Where to begin? There’s a lot cooking at our house these days. Not everyone can say this, but rather than Thanksgiving kicking off the holiday season, at our house, it begins today. With my birthday 🙂 I’ll admit I like the timing of it. Just before the rush of get-togethers, cooking, and preparations, it gives me a reason to pause and give myself some time off to focus on whatever I want to do. Somehow the cleaning and chores that need doing don’t shout so loudly on my birthday. Truth be told, I pretty much took the whole weekend off. It was amazing and I loved it.
So what was I doing? I’ll give you three guesses…..:)
In my post Gearing Up, I talked about the plans I have for gift-making for the holidays. I promised myself a trip to my LYS for a bit of birthday/gift-making indulgence. So off to Sheep Skeins I went. So many choices, so little time (and money, let’s be honest).
I picked up a skein of Juniper Moon Yarn in their Herriot line and the Montana Nights colorway. This is a rich dark purple and made of 100% baby alpaca and is soooooo soft and lovely to work with and will be used to make a gift for my grandson’s teacher.
I’ve had a couple of setbacks and changes of plans while working on this project. I had originally settled on the Traveling Cable Hand Mitts by Purl Soho.
I had cast on a cuff and had knit about an inch of ribbing when reaching for my drink, I spilled it directly onto my yarn ball. Grrrrrrrr!
Fortunately, being a yarn dyer I had all the right things at hand to deal with it, but it meant a delay of two or three days while the freshly washed yarn was drying.
Deadlines. I really dislike them. For some people they add motivation, for me, they just add stress. No thanks. It’s one of the reasons I like to begin gift making very early so I can enjoy the making knowing that the nasty old deadline is miles away. But, there’s always a couple of projects that I am working to get done on time.
So the setback, in this case, was deciding on a cable pattern while working under a deadline. I have successfully knit cables before but it’s been a really long time and I don’t have a smooth rhythm for it yet. Last night, as I was just beginning the cabling section I could see it was really going to slow me down. I’m still going to use this pattern sometime soon, but not this time.
Change of Plans
I still wanted something with an interesting texture, but not overly fiddly or complicated. So after a bit of research, I landed on the Pyy Mitts by Outi Nousiainen. I like the texture this pattern creates and after reading the pattern I feel this will be a better choice for this project.
In finding this pattern I discovered the term Nupp which is an Estonian knitting stitch that means “bud”. I watched a couple of YouTube videos on how to create this stitch and found it intriguing. I’m going to add this to my list of “techniques to learn this year” when I create my new journal. This pattern has a small version of a nupp. I’m going to use the full version in some future project.
I love the way Setbacks can actually turn into steps forward.
But I am not a monogamous knitter and I have more than one gift to finish before the Holidays, so I have had other things going on as well. I have had a request for a pair of socks so I cast on a pair using my favorite recipe of two-at-a-time with a Turkish cast on. As with the mitts I wanted a pretty basic pattern so I could get it done quickly and I decided on the Garter Rib Ridge stitch that I found in my copy of The Ulitmate Sock Book by Vogue Knitting. Here’s my progress so far:
These have been very relaxing to work on and I know will be done well before I start feeling rushed.
I have also been working on a crochet blanket, that I can now say is finished! and now I just need to remove all the straw from the bale I draped it over for this photo and wrap it for the recipient.
As I’ve mentioned before, this started as a stash buster project so the colors chosen were somewhat random, but I’m pleased with the finished project.
Speaking of gift wrapping….
I’m wanting to add more sewing into my life as well.
So for starters, I am probably going to follow this tutorial for sewn gift bags rather than wrapping with paper:
Doing this would check a lot of boxes for me.
- reduce, reuse, recycle
- more sewing in my life
- I don’t enjoy paper wrapping and I’m not good at it!!
- another excuse to get fabric
These are all good reasons for this approach, I think.
So, upon reflection, I’m down to two small hand-knit items and some simple sewing. That’s not too bad. I have heard Sara from Yarns at Yinhoo mention on her podcast that she likes to have her gift making done by the end of November so that in when December begins she can relax and make things for herself using fabric and yarn that has been gifted to her in the past. I really love that idea. I may or may not make it by November 30, but close to it, I think. Then I’m going to start on some special yarns and projects for myself, deadlines banished, at least for a little while.
Although Halloween is now past I wanted to end this post with a finished object completed for that holiday. The handsome Viking in the photo is not the recipient but a willing model for this shot:
Double knit looks really nice, but again with working under a deadline! But I did get this finished before the holiday arrived so I’m feeling accomplished.
As we approach the holiday season may whatever you celebrate and however you celebrate bring you little stress and much joy.