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Small Christmas Stockings
Lara Neel of Math4Knitters has a small stocking pattern for you to knit in a couple hours.
Size: Small enough to be cute. Large enough to be a little useful. Ranged from 7 to 8 inches long and were all about 8 inches around. They would all fit a gift card, candy or just about anything that fits comfortably in an adult’s hand.
Gauge: Doesn’t really matter but the fabric you are making should be a little stiff – more like a sock than a sweater. My rule of thumb was to use yarn twice as thick as I would typically use for that needle size. This helps the stocking keep its shape even when it’s stuffed. I got 4.5 stitches to the inch.
Needles: No. 8 or whatever you like to use to work in the round. I used 5-inch-long double-pointed needles.
Yarn: This is the perfect stash-busting project. I used just about all of the red, white and green yarn I could come up with in my stash. After I ran out of that, I used Patons Classic Wool, a worsted-weight wool yarn, doubled.
Quick guide to yarn math for this project:
•If the ball band suggests a needle size larger than 8, use one strand of the yarn.
•If the ball band suggests a needle size 7-8, use two strands of the yarn.
•If the ball band suggests a needle size 5-6, use three strands of the yarn.
•If the ball band suggests a needle size 3-5, use four strands of the yarn.
You will also need some waste yarn. Last, I like to use a slender circular needle (No. 1 size) for picking up stitches, but that’s a personal preference.
The following are specific instructions for working a stocking that is all one color, with a different color for the toe and the heel. Of course, stripe, change and adjust to your heart’s content.
Using your main color, cast on 36 stitches and join to knit in the round. Work (P1, K1) ribbing around for 3 rounds. (Yarn-over, knit 2 together) around once. Work (P1, K1) ribbing around for 3 more rounds.
Knit every stitch until your work measures 4 inches from the cast-on edge. Knit 18 stitches with your waste yarn. Slip your work around so that you can start that round over again, with your working yarn. Keep knitting every stitch until your work measures 6 inches from the cast-on edge.
Switch to your second color. Knit one round.
Decrease rounds:
(ssk, slip 1 stitch, knit 13 stitches, knit 2 together) twice. 32 stitches remain.
(ssk, slip 1 stitch, knit 11 stitches, knit 2 together) twice. 28 stitches remain.
(ssk, slip 1 stitch, knit 9 stitches, knit 2 together) twice. 24 stitches remain.
(ssk, slip 1 stitch, knit 7 stitches, knit 2 together) twice. 20 stitches remain.
(ssk, slip 1 stitch, knit 5 stitches, knit 2 together) twice. 16 stitches remain.
(ssk, slip 1 stitch, knit 3 stitches, knit 2 together) twice. 12 stitches remain.
Graft those last 12 stitches together.
Go back to the 18 stitches you worked with waste yarn. Pick up those stitches with a very slender needle then remove the waste yarn. Or just throw caution to the wind, remove the waste yarn, and slide the newly free 36 stitches onto your No. 8 needles.
Using your second color, work 1 round on those 36 stitches. Then repeat the decrease rounds and grafting exactly as you did for the toe.
Darn in all ends.
What is the point of that row of eyelets? Well, for a drawstring, of course. A drawstring on your stocking allows you to keep the contents secret – or even to use the stocking as a small bag or purse.
You could use ribbon or crocheted cord, but this time I made I-cord.
To see a short video about the I-cord and to get the longer, more detailed pattern, go to www.journalgazette.net/craftyliving and click “Math4Knitters: Show 50.”
Mini Christmas Stockings are easy and fun to make.

Entwine holidays with wreath-making

Photos by Lara Neel | The Journal Gazette
This festive holiday wreath by Joyce McCartney can be as simple or complex as you like.

I put up my Christmas wreath in the past two weeks, and it got me thinking I needed to provide some inspiration for others to give wreath-making a try.

The wreath I have on my door is the first one I ever made, and I was thrilled with how it turned out, even if I didn’t make a bow for it.

So I turned to my favorite craft store for inspiration recently and came up with a cute, whimsical winter wreath based on the ornaments and other decorative items I found.

To make the wreath shown you will need:

An evergreen wreath (size of your choice)

Two or three ornaments (in this case, various snowmen)

Snowflake garland

Candle wreaths with a candy theme

Glittery decorations in red and silver or red and white

A glittery, silver snowflake pick

Snowman ribbon

Hot glue gun

Glue sticks

A plain ribbon to make a hanger

I must confess that I started this wreath without regard for the wreath hanger I have on my door. So in the end, I needed to use some plain silver ribbon to wrap around the frame of the wreath to hang the wreath.

Plug in your glue gun and make sure it has a glue stick in it.

When you have all of your items assembled, begin by wrapping the snowflake garland around the wreath twice. I secured it by wrapping the ends around each other at the back of the wreath.

After that, cut all tags and strings off the ornaments, remove the candy pieces from the candle wreaths and place items around the wreath in a way that pleases you. Then, add hot glue to the backs of the items and glue them in place.

The bow I made for this was from instructions I found online and was super simple, although it didn’t come out that great.

I am not an expert at bow making, so I’m not going to offer advice on it other than to suggest an Internet search for “how to make a bow.” You should find instructions that will suit you.

After the bow was made, however, I used one of the candy pieces to hide what I considered an ugly center of the bow.

Hang on your door and enjoy.

Joyce McCartney is not a craft expert. She is, however, interested in crafting of all types. She shares her experiences and those of area crafters. To reach her, call 461-8364 or e-mail craftyliving@jg.net. Also, visit her blog at www.journalgazette.net/craftyliving.

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