Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Knitted Gifts for Teachers

I struggle with teacher gifts each year. Even though I know it's coming, I'm usually caught off guard, LOL. For Christmas, I like to give something for the teacher--something personal or something festive or something to help out the season...not a "#1 Teacher" mug. (For the end of school, I like to give something for the classroom...this way, the child has moved on and won't be there to say "That's MY gift"). This year, I'm giving a cute ornament made by a high school friend, and the kids made bookmarks similar to this (though not the fancy bookmark, we could only get plainer ones, but they picked all the beads and did it themselves). I had planned to make MK gloves for the kindergarten teacher, but she came out wearing grey gloves the other day, so I canned that. I was going to make some for Hugh's teacher, but he says he's sure the teacher already has gloves. We saw Lucy's teacher at the Santa Claus Parade, and I saw she had some bright green on her jacket, and the teachers wear safety vests in the yarn, one of them is bright green. So I made her some bright green mitts.Mmmm. The colour is much lighter and clearer and brighter in life, not like pea soup on my monitor.

I used the standard old mitten pattern from Patons, with 40st and 4mm needles. After doing the thumb, I knit the next row on the body and then thread a strand through the 20sts of the back of the hand. Knit the rest of the hand, ending with 1x1 ribbing, instead of fingers like you often see. I find the fingers tend to make the mitts a little bulky. Then I picked up the loops of the 20sts, cast on 20st for the palm side, and knit in the round for the flap, following the mitten pattern. They look a little out of balance because the yarn I used (Easy Knit brand "Georga", from Wal-Mart, 100% "Mercerized" Wool), knit up at 22st/4" and 30 rows/4" instead of the pattern's 19st and ? rows (I can't find that page, but I think it was about 24rows). I had followed the row counts for up to the thumb, which resulted in that portion of the mitt being a little shorter than it should be, so the rest of the mitt--knit to the length requirement--looks too long. As well, the mitts are close fitting instead of loose. The weird thing is, the yarn had a 'ball band gauge' of 18st/24rows on 5.5mm. That seemed outrageous just by looking at the yarn, and I think the gauge I got for the mitts is perfect (however, I wish I had ripped back and increased a few sts for the hand as it is stretched a little on me and I think the teacher is probably a bit bigger).

What's even more perfect is that the yarn was sold in 2 ball packs....for $5. I used just under one ball. Yup. And I picked up a LOT of packs over the past month; many shades of green.
Now, the instructions say to handwash in warm, so I'm going to test a swatch in the machine. AFTER Christmas. And should I make her a hat, or a neck cowl?

No comments: