Bears, Mice and Dinosaurs: Awesome Knitted Christmas Gifts
It’s that old traditional Christmas cliché – an awful knitted jumper from your granny that you have to graciously smile and then proceed to wear for the rest of the day. But just as knitted Christmas jumpers have had a renaissance over the last few years and taken on an ironic charm all of their own, giving knitted Christmas gifts shouldn’t be dismissed outright.
I say this as someone who has given many knitted gifts, especially last year with the arrival of two new members of the wider family. So last year, and this year too, I have made a number of knitted projects, trying to put my own spin on them where I can, for many different recipients.
Here is a small list of some of these projects and links to patterns where appropriate.
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This pattern was a really simple one to follow. I made two last year, one for my nephew and another for my niece. One was called Buddy and the other Bruce, inspired by the Christmas films that were on when I finished each of them (bonus points if you can name the films in the comments…)
Each piece of the pattern was knitted flat with just simple increase and decrease stitches. Then there are simple instructions to sew the teddy up and stuff with child-safe filling.
If you are feeling a little more ambitious, why not try one of these monsters! Last year I was bought the book, Knitted Dinosaurs, with a not too subtle hint that they would like one made for my lovely niece, Phi.
Like the Teddy Bear pattern, they were all simple enough to follow, however, I felt a little more ambitious this time. So, I threw caution to the wind and decided why not super size these designs. I’ll admit, this was one of those projects where I just went for it and hoped for the best.
So I used some spare balls of Rowan Big Wool that I had lying around, destined to never be made into anything of use, and proceeded with the pattern from the book.
I followed the pattern pretty much exactly after that. The only thing that you have to keep in mind is to change the size of the needles to match the weight of the thickness of the wool. Luckily everything went together really well and in a few days I had an awesome, super sized allosaurus!
Phi loved it! So much so that I have started a Stegosaurus too, and if I thought the first one was big, then this one is going to be a monster. But he is still a work in progress.
Let’s not forget our feline friends, either. This was one of my first knitted projects, just a simple pattern (find it here) that can be completed in an afternoon.
Pets deserve some Christmas love too, and my cat loved this little mouse. As a bonus, I added some catnip in a small pouch in the middle and stuffed the toy with an old pair of tights. The version of this that I made for my aunt’s cat is known as her ‘Chanel mouse’ as I used a bit of old Chanel branded ribbon for the tail – an affordable, easy to make, designer cat toy!
Hats and Scarves
Hats are a really simple if you find the right pattern, and scarves are the newbie knitters go-to gift, they can be as simple as you need. And with the weather on the turn for winter, they are always a useful gift.
Last year I made a baby hat for my new-born nephew. I made it in two sizes, one new-born and one for when he was a few months old. As an extra I used the pattern from the teddy bear pattern (above), and added a pair of ears onto the second hat. An extra added element of cute, as if it was needed.
There are lots of free patterns online, try Pinterest or Ravelry for some inspiration.
A few notes:
However, I would stress that not all knitting is made equal – as with all things, your materials are vitally important. If you skimp and buy cheap (read synthetic) wool, then you will not have that luxury feel. Yes, wool can be very expensive, but try to be savvy about when you buy. Stock up when there is an offer on, if you can. But if that is not an option, then my advice would be to go for the best quality that you can.
But what if you can’t knit?
Well, I am no master knitter myself! There are a few knitters in my family who I duly go to for advice, but on the whole I have taught myself through online tutorials. Below is a selection of some that I have found useful.
These are just a few of the projects that I have done in the past. They are tried and tested and I got great results from all the patterns I have shared here. But if you haven’t found quite what you were looking for then don’t be deflated, this is only the tip of the pile of yarn! There are so many more patterns out there, many, like the ones above offered very generously for free. Check out a site like Ravelry as a good starting point to find a different pattern. Or, feel free to share any others you have come across in the comments here.