How to Knock Out a Handknitted Christmas Gift in Two Days

It’s early December, and you’re probably feeling the heat of your Christmas knitting deadlines looming. That scarf you’ve promised your favorite niece. The charity drive for handknitted scarves for the homeless. Or your kids who’ll expect an annual handknit scarf. And you’re freaking out.

Friends, you can do this. You can still knock out a half dozen handknit scarves, if necessary. I’m in the same boat, and here’s my recipe for an easy-peasy handknit scarf you can knock out in two days – assuming you have something worthwhile to watch on TV or appropriate Christmas music playing in the background.

  • First, procure a big skein of size 5 bulky yarn. I’m using Yarnspirations Caron brand “Sprinkle Cakes” yarn, bought at my local big box craft store. You just need one skein per scarf.
  • Next, get yourself size 11 US (8.0 mm) knitting needles – straight or circular, doesn’t matter.
  • Cast on 20 stitches, knit one row for a nice border.

You’re going to use a 4×4 basket weave pattern – blocks of 4 stitches, 4 rows high. Four knit stitches, 4 purl stitches, repeat to the end of the row. Flip your work over and continue in reverse. Do this for 4 rows, then switch the knits for purls and visa-versa, to wit:

  • Row 1: Knit 4, Purl 4, Knit 4, Purl 4, Knit 4
  • Row 2: Purl 4, knit 4, purl 4, knit 4, purl 4
  • Row 3: repeat row 1
  • Row 4: repeat row 2
  • Row 5: Purl 4, knit 4, purl 4, knit 4, purl 4
  • Row 6: knit 4, purl 4, knit 4, purl 4, knit 4
  • Row 7: repeat row 5
  • Row 8: repeat row 6

Continue in this pattern until you almost run out of yarn. Bind off, weave in loose ends. And voila! You’ve got a long, cozy, generously knit scarf that makes you look like a star!

For added warmth and good wishes, drink one glass of wine or a handful of chocolates while you knit. You’ll feel less stressed. I promise. 

You’ve got this! Go forth and finish that Christmas knitting!!!

Advent Blessings for a wonderful holiday, Cindy

P.S. Thanks so much for all your positive response and kind words on the publication of my new book!!!!! Y’all are awesome!!! Love, Cindy

Cynthia Coe is the author of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, interrelated stories about knitters and those for whom they knit and love. The sequel to this book, The Knitting Guild of All Saints, has just been released! Available in paperback and on Kindle, included in Kindle Unlimited. 

Frantically Knitting for the Holidays? So am I. It’s a Good Thing.

Do you have unfinished knitting projects on your needles with holiday deadlines looming? Are you chewing up all your TV time in the evening, knocking out those scarves you need to stick a gift tag on by Christmas? Are you picking up the knitting needles during morning coffee breaks, during that ten minutes you’ve got before the next Zoom meeting, or making the most of the school pick-up line to get in a few rows of knitting? Yeah, me too.

My church plans to give twenty homeless teenagers handknit scarves for Christmas. We’ve got twelve scarves turned in and ready to go. But there’s another eight to go. And so I engage in near frantic knitting to help my fellow church knitters make up the difference. Having a homeless teenager show up to a Christmas party and NOT get a handknit scarf like everybody else is not an option. I’ve got two skeins of super bulky yarn headed for my mailbox, so I’m thinking size 13 or 15 needles and knock out a couple of scarves in 48 hours. Fingers crossed!

This hurried style of knitting is not my favorite thing to do. I’m more of a meditative knitter. But when the call goes out for a good cause, it’s what we do. Yes, we knit for ourselves. Most of us knit for the sense of peace and calm we get when we sit down to knit and unwind, away from the stresses of the world. We knit for a sense of accomplishment, for creative expression, or maybe just to have something constructive to do. 

But our best knitting is for others. We knit to welcome a new baby. We knit to comfort a ninety-year-old woman in a nursing home. We knit to show a husband or son or daughter our love for them with a sweater or pair of socks. We knit to show a homeless teenager that someone out there cares that they stay a little warmer this winter. 

So we knit, maybe frantically, maybe powering through our “not-most-enjoyable” knitting sessions. We knit to give. We knit to show our love. It’s a good thing. 

Holiday Blessings for Your Knitting Projects of Love, Cindy

Cynthia Coe is the author of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, interrelated stories about knitters and those for whom they knit and love. The sequel to this book, The Knitting Guild of All Saints, has just been released! Available in paperback and on Kindle, included in Kindle Unlimited. 

Christmas Gifts for the Favorite Knitter in Your Life

What do you want for Christmas? Your spouse, child, close friends, and family members may ask this of the Knitting Superstar in their life (which would be YOU). What to tell them? 

You may have something specific in mind. But all of us like nice surprises for Christmas. If your loved ones need help in making Christmas extra special for the Knitting Diva in the house, here’s a handy-dandy suggestion list:

  • A Gift Card to the local yarn store nearest your home. Your beloved knitter will be sure to pick out lovely yarn, needles, or patterns to make something lovely. 
  • Extra Special Needles. These come in all price ranges. Check to see what brand your knitter uses and think about a set of them. Sets keep the knitting life organized and make sure the right size is always on hand. Here are some popular choices:
  • Clover Takumi Bamboo Interchangeables: This is what I use, and I highly recommend them. Most of the sizes you’ll ever need, with a good variety of cables, all in a nice case.
  • Chiagoo Sets: I use the small sets for socks. These metal needles are smooth as silk and come in nice cloth cases.
  • Prym Ergonomic Needles: I just discovered these recently and love the feel of them in my hands. No sets, but any size would make a good stocking stuffer.
  • Yarn. Luxury Yarns are even better. Knitters love squishy, soft yarn, and many of us penny-pinchers shy away from buying the expensive yarns for ourselves. Treat your favorite knitter to three months of projects with extra special yarns with a gift subscription to Knitcrate.  You can also buy luxury yarns online or at your local yarn store. Go for your knitter’s favorite color, and you’ll make her very happy. 
  • Swift and Winder. If your favorite knitter habitually buys high end yarns, they’ll likely have to wind them into balls by hand. Help your knitter out with some low-tech tools.
  • A Good Floor Light. It’s all about eyesight, whether you’re young and hoping to hang onto yours or older and can’t knit without direct lighting. Not a glam gift, but highly practical.
  • Fancy Stich Markers. These look like jewelry, but your knitter uses them to keep track of pattern changes within her work. Many of us use scrap yarn, but you know your knitter deserves better. Available online and likely at local yarn stores.
  • A Yarn Bowl. These are now the “must have” knitting accessories. They’re both decorative and help keep yarn balls from rolling all over the house.
  • Big Fat Knitting Books. Keep your knitter occupied with pretty pictures, lots of patterns, and everything there is to know about knitting. Try the new Vogue Knitting Ultimate Knitting Book or the Interweave’s Ultimate Pattern Collection.
  • Alone Time to Knit. If all else fails, make your loved one a certificate for quiet, peaceful, uninterrupted time to knit. Believe me, this will be appreciated by stressed, busy wanna-be knitters.

Happy Holidays!!!! Cindy

Cynthia Coe is the author of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, a collection of interrelated short stories about knitters and those they meet through knitting and sharing prayer shawls. 

Copyright 2022 Cynthia Coe

Copyright 2022 Cynthia Coe