a whirl of holiday activity

Posted on Posted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

now that my eyes have officially been opened to the fact that the twelve days of christmas are upon us, i think i’m finally getting into the spirit of the season (snort—took me long enough).

i am suddenly a powerhouse of efficiency and organization in the gifting department—or at least, what passes for one around here, haha.

hey, it’s state of mind, right??

the new mitts and beret samples are off the needles, washed, and blocked. the pattern is being test knit (so far hattie is very enthusiastic, especially about her mitts).

the working title has been twig and leaf but i’m changing it—i’ll explain about that in the release post.

i love the way the beret turned out; it’s not really huge in diameter (10.5 inches, tops), but it’s a nice and slouchy. the ZYG serenity 20 yarn provides a nice springy fabric without stiffness; the silk content gives the motif some dimension. this one is the bigger size, so it’s not a good fit for me, but it will be perfect on helena, who has promised to model it for us later this week. i may knit another one for myself, but i’m not sure yet when.

i made a couple of tweaks and sent the pattern to proofing on saturday; for those who have been waiting, we should be able to publish it near the end of this week, yay.

the other day, i came across the beginnings of a cabled keyhole scarf in a project bag.

when i say the beginnings, i mean that sometime last christmas season, i cast on for it, knit one row, and then put it in a travel bag, never to be touched again.

til now.

you know, some behaviors just defy good sense.
here i had a perfectly delicious 3-hour project in a gorgeous—no, make that luscious—red luxury yarn (spirit trail birte) that’s a dream to knit and for months it’s been hidden away where i can’t see it.

i could have knit this during an airport layover in august or september with time to spare, but did i do it then?? NO. then i noticed that this pattern has been selling very steadily this week and it jogged my memory, so i went looking for it—it will be a great color for almost anyone.
good thing it takes practically no time to make.

anyway, i took it out friday night and sat down with it while we watched TV. saturday i took it over to debby’s and finished it while we visited. i came home and blocked it that afternoon (friends, it doesn’t even require pins; just lay it out and pat into shape), so inside of 24 hours, i had this:

uh, that’s a serious no-brainer in my book.
as one member of our ravelry group put it . . . it takes more time to dry than it takes to knit (good to know!)
i know at least three or four people who would love this.

but the best part??

first, i made it from leftovers that i had on hand from one that i knit last year (so you can easily get two of these from one skein of birte)

and secondly, barb gave me some matching leftovers in the lighter weight sunna yarn to knit some coordinating fine cabled mitts. i haven’t knit a pair of these in several years and i’m enjoying every stitch with this yarn.

i did do one thing right; all of the supplies for both projects were in the one bag, where i kept them all year—i didn’t even have to organize it. i’ll have to remember that one for the future . . . when a brilliant idea hits, put the supplies together—it could save a future holiday.

okay, now i gotta change gears to tell you about my new favorite quick knit obsession—the earwarmer band. another piece that was inspired by my new-ish running habit, which has quickly morphed into what i see as the perfect gift for almost everyone on my list (mostly kids).

i cast on for this with my holda leftovers during the after-high of completing two fartleks in just a few days and proceeded to work one row while i was cooking something (that’s all i remember). i must have put it down when the pot boiled or whatever and it’d been sitting around in that state for over a week when i picked it back up on saturday night while we watched TV.

at which time i became completely engrossed in making this piece happen. i wanted my earband shaped so that it completely covers my ears, but is narrow over my forehead. i have several of these in technical fabrics for cycling and i love them. i wanted something cozier for winter running and walking.

i worked on it til about 4 am that night and got one finished, but when i put it on, i felt the depth and shaping needed some tweaking. so i ripped it back to the point you see above and proceeded to write out a working pattern yesterday afternoon, using more better math to get closer to the perfect shape. last night when it was time to relax and TV, i tried out my pattern.

okay, i’m going to go off a tangent here for just a sec—who is watching homeland???
omg, i may have fallen into its grip just a little, heh. i don’t even try to guess what’s going to happen next any more—i just love it, as much as i loved the killing and for all the same reasons.

alright now, stay on track, hanson . . . i was able to reknit the shaped portion in one sitting and when i put it on, it felt really good.

i waited til this morning to take a thorough look at it in the mirror (never critique your work seriously at 4 am) and i’m still very happy with it, yay. i particularly like the depth over the ears—a little more generous than the store-bought ones i own, it hugs my head nicely around that lower edge; i don’t think any wind is going to slice in there. i’m wearing what i think would be considered the largest kid size—about 16.5 inches around, stretching to fit my 20-ish inch head.

the holda makes a nice, lightweight band, but i could see this knit in a heavier yarn too for even more density on colder days. i’m going to play around with different weights for myself and the kids on my list. lightweight ones will be great for the texas and las vegas families; heavier will work better for the new york families. and if i can get some fingerless mitts knit for some of them, that will be gravy.

now i can knit one in my fig colored holda, too. i’ve got my own matching mitts on the needles as well, which are the epitome of simplicity—just a little texture top and bottom with all stockinette in between. currently, i’m waffling about whether to keep the shaping at the wrist; what do you think? is it necessary? desirable? too much trouble to bother with? (of course, it could just be an option—use it or not).

i’ll work more on those in class today.

