Just Like a Parade

I can’t remember how old I was, but one year I looked at one of my Christmas presents before Christmas.  I snuck out, slit the tape, opened the end, peered at what it was and then closed and re-taped it so that nobody could ever tell what I had done.  It felt instantly wrong and instantly like I’d sullied something,  and by the time that Christmas morning rolled around, I was so ashamed of what I had done that I am sure my performance as I opened that gift was so completely over the top that there’s no way that it could possibly have been believable.  It cured me of all curiosity around my Christmas presents, and turned me into a confirmed life-long non-peeker.  I am not the sort who will ruin my own surprises, and so this past month I’ve been as careful as I can not to ruin the surprises of others.  To that end, the knitting on this blog has been stealth the last little bit, but (almost) everyone has their gifts now, so I can have a big reveal.

First, Ken got socks –

Just a plain pair this year (from my sock recipe in Knitting Rules )  I let the yarn do the work, it was so pretty masculine. That’s Yankee Dyer "Yankee Puritan" yarn – very nice stuff.

Old Joe got a pair too –

Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering in Midnight is the yarn, and the pattern is one I bashed out myself, and I like it so very well I just might publish it. 

Amanda doesn’t care for socks, so another hat found it’s way into her stocking.

Manos del Uruguay Maxima in Currant- and the pattern was a super fun knit called the Knit Night Hat.

Erin got a pair of Boot Candy boot toppers. 

The yarn was Nature Spun Chunky in Charcoal, and these babies were FAST. I didn’t get a super good picture of these because I finished them on the way to my mum’s in the car, and I’m still not sure that I understand the concept of boot toppers, but they were a hit.

Hank and Luis were the big winners this year.  I planned months ago to nail a few nephew sweaters, and lo – it did come to pass.  I finished Hank’s sweater at 11pm on Christmas Eve, but I did finish it – and I’m pretty sure he likes it.   (In order to get him to let me take his picture, I had to allow him to choose the poses. He’s a born model.)

Pattern – pretty much faked it – with inspiration from this pattern.  That pattern is knit flat, and I wanted to do it in the round, so I changed that…

and I didn’t want to knit the sleeves flat and sew them in, so instead I picked up around the armholes and knit them down, decreasing as I went.

(Yes. Hank has seen the Karate Kid. Why do you ask?)

I also made the hood bigger, big enough to really shrug into anonymity.  (When Hank described his perfect sweater it was dark purple and had a BIG hood. I wanted this worn, so I complied.) Yarn was Eco + in Ranier.

Finally (or almost finally – there’s a few presents not quite done, but I’ll get there) Little Lou got another sweater. 

His mum loves them and puts him in them all the time, and he’s so ridiculously adorable that he looks great in everything and so it’s a pleasure to knit for him. 

Yarn was Madeleine Tosh Twist DK in Betty Drapers Blues, and the pattern is from a Sirdar pamphlet I’ve had around since Hank was small.
It’s a classic little cabled cardigan, and he wears it like a pro. Big thanks to Kate and Carlos for taking these pictures.  I didn’t make him model it on Christmas Eve, he was too busy ripping up (and eating) wrapping paper and I didn’t want to harsh on his mellow.  

I love grumpy old man sweaters on sweet little babies. It makes me want to knit him another one. Or ten.

Thus ends the parade – almost. There’s two little gifts still on the needles, they’ll be finished today I think – and then Joe was the guy who took the bullet this year when the flu stampeded through my life and plan.
I owe him socks.  I’ll get on that. Soon.
Maybe Lou needs a hat first.

107 thoughts on “Just Like a Parade

  1. Wow! Such pretty knits! Well done for getting them all done for Christmas… looks like the spreadsheet just might have worked! 😛

  2. Oh my gosh, both sweaters are awesome and Lou is a gorgeous baby! The socks for Old Joe are fantastic and I’d love to give them a try when I get better at sock knitting. Happy Holidays!

  3. Always love this post each year – the parade of Christmas knits. There’s always so much love and happiness in your pictures of them all.

  4. Adorable! I’m not sure which makes me happier: Hank wearing and weirding all over a simple, yet pretty, hand knit sweater, or Lou being all baby-uterus hurting-cute in his grumpy man sweater!

  5. Aww, Little Lou is adorable in his grumpy old man sweater and Hank looks awesome in his hoodie. Thank you for sharing your lovely knits with us and happy new year to you and your delightful family.

  6. Love your knits! I for one would love your sock pattern. Looks great! And the baby sweater is absolutely adorable (as is the tot in it!).

