Pretty Little Gift Patterns
The knitted gift carries such tenderness and individuality in each stitch. It speaks volumes louder than any mass-produced, store-bought gadget ever could. And yet the act of making also implies the availability of time—something that many of us may not have. In other words, the clock is ticking, time is tight, and we need to get cracking.
Fortunately, we have oodles of patterns at our disposal. So many patterns, in fact, that just navigating them can keep us from ever casting on.
Let me offer seven of my favorite quick-knitting gift patterns for this holiday season. Some are available as free downloads, others cost a few dollars—pennies, actually, when you consider how many memorable gifts you'll get out of each one. All the patterns use a minimal amount of yarn and produce lovely results that barely hint at how quickly you made them.
Barring Stormy, 110 yards of anything luxurious will do. The finer the fiber, the better. Jared gives you two sizes in the pattern: a slouchy neckwarmer for women and a stand-up collar for men. (Photo courtesy of Jared Flood.)
Looking for something in a bulkier, faster-knitting yarn? Pam Allen created a deceptively simple, equally sophisticated cowl for Twist Collective. It's named Ariosa after the bulky 90% extrafine merino/10% cashmere yarn from Classic Elite in which it was designed. The two-color brioche stitch helps conceal the speed and simplicity of this project. As with Jared's cowl, Ariosa is also equally suited for men and women. Ariosa is available as a download for $5 from Twist Collective. (Photo courtesy of Twist Collective.)
If you seek a little more ornamentation in your project, these next two cowls should do the trick. First, Ivy Vines from Anne Hanson. The genius behind Knitspot, Anne has designed this lovely cowl to use between 120 and 150 yards of any pretty sport-weight yarn in your stash—more or less depending on the desired neck circumference. As with all of Anne's patterns, the instructions are both charted and written. You can obtain this pattern as a $6 download from Knitspot. (Photo courtesy of Anne Hanson.)
Good things tend to come in small packages—just like the finest, softest yarns tend to come in the smallest, priciest skeins. Which is why Pretty Thing (Ravelry link) is such a lovely project.
Over the course of only 61 rows, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee transforms just 165 yards of light fingering-weight cashmere into an elegant, classic lace cowl. Have more yarn? Simply add another repeat. As she explains in the pattern notes, "...there's nothing tremendously difficult here, but I think this pattern does a bit of a magic trick, and ends up being far more than the sum of its parts. A very pretty thing."
This pattern is available as a $5 download from Ravelry. (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.)
Hill Country Hat
Necks aren't the only gift-worthy parts of our bodies—our heads deserve plenty of knitterly adornment too. The Hill Country Hat is an easy, low-yardage unisex pattern that lets you experiment with different bulky-weight wool yarns.
Designed to accompany the Ishbel shawl (another great gift-knit if you have a little more time), Ysolda Teague's Ishbel Beret is quite lovely on its own. It uses just 155 to 215 yards of fingering-weight yarn and is well-suited for fashion-forward young adults who might otherwise wrinkle their noses at the more classic knits.
The pattern sells for 3£ (currently approximately $4.90 US) and is available for download from Ysolda's Web site.
Because really, who doesn't appreciate a knitted mouse? Ysolda Teague's simple, fun pattern uses less than 60 yards of fingering, sport, or DK weight yarn and will endear you to any household occupied by children or cats. Mousie is available for a mere 2£ and is available for download from Ysolda's Web site. (Previous two photos courtesy of Ysolda Teague.)
Last but certainly not least, here's a fantastic gift for anybody in colder climates. Just in time for winter walks and runny noses, check out the Sniffle Mitts (Ravelry link) from Ellen Rodgers, the creative owner of Brunswick, Maine's Purl Diva yarn shop. These worsted-weight mittens sport outer pockets in which you can store tissues when you go outside. They're adorable, ingenious, and a speedy knit.
Of course many, many more such patterns exist—not even including those in the numerous "one skein"-themed books currently in print. What are your favorites? Please tell us about them.