In Betwixt Yarn Advent

I was very pleased with my yarn advent from Lizzie Bird Yarns. It’s an “in betwixt” set for the days between Christmas and New Year’s. As you can see, it came with each skein lovingly wrapped, plus lots of special goodies, including a sweet set of gingerbread stitch markers.

I chose the Log Cabin set, and I love the subdued colors and gold sparkle. As fate would have it, I have a skein of Campfire Yarn’s Cranberry Forest with gold stellina that is a perfect match for this set. It was a gift, and I’m excited to put these together for a Yuletide shawl later this year.

I have to say, I am really glad I purchased a yarn advent and didn’t just go with my DIY idea — which honestly was kind of a let down. I love the advent chest, though, so I’ll try to come up with a different idea to use it next year.

Did you receive any yarn over the holidays? Are you already planning your holiday knits for 2022, as I am? I would love to hear about it.

A Look Back: 2021 in Photos

Despite the pandemic, I had a good year. My intention for 2022 is to slow down a bit and “conserve,” i.e. energy and resources. I’ll be starting each day with gratitude and appreciation for my abundant life, and taking it one day at a time. Happy New Year!

Happy New Year’s Eve, Already?

Well, that week flew by. I’ve been sick for almost my entire vacation. I’m trying not to have sour grapes about it, but instead be thankful I was off so I could rest and recuperate. Bob and I both tested negative for Covid, so I guess it’s a flu or cold.

I am glad I was able to spend some time getting organized this week. I knit several rows on my Arrowhead Cardigan, and realized I need to take my time with it. The all-over colorwork wears me out.

Arrowhead Cardigan Plan

My new and improved plan is to knit one row each day until I finish the body, then tackle the sleeves and finishing. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish the sweater by the first week of April. Maybe I’ll even get to wear it this spring a few times before it warms up.

Logan Shacket Pattern by Style Arc

I’ve decided to sew a couple of Logan Shackets: one in a cotton plaid flannel from my fabric stash, and the other in the navy wool flannel. Because I anticipate my sewing machine will struggle with buttonholes, I’m going to use big sew on snaps for them. If you would like to see some shackets in action, while also listening to some beautiful music, check out this link. I won’t make mine that long, though.

In other news, we have a new member of our family. A little black kitty found his way to us. He is sweet and very friendly. We posted around in case someone was looking for him, but we think he may have been dumped. He is adorable and has been adopted by our daughter Mackenzie. We will have to say farewell once she finds a new place, but I think this kitty was just what she needed. JoJo hasn’t met him yet as the vet told us to keep him quarantined for two weeks.

Bob jarred four quarts of apple cider vinegar yesterday made with apples from our apple trees. He’s also made sauerkraut for New Year’s Day, to have with collards, black eyed peas, and vegan bratwurst.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my blog, and like and comment this year. It means a lot to me. I appreciate the friendship, support, and encouragement. I’ve met so many wonderful people here! I hope you have a very Happy New Year’s Eve and a relaxing, peaceful New Year’s Day. Wishing you a healthy and prosperous New Year in 2022!

Merry Christmas Pudding

This year I made my first Christmas pudding. It wasn’t a total disaster, but it wasn’t a triumph, either. I followed this recipe with some modifications.

I substituted sunflower seeds for walnuts, and apple cider for brandy. Dried fruit mix included dates, figs, currants, raisins, apricots, and sour cherries.

I steamed it in a glass bowl inside a canning pot. It set up okay, but was soggy. I made some crème anglaise with oat milk, which split and was very runny indeed. Tasted okay, though.

In other dodgy baking news, I purchased some divinity for myself as I love it during the holidays but don’t want the trouble of making it. It’s hard to find divinity without tree nuts (pecans, usually, or sometimes walnuts). I found some peppermint divinity on Etsy, and it’s delicious but super sweet, so I decided to roll it to make my own logs with crushed candy canes, bittersweet chocolate chips, and sunflower seeds.

Next year I’ll purchase some plain divinity and roll it in sunflower seeds. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before.

Christmas dinner is tacos and Mexican Hot Chocolate Pie, which Bob made so it will be delicious.

Merry Christmas! Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and gentle holiday season.

Winter Solstice Hand Warmers

My youngest asked me about some handwarmers to use on her walks through the woods. I did a little research, and they are easy to make. Many sites come up if you google “DIY hand warmers.” I read a few to get the gist, and then proceeded to make my own. The following recipe makes two 3 inch square hand warmers.

What you need:

  1. cotton, linen, or wool fabric scraps
  2. whole flax seed
  3. a little dried lavender or other herbs if you are feeling fancy and want them to have a fragrance, although the flaxseed smells wonderful on its own
  4. small funnel
  5. cotton thread preferable, but poly thread works

Directions:

  1. Cut four 3 and 1/2 inch squares of 100% cotton fabric. (You could also use linen or wool, but don’t use anything synthetic.)
  2. Finish one edge of each square separately by serging or zig zag stitch. This will be the top edge seam.
  3. Place two squares together with right sides together, top seams matching, for each hand warmer.
  4. For each hand warmer, sew or serge the other three sides together with a seam allowance of about 1/4 inch. Finish the seams with a zig zag stitch if not serging. This is important, as flax seeds are small and you don’t want them working themselves out.
  5. Turn the hand warmers inside out. Turn the top edges under 1/4 inch. Press.
  6. Sew around all the edges of each square, about 1/8 inch from the edge. Sew along the top edge as well, leaving about 1/2 inch open so you can fill the pouch with flax seeds.
  7. Using a small funnel, fill the hand warmers with whole flax seeds as full as you can without allowing them to spill out.
  8. Stitch the opening closed either by hand or using your sewing machine.

That’s it. Pretty simple!

