Happy Christmas!

Ok, so it’s July. Just Trust me, if you don’t start NOW it is very likely that your idea to make socks for everyone in the family as Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Ramadan or whatever you choose to celebrate) presents is NOT going to be done on time (or at least not without much chaos and many late nights). The Holiday season is hectic enough by itself without adding craft deadlines.

In order to avoid that craziness, let’s get started on our holiday project. You should have enough time to design and create your stocking before December rolls around and if you’re particularly happy with it and particularly quick, you may even have time to do enough for the whole family!

The first step–of course– is going to be designing your stocking. There are several directions you can take your stocking. The “Ugly” Christmas sweater trend has been popular for a few years now, but you may want something a little more traditional. If you haven’t popped on Pintrest already, take a look at my boards for ideas, follow those links to take a look or hop on and do a search (Set a timer! I end up on Pintrest for WAY too long sometimes).

Once you have a general idea of what you want to do, grab out your graph paper and pencil (or a digital version if you’d rather) and get sketching. You may want a simple colorwork pattern that you can work into your sock like this:

let-it-snow

Or you may be interested in something a little more complicated like these I found on Pintrest:

9d685f7a14bcf13986979c403fd569ae

I’ll be working on both a knit and crochet stocking for our coming tutorials. Since I just covered fair isle knitting, I think for my knit sock I’ll be doing something with that. Just something fun and simple to get started with. Maybe like this:

knit design

With something fun for the top. Maybe some of the bauble yarn from my post on “fun yarns” or maybe some faux feather yarn. I promise, it’s a LOT easier than it seems to be once you have the hand of fair isle knitting.

For the crochet sock, I think we’ll go a little more in the “ugly” direction may something like this:

crochet design

We’ll get a chance with this design to look at appliques and how they work. Appliques are pieces that are added on after the work is finished. You crochet (or knit) the pieces and then sew them onto the main work just like you would with any other fabric.

Whatever way you choose to work, remember that you are only designing for one sock (they don’t have to match!) and that you are designing in the ROUND. As you work your designs, make sure that they are repeating designs that will line up nicely in a circle. Notice in the Pintrest photo above that each stripe of the pattern are geometrically arranged to match up seamlessly.

These seamless geometric patterns are often created using vectors (in which a series of mathematical statements dictates the placement of color and lines in the design). Vectors often look like wall paper and can range from the highly intricate to the extremely simple. One look on Google images can give you a broad sample of what I’m talking about.

These patterns can also be created by using simple fractals (“…infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales.”) to create a stripe or section of the work. I’m very specifically calling out SIMPLE fractals here because as cool as patterns like this are:

fractal-63166

they don’t led themselves to knitting and crochet quite so well as something like this would:

601a0952622ae38dbb0c77edf7245ca0

I’m not saying you CAN’T use that first one, just that you are going to need more patience than I have.

You can also create a simple repeating pattern using white space to separate your work so that the round wraps into a blank space. If this is your first go a designing in the round, this is really the best way to have the smoothest success. You can take something like this:

colorful-tree

and, taking out the brown side boarder, create a round of 60 stitches to accommodate two of these trees. You may want to design something slightly smaller in order to get more into the round you’re working. Keep in mind too, depending on the gauge you’re using, you will have more or less stitches to work with. And that you’re not making this stocking to fit a foot. There’s not really a problem if it’s too big or too small.

So what’s the take away?

We already know that when we’re designing you need to know how you’re working (knitting or crochet?), what you’re working with (hook/needle size, yarn weight, gauge). For this project you also know the first part of what you’re making (stockings). So, your job (after reading this post that is) from there is to grab your graph paper and pencil and figure out the second part of what you’re making (pattern).

Keep in mind that you’re designing a round pattern that needs to hook together in a seamless way. Have fun with it and (as long as you really are starting straight away) you’ll have plenty of time to play with the design before you need to REALLY get to work.

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