Monday, 3 January 2011

Christmas projects

I always start my christmas projects too late .... or rather, once I have started I keep adding to the list of things I want to make before christmas - as the time to complete them gets shorter the list seems to keep getting longer. Still, it wouldn't be the same if I wasn't frantically finishing something off on christmas eve!!

This year's christmas knitting started in good time (I thought - ha ha!!) with socks for Steph
Then came a mobius cowl for Jill, using a reversible cable technique I learned this summer from Woolly Wormhead. Because the two cables are reversible and the loop of the cowl is twisted I called it Double Twist:
As the autumn evenings got cooler I decided to knit a pair of split-toe socks for myself so I could go on wearing my fit-flops. As have no intention of wearing them when out and about I used up oddments of sock yarn in a bizarre mix of colours. They were my first toe-up socks, and although I had to alter the toe shaping I will definitely continue with toe-up in future


I know they look odd but they are really cozy - I need to knit another pair for when they are in the wash!!
By now, it was time to put spinning on hold and concentrate on knitting for gifts, so my 'plum jam' merino/silk mix fibre got put into the corner, about half of it spun in to singles. It will 'appear' in a later post.

so back to the christmas list, and a slightly slouchy hat for my daughter Kirsty, in a colour chosen to match the scarf she always wears when its cold. This was a nice quick knit.

I was on a roll by then, and went on to knit a pair of mittens for my stepfather Eric. I printed off a pattern from http://www.ravelry.com/ - the Chevalier mittens. I was a bit alarmed when the first page out of the printer was in Finnish!! Luckily an english translation followed, but as the whole mitten was charted I think I would have managed.  Eric's mitts were knitted in some lovely aran wool from the restored mill at New Lanark. It was a nice pattern to knit but the rows with six cables in 24 stitches proved too much for my beloved KnitPro interchangeable wooden needles, and one of the tips snapped! I had to finish them on metal dpns, which I didn't like much as they are slippery and noisy compared to the wooden tipped circular needle. Magic loop is great for knitting mittens as you can have the front on one side and the palm on the other.
While knitting Eric's mitts I decided that Uncle Richard might like a pair too, so I went straight on to another pair, using the same pattern but this time in blue with a band of cream across the middle of each mitten. And still on the dpns...  I had been planing to give Uncle Richard a 'maths geek' scarf that I knitted in the summer (not that he is a geek, I just thought it was a nice design!) but it turned out to be a bit narrow for a man's scarf.

One snowy sunday afternoon at the beginning of December I took a break from knitting, got the sewing machine out and made 'paperchains' out of a variety of christmassy fabrics. The finished length was enough to garland the banister of the lower staircase, and a short length to decorate the space above my computer monitor at work



The short length came home with me after my last working day in December and went on to the christmas tree


I also made a number of teacloths out of one of the fabrics - white background with a print of holly and berries. They were about tea-towel size, and I added some narrow antique lace along each short end. I later used them to wrap gifts for those friends that I thought most likely to appreciate wrapping they could use, rather than paper to throw away. I also discovered that wrapping awkward-shaped parcels in fabric is much easier than using paper! I found some red and white stripy string, which really set off the parcels.


Uncle Richard's mittens were finished and posted, along with Jill's cowl, and Steph's socks. I also made and sent an apron in red Gudrun Sjoden printed cotton to Donna in Lucca. They all went to the post office well before the last posting dates for christmas, but I think they must have been caught up in the backlog caused by the bad weather (well, bad for postal services, but of course perfect weather for spinning and knitting!!!!). Donna's parcel was the first one posted, but only arrived last week. Hopefully if Steph's parcel, and Richard & Jill's, haven't arrived yet they will soon. I haven't heard.

The last project to be completed before christmas was a Beaumont tam (designed by Jared Flood) for my daughter Hannah. I had knitted one for myself in the summer which she coveted, so I decided to knit one for her in the same colours, but reversing the background/contrast. The pattern probably shows up better this way round. They are very cozy as the yarn is J&S's shetland jumper weight, (undyed colours) and the stranding on the back gives a double thickness fabric. Hannah's hat (like Kirsty's) has one of my 'fait par maman' labels from Paris, so we will be able to tell the difference! (all the othe gifts got 'tricote main' labels. Even the socks!!). Knowing how long the first Beaumont took,  I wasn't sure I would get it finished in time,and I thought I might have to wrap it up still on the needles, but after Hannah came home for the holidays I was able to work at it when she was out with friends and I did just finish it  - at 6pm on Christmas eve!!!

I didn't quite complete my christmas list this year - I wanted to knit christmas decorations and make Hannah a new christmas stocking, but just didn't have time. Kirsty got one with her name knitted in to the cuff three years ago when she spent christmas in Spain, and I knitted one for Nick the following year, so Hannah's is overdue. However, she won't need it now till December, so I'll just put it at the top of the next christmas knitting list - and resolve to start sooner!!! But I can pretty much guarantee that I'll still be knitting away on christmas eve trying to get that last thing finished......

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