Christmas Bobbles

Growing up, Grandma H would give my sister and I each a Christmas tree ornament every year, each one a special treasure that we looked forward to. Now, when we decorate our tree each December, I love to pull out each one and reminisce of Christmas past.

In an effort to create this feeling of history and heritage for my children, I have given each of my children their own annual ornament. Some years I have taken them shopping and let them pick one out, some years I have made them myself, and some years (when we are particularly broke) we have hit the after Christmas clearance sale at our local CVS. This year is a handmade year, and I’m happy to say that I have finished them all in time for Christmas.

Christmas Baubles by Carmen Heffernan. I used leftover bits of yarn from my stocking knitting – Cascade 220 and Knitpicks Wool of the Andes. I am not a crocheter. I really can’t do it for very long as it starts to hurt my hands after a bit. However, I will never not love the speed at which crochet produces finished objects. It’s magical.

One more thing that I can check off of my 2019 “to-knit” list. And one more memory to add the my kids Christmas heritage.

You Know You Knit Too Much When…

You know you knit too much when your six year old sees two long lego bricks and some yarn laying around and decides to play act knitting with them.

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It might be getting close to time to teach her to knit for realsies. She has the basic motions down.

Christmas Stockings… again…

Just when I think that I have finished knitting stockings for Christmas, I find myself making even more. I counted them up and I am now in the 20’s, between stockings for my kids, re-dos of stockings for my kids, new babies being born, and commissions that I take so that I can pay for things to put into the stockings!

Last year, Little Man was too young to notice that I was a lazy bum and didn’t knit him a stocking, but easy times are gone now and, at almost 2 years old, it is time for me to knit him his very own.

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I knit every single stocking with exactly the same stitch a row counts, and with the same yarn, but they are all unique and I agonize over each color choice, pattern placement and overall look. This one was no different. I ripped back entire sections more times than I care to admit, but I am glad that I did because I am very pleased with the finished stocking.

Next came a do-over for The Munchkin. She has hated the stocking that I made for her from the moment her tear filled eyes beheld it. She was heartbroken that it was “brown” and every Christmas since that terrible day I have meant to make a better one. Well, this Christmas I finally did. And to avoid any shattered expectations or broken hearts, I let her help with the design process. She is becoming quite the knitter in her own right and has an eye for this kind of thing. We are both really pleased with the result.

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My only beef is that some of the rows have 3, and even 4, colors and because I am not great with stranding more than two, it pulls in a little making the stocking appear smaller. I assured her that whatever doesn’t fit in the stocking will be piled up underneath and the stocking size will not affect her Christmas morning haul. So she is pretty pleased.

Stocking details – stockings are knit top down, with Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, on size 6 needles. I cast on 72, knit about 1.5″ 2×2 rib. Patterns are gleaned from various sources, including free stocking patterns on the internet, Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle, and my own design. Heel is an afterthought heel.  I-cord loop to hang.

 

Socks for The Boy (And His Man-Sized Feet)

He wanted black socks. I confess that I might have shuddered with dread. Then I remembered this gradient sock yarn that I had been hoarding for an eternity. He was cool with it, as long as the blue was tucked inside his shoes.

His feet are not boy feet anymore – and knitting socks for 11″ of foot is no joke. But the yarn was fun and watching the color gradually change from black to teal was entertaining enough to keep me going as I knit 2, purl 2 around and around and around…

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No pattern was followed, here. I cast on 72 stitches, knit a 2×2 rib in the round for 7″, switched half of the stitches to plain knit for a smooth sole, and then, after a very long time, worked a standard toe, keeping the ribbing pattern to the end. Then, I went back and put in an afterthought heel.

This was my first experience making a true afterthought heel. I didn’t use a waste yarn, no, no, not me. I prefer to live on the edge. I followed these instructions here, cut my knitting and daringly tried a new technique. And I am glad that I did. Not only did the heel turn out amazing, but I enjoyed the challenge and the thrill. And I love being freed from the waste yarn method.

So, the black eternity socks became a pretty fun knit after all. And The Boy is pretty happy. He even makes sure to dry them flat when he does his laundry, that knit worthy son of mine.

Alpaca, My New Obsession

My sister gave this gorgeous chair to me over the summer. I was so pleased to find that it it the perfect height for my spinning wheel. I usually drag a chair from the dining room table, which is higher and much harder, and then my discomfort limits my time at the wheel. But now! I can sit and spin for hours upon hours (as long as no one needs their diaper changed or food or a referee for the fighting, which is sometimes what my job description seems to be. But I digress…).

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So, what fiber did I pull out of the stash for this momentous spinning marathon? Alpaca. Black, gorgeous, fluffy alpaca. Which I don’t have a picture of, so you’ll just have to believe me that the locks were long, kinky, and luxurious. And the yarn practically spun itself.

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I thought at the beginning that I was spinning a lace weight single, but, as fiber often does, this stuff told me it wanted to be 2 ply lace.

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TWO PLY LACE! Swoon.

I was so hooked on this alpaca that I wanted more, more, MORE. The stash, however, was pretty light on alpaca, so I had to go shopping. And I struck gold!

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This scrumptious alpaca is from WoollyDelights on Etsy (there is more if you want some!). I bought 12 ounces and spent the next few weeks spinning up this glorious, 2 ply lace weight yarn.

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Now I have a sweater quantity of handspun, 2 ply, alpaca lace weight in black and natural that I get to knit up into … what? I don’t know, yet. As I spun, I dreamed of a round yoke, color work sweater, but now I am leaning toward a large lace shawl. I know inspiration will strike soon enough. For now, I just like to pet it and rub it on my face and gaze at it lovingly.

Alpaca is a great fiber for spinning. I will most certainly be stocking the stash with more.