  7. I love little Lou’s and Hank’s sweaters! Everything turned out wonderful considering! I am currently making the Gramps Cardigan for my little man, a very nice grumpy old man cardi.

  8. Oh please publish that sock pattern. I’d buy it in a heartbeat. I would absolutely knit these for all my boys. Dad, hubby, son. And my husband is a flipping giant so any socks I’d enjoy knitting to fit those monstrous feet is a rare find. Pretty please?

  9. Awwww. I love all the knits, and all the models, but those pics of Hank and Lou make my day complete. Gotta go hug my own little guy now, who is at this point 26 years old, almost 6 feet tall, and miserable from oral surgery. I’ve got him wrapped in a knit blanket, and I think he just needs a hot drink and another hug.

  10. Awesome holiday knitting, as usual! Baby Lou is so adorable I just want to scoop him up and smooch him all over! And I love Hank – he reminds me so much of my own son (who is the same age, and equally quirky. I get similar poses whenever I try to take pictures of him!). What is that game, or whatever it is, that Hank is so intent on? It looks very interesting.
    (I’ll wait patiently for that sock pattern – very nice, and unisex)

  11. Hey Stephanie!!
    Just called my friend Michele (The Yankee Dyer herself) to tell her that you used her yarn to knit Christmas socks for your dear pal Ken, and she burst into tears. Happy tears. Very, very happy tears.
    Thank you so very, very much for giving her this wonderful moment. She’s worked incredibly hard to reach this place as a yarn colorist, and she loves your blog and books so much that your enthusiasm means the world to her.
    🙂 🙂 🙂

  12. Everything is lovely and I’m sure much loved by the recipients.
    I love your basic sock recipe from Knitting Rules as do all the recipients of my knit socks.

  13. OMG — i’m trying to imagine your yuletide output if you’d been healthy!
    Beautiful items, handsome young models and perfect colors — plus a mama who swaths her babyboy in handknits. I totally understand the urge to make more for both boys.
    Happy Knit Year!

  14. The thought that you managed to crank out all of these as quickly as you did without having your hands killing you afterward is amazing enough. These are fabulous knits.
    Yes on publishing the Old Joe pattern socks. That’s a really nice guy sock pattern and we need more of those. Hank is hilarious in his poses. And Lou is adorable in his sweater.

  15. I LOVE your projects. The socks look amazing. I swear those pictures of the baby look like professional shots! Thank you for sharing (and it looks like all your gifts were enjoyed!)

  16. I can’t believe how big Lou is getting! And that sweater suits him very well 🙂 I’m also impressed with your ability to fake up a sweater on the fly for a kid that gave you some ambiguous ideas.
    Love it all!

  17. Love the Hank sweater! He is such a great model, & looks like a very happy recipient. (Wish I could say the same for my 17 year old granddaughter, who will not be getting any more hand knits, and is probably relieved about that.) I’m still knitting on my son’s Cobblestone, & may be done by Epiphany.
    Thank you so much for sharing all these photos of your beautiful family. Blessings & Happy New Year to you all!

  18. Gorgeous knits as usual! I love Hank’s sweater because he will actually wear it (and his poses remind me of my little brother when I force him to model knitwear). Lou’s sweater is just adorable, and he’s even more so. I just want to squeeze him!
    I got almost all my knitting done before Christmas – just two socks left! (From two different pairs, so all family members got at least one representative sock until such time as they can be finished. Which should be this afternoon if I get off the computer and back to my knitting!)

  19. There’s so much joy in getting to read this and taking a peek at all the happiness that your stitches brought to to the surface to all those blessed by them. Thank you!

  20. I love Old Joe’s socks and I’d love to have the pattern to make my own pair. Also, I love Lou’s sweater. It’s soooo darling, and I might have to whip up something like it for a little baby boy coming into my life this spring.
    Also, is it just me or does Hank have a different color hair every time I see him? I love a twelve-year-old boy who will proudly own pink hair, but I swear it was purple the last time he appeared on the blog.

  21. Please tell Hank that I love the hair. LOVE LOVE LOVE the hair.
    Just thought he should know. 🙂

  22. Yes, yes, well done and lovely, right down to not giving socks when she’d prefer a hat.
    PASTEL BLUES AND GREENS WITH WHITE FOR JOE? Have you had him deprogrammed? Woah. Sitting down here. Wow. Some major derring-do in both directions, there.

  23. I love Old Joe’s socks and would love it if you published that pattern. Adorable kids in adorable sweaters – thanks for sharing!

  24. What adorable kids, both of them! What adorable sweaters on both of them! Love that sock of yours too – please oh please publish that pattern! I’d love to buy it.

