The one hand-crafted gift I had planned in advance was a pair of guitar socks for Dad. The reason was that the pair I had knit him a couple of years ago, through bad planning, had shrunk a bit and were unwearable. They had always been tight because of the method of construction (the top part is knit flat and sewn together, and the yarn choice was not optimal for socks (Knit Picks Palette), since it felts easily.
So this year, I actually got the right foot measurements (instead of just his shoe size), I went with a pattern I know will work (toe-up), and I bought a yarn that I know is machine-washable (at least according to Ravelry). The result, if I do say so myself, was perfect...
The yarn is Spud & Chloë Fine in the Green Bean colourway, which is a wool-silk blend that feels absolutely lovely both during the knitting and knit up. Instead of my regular short-row toe, I went with the toe-up cast on featured here, casting on 12 stitches on each needle, I believe, and increased two stitches on each side every other row until I had a total of 72. I then did a short-row heel with 12 wraps on each side and finished off with a 2x2 ribbing and Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind-off.
The guitars were added using duplicate stitch using some left-over Knit Picks Palette. I discovered that I actually really enjoy duplicate stitch. It doesn't always look as perfect as when you do colourwork in the pattern, but it's always much stretchier, and I had learned my lesson from the last pair of socks. Here's the chart I made up, in case someone else ever wants to use it:
He seemed pretty pleased with them! (What a goof!)
Speaking of gifts for my Dad, I also whipped him up a hat, which I called a late birthday present. The last hat I made him, way back when I had my first crafty Christmas, was (again) a bit too small. So I picked up some Patons Decor at the local yarn store (Lennoxville has a LYS! Rejoice with me!) and whipped up a suitably manly hat. I used Claire Nordlow's 2x2 Rib Hat pattern, which is quite excellent, and did the ribbing for the whole 10 inches so that he could roll up the brim. I just love that simple little triangle on top!
Dad was quite happy with this one too. It's super cozy.
I think that's enough for the moment. Be prepared for some sillier gifts in Part II!