Monthly Archives: December 2014

odds and ends

I haven’t shown you this cute pair of mittens yet:

who needs thumbs 2

They’re for Windsor, so they’re thumbless. And I knit them up in a single weekend even though I knit 3.85 mittens total. I had almost finished the pair before I realized they were just the right size, which is bad for babies – they need room to grow.

I finished one more gift just in time for Christmas day:

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This is the Eden Fells hat. It was still on the needles while people were opening gifts, but it was given on the 25th. I cast on for this hat at the end of last week, so I’m pretty proud that I had it finished on time – it’s 27 inches around (and just barely fits)

There is one more gift that was done on the 26th. More pictures soon, we just need to catch some daylight…

Finally, my gift along interview is up! I’m happy to be featured over at Tricot Treat (Maylin is the mastermind behind Wingspan, among other lovelies)

wrapping it up

I hope you had a wonderful holiday no matter what you were celebrating this week and this month. We celebrate Christmas, and with Windsor and her cousin (a year older than her) underfoot it is a very joyous holiday! As I suspected, I gave a few IOUs, but only to the adults on my list who will appreciate January Gifts just as much. The children mostly got sewing this year, instead of knitting. Sewing is much faster, so you can see what I did there…

Capes all around! Windsor got a hat and a skirt too. I had dreams of making a robin hood hat for my nephew – but my lack of time and craft felt got in the way…

I have one more gift-along present to show you all, my Stasia Cowl – which I finished in mid December, but apparently forgot to blog.

stasia 3

I knit this out of a full skein of peace fleece. It’s lovely and squishy. The cowl is knit flat, pulled through a keyhole style opening in the middle, twisted around itself, and seamed together at the ends to make a second keyhole. The result is this cool twisty squishy fabric which can’t quite be explained, or even demonstrated in 2D photos.

stasia 4

So you’ll have to take my word for it (ravelry project here.)

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Advent

lighted candles in the evergreens

And so…

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.

The Shortest Day – Susan Cooper

sunset

Christmas cookies

I needed some cookies for a swap at work. It was December 14th when I was baking, also known as the day after St. Lucia day. Also also known as the day many of my relatives uploaded their St. Lucia photos to facebook.

So with that inspiration I went searching for a pepparkakor cookie recipe (my sweedish family has passed down several recipes, including sweedish coffee bread and sweedish meatballs. But no pepparkakors)

pepparkakor

I used this one from PBS because it has maple syrup in it (Vermonty and Sweedish, what’s not to love!) I followed it almost exactly, except I added 1tsp of cardamom as well – because every sweedish recipe from my family includes cardamom (yes, even the meatballs) so I figured it ought to go in spiced cookies as well.

pepparkakor 1

Those are my great grandmother’s cookie cutters. Since we don’t have a family recipe I can’t say for certain they were ever used to make St. Lucia cookies before. But I think it’s a pretty safe bet.

And of course Windsor helped! If by “helped” you understand I mean she had a great time eating raw dough and smashing it into the little cookie cutters I gave her.

pepparkakor baby

You can’t deny she gets the concept. The dough is supposed to go in those things, somehow…

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O Christmas Tree

o christmas tree

Pretty colors

Well, sometimes the weekend just gets away from me. I’m sure you know how that goes. One second it’s friday evening. Then there’s a blur of cookie making, snowpants, glittery christmas decorations, and all of a sudden: BAM. It’s monday morning, you’re back at work, and you haven’t seen a computer screen all weekend. And I’m not sorry about that either.

So let’s have monday’s post today, shall we? I want to show you some pretty colorwork patterns that you could be knitting as part of the great indie Giftalong of 2014.