  25. And you did it all sick. You are seriously the best auntie/mom/sister/cousin/wife/daughter EVER. (Love the boys sweaters, both bit and little. They – sweaters and boys – are adorable.)

  26. Hank is awesome. I love his hair. You are awesome too and your family is so lucky to get these sweet gifts! This Christmas I finally gave my boyfriend a scarf that I started (and gave to him, wrapped but still on the needles) in 2010. I’m a really, really crappy knitter.

  27. Great knits, I love the baby sweater, he is a cutie pie. I got Confessions of a Free-Range Knitter for Christmas!! My stepson and DIL nailed it this year…the only ones (besides DH) who “get” that I’m a knitter.

  28. Can I have the baby? Thanks. (The sweater is cute, too, but… the cheeks. The smile. I melted.)
    I really love these posts. They make it feel like Christmas all over again.

  29. Look at Lou’s teefies!!! I love it when kids start getting their teeth.
    Hank’s sweater looks wonderfully comfy. Love the extra big hood.

  30. Yes, please, for the old Joe sock pattern. I managed to finish one pair this Christmas. How do you do it?

  31. These look beautiful! I really like old Joe’s socks, I had the worst time finding a pattern for my dad’s socks that was both masculine and interesting, and now I kindof wish that one had existed outside of your head before Christmas.

  32. Impressive! Lou is adorable, the next to the last picture of him looks like it belongs as a knitting book illustration!

  33. Love Old Joe’s socks. And please, what is the pattern you used for the gloves/mittens in yesterdays post. Thumb and forefinger seperate.

  34. Great pictures of the lovely knitted gifts and the smiling recipients!I also knitted a hooded sweater for my 12 1/2 (almost 13) year old son, also with a hood, also made it up as I went along after reading through a few patterns….

  35. Oh my GOODNESS that is a cute baby… I can understand why things for him would take priority! 🙂

  36. I can see why you love to knit.
    It shows in all the faces of the receivers.
    Knit on sweet Stephanie, knit on.

  37. Rams: that’s what I thought too, the weird colors for Joe?!–and then realized that they were for Ken. All right, the world makes sense again.
    (I too want the Old Joe socks pattern.Pleasy please?)

  38. Your knitting output for the holidays is very inspirational. Little Lou looks great in his new sweater and those cute bottom teeth. Count me in for wanting to knit Joe’s socks. Maybe matching for my husband and I, but in very different colors.

  39. Love the knits and the models. Lou is adorable. I love babies in hand knits.
    Hank is going to be a great teenager! He has all the attitude and a quirky fun side that shines through. I love the attitude middle and high school boys have. Probably because I have mostly sons. They are amazing in their confidence.

  40. Please, please,please publish Joe’s sock pattern.I LUV it and promise to do both socks….
    All the presents you made are awesome.The baby Lou is a doll.

  41. Hank’s hair is purple! When did this happen?
    Also, Old Joe sock pattern. Make it happen, please. 😀

  42. Lovely parade of handknits; well worth waiting for.
    I’ll join the chorus of people asking for the Old Joe sock design.
    But I’m really grumpy about the fact that it doesn’t seem possible to get the Sirdar Snuggly DK pattern pamphlet any longer. I’ll keep trying to see if I can find a way to contact Sirdar and see if they put the pattern in any of their other books. SO cute, and me with multiple tiny [great-]nephews!

  43. The pattern for Joe’s socks demands to be published. Well, actually I demand it, but it seems more polite to blame the demanding on the socks.

  44. Beautiful knits! And I love Hank’s hair! Reminds me of when my son was about 16 yr old and he had Kelly green hair. I say let them express their creative selves!

  45. Gorgeous Christmas knits! I, too, am finishing up promised knits. It’s nice though, very relaxed. You have the cutest nephews.

  46. I’m totally with you on the peeking at presents early. When I was young I also looked one year and saw a present and then spent the rest of the time before Christmas disappointed. The funny part is that it wasn’t for me, but for my grandmother. It didn’t even OCCUR to me to wonder why they would give me a little deer statue, I just took it for granted that what I found was MY gift. So funny. But ever since I do everything I can to avoid finding out early!

