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Sunday Afternoons

Sunday afternoons are my favorite times of the week. The house is quiet. Athrun is usually with his Dad, Brock is working on whatever his project for the day is, and I am able to pretty much do whatever I want. Turns out, whatever I want is usually pretty simple: knit, read a book, take a nap, cook. Usually it’s a good mix of all four.

Today I have a pot of chicken broth in the works while casting on Brock’s yearly sweater, which is difficult enough that I can’t read while I knit. This year I am knitting him an Aran because the man looks good in cables. I’ve been admiring this pattern for a good year now, and finally got the yarn to cast on this week, as part of his Christmas present.

An Aran For Brock Cast On

I am using Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool in Oatmeal. I don’t tend to pay a lot of attention to Lion Brand yarn, because they are often acrylic blends or just straight up acrylic, but I really like this wool. I made Brock’s Ishmael Sweater out of it last year, and it’s held up really well. He wears this sweater every day, so he’s really put it through the ringer.

Otherwise I’ve been working on Christmas presents non-stop.

Christmas Work
It doesn’t look like much, but 99% of the presents under that tree are handmade. (I also have a cat and a kid, and they both like the tree. I didn’t feel the need to tidy the tree skirt or bring the other half of the presents out of hiding.) Also, wrapping presents at 6 months pregnant is hard work, but at least we have plenty of floor space now to do it on!

I am really excited about Athrun’s present this year, even though it’s just about the only I didn’t make, but more on that after Christmas.

What are you looking forward to this year?

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How to Plan Your Christmas Knitting*

Like most years, I am doing a little bit of Christmas knitting, though I am getting a late start on it because of the sickness I have been suffering from. I am doing much better, thank you for asking, just a bit of a cough left is all.

I meant to start my Christmas knitting just after Thanksgiving, but there is so much more to Christmas knitting than simply gathering yarn and needles. It takes planning–a careful handle on time management to get it all done and still sleep in the week leading up to the actual holiday. Here’s my guide to getting it all done right.

First, clean the house and rummage through closets to make space for the Christmas decorations and later for all of the Christmas presents that are going to come in. If you are like me you will likely find a set of needles or two that might come in handy for the actual knitting part–or yarn you forgot you had. How handy! Aren’t you glad you did that?

Then decorate the tree.

Try to be tastefully spare, if you can.

Next, it is imperative to try out a new Gingerbread Cookie recipe.

I find that Gingerbread Monsters go very well with a bit of Earl Grey–good way to cozy down to knitting a pair of mittens.

Then of course comes the most difficult part of Christmas Knitting: putting away all of the projects you really want to work on until you get through the stuff you have to do for everybody else.

Then get distracted and start a new project!

Finally, you are ready to cast on.

Make sure to do the most luscious project first. This one is 45% silk!

*Alternatively, The Procrastinator’s Guide to Christmas Knitting

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Super Secret Christmas Projects, part one

Since I was writing about it all month, I thought I would share what I made my family and friends for Christmas.

A simple 2×2 rib scarf for my brother to use while riding his moped around Wichita in his school (Wichita State University) colors. I did a Fibonacci sequence for the stripes to mix up the colors progression a little bit. Knit out of Patons yarn, the black factory dyed, the yellow hand dyed, held double. Very quick and squishy and warm.

I promised this hat to my step-mother in some distant month, April or May, and finally started finished it this past month. It’s out of an old yarn I had left over from knitting her a scarf, so it should match. I think it’s a Patons yarn as well. I lost the ball band, but from the feel of it, there is definitely acrylic in this yarn, so it’s obviously from the very early days of knitting. It knit up nice, and the hat looks great. These are wonderful colors for my step-mom, and the hat fits! (Of course, I didn’t bring my camera on Christmas, too many other things to remember, so I don’t have any pictures of folks wearing their new knitted goods.) This is the pattern I used. I like it, but I found the child size really fit an adult’s head. Bear that in mind if you want to make one for yourself.

I also knit my dad a hat, a plain almost black beanie, out of Cascade 220 superwash. I finished it right before I wrapped gifts, so I didn’t get any photographs, but I expect you to be able to use your imagination. I improvised the pattern, and didn’t use quite one whole ball of yarn.

In addition to the scarf, my brother was the happy recipient of a pair of hand knit socks out of my very favorite sock yarn, Protoceratops. It’s 100% superwash merino, a 3-ply yarn that doesn’t seem to even need nylon to keep it strong, because I have had socks knit out of this that I have worn hard for over a year with no signs of wear. I thought it would serve my brother well on the moped and in his under-heated college boy house.

(Something you may not know about me: I used to ride a moped, and I sympathize with moped riders during the Kansas winter. It’s cold!)

And just for fun, a kiddo pic.

Athrun, “working on his novel” the day before Christmas. Such concentration. He couldn’t possibly be playing a video game.

I have just been reminded that I have doctor’s orders to take it easy. I’ve had a nasty cold for about the last week. I finally went to the doctor yesterday and found out part of the reason why my face felt like it was eating itself was that I have an ear infection. I know, what kind of adult gets an ear infection? On the upside, I now have medicine, and feel more like I just have a normal cold instead of a face-eating one. I am going back to the sofa to alternate between knitting my newest sweater and reading Death Comes to Pemberley. At least now you know why the writing is so disjointed in this post.

How was your holiday?

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Approaching the Holidays


I am in love with my new Lace colorway, Curry. I know it is basically winter, and I am supposed to be moving on to a more wintery palette full of heathery jewel tones, but I can’t seem to get myself off orange. Whenever I look at this yarn, I think of long, delicate lace evening gloves or an elegant, spider web wisp of a shawl. That is saying something, because all I want to knit right now are sweaters.

Of course, I am knitting a good portion of my Christmas presents this year, because I don’t really have any money, but I do have plenty of time and yarn. However, my gratuitous sweater knitting is being somewhat hindered by numerous small projects. Not that I am complaining. I love the feeling of accomplishment which comes with completing a whole project after only a few hours worth of work. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have four sweaters just waiting to hop on the needles. (I do have to say that I don’t especially like knitting glove fingers. I hereby declare that I will only knit mittens from now on!)

I only have six more small projects to go, so I better get myself on it. (That doesn’t even count my design projects-Oy!)

How is your holiday crafting coming along?

*I am running a little special in my shop from now until Christmas just to help out with the overwhelming nature of the holidays. Free shipping on all domestic (US only) purchases from now through Christmas. What a great time to get one of those sweater lots!
coupon code: HOLIDAYS2011

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Knitting Class

Between running errands and putting up the Christmas tree today, I have been cementing the details of my lesson plan for my first knitting class. I cannot say how jazzed I am to have the opportunity to pass on a bit of what I have learned over the last couple of years.

I finished one of my samples today, and it’s bright pink and fun.

Just for fun, my second knitting project ever.

I used it as a sleeve for my netbook while I was in school. It worked great!

Is there anything you want to learn how to make?