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9 Knitting Projects to Tackle This Winter

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The winter holidays often bring some vacation time and the desire to curl up by a fireplace with hot chocolate. You might as well do something productive with your hands as you pass your time watching the snow fall, so it’s a great time to tackle knitting projects that will make your winter that much more enjoyable. Here are a few to consider:

1. WARM SOCKS

Keep your feet toasty with home-knitted socks, which you can customize with whatever patterns or colors you want. This free pattern promises that they are “so simply designed that they almost make themselves,” so there’s really no excuse for cold tootsies.

2. SLIPPERS

Slippers are another easy way to keep your feet warm and protected from the dirt on your front porch or the weirdness of going down to your basement laundry room in bare feet. Plus, you can customize them to your actual foot size instead of dealing with the too-small or too-big sizes offered by store-bought slips. Try out these free patterns, many of which are designed for beginners.

3. CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS

Get a head start on next year's holiday decorating by knitting your own stocking. Rather than boring red-and-white stockings, go for for something a little more custom—reindeer-decorated stockings or stockings emblazoned with the name of their owner.

4. STUFFED TOYS

Stuffed animals don’t need to come from a store. You can fashion your own crochet lions, knit teddy bears, and yarn dolls. These patterns are just a few dollars each, and are sure to become beloved possessions. Plus, if they get a little too well-loved and start to wear, you can always do your own repairs.

5. FINGERLESS GLOVES

Making fingerless gloves can be relatively easy, depending on the pattern. They’re great for wearing in cold offices when you still need to be able to type, or even for doing more knitting when the house is chilly.

6. KNIT HATS

Once you get the hang of circular needles, hats are a relatively quick knitting project to complete, giving you that instant satisfaction of a job well done. From slouchy beanies to cable knit caps to berets, you can make just about any style of hat in whatever color pattern you want. Add buttons or switch up your stitch to make a hat with a dash of flair.

7. EAR WARMERS

Because they’re just a circle of fabric, ear warmers are super easy to throw together, and they’ll keep your head nice and warm on freezing days. You can choose how thick to make your ear warmers depending on the weather in your area. If a simple headband-style ear warmer isn’t fashion-forward enough for you, you can add knitted decoration like flowers. But they don’t have to be overtly feminine in style, either. Some patterns will show you how to make a slightly more gender-neutral accessory, so everyone you know can enjoy properly warm ears all winter.

8. A COFFEE OR TEA COZY

Winter is a time to stay warm, but not too warm. Enjoy your hot beverages without burning your hands by making your own cozies. If you're out at a coffee shop, using your own coffee sleeve is a great way to feel just a little less guilty about your disposable cup use. Check out this list of free patterns.

9. AN ARM-KNIT BLANKET

You don’t even need knitting needles for this one. The Ukraine-based designer Anna Marinenko makes blankets out of massively thick yarn, sometimes using her hands instead of needles. (She also sells specially crafted 2-inch thick needles for “bulky knitting” on her Etsy page.) You can craft a blanket so big—with stitches a full 3 inches thick—you’ll feel like you’ve stolen a giant’s comforter. There are free instructions on how to knit with your arms from the blog Flax and Twine, or you can watch the video above.

3D Printer for Knitting Lets You Make a Sweater Without Picking Up Needles

The repetitive, meditative nature of knitting can have therapeutic benefits for some crafters. For others, it eats up spare time they don’t have. If you’re looking for a quicker way to produce knitted masterpieces, a special type of 3D printer currently seeking funds through Kickstarter may be exactly what you need.

Kniterate works like an industrial knitting machine, but on a much smaller scale. The contraption can produce hats, scarves, shoes, sweaters, and other garments in a matter of hours where it would take an individual knitter days to do the same. And while the knitting isn’t done by hand, Kniterate still gives owners the chance to be creative.

After deciding what they want to make, users can visualize their designs on the computer. Kniterate then takes the digital file and translates it into a real-life knitting formula. The text, images, and patterns that adorn the creations are limited only by the user's imagination. If that sounds like an overwhelming amount of freedom, Kniterate also offers a library of templates from which to choose.

The product is currently in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign, and it’s already more than doubled its initial $100,000 goal. Backers have more than a month to pledge $4700 and reserve a Kniterate of their own. If you don’t have the money to invest in a fancy knitting machine, 3D-knitted scarves are also available for $50.

[h/t Colossal]

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Yarnspirations via Facebook
Unwind With These 6 Quirky Crochet Projects
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Yarnspirations via Facebook

If you've mastered the patterns of booties, hats, and mittens, why not kick your crocheting skills up a notch? Take on these unique creations.

1. DUMPLING KITTY

Sarah Sloyer designed these tiny crocheted cats with flat bottoms so they'll stay where you put them. Recreate the project in any color to match your own cats, or go wild with colors not found in nature. The pattern is a free download from Sloyer's Ravelry shop Critterbeans, where you'll also find free patterns for sharks, dolphins, and even a T. rex.

2. STRAWBERRY BACKPACK

Ripe for the taking: "Even a beginner crocheter can master this," Irish crocheter Carrie Chambers writes of the pattern for her crocheted Strawberry Backpack on her blog. The project requires a 5mm crochet hook and worsted weight yarn.

3. PIZZA PARTY SNUGGLE SACK

Why use a throw when you can stay warm and cozy with a pizza? Just slip into a slice and veg out on the sofa. You can download this pattern (of mid-level difficulty) for this tasty, toasty Pizza Party Snuggle Sack at Yarnspirations.

4. PARTY SNAIL

"Little known fact – snails are total party animals," according to the Tiny Curl blog. Help them reach their true potential by crocheting these amigurumi snails in any color you like with a pattern available for free. You can also buy them ready-made on Etsy.

5. DARTH VADER

Honor The Sith Lord with this pattern, available free in both English and Italian from Amigurumi Amo. To recreate the project, you'll need black and gray cotton, white, red, and blue thread, black felt, black fabric, stuffing, needle, and a size 2 hook.

6. MERMAID TAIL

Stitch together this warm and form-fitting mermaid tail in any of five different sizes offered up by Marta Selter Design. You'll need a 7 mm crochet hook and either double-stranded Aran weight yarn or single stranded super bulky yarn.

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