Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone who celebrates Christmas is having a lovely day, and those that doesn’t are having a wonderful Wednesday.

This is my last post for 2013, and it’s been quite a busy year with the wedding, travel, comedy and job woes. I also got quite a lot of knitting finished too.

The biggest thing hanging over my head last Christmas was the wedding shawl. I had been stalled on the border for months and was forcing myself day by date to chip away at it. It was a bit of a painful road, but I made it in the end, and had a beautiful shawl and a beautiful wedding. I got a second wear out of it at a formal conference dinner, and one of the other academics said she had assumed it was a priceless family heirloom. Music to a knitter’s ears!

I also finished my owls, and one or several shawls and pairs of socks. There are a few older projects still languishing in the frog pond, but I’ve been able to finish off a few hangers on in the past couple of months.

Now we’re heading into a brand new year, full of brand new challenges. Hopefully a new job for me, and I have a few projects set to start soon, new skills to learn and new adventures to have. For my knitting, aside from pushing through my WIPs, I have two aims for the next year. First, I want to spin more. I have been somewhat lazy about it until now, and my pretty wheel really could be getting more use. I may have to set myself a target of 10 minutes a day, just to kick start me. My other plan is to finally get stuck into that Master Knitter Program. I have the yarn, I have the instructions, I have the time.

All I’m missing is excuses! See you next year!

Christmas Crafts

This year, thanks to some great friends, I’ve branched out from just knitted and crochet items for Christmas. Thanks to a hot glue gun (awesome!) I made this cute little guy:

BionicLaura also shared some lovely snowflake templates which, with a brief dip in the bead stash, became this twinkling decoration:

It happily hangs at the top of the tree catching sunlight and fairy light. Of course I did knit a little something too. I saw this little ornament on pinterest, found the pattern on the Red Heart website and got cracking with some samples from the Yarn Tasting. It took about an hour to make and I’m very happy with it.

Finally I’ve been busy attempting to crochet snowflakes. It’s been a bit like Goldilocks and the three bears – the first hook I used was too small, the next was too big and the third was just right! It’s made from twilleys goldifingering so it sparkles a lot, I also added beads on the very edges. It’s a bit bigger than I expected and the goldfingering is a bit crunchy at tight gauge but overall I’m pleased with how it turned out. Now I just need to find some starch or maybe glue to set it with. As soon as I finish the next one anyway….

What Christmas crafts have you been working on? I’d love to hear of your ideas!


Not a Christmas Jumper

This year both my mum and my sister are knitting Christmas jumpers. And seriously, fair play to them. Not only is a full size adult garment, but Christmas jumpers tend not to be single colour items. A couple of years ago mum did a full on intarsia reindeer on her jumper, which was darned impressive so I can’t wait to see what they’ve gotten up to this year. Although this is the same woman who knit me a dinosaur skeleton jumper back in the day, so he colourwork power knows no limits in my book.

I, on the other hand, am sitting this one out. Instead, I have knitted myself a Christmas shawl. Which is what I’m telling people, rather than in December I finally finished that shawl I cast on sometime around last Christmas.

In my defence, the yarn is both seasonally green, and seasonally sparkly. I used my I Knit or Dye Ziggy Stardust Lace which is very pleasant to knit with, and made a Dragon Gate Inn.

I’m honestly surprised how few projects this pattern has. Aside from the fact that it’s free, it’s also a lovely combination of cabling and lace which makes for something both beautiful and cosy.

And, most importantly, sparkly!

Travel Knitting

Here I am knitting away on a bus in New Zealand. Once we hit the South Island I got a lot more knitting done because we switched from flying/driving to taking the bus everywhere. The scenery was so beautiful that I spent most of the time staring out the window rather than knitting! But with some nice, easy stockinette in the round to make a cowl I was set to do both. The yarn is the beautiful Hedgehog Fibres cashmere (in colourway Medusa), a present from the lovely stripeycat. It’s one of those special skeins of yarn that I never knit because it’s too gorgeous, afraid I might knit the wrong thing. I eventually decided that it needed to be around my neck to maximise softness and with a simple pattern to show off the yarn. It was such wonderful knitting that it became a very long cowl – I needed encouragement to stop knitting it and cast off!

My other travel FO is a hat, seen here keeping my ears warm as we cruised on Milford Sound, one of the most beautiful places in the world. The pattern is Buzzba by Wooly Wormhead – decided upon for the lovely cosy earflaps that tie on, very important for the wind coming off the Tasman Sea! This is the second hat I’ve knit in Purple Malabrigo Rios, the first went missing very shortly after finishing and broke my heart. Hopefully this one will last longer!

Finally there was lots of Yarn Bombing in New Zealand – especially around the Volcanic and Geothermal Areas of  Taupo and Rotorua. This is some at the Mud Pools and Wai-o-Tapu Geothermal Park, which was an amazing place to visit. Knitting in Public also seems to be much more popular in New Zealand. Everywhere we went there were people of all ages knitting. Also there were lots of Hand-crafted items being sold at proper prices – astonishing! Lots of merino clothing too of course. I’m hardly back and already hoping to go again soon!