  47. The nephews!!! Both adorable!! (Please make sure Hank knows you can be adorable and manly at the same time)

  48. Lots of wow! Yes, you should publish the pattern for Old Joe’s socks. Those are just about enough to get me to learn how to knit socks just so I could have a pair or a dozen.
    The colors in Amanda’s hat play nicely with her hair’s color, so I’m sure she’ll be wearing that hat a lot!
    Hank’s hoodie is fantastic, and doesn’t the way you knit the sleeves allow you to lengthen them if he hits another growth spurt? You may have another pattern to publish if you added a little extra pizazz (to offest all that stockinette) and sized it to fit grade-schoolers to adults. (P.S.: My youngest nephew is about a year older than Hank, and acts much the same way — when he isn’t practicing being a sullen and grumpy teenager.)
    And Lou seems to really, really, really like his sweater! Of course, it just may seem that way because he’s got the greatest smile I’ve ever seen on a kid his age. . .

  49. Such beautiful knits! You have a very lucky family indeed. I wish I had a knitter in my family lol.
    I most want to say though that I do hope you publish the sock pattern; I want to dive into already. But no pressure. Maybe a little bit of pressure.

  50. Yes, please do publish the socks, and charge like $5~$6 for it, because it will earn you some money, which we all need, and people will buy it like crazy! Do. it.

  51. lou is just a delicious little fellow!and getting a teen/pre-teen to wear a handknit item? wow, you are a wizard of mythical proportions. 🙂 nice work all around, steph!

  52. Thanks for introducing us to the boot toppers. They’re a little funny. It reminds me of the concept of the dickey around the neck.

  53. Oh yes please, publish the pattern for “old” Joe’s socks. They look lovely and it is definitely a pattern my DH would wear.

  54. Gorgeous. I have a pair of socks to finish and noone got sweaters, but I made 25 cowls and gaiters this year. They seemed to be a big hit. I ran into my son’s teacher in the grocery store, wearing hers, and she told everyone in the aisle I’d made it. Quite the egoboo.

  55. A terrific parade! Thank you for sharing your holiday and your knits with us- the happiness just rises like a mist off my computer screen and leaves me smiling. 🙂

  56. My mom used to hide our Christmas presents in the top of her closet before she wrapped them. We all knew where they were but none of us three kids would have dreamed of snooping. Except me, once. I wanted figure skates so badly and so I dragged a chair into my mom’s room, climbed up and took a look. There they were. I felt so terrible and guilty on Christmas morning trying to fake excitement as I ripped open the box. I could barely eat my turkey drumstick and mashed potatoes that day. And I never did it again.

  57. Wonderful knits and cute models. The Joe’s socks pattern reminds me of the knee socks we would wear in high school with Weejun loafers and dyed-to-match a-line skirts and cardigans. With coordinating floral blouses. Villager. Yes, I am old.

  58. Please publish the sock pattern – it’s absolutely perfect and exactly what I’ve been looking for (and you know this is a rarity for me because I mostly knit my own designs. Oh, wait, confession time: I also just bought Pretty Thing because of the pic you showed us before Christmas, and it IS lovely!)
    Boot toppers mystified me, too, until I thought about it a bit and realized that my boots stop mid-calf leaving a fair bit of leg exposed to the elements, even accounting for a knee-length coat. Easier to pull on and take off than a pair of knitted tights or even fully-fledged legwarmers. Nifty, and pretty too!
    However, as a 35 year resident of Manitoba, the last 22 of them on the bare windswept prairie north of Winnipeg, I have always been able to see the point – as each in its turn had its day in the sun (or snow) – of scarves, dickeys, neckwarmers and the currently-fashionable cowls, infinity scarves and moebius strips. Evolution in knitting is still knitting, and Manitoba winters are still punishingly cold.

  59. I did the unwrap gift snoop and never forgot the guilt of it. I never thought of sneak previews of WIP as taking away the surprise. So next year I won’t share and try to be Stealth Like Stephanie and less of the present party pooper!

  60. I’m a longtime fan of this blog. Now, I’d like to state for the record that I’m officially a big fan of Hank. That kid rocks.

  61. Sweet, sweet baby!! And lovely knitting, too, of course. 😉
    I totally get the no peeking thing. Once when I was young enough to think peeking was a good idea, but old enough to be buying my 16-month younger brother a gift, and he one for me, we decided we couldn’t possibly wait till Dec 25. We took our as-yet unwrapped gifts to each other, snuck into his closet, counted three to reveal what we bought each other at the same time … and discovered we’d bought each other exactly the same thing: a pull-cord race car.
    Don’t know about him, but it cured ME of peeking forever after. 🙂

  62. Good god, your nephews are edible. It’s been lovely (even at the same time as it feels a tad stalkerish) to watch Hank grow up into a confident-seeming young man. As for Lou … makes me want another, and believe me, I have enough sons. (Two, to be exact. Two is enough.)

