Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

As I finished up my pal's aran Christmas stocking last week, my stocking was winging it's way to me from the US.

Less than a week after it was posted (hurrah, USPS and Australia Post) it arrived on my desk - it's so lovely, so soft and squooshy and designed by my pal (Wren, on Ravelry) in a fair isle pattern using some of my favourite colours, just for me!
I love the Christmas trees on the foot, and see, the red and purple bit near the top?

It's a row of red shoes! SO COOL!

Wren used DiVe Autunno, a yarn I've never heard of but which looks to be a worsted single in semi-solid colours - it's just lovely. Thanks so much, Wren, it's perfect!

And as for my pal's aran stocking, here it is:

I'm pretty happy with it, I have to say!

Yarn: Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed, 3.5 x 50g balls in colour 140 (Ghost). I wanted to use an Australian yarn for my pal, since she's from the US, and I thought the tweedy texture would work nicely in an aran style pattern - it gives the stocking a bit more body than a softer merino yarn might have.

Sticks: 5mm KnitPicks Options, magic loop method.

Pattern: My pal had commented a few times on Ravelry about how she had fallen in love with a pattern for a traditional aran style stocking with cables and bobbles and the works - but she couldn't find the pattern. I used that as my cue - I figured I'd have no luck finding a pattern like that if she couldn't, so I improvised. Thank goodness for stitch dictionaries and cabled scarf patterns!

I used my Vogue Stitchionary (Cables) for the cuff - Holly Berries (pattern 129) - bobbles galore and a christmassy theme. Separated the cuff and leg with a garter ridge/vikkel braid sandwich. Then I used the cable and bobble pattern from the Irene scarf for the leg. The bobbles in those two patterns were done differently - all my first bobble experience. They aren't something I love, but I'd be happy to do them again (in moderation)! Ended the leg with another garter ridge/vikkel braid.

Even though pretty much everyone suggested doing a heel flap and gusset, I decided to do a short row heel, and did a Tree of Life all the way down the heel - picked this one up from Barbara Walker #1, but had to flip it upside down as I was knitting the tree from the top down. Another vikkel braid/garter ridge separator, then onto the foot.

I used another Barbara Walker #1 pattern for the foot - slipped hourglass - I really like the way this pattern looks - and what do you know, it's also used on a top in the current Interweave Knits Holiday edition!
And more vikkel braid before a standard wedge toe to end with.

Time: 14 October 2008 - 16 November 2008 - it took a lot longer than I expected - those cables and bobbles are pretty time intensive!! The foot was faster, thank goodness, as I was pushing the deadline as it was.

What I learnt: Stocking stitch based cables (like the Holly Berries on the cuff) pull in a lot more than purl based cables (like Irene Scarf cable on the leg) - I probably should have decreased a few stitches before doing the garter ridges and the leg pattern - although I like to think the tighter cuff is just like a sock cuff!

I really like how the leg pattern flowed into the heel pattern too - even though this totally happened by accident!!

And I had plenty of practice cabling without a cable needle, and making bobbles too!

And to end off, a photo of my stocking in situ:

Although we'll be in our new house by Christmas, so there'll be another fireplace behind the stocking soon. And I guess I'll have to make one for husby too, or else he'll feel left out!


2paw said...

Your Aran stocking is amazing!! I love all your fabulous cabling and so will the recipient.
How funny: those red shoes around the top of yours!! I think your husband needs one too, or he will be very sad!!

kim said...

I know I may have already mentioned it once (or 4 times!) on Ravelry, but this stocking is just awesome. You really did such a great job. The detail and thought you put into every aspect is just incredible. She will love it!

Your swap partner also did a nice job at incoporating all of your favorite colors, and the shoes are just so cute! Such a lovely idea.

MadMad said...

Wow - what a great job you did! Amazing! And I love the one you received, too - how cute are those shoes?! Awesome!

But also? That fireplace of yours is STUNNING. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

Sarah said...

Gorgeous gorgeousness both. Love how the happy accidents of the stitch changes look like very fancy design features - you shouldn't have 'fessed!

kms said...

great swap idea, great stockings. i am totally impressed by your ability to just combine things and make it up as you go. beautiful work!

Lin said...

That is a beautiful aran stocking, I love the heel detail. And the colorful one is too. The fireplace should stay, its lovely!

Bells said...

I posted a comment early this morning and it's not here!

Anyway, I reckon you are super talented and the detail is fantastic. Well done you.

And the shoe detail on the one you received is inspired!

Leonie said...

Both of the stockings are fabulous! You both appear to have done extensive recipient inspired research. I am always so amazed at how much care goes into making swap presents for others, it is such a testament to the loveliness of knitters around the world :-) Congratulations on what can only be a successful swap!

claudine said...

Ooh, gorgeous stockings, both of them! Truly inspired. I love the patterns on the fairisle stocking, and all those delicious cables that you made too!

Ann said...

Your Aran stocking is so lovely with all that different cable patterns. I love the slipped hourglass design - really nice for a sock. You are so clever in putting them all together.

Carol said...

Absolutely exquisite. Heck my husband would love that aran stocking in a normal sock! LOL He would wear it with his kilt. I might have to look into something like that. Looks scarey though.

kgirl said...


both of them :)

Donna Lee said...

They are both gorgeous. So different and yet so perfect in their own way. I love the shoes on yours! That makes it truly unique. What a good swap that was.

Diana said...

Wow, you are a designer! I am so impressed with your aran stocking. Your pal will be so blessed. That took a lot of time I'm sure to come up with a design and do all the figuring in the stitch count. WOW!
Love your gift too. Definetly made 'just for you'!

Gidgetknits said...

Those are amazing stockings - I know that's been said, oh, 14 times before... but they moved me to publicly acknowledge reading your blog by posting a comment! (I have meant to earlier, honest.) The photo of the stocking by the fireplace just spells Christmas.

sweetp said...

Gosh Christmassy indeed! Love them both. How lovely of your swapper to include some shoes ;)

TinkingBell said...

Oh wonderful and you are so clever with the cabley one! and the shoes - mwah!

I can't really get it together for Christmas spirit yet - maybe in a week or so!

Em said...

Umm, blogger ate my comment. So in short, well done! Your cabley patterns are amazing, and so well pulled-together. And gosh, the shoes on the stocking you received are just perfect, they suit you so well.

Jejune said...

Oh wow, those are seriously amazing!!

Good luck with the house move, don't envy you there at all :/

Irene said...

Wow! Both stockings are stunning. That aran one looks like a lot of work and I don't do fair-isle so I admire people who do

Anonymous said...

What a great idea for a swap! I love how much thought you both put into the stockings you made for each other. Fabulous.

Lynne said...

Aren't you the clever one?

Well done - the Aran stocking is amazing.

And congratulations to Wren for that fabulous, colourful stocking.

Nora said...

Hi, Jane,
I hope the move to your new home went well! Thanks for posting the photos of the stocking I knitted for you. It looks right at home on your fireplace.
Best wishes for a wonderful year 2009!
Nora, aka Wren on Ravelry
p.s. I have a blog called Yarnature if you would like to link up.