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My Favorite Things: brown paper packages tied up with strings

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In December, we tend to let the stress get to us. "My Favorite Things," a song from the musical The Sound of Music, offers us inspiration on quick knitting patterns to help relax, get through the holidays, and maybe even make a gift or two before all is said and done. Today's lyrical inspiration is "Brown paper packages tied up with strings," or ways to adorn a gift with yarn.

Brown paper packages tied up with strings

Knitted gift card holder: Mary Richmond offers this super-cute, super-easy and free pattern to make a garter-stitch pouch for a gift card. The pattern only requires one button and any worsted-weight yarn, and the only non-garter-stitch direction in the pattern is to make a button hole. The instructions are simple and a gift-card giver could make several holders in a short time, even while waiting to pick up the kids at school.

Bottle Cozy: Designer Valerie Teppo has designed a wine bottle cozy for Blue Sky Alpacas, and it is available for free on their website. The cozy fits most standard 750ml wine bottles, and can be adapted to change colors and stripe patterns easily. If you are headed to a holiday party, this is an excellent way to dress up that bottle of wine, and the host can re-use it another time.

Mini-mitt and hat garland: While this piece takes a particular amount of patience, it is perfect for travel since you can make each hat and mitt on the go and then attach them to the i-cord at the end for a pretty garland to decorate the house. A shorter garland could also be used to trim a package. The pattern is free on Free-KnitPatterns.com and can use any sport-weight yarn.

Ditty bags: For smaller items, such as earrings or stitch markers, a gift can be wrapped in a gift bag instead of a small box. Maia Discoe, the mind behind Maia Spins, offers a free pattern on her website for a simple ditty bag made on double-pointed needles. The stitch patterns are easy enough for a newer knitter, and each bag can be whipped up while using spare minutes between now and Christmas.

Take a bow: Instead of using store-bought ribbons and bows, Take a Bow is an excellent stash-buster to decorate a package, and it uses very little yarn. Alyssa Heath offers the pattern for free on her blog, and there are photos to demonstrate how it is constructed. The finished product on her blog measures seven inches across, but the bow can be adjusted to virtually any size based on either the size of the gift box, or the amount of yarn being used.

Knit wine bottle hats and scarves: If you just want to decorate your own table at a holiday dinner, then Lion Brand Yarn offers the perfect pattern set. Designed in conjunction with their Bonbons packs, each hat and scarf only uses a few yards of each yarn color and a knitter could decorate several bottles using just one pack of Bonbons. Best of all, the pattern set is free and can be accessed on the Lion Brand Yarn website.

Packages do not just have to be wrapped in paper, envelopes, and ribbon. Try your hand at using yarn to adorn packages this holiday season. Tomorrow's My Favorite Things theme is Cream-colored horses, or a bow to all things winter-white.

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