After Christmas I started volunteering at my daughter’s school a couple of mornings a week to provide some enrichment to her Grade 1 Class. I thought finger knitting might be fun for the children since it is quick and relatively easy to learn, and it provides them with a good set of skills (patience, concentration, hand-eye co-ordination). It is also a great precursor to knitting. Here is the You tube video that I use when I need to refresh myself with the cast-on and cast-off: Fingerknitting. Give it a try – it is really fun, and maybe you can teach a child you know. All you need is a ball of yarn and a little hand!
Kids love to make a little scarf, or head band. In our case, a scarf was lovingly made for our cat. It is pictured above arranged into a heart on a chair. You can see what she thinks of her scarf in the picture below.
Don’t worry. She only wore the scarf for the photo shoot. I think the look in her eyes clearly says “I will kill you while you sleep.”
Knitting ADD has set in for me again. I think that is one thing I love about Christmas knitting – the purpose, drive, deadline – everything I need to get focussed and get knitting! These days I am a bit lost in terms of project selection.
I finished a pair of plain, toe-up socks with a short row heel, and they were a delight for me. I seemed to be in the mood for some bright, self-striping workhorse yarn, and a pattern that didn’t require a lot of thinking. Interestingly, I talked to a friend after I cast these on, and she was starting a toe-up pair herself. When it came time to start a pattern, or work in stockinette, she simply couldn’t bear to work a plain sock and instead opted for a simple lace pattern. It really made me think about why we knit, and what we get out of it. I obviously had no interest in being challenged mentally, wanted to relax and multi-task (I have been listening to audio books lately while knitting). Perhaps I can’t focus as clearly as other knitters. Certainly I enjoy stockinette socks, and the way they feel in my boots or clogs, preferring them over cabled ones.
It really made me think about my late teens through my early twenties when I was an very adventurous knitter – always challenging myself with difficult patterns. I find now I knit for relaxation and pleasure, not wanting to challenge myself very much. Perhaps that will change. I completed this pair as well, converting a simple rib pattern to toe-up. The pattern is called Bloody Mary by Sandra Park and it is free!
How times have changed. Below this is my oldest, dare I say WIP – truly a languishing WIP. This is Alice Starmore’s Erin cardigan. I happily knit 5 sweaters and cardigans from her Celtic Collection book, but then I started this 17 colour, steeked cardigan, and began a Master’s degree in Engineering at the same time. Needless to say knitting took a back seat back then. I recognize that this may be a breeze to make for a lot of knitters. What killed me were the panels of celtic creatures that were not repeating or geometric. Gah! So here sits my cardigan. I must admit I have very little interest in finishing it, but I do think it may make a nice pillow. I think I will sew it up as is and stuff it. It will serve as a lovely memory of when I knit for a challenge. Btw – no I am not expecting, but yes, I did eat way too many cupcakes last week So what do you knit for? Relaxation? Mental challenge? I am curious, let me know.
Every year I try to come up some knitting resolutions, like learning a new skill, or perish forbid making a sweater (I am not very good at making sweaters – I seem to enjoy more portable things.
This year I am making one simple resolution – knit the good stuff. No hesitation, just knit it. You see, I am prone to keeping a skein of luxury yarn and waiting for that perfect project to come along..and you know what? It really is just a bit of indecisiveness on my part. With Ravelry around, there is no shortage of perfect patterns…
So after I finished my Christmas knitting, my dear friend Michele encouraged me to knit something for myself, with some yarn I have been adoring for a few months, kicking around my stash – Zauberball Schokocreme! I think I just really like saying Schokocreme…anyway here is my Schokocreme, and another colourway that I can’t remember the name of:
And so I cast on some mittens I have been dying to make (my own design – Striped Decadence Mittens) and I am thrilled with the result. My first pair of lined mitts!
So, in keeping with my resolve to knit the good stuff…a-stash diving I will go. I hope to get a pair of socks on the needles in short order, and I need a new hat. I just got a short hair cut and it makes berets hard to wear! I wish everyone happy knitting in 2011, and let me know if you have any knitting resolutions as well.
I could also say a zebra doesn’t change it’s stripes – hardy har. Christmas knitting is going well. This week I was inspired to make some mittens lined with alpaca that I’ve had in my stash for years. Of course I went back to my favourite sort of colourwork…stripes. Tres preppy, non? You can buy the pattern here for $3.00 (US funds). Striped Decadence Mittens.
I plan to churn out a couple more pairs of these for Christmas presents. Then I hope to get back to some non-mitten related knitting! I am also cooking up another free pattern. I hope to have it up here next week…
Some of my staple Christmas knitting projects include mittens. I make them for teachers, friends and family. I find they are generally well-received, appreciated and of course used! My favourite Christmas mittens to make are the ubiquitous and wonderful Newfie mittens, and 2 colour mittens, like my new pattern for Envy Checked Mittens.