First I want to mention the Bark Cloth socks. I find that colorwork socks knit much faster than regular socks, not sure why. I’m making a pair this season, and I have to admit, they’re going more slowly than expected. But that’s because I’m not really knitting on them at all… Turns out even fast socks are slow if you just leave them in a corner. But wait! I’m getting side tracked. They’re still the prettiest socks I ever did see:

What other pretties do I have to show you? If you’re looking for intricate colorwork that’s not a huge commitment I love delicate little pretties for your hands. The Woodcarving mittens and Leighton House mitts fit the bill perfectly.

Woodcarving mittens are such a classic shape, and I’m a sucker for the blue and gold pairing. I also love the victorian filigree look to the Leighton House pattern.

If you’re looking for colorwork that’s a little less traditional I love the Alpine Lattice hat. The pattern includes a cowl too.

Give it as a set, or make different pieces for different people, whatever suits your fancy (and time constraints)

No time constraints in your schedule? My I recommend a colorwork sweater? How about something classic like Wrapped in Snowflakes:

The plain body and gauge will mean it’s quick, well – quick for a sweater.

beef tagine

Remember how I used to do all those lovely food posts? I have to say, the process of getting dinner on the table when you’re trying to feed a baby before her 7:340 bedtime? It’s a bit different. I’ve become a big fan of my crockpot (stereotypes are true for a reason)

But this crockpot recipe is actually pretty amazing. I adapted it from a dutch oven recipe I found online. I was looking for something beyond the standards of chilli, stew, and soup. I guess this is sort of like chilli. But the flavors are completely different.

Ingredients
1lb hamburg
1 14oz can each tomatoes and chickpeas
1 medium onion
3 c stock
1 small winter squash (I’m using mostly kaboucha, a small one is still 2-3lbs)
3oz prunes
spices: pepper, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, paprika

Now for the fun (easy part)
The night before put the frozen hamburg lump in the crockpot. Open the tomatoes and dump them in. Open the chickpeas, drain them, and dump them in.

Chop up that onion and those prunes, and dump it in too.

Ready? This is the hardest part. Chop/peel the winter squash. I generally slice the thing in half, scoop the seeds, slice it into wedges, then use the chopping knife to take the skin off. Then finish chopping.

If you’re really trying to minimize work the next day put all the spices in a bowl and stick it somewhere safe, so you don’t have to measure them while keeping a 14 month old entertained. I probably use about a teaspon each of cumin and ginger, half a teaspoon of paprika nad cinnamon, and I just grind the pepper right into the crockpot so I have no idea how much I’m adding. This dish definitely needs salt, but I usually add that at the table.

Put the crockpot in the fridge and go to bed.

In the morning put the crockpot on low, and walk away. When you get home (for me that’s 11.5 hours later. But I bet this dish is done in 8 or 10) add the spices, and start some rice on the stove (bonus points for a rice cooker with a timer)

tagine

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picturesque

christmas tree farm

Gift along cables

The first three mondays of the gift along I posted three designer interviews. To continue the gift-along theme today I’m going to highlight a handful of lovely patterns from other gift-along participating designers. While the sale only ran during the first week the gift along goes until the end of December. I think we must be nearing the halfway point when the first round of physical prizes will be awarded (check out that list, seriously). You could win physical or digital prizes just by being a member of the ravelry group, and the more you post the more chances you have to win!

Since I love cables let’s look at some pretty, pretty cables you could be knitting that are gift-along eligible:

First I have some really delicous cabled hats in my own GAL queue, such as Polonaise, which is just covered in classic cables:

And Wobble Bass, another example of cables with colorwork. I need to design some cables with colorwork, but really I need to knit a few first and get a feel for my technique options.
Wobble Bass

For the “cables I have queued, non-hat” category I have Dave Finally Gets His. A pair of crazy thick house socks with gusset cables that make me SQEEE every time I see them:

If you want to knit cables for a little one I’d highly recommend Roseberry. Lookit the little hood!

And if you’re either looking for a statement piece (where the statement is probably “will you marry me”) Or you’re just doing some selfish knitting during the GAL I’m dreaming of knitting Shakespeare in Love.

Mmmmmm CABLES….