Friday, December 25, 2009

Plum Pudding (Merry Christmas)

I tried plum pudding for the first time today. It just hasn't appealed to me in the past, but we picked up a small pudding at a British imports shop in Plymouth last month, on impulse.

We will be having it again. And it will be homemade. I had no idea it would be so good! Lovely blue flames and all...not to mention a good dose of real heavy cream from a local dairy...I adored it.

Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope you had a joyous day.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pattern: Superwash Potholders

Here's the pattern for the potholders shown in my previous post.


Trekking fach (color 1802)*
Cascade 220 Superwash in forest green

No. 6 straight needles (American size)
Size G crochet hook

Stitch pattern (linen stitch):

Row 1 [RS]: (sl 1 wyib) *K1, sl 1 wyif*, end K1
Row 2 [WS]: (sl 1 wyib) K1, P1, *sl 1 wyib, P1*, end K1

Knit 79 rows in pattern. Bind off on WS in knit stitch.

Cut off working yarn and fasten off. (Leave at least 9" of yarn to work crocheted loop.)

At same corner as last BO stitch, work a chain of 20 loops. Fasten off. Weave in all loose ends.

These can be washed in cold water in the washer, but should be allowed to drip-dry.

*The Trekking sock yarn is a light DK weight, and the Cascade a light worsted, if you wish to substitute. I did not take a gauge measurement (and the ones I made are now wrapped up for the recipient) but the finished pieces are slightly larger than commercial potholders. I hate getting burns!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Final Knitted Gifts

All done! And it's December 23. Not bad, especially considering that some of these were rather last-minute ideas.

Here's the set I made for our friend Chris. The mitts are his Christmas present, and the hat is for his birthday...the poor guy's birthday is December 26.

These are the potholders I made for our neighbor. I think they'll serve very well. I'm thinking about making some more for myself, but in red (my kitchen is red and white).

Here's a close-up of the texture. I used linen stitch, so they're quite dense. This would make a good hot pad, too.

It took about two days to make them. Boring knitting, but I like the end result.

An early Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

White Christmas?

It's possible, according to the weather forecast. At least I'm in the Northeast now, where a storm doesn't instill real panic. Though in RI there is the most peculiar run on milk and bread. What, you couldn't go a few days without? Ah, well. (Mind,I'm not saying this is a bad idea if you have kids, but adults should be just fine with water for a few days.)

We have most of the food for Christmas dinner and for brunch that day. We bought real popcorn at the farmer's market. Home cured bacon. A pannetone for French toast. Our Christmas cards and the last package went out today.

I finished the last gift today. It's ready to be blocked. Pictures soon.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ta Da! (Or, finshed.)

Yes, it's true. Not only are they knitted, blocked, and dried, they have been shipped out. Not to sea, but their final destinations. One to my MiL in Michigan, one to my sister in Texas.

These socks are made of Cascade Fixation, and the pattern is just an openwork rib on the ankle. Piece-of-cake knitting, but pretty.

This neckwarmer is made from a pattern in "Knit Two Together", and it's very fast. I used some stash yarn, a blend of baby alpaca, silk, and cashmere. MiL is allergic to wool.

I made myself one a few years ago, from Lorna's Laces in silk & merino, and I still wear it a lot. Lace in a circle, can't go wrong with it.

As for local Christmas knitting, I'm moving right along again. The second mitt is done except for the thumb. It will likely be finished today or tonight, and I'll cast on for the hat, too.

After that, I want to put a stocking top on a sock that looks great, but isn't the right gauge for DH; it's going to become a kitty Christmas stocking. One more thing, too. I would like to knit some potholders for our neighbor across the street. She just lost her mother, who was a grand old dame. They've been good neighbors, and last year Mrs. Brown (her mother) gave me a dishtowel with a crocheted top. J wasn't able to get to her usual craft shows this year, due to the funeral, and family in town. She likes lots of color, so I'm going to dig up some crazy colorway sockyarn and do it in linen stitch. Those will be fun.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Three and Four Are Blocking

(To any non knitters out there, I apologize for the post title. The knitters understand, especially at this time of the year.)

The socks for my sister are done, washed, and in the process of blocking.

I decided that the mittens for MiL were not working out. I don't think they'll be warm enough, etc. BUT they would be good liners. So they're a start to next year's gift. I have some chocolate brown alpaca that will go well with the fawn colored silk/alpaca on the go. I'll make heavy mittens with a lace motif on the back of the hand and tack the two together.

With that in mind, I made MiL's gift this afternoon! It's a lace cowl. The pattern is out of Knit Two Together, the book that Tracy Ullman put out a few years ago. It's exquisitely simple; just a feather & fan pattern in the round. Very forgiving as to type and amount of yarn, to boot. I made one for myself a few years ago from some Lorna's Laces in merino & silk. The cowl I made today is in an alpaca/silk/cashmere blend and it's very soft & warm. She'll love it. It's washed & blocking right now, too.

Pictures soon. When they're all dry...provided I remember to take photos before I wrap them up!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gift No. 2

These are fingerless mitts for one of my nephews in Michigan. He's about 12, so I decided if they fit me, they should fit him (though they might be a little bit long).

I used Mission Superwash & one other superwash, and Nos. 5, 6, & 7 needles.

My sister's socks are moving right along; I'll probably finish & block them today...I hope!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

So much for not knitting presents...

This is the first. I made it for my FiL. The original pattern is from the Lion Brand website, but I changed the decreases & went from two colors to one. The embroidery was also my idea.

You can't see inside, but I added a snap so that the glasses won't slip out.

It was a very quick knit. I finished it in one evening, while watching movies. It took two days to dry (stuffed with three plastic grocery bags).

I will probably make more of these. The end result is good; better than the photo, I think.

My sister's socks are still OTN, but I've just finished the gusset on #2. MiL's mittens are more than 1/2 done. With luck and persistance I'll have everything finished by Monday, I hope. Oh, I also made a pair of striped fingerless mitts for one of my nephews in MI. I'll put up a photo shortly.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Christmas Tree 2009

The tree topper is new. I bought it today, as I couldn't find my angel without digging through all the stored decorations.

Here are some close-ups of the other ornaments:

I'm not much of a photographer. One of these days I will finally manage to get the flash to stay off. Much of the detail has been washed out, but it gives you some idea of how my idea paid off.

It was quite a bit of work, but worthwhile. I like it!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Quest for a Cat-Safe Christmas Tree

I've been lucky with my pets. Until now.

Than Chai (you remember him, Destructo, The Wonder Kitty?) was a little too fond of trying to climb the tree last year. We locked it into the guest room, but this year there's no room, as it now contains a bed.

So I was mourning the lack of a tree this year, in advance, while paging through a book on Christmas cookies and had a flash of genius. Or hope, or something like that.

What about a tree with ornaments no more breakable & valuable than a cookie? Mind, I haven't gotten to baking the cookies yet (though the dough is chilling even now in the Monitor Top), but over the past week I have done the following:

*gilded walnuts
*made snowflakes from silver doilies
*collected large pine cones, sprayed them w/white paint & added glitter
*studded tangerines with cloves and hung them with ribbon
*bought candy canes

I am going to take a chance with my angel. Only his head is breakable, and the boys haven't tried to climb the tree once. Fa Sing does reach up and ring the bells. I hung lots of bells on the tree to set up an alarm system. It works pretty well, except when the heat sets them off.

Today the Victorian tin icicles arrived from The Vermont Country Store, and they're on as well.

When I have the cookies in place, I'll take some pictures and post them. Probably before next Christmas, but don't place any bets. It's safer that way.