Directions for use:

  1. Place the hand warmers in the microwave for 30 seconds on high
  2. Take them out carefully (they’re hot!)
  3. Pop one into each pocket. These will keep your hands warm for 15-20 minutes, maybe longer!

This made a nice little Winter Solstice gift for my youngest along with a chocolate. These would also make great stocking stuffers!

O’YOPpenbaum

Knitting

I finished my Ranunculus Sweater! Pattern is Ranunculus by Midori Hirose. Yarn is The Fibre Co Arranmore in color Ruari. (I believe this yarn is discontinued.) Mods: I used Aran weight yarn and knit the original size, which turned out perfect. I opted for a twisted rib cuff instead of an icord bind off. I knit until the sweater covered my derrière. It’s lovely and I don’t want to take it off. I think the only improvement would have been to include bust darts. But who am I kidding. That’s way too fussy.

I’ve started the Unbearable Hat (Ravelry link) for Henry, but there’s nothing yet to see other than some black ribbing.

I’ve mended the heels on Bob’s socks. I’ve learned that garter stitch doesn’t wear any better than any other stitch. I wonder if leather heel patches would help?

Sewing

I haven’t sewn anything this week.

Spinning

I signed up for a spinning class at the Newark Cultural Arts Center for January 2nd! It’s a spinning wheel class that is one on one to go over all the basics. I hate that I am starting over but I am pretty much starting over. I hope this sets me off on the right foot. (See what I did there?)

I started a thing! I created a meetup called the Granville Stitchers and we had our first meeting yesterday. We drank cider at Seek No Further Cidery, worked on our projects and got to know each other a little bit. It was wonderful! We are meeting again in a couple of weeks!

This has been a Year of Projects update. You can find out more about the group here (Rav link) or here: Backstage Kath’s YOP bloggers list. You can read my updated list of projects here.

YOPping in a Winter Wonderland

We had a lovely snowfall this week, and it was like a winter wonderland for a day. I even went outside for a walk.

Year of Projects Updates

Gardening

I was wrong. The arugula survived the cold snap under the greenhouse, and there’s a little baby lettuce and kale mixed it.

Knitting

My Yuletide Ranunculus sweater continues to grow. I am well past where the pattern has you switch to the ribbing, as it’s a cropped design. I was going to have it finish mid-hip, but I’ve decided to keep going for a tunic length. I have plenty of yarn, and I think I will wear it more at that length. I don’t want to knit anything else. I may be becoming a monogamous knitter.

Sewing

I finished my Mile End Hoodie. This was made with scraps of wool interlock leftover from my Plateau Joggers. I’m very happy I was able to get another garment out of it. Pattern is Mile End Sweatshirt by Closet Core. Fabric is 100% merino wool interlock by Nature’s Fabrics. And yes, I am wearing PJ pants. I made them, so I figure that’s alright. I made an executive decision to not get out of PJ pants today.

Speaking of PJ Pants, I sewed some new cotton flannel jammies for myself from this Skiing Gnomes fabric. And Bob and I made mince pies.

Spinning

I regret to say I have not been practicing my spinning. I am off between Christmas and New Year’s, so I’m going to start spinning 15 minutes per day on the 27th, and try to keep that going for a while so I can improve.

This has been a Year of Projects update. You can find out more about the group here (Rav link) or here: Backstage Kath’s YOP bloggers list. You can read my updated list of projects here.

Happy Krampus Night!

Tonight is Krampusnacht. While we don’t celebrate officially, we marathon Krampus movies with a finale of Rare Exports and play the gingerbread game where we take a bite of gingerbread every time a character does.

This year we’re munching julbok (Yule Goat) cookies in honor of Krampus, but next year I’m planning to use a Krampus cookie cutter.

We are celebrating Krampus Night because it’s fun. Do you have any fun new traditions you are celebrating during the holidays this year?

Knit What I Want

Look at this cute little teeny tiny mitten I made. If I make them all this size, I’m gonna need more mittens! Or I could hold the yarn double and make bigger mittens.

I didn’t hate knitting this mitten, but I didn’t love it, either. You know what that means. I’m not going to knit my mitten garland. Which is fine.

I’ve decided to focus on my Ranunculus, which I’m really enjoying. I also have a couple of hats to make. All my tonal yarn is in, so I can cast on Christmas Pudding Socks if I’m feeling super motivated.

See, that wasn’t so hard.

Happy December WIPS

Today is Day 1 of Advent, so I got to open my first drawer with a mini-skein of yarn and a new Christmas pudding stitch marker. I’m going to wind this into a little ball tonight, and cast on my first mitten for my garland tomorrow night.

My Ranunculus continues to grow. I hope I have it ready to wear soon. I love this color. I’m all about the red this year.

I’m ready to start the toe on my first Gourd Party sock. I may put this away until January and focus on more seasonal knits this month.

This will be an Unbearable hat for Henry. I’ve already shown him the design, and he approves. I’m going to use my new project bag which was a present from my sister for Christmas. It’s a Forage Bag from Joji and Co, a great size for hats and other small projects. I will get a lot of use out of it and I love the metallic pewter color!

I’ve gifted the first hat of the season. Despite the joking, the extra long length was appreciated. And check out that Microsoft sweater! Probably not hand knit, but definitely striking! I’m glad my children love brightly colored knits as much as I do.

A couple of years ago I blogged about wanting to start a vintage pin collection. I purchased this tree pin at that time, but had kind of forgotten about it. I pulled it out of my jewelry box today and it looks great on my Back Porch Shawl. I’ve also ordered a vintage holly pin, which is my go-to yuletide symbol. Do you have a favorite holiday symbol? Tree, star, holly, bauble, angel, dove, pudding, gingerbread person? Please share in the comments!