren't quite equals-pequals. We have a love for (an addiction to) browsing home stores, and I know that he's been drawn to some cool neon signage lately. And he also loves bears. So why not combine the two right? I'm a bit nervous about this project actually, because coming completely from my head, I have NO IDEA if it will actually work. Indeed, the first batch of neon rope I bought looked cool, but didn't work properly. But my plan is to make a neon, bear-shaped installation on some acrylic sheets (obviously?) for him to display in the living room. It is weird, but I'm actually really excited to give it him. Here's hoping that it comes out like I want it to in my head!

It's tough being a crafty person around the holidays! There's so much you could be making, but never enough time to actually make it all. If anyone else has any strategies to balance gifting, making, and secrecy, I and 100% all ears.

Happy stitching,
Molly x


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