  63. Both Hank and Lou are going to be heartbreakers rather sooner than later. Good looking boys in adorable knits are irresistable.

  64. Beautiful pictures! I would also like to add my request for the pattern for Old Joe’s socks. (And in my humble opinion, “Old Joe’s Socks” is a great name for a pattern, lol.) Happy New Year to you and your charming family!

  65. I love Hank’s sweater. great idea to knit the sleeves down. This way you can add on as he gets to be that lanky teenager. You know….the ones where the body stays at 12 years of age and the arms and legs are that of an 18 year old. That is – to this day- my son’s biggest complaint – sleeves are never long enough…. lol

  66. I once opened a Christmas present that was under the tree. My Mom had wrapped it in a toilet paper tube and I just couldn’t imagine what it could be. I carefully unwrapped it and, being about 10 years old, was very disappointed to find a pair of scissors inside. I felt so guilty I never did it again. And now, like you Stephanie, I never try to find presents, peek, or even look at my Amazon list to see what people have bought me before Christmas. Love the knits by the way!

  67. Oh my; Lou has teeth already? Seems like just 3 weeks ago you were posting about his birth! Gorgeous sweaters, gorgeous boys!

  68. I am adding to the chorus of “Gansey for Joe”. There ought to be a reward for missing out on Christmas socks on Christmas Day. Also, really like Old Joe’s socks.

  69. Those two boys are so happy and charming! I live in hope that my teen boy will someday want to wear handknitted whatever, but meanwhile I love seeing your set in such lovely things.
    Happy Christmas, Happy New Year, and happy blogging! My thanks for another wonderful, humorous year of fun.

  70. Beautiful kids, beautiful knits. My aunts neighbours had kind of a Joe thing going on, but the name was Geert: Old Geert, Geert, Young Geert and Liddel (Klein)Geert, It is still going, although Old Geert passed away, Geert is 85 and so on, the youngest are now Gert, son of Klein Geert and Gerry, yes, son of Gert. Those boottops are quite understandable, ever worn boots that had a gap at the top and allowed snow and winds getting in. Boottops are the solution, knitted even a better one, and, if you have more then one pair of boottops, you can easily colour co-ordinate with the rest of your clothing. have a nice change into the new year, hopefully with every kind of flu passing Canada by.

  71. Tell Hank that I love, love, love his hair!! (Also, can you refer us to how to make the ice lanterns?)

  72. Everything is beautiful, but Luis’s cardigan is so freakin’ cute I’m dying to cast one on right this minute!!

  73. I had to look up boot toppers. I can see how that makes sense, and they look pretty cool. Now I just need a pair of boots…
    Lou is so adorable! Love the sweater.

  74. Nice job matching Hank’s hair and sweater & the hood rocks for sure. My own son at that age was bleaching his hair blond. Personally prefer the purple.
    Lou has a real future in modeling. The sweater was great but that baby sold it. I almost believe I could look good in such a sweater and jeans.
    Well done Auntie!

  75. Love the knits! And of course Hank’s hair. Reminds me of the time my then 14-year-old daughter dyed her hair with Jello, and then overdyed it with another temporary color. She hated the effect, but expected it would wash out in a few weeks. Not so. I made her let it grow until the new hair was about down to her ears, and then had pity on her and took her to my hairdresser, who told her that two temp. colors = one permanent color. So the hairdresser had to bleach the dyed hair and then dye it all to approximate her natural hair color.
    So tell Hank to keep up with the great hair colors, but only one at a time!

  76. Ive been out of the online knitting world for a few years – after having been completely obsessed with it. So, I haven’t read your blog in ages and ages. All I can say is wow! hank’s a lot bigger now. I remember when he asked for a pink sweater with some sort of animal on it – a snake? a dragon? I think last time I read about him here he was 5. I love his new hair color. He looks like a very cool and happy kid. As opposed to the adorable little Lou. 🙂
    I loved reading this post.
    Happy New year!

  77. I showed my 12-year-old daughter Hank’s pink hair and she says (and I quote): “No way! I love how unique he is!”

  78. That purple hoodie is fabulous! I love it and Hank modeling it was just the thing to make my day, as usual..he is soooooo HANK! Such a good thing to see in a young man. And Lou’s sweater is perfect for him too, but we knew you were good at that…matching the pattern to the person. Bravo!

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  80. I love Hank, and his sweater and his hair. Lou is pretty darned cute too with his little somewhat toothy grin and his grandpa sweater.

  81. The last few pictures are really getting me right in the ovaries. I wish some of my friends would start procreating, so I could knit for them and maybe tame the baby rabies a bit.

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