October is usually the time I start worrying about making Christmas presents for my family, but a run of niecling and nephling birthdays from mid-august means that I’ve had plenty of gifts to make well before the dreaded December deadline. I try not to post pictures of something I’ve made as a gift before I’ve given it to its intended recipient, so it’s easy for them to get overlooked on this blog in favour of projects that I can show off the second I’ve finished them.
So, with apologies to niecling no 2 who is still waiting for the circle skirt I promised her (shhh! I think she’s forgotten!), let’s start with niecling no 3. (Note: Nieclings are numbered by age, so niecling 3 is actually the youngest of my three nieces.)
Niecling no 3 fell in love with my sock monkeys when she came for a visit earlier this year. They are fairly sad examples as they are the first two I ever made and have suffered quite a lot of attention from various children over the years.
I’d made several more since then but not for a while, so I had a look online to refresh my memory and found this tutorial which was very useful and made improvements on my previous method. I had a very clear idea of what kind of socks I wanted to use, and after dragging my poor mum around the shops I found them! Pink and striped!
So here she is, niecling no 3’s pink stripey sock monkey.
She is very squishy! I couldn’t resist giving her a little belly button, also I made her an elasticated bead necklace which doubles as a bracelet for my niece. Niecling no 3 was delighted with her monkey and named her Ana. When asked what she wanted for her birthday her answer was always “a sock monkey and Frozen toys”, so I think it’s obvious what inspired the name choice!
The sock monkey was a relatively quick make, but nephling no 1’s present has been an ongoing project for months. In fact, I think it’s the biggest present I’ve ever made! Nephling no 1 is very into the Marvel universe at the moment, and especially the Avengers, so I decided to make him a blanket inspired by my favourite Avenger, the Hulk.
If you’re not a movie or comic book fan you might not immediately see the Hulk connection here, but the colours are representative of classic Hulk: green for his skin and purple for the pants that are usually all that survives his transformation from Bruce Banner to the Incredible Hulk. Sometimes his hair is black, sometimes green, but the narrow black stripes on the blankets also represent the black ink outlines of the art in the original comic books.
The shape of the blanket and the way the colours radiate out from the middle remind me of the sound effects bubbles in comics. It’s just begging for a giant SMASH! or BAM! written across the middle!
It also goes very nicely with my sofa!
This was the second blanket I made with this free pattern by Celeste Young (you can see my first one in this post) and I had to shop around a bit to get the right Hulky colour palette in Aran weight acrylic.
I went with King Cole Big Value Aran in Kiwi, Damson and Black, and although the colour was spot on, the yarn itself was a little thin. I added an additional band of green and black to make the blanket a decent size, which meant an extra six rounds. That doesn’t sound like much but every round takes longer than the last and it soon adds up!
If only Stylecraft made their Special Aran acrylic in as many colours as their Special Double Knit. 😦
Nephling no 1 was pleased with his blanket (don’t worry, we also gave him an Amazon voucher so he can choose some DVDs too!), and was impressed that I’d given him the biggest present I’d ever made. Niecling No 1 knew I was making the blanket for her brother and has requested one too, and if I manage to get it done in time for her birthday later this month there’s a good chance that nieceling no 2 (their little sister) might ask for one, so as not to be left out!
Maybe I should pull my finger out and finish that circle skirt for her, it might just provide enough of a distraction to avoid complete crochet blanket overload!