The pattern is $3.00 (US funds) and includes instructions for small, medium and large, as well as for 2 cuff options. They work up quickly using worsted weight wool. Click the link above and it will take you to Paypal.
Gosh this fall is flying fast. I’m going to make this post short and sweet. Firstly, another free pattern. I hope you enjoy it. A simple and classic mitten made with worsted weight wool. Get your Houndstooth Check Mittens here: houndstooth mitts
Secondly: doughnuts. Oh yes I did. A Martha recipe for Pumpkin Cornmeal doughnuts. I dusted some with cinnamon sugar and for some I whipped up a glaze comprised of maple syrup, icing sugar and a dash of milk. YUM!
…was hard to find this week. More frogging than knitting going on over here! I started a pair of fingerless mitts from the latest Knitscene magazine – called Aegean mitts…and I have made so many mistakes! Not a complicated pattern really, just inattention on my part. Anyway, I’m using a lovely yarn I bought down on Yarns on York called Mulberry and Merino – a gorgeous blend of silk and merino wool in a teal blue. Gorgeous yarn, but trust me, you don’t want to do a lot of frogging with this stuff! I hope to finish them this weekend since I lost my Maine Morning mitts and I’m missing them dearly.
On a positive note, I’m working on a new pattern which I hope to have up next week. I also had some technical difficulties with it, and frogged it a number of times before I was satisfied. I’m knitting prototype number 2 right now, but have the pattern typed up and charted and ready to go! I also completed another silk kerchief, this time in the same colourway Kate Osborn Gagnon used in her lovely pattern – and it is perfect. There is something so soothing about knitting garter stitch with a lovely, soft yarn that keeps changing colours.
On another knitting note, this is usually the time of year when I get the knitting blahs, and keep a couple of small projects on the go, but this year is different. Ravelry for one. I mean how many amazing shawl patterns can one person fave? I don’t know which one to start first….and the new knitting books. Have you seen Veronik Avery’s new book – Knitting 24/7? It looks amazing. I’m also very impressed with the look of Knitting Green by Ann Budd. It looks like a spot-on book to get for summer knitting. Here are a couple of my faves from Veronik’s new book.
Now on the important topic of biscuits. I was intrigued to see in my local newspaper last week that someone wrote in to Heloise requesting that she reprint the recipe for Angel Biscuits. My kids and I are huge fans of biscuits, particularly when served with butter and homemade jam, or perhaps floating on top of a creamy homemade chicken pot pie. So I decided to try this recipe (note the yeast – biscuits with yeast?? I never!) This recipe was originally published in the early 1960s, and it says “the dough can be kept in the refrigerator in a covered bowl or container for up to 3 days.”
Here is the recipe:
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup sugar (or 2 Tbsp)
1/2 cup shortening (Iused butter cuz that’s how I roll, G)
1 cup buttermilk.
Dissolve yeast in the warm water and set aside. Mix the dry ingredients together (note: I do this ion my food processor – so much easier!) Cut in the shortening (or butter) – again I use my food processor and pulse until the pieces of butter are the size of small peas. Stir in the buttermilk and yeast mixture. Blend thoroughly. The dough is ready to refrigerate. When you want to bake the biscuits, turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead lightly. Roll out, cut with a biscuit cutter and place the biscuits on a greased pan an inch or so apart (I use a stone). Let the dough rise slightly before baking in a 400 F degree oven for about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with love! …and maybe butter and jam.
Well, I finally finished typing up my toe-up sock pattern ” The Joy of Kroy” – catchy, non? I have a new found respect for all those pattern writers and designers out there – it’s harder than I realized to describe how to do a heel, etc. Anyway, I hope it comes in handy for some knitters out there. I hope to cast on another pair today! You can access the pdf file on the right, or below – linky! Edited to add: I fixed a spelling typo! I hope you find Kroy to be a “thicker” sock yarn and not a “thinker” sock yarn as I had originally written – thanks Michele!
Enjoy and happy knitting!
I have this problem when it comes to luxury/hard to get around here yarns. I become consumed with finding the perfect pattern, for the perfect project for this perfect yarn. It’s a lot of pressure…..and several hours on Ravelry.com later, I pretty much just confuse myself – especially looking at sock patterns! – gah!
To the rescue – Kroy. Pedestrian, dependable Kroy. A couple of these balls were laying about and they seemed like just the ticket for February sock knitting – bright colours, soft and 3 mm needles. Perfection indeed.