Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas is all but Wrapped Up!

It's not often that I can boast about having my Christmas packages all wrapped up early! But it's a fact. Last week I sent them by airmail hurtling towards their final destinations in Australia. God's speed my little boxes of goody knittedness!

Just because my Aussie Christmas knitting is done, doesn't mean I can rest on my roly poly butt! I still have a little knitting to do for my mother out law ... AND ... can you believe that there are three birthdays around Christmas I have to knit for too? One on Christmas Day, one on Boxing Day, and one just a few days after Christmas.

Since my last post I finished those darn socks for Mum. Excuse the language, but bloody hell! I thought these socks would never end. I used up all but about 30yds of the availalable 437yds! Why is it that the older parents get, the longer they want their socks? The sock style was a pretty generic sock construction, and I improvised the pattern from a cable pattern book.

Gerlinde Cable Socks

Following my sock madness, I needed some project satisfaction, so I cast on my gorgeous cashmere/silk yarn for the Darkside Cowl by Sarah Fama. I had exactly 100yds, and when I cast off, I had exactly 1yd to spare! Weird thing is that you knit it inside out...there is no outside pattern....and that was a little deceptive cos I kept thinking I was making mistakes!

Chocolatey Darkside Cowl

Last week I went with Maria and Barb to Shall We Knit. We'd signed up for a two hour workshop entitled Candle Flame Cowl by Julia Allen. I didn't need to learn how to knit a cowl, but I did need a good road trip and fibre fix! I knit my cowl from left over yarn from the Central Park Hoodie. A very fast knit, easy pattern to remember, and very effective.

Ozmoss Candle Flame Cowl

After I cast off the cowl, I cast on for a pair of Aran Felted Mittens #132 by Shirl the Purl . The pattern is by Cabin Fever and sized for a medium lady's hand . This project was a bit of stash busting of Cascade 220 from all those Ayla back packs I made for my nieces! I followed the pattern fairly closely; just made a few mods for a man sized hand. Final thought: if you don’t like to purl, then I would suggest you probably not knit these mittens. It’s ALL purling except for the cabling. And I don't understand why you would purl the palm with stockinette on the inside....I get it if you garter stitch the palm for's a mystery!

Jaran Mittens

Whilst the mittens were drying, I cast on for a last! I've been wanting to knit Hilja by Niina Hakkarainen, for quite a while. I dyed the yarn three weeks ago, but the Christmas knitting had to be finished first! Remember the caramello yarn??

I searched books and Ravelry for hours trying to find a simple pattern I could incorporate into this mindless stockinette vest. The difficulty is that this is a fitted vest. The front and back increases and decreases are made six inches in from the sides. This left me with only six inches available in the middle.....which would have been OK if the vest had not been a deep(ish) V neck.

I contemplated a cable on the sides, but the cable would have gone wonky where the knitting joins in the round. I thought about off-setting the cables just an inch in from the sides, but that woulda looked a bit weird!

Then I thought about a celtic symbol cable in the middle of the front, but since the largest vest size was for a 36" bust, I will have absolutely NO wiggle room for a cable that has little to no stretch.

Now I coulda put a cable on the back, but since I'm such a cold fish, it would be covered up most of the time.

So, stockinette simplicity it is:

Hilja Caramello

Now, in between all this vest contemplation, I decided that I loved the Jaran Mittens so much that I want a pair. And then Nick saw the Jaran Mittens drying and told me he wants a pair!

Since he's a Christmas baby, I told him I'd knit him some for his birthday, and that he could choose any colour other than black, dark brown, dark blue or dark green. As much as I love those colours, I do most of my knitting at night in front of the TV, and it's simply too much eye strain for this blind bat. So he suggested silver and dark silver??? What the....?

I went through my stash three times....I just didn't have any worsted weight yarn that was the right colour with the required yardage. the dye pot OzB!!

Here is the yarn for I dyed last night for Nick's mittens. He likes it, and that's all that matters in the end:

Silver Bells

Phew!! I've been busy!

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