Cocoa Cozies (p.60)
I love giving hand knit gifts for the holidays. I've made hats, mittens, scarves, stuffed toys--you name it. This year, I've got a new plan: I designed a new knitting pattern--Cocoa Cozies--and I'm giving my friends a cute mug and a cozy.
Cross-Stitch Stocking Tags (p.58)
Unpacking the Christmas decorations is my favorite part of the holidays. I have ornaments from my dad's childhood and from mine, a darling stuffed Santa that my mom gave me, and myriad tree-shaped candles that make the mantle magical. Also, a Christmas village comes to life on the coffee table. It's a labor of love putting it all out. (And a pain in the you-know-what to put it away!)
cross-stitch stocking tags
I've added my own touches to the decorations over the years, with handknit ornaments and other Christmas crafts, and my favorite stocking tags made with cross-stitch patterns. I started making these for my family when I was in college when I discovered and fell in love with cross-stitch. I chose small, easy cross-stitch patterns to stitch onto a rectangle, and then stuffed them. I hung them on the stockings late one Christmas Eve after everyone had gone to sleep and before Santa showed up.
My family loved them! I've added to the collection as our family has grown and changed. Minus was added the Christmas after we got married, and when nephew Henry came along, he got one, too. Gramma has passed on, but we keep a stocking up for her. I think I should probably make some personalized Christmas stocking tags for the pets, don't you?
How to Make Personalized Christmas Stocking Tags
My tags range in sizes, but the average is 3 1/4" X 2 1/4". I stitched them on a piece of Aida cross-stitch cloth that was about 3" x 4" so I had about a half-inch selvage edge to sew them together.
Step 1. Look through your cross-stitch books and magazines (or online!) for small objects to stitch, they can be holiday themed or not; I love my mix of both. You'll also need cross-stitch patterns for the alphabet to use for the names on the tags. There are many websites that offer free cross-stitch patterns, or you can copy mine if you want to!
Step 2. After the stitching is done, choose some fabric for the backing material. I chose fabric from my mom's stash, so they're all different, but you could get a couple of fat quarters from the fabric store. You need a piece that's 3" x 4" for each tag.
Step 3. Place the Alda fabric and the backing fabric right-sides together and back-stitch around both long edges and one short edge. Clip the corners to reduce bulk, being careful to not to clip too close to the stitching line. Trim the rest of the selvage to one-quarter inch. Turn the tag right side out.
Step 4. To make the hanger, thread a length of embroidery floss (all six strands) up through one inside corner and then down through the opposite corner, and knot both ends on the inside. (For the "Gramma" tag, I pulled a doubled length of thread through one hole and tied the ends in a knot on the inside.)
Step 5. Fill the tag with your preferred stuffing, and whip-stitch the edge closed. (For the "Gramma" and "Mimi" tags, I used a running stitch around the tag, which leaves a dash pattern. This stitch is easy to do on Aida fabric since the holes are already there. Then I fringed the edges for a decorative look. I really like these, especially Gramma's, with the long fringe.)
These tags were made over the course of 25 years, so you can see the evolution of my design. The frayed-edge tags were the last ones I made and my favorites. But they all hold a dear place in my heart, and I love saying hello to them during the holidays.
These cozies are all over the place in the knitting world, and they're both useful and fun to knit. And fast! I made two of these easy knitting patterns in one evening, so if you're looking for a quick bunch of gifts, knit several of these, buy a set of coffee mugs, and you're all set. I can see knitting one of these for each of the gals in my knitting group, and they would love them!
I like knitting these from wool because it holds warmth. So, while protecting your hands from a too-hot mug, gentle heat still comes through to warm your hands. Lovely! If you're worried about washing these, you can use a superwash wool, which is machine washable.
If you're new to knitting cables, this is the perfect beginner knitting pattern. After working through this cable knitting pattern a couple of times, you'll be a cable knitter without fear.
Mug cozies really do make adorable gifts--with built-in packaging! In each mug, put an envelope of cocoa, a small baggie of mini marshmallows, and a candy cane, and you'll have a bunch of smiling gift recipients!
Cabled Cocoa Cozy Knitting Pattern
Needles: Size 6 US (4 mm)
Yarn: Any worsted-weight yarn. The green sample is knit with Cascade 220 Superwash (Green Apple #802), and the turquoise sample is knit from Lamb's Pride Worsted (discontinued color, but Teal Haze M158 is close).
Notions: Tapestry needle
CO 15 sts.
Rows 1-3: Knit.
Row 4 (increase row): K3, ml, k3, m1, k1, m1, k1, m1, k1, k3, m1, k3--20 sts.
Row 5: K3, purl to last three sts, k3.
Row 1: K3, pm, p4, pm, k6, pm, p4, pm, k3.
Row 2: K3, sm, k4, sm, p6, sm, k4, sm, k3.
Rows 3 & 4: Repeat Rows 1 and 2 again, slipping markers instead of placing them on Row 1.
Row 5: K3, sm, p4, sm, c31, sm, p4, sm, k3.
Row 6: K3, sm, k4, sm, p6, sm, k4, sm, k3.
Row 7: K3, sm, p4, sm, k6, sm, p4, sm, k3.
Row 8: K3, sm, k4, sm, p6, sm, k4, sm, k3.
Row: 9: K3, sm, p4, sm, c31, sm, p4, sm, k3.
Row 10: K3, sm, k4, sm, p6, sm, k4, sm, k3.
Row 11: K3, sm, p4, sm, k6, sm, p4, sm, k3.
Row 12: K3, sm, k4, sm, p6, sm, k4, sm, k3.
Rows 13-16: Rep rows 11 and 12 two times.
Row 17: K3, sm, p4, sm, c31, sm, p4, sm, k3.
Row 18: K3, sm, k4, sm, p6, sm, k4, sm, k3.
Repeat rows 1 through 18 until you reach seven inches. If you reach seven inches and haven't completed a repeat, that's okay. Stop at seven inches. (The samples are about two and a half repeats.)
Decrease row: K2, K2tog, K3, K2tog, K2tog, K2tog, K3, K2tog, K2--15 sts.
Knit three rows of garter stitch.
Bind off knitwise.
Fold the cable strip in half, right-side out. Sew the first three stitches and the last three stitches of the cast-on and bind-off edges together firmly.
You can block this if you want to, but don't stretch it out or it'll be too loose on the mug. It's meant to fit very snug so that it doesn't slip around and cause you to spill your cocoa!
KNITTING PATTERN ABBREVIATIONS
c31: Slip three sts onto cable needle and hold in front. Knit the next three stitches, and then knit the three sts held on the cable needle.
k2tog: Knit two stitches together--one stitch decreased.
m1: Make one increase--Insert left needle from front to back under the ladder between the two stitches. Knit into the back of the stitch. One stitch increased,
pm: Place marker
sm: Slip marker
If your cozy loosens up after a few uses, wash it and it'll snap back into shape.
Putting on the Cocoa Cozy
As mentioned, this is designed to fit very snugly. To get it on your mug, slip it onto the bottom of the cup and pull the opening over the handle. You might have to give it a good tug! Once it's on the mug, it should be very stretched out and not slip around.
Caption: I hope you'll make personalized Christmas stocking tags for your family. If you don't cross-stitch, you can make embroidered name tags, quilted tags, or sewn tags. Just get crafty!
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|Title Annotation:||COUNTRY LIFE :: HOMEMADE GIFTS|
|Publication:||Countryside & Small Stock Journal|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2017|
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