The problem with having a crafting blog and having friends with a better than average working knowledge of how to google you is this - you can't really feel comfortable posting about any of your gift projects before the holidays for fear the surprise will be ruined.
Even now, there are a few things I can't post about because they're secret and it is killing me. Seriously. You have no idea.
What I can post about are the projects that have safely made it to their new homes, and are already being enjoyed.
For my first friend, whose birthday and Christmas are days apart, it was a very Marley Holiday and she loved every bit of it. There was a set of Bob Marley drinking glasses I bought her back in February...I don't even how I kept that secret so long. I never buy presents that early, but I knew they were something she just had to have.
Along with those I knit her a slouch hat. I did cheat on the surprise a little here, because I made her go over patterns and give me a few to pick from. With it not being my personal style, I wanted to make sure she would like the one I made. Judging by how much wear it's been getting I think it's a winner. The pattern is CreatiKnit's Rasta Slouch. I know slouch hats are meant to be large, but as written this hat is huge. I ended up ripping back and restarting halfway through. After I went down 2 needle sizes and cast on 8 less stitches, it was the perfect amount of big. A little crochet edging along the brim to give it extra structure, and I was done.
And then there is Bear Marley. She's been asking for ages for a bear, watching me make my own and then the ones I've gifted to others. It was time to make one for her.
I used the Simple Small Bear pattern from The Best Dressed Knitted Bear. I adjusted the shaping by threading extra yarn through and pulling tighter around the hips. Other than that I basically followed the pattern. I'm really happy with how closely I was able to match up the color changes on his arms and legs.
The hat I improvised, trying to make it match hers except a little less slouchy and with a faux pompom on top. The dreads are just chains of bulky yarn I threaded through the inside hat brim.
For my next friend I tried to stick to something more simple/classic style. I went with an Eternity Cowl, which ended up looking perfect and was pretty easy but still seemed to take an eternity to knit (maybe that's the other reason for the name of these things!) I love the heathered gray, and it works well with the amount of black and white she wears. She loved it and has worn it nearly every day, which is a real compliment considering her scarf collection.
I really ought to get a picture of her wearing it, but for now you'll have to settle for these super classy pics featuring the door and a plastic hanger :/
I also wanted to make her an earring holder, and knit a panel using the Knotted Threads stitch pattern from The Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns. I kept looking, but I couldn't find a frame I really liked. I ended up painting an embroidery hoop black and stretching it over that. It worked remarkably well considering I had a squarish swatch and a round hoop. After gluing some black ribbon along the inside of the back, the edges that weren't exactly tidy were totally hidden.
The next present was for the daughter of that friend. She is a sort of substitute niece for me being that my own live so far away, and between that and her appreciation of handmade things over 'boughten' she is very knit-worthy. Her present is a Mix and Match Monster from the latest mochimochi book.
How the pattern works is that there are severe body shapes, appendages and extras with their own patterns you pick and choose what you want and end up with a custom monster. When I first got the book I had her use it to draw what she thought the perfect monster would look like, and then I tried to match the drawing as closely as possible to bring him to life. He ended up being a cute cuddle monster! Fair bit larger than I expected too, but I've been used to knitting the mochimochi tinies for a while now.
The sneakers were bought for about $5 on amazon, and fit well with or without socks.
The rest of their presents were about a half dozen hardcover children's books I got for an amazing price at Hastings. Let's just say I more than got my money's worth out of the flat rate shipping box. Thing weighed like a ton of bricks!
The next project wasn't exactly a Christmas present, but I'm going to post it here anyway. If you are wanting to try out double knitting and are (or know someone who is) at all fannish about Harry Potter, you really should check out the Hogwarts Bookscarves.
Very clear instructions, small enough to keep from getting overwhelmed but detailed enough it isn't boring. Mine was a long overdue giftie for a very lovely person and had to travel clear across the ocean, but now I have word it was received so I can share it here -
I still have to show off the gifts I knit for the swap in the Ravelry group I'm in and I haven't even mentioned my ever increasing list of WIPs but I think this post is more than long enough for now. I'll save all that for another day.