and then, because everyone seems to love those keyhole scarves so much, there is this other super-quick project i’m toying with in shibui baby alpaca DK

i always thought that the large leaf lace pattern i used in maplewing would make an excellent keyhole scarf all on its own—it has voluptuous edges and curves—but i’ve been slow in making time to design it. the other day i sat down after class, threw this yarn on the needle, and just started knitting—that’s the best way for me to get things done sometimes.

i love this fjord color for winter—a beautiful blue, so flattering and un-christmassy. not that christmas is bad; i just need a break from red and green after a while and blue is so soothing to the mind this time of year, isn’t it?

i also really love the curling edges; i’m going to have to figure out how to keep some of that and still block it. i can totally see it going two different ways with equally lovely results—stretched and blocked so that it’s translucent and drapey, like large grape leaves or dense and curled at the edges a bit so it’s more dimensional, like fig or acanthus leaves.

decisions, decisions—good thing it’s a fast enough knit to make two; i can experiment to my heart’s content.

alright now, i’ve gotta scurry; i’ve got class later today and before that, i need to edit some photos and release the next pattern; look for it in just a few hours—moth kisses lace cuffs.

and don’t even mention that i didn’t mention david’s sweater—yet.

23 thoughts on “a whirl of holiday activity

  1. all i can say is mmmmmm. you know how that swirl of maplewing/autumn arbor is my very fave – so looking forward to that one! and love the beret and mitts. you are on a roll anne!

  2. Look at all those things you’re knitting up! Just gorgeous yarn choices.
    Sorry to be ‘that person’, but for the sake of accuracy the twelve days of Christmas have NOT started. They start ON Christmas day and last until Epiphany, which is January 5. I went to 12 years of catechism growing up, the least I can say is that I learned a few things (Catholics really know how to drum dogma into your head).

  3. I will be watching and waiting for that keyhole scarf pattern. It looks as tho it will be very pretty to wear. That blue yarn is beautiful. Will 1 skein be enough?

  4. Love the ear warmer, can’t wait to see that one come out. I know a few cyclists that would be happy to receive that. And please stop showing that fig yarn. You’re making me green with envy, until I can get some for myself, anyway.

  5. I love the beret especially. Mr JK says I have a head for berets!!!! So this might just have to be the one I knit! I love the cable keyhoel scarf – I made loads of them as gifts last year – it is so quick it almost knits itself! Looking forward to your next Christmas offerings!

  6. Love the beret and mitts, and the new style keyhole scarf, but what really raised my heart rate reading this post was the fig holda! Got to get me some of that when Jennifer gets her delivery in January! (Love the club yarn too, thanks Anne!)

  7. A Maplewing keyhole scarf would be fab! I’m back on a bit of a keyhole binge right now. People keep requesting them.

    I keep getting distracted by the border on my Honey Baby. The baby isn’t due until April but it is my “go to” knit right now. It is almost done. Not sure why the last side seems to take as long as the first three put together, but that always seems to the be case. Fortunately I love doing knitted on borders.

  8. You are killing me here!! I knit my mom a keyhole scarf for Christmas in a red using Malabrigo silky merino. You are right it is such a quick knit and turns out gorgeous everytime I knit it. The Maplewing keyhole scarf is gorgeous. I just loved knitting the Maplewing shawl. One of those I’d love to knit again. Thanks again for all your patterns that I’ve purchased over the years. Each one is a joy to knit!

  9. Our daughters are both runners. They would love the ear band. The keyhole scarves are great for gifts. Thanks for the wonderful ideas!!!

  10. I love them all, Anne, but especially the new keyhole scarf, and can hardly wait for its pattern debut!

  11. Wow, I wish I could produce so many beautiful knits as fast as you do! For the fingerless mitts, I suggest keeping the shaping at the wrist! When I’m running, I like that every piece of clothing is perfectly adjusted. Otherwise it keeps being a distraction you don’t need in the long runs (yeah, I’m talking about the long sunday ones every runner has on her schedule).

  12. The 12 days of Christmas actually begin on Christmas Day and end on the Feast of the Epiphany. The retailers of the modern age have turned it into the 12 days before Christmas in order to drum up more sales.

    Ann, you do such beautiful work and are a very gracious lady. Thank you for contributing to so much beauty in the world.

  13. I love the ear warmer! DH and I are watching “Homeland” and love it! Just when you think you have something figured out, the plot changes….so good.

  14. Just purchased the crazy quilt scarf and now all these to look forward to. Just to second or third: the 12 days of Christmas are the days from Christmas to the Epiphany or little Christmas or the Three Kings day which is January 6th. We seriously cheat ourselves out of the looooong celebration that Christmas used to be, by taking down decorations right after the 1st. Of course there wasn’t the months’ long pre-Christmas craziness either.
    We are watching Homeland and are absolutely hooked. Love it. It really keeps you guessing.

  15. I just had to chime in and say I too am HOOKED on Homeland! The cast, the plot twists, everything.
    Thanks for the quick knit ideas, they are a life saver this time of year.
    I am anxiously awaiting the release of the bandana pattern you were working on a few months back. Is it close?!

  16. Yes, the twelve days of Christmas are December 26 through January 6 as previous commenters have explained – so you’ve got plenty of time!

  17. Ditto what Melissa says– I don’t look so great in hats but love the headbands. So I hope that pattern is available soon!!

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