I almost didn't make time to post this week. I've been in such a rhythm lately, it seemed a shame to allow the mayhem that comes along with the holiday season ruin my groove. The aforementioned mayhem has proved an easy scapegoat for many other things I ought to be doing, like blocking sweaters. But, if I know myself, which I like to think I do, I know, for me, that breaking any sort of established rhythm is a slippery slope towards inactivity. And, before I realize what's happened, I have a mountain of projects piled on the chair in the bedroom, unworn, waiting to be blogged. So. Since I haven't blocked any more sweaters or found enough daylight to photograph my most recent sewing projects, I thought I'd share my holiday knitting.
I almost never knit for other people. I'm very selfish that way. Historically, when I do knit for other people, I don't do it on a deadline. Deadlines=Stress, and sewing and knitting are the things I do to relax or unwind. Sometimes, though, a girl has to choose between the lesser of two evils. When the choices are deadline knitting or shopping retail... during holiday season, it's pretty clear cut.
There are additional obstacles to gift knitting when the persons you plan to knit for are, themselves, knitters. The challenge becomes finding projects that are 1. time effective and 2. something they haven't already knit.
A couple years ago, I bought a jewelry knitting kit at a fiber festival. It was my only flirtation with wire knitting, but the memory of it was my inspiration for holiday gifts. Surprisingly, or maybe not, there are VERY few wire knitting patterns and even less instruction on wire knitting techniques. I toyed around with a few different patterns, wire gauges, and needle sizes before I hit my sweet spot.
Ultimately, I used a modified version of Jana Huck's Platelets pattern. I typically prefer jewelry that is delicate, so I opted to cast-on 4 stitches instead of 6, I used 34 gauge wire on U.S. 1, and I added Swarovski crystals for a little bit of sparkle. The finished earring is approximately the size of a U.S. quarter. The 34 gauge wire is very, very delicate and not overly willing to hold its final form, so I weaved my tails around the perimeter of the discs to give them extra stability and structure. I played around with some larger wires, up to a 26 gauge, but I found that the thicker wire hurt my hands to work with. The best part of these earrings is that they are light. Very, very light! Once I overcame the experimentation process, I was able to knit each pair in roughly 45 minutes. If you've still got a few people on your holiday knit list, you have plenty of time to knit them some earrings!