Advent Calendar and Shellseeker Started

Santa and Mrs. Claus got their mitts delivered this week. My knitting friends got their advent calendars delivered Saturday. And I got my 12 Day Advent Calendar from Wool Interrupted!!! I’ve decide I’ll open the bags of minis from Dec 13 thru Dec 24 when I’ll get to open the full skein. I’ve hung the bags from a cord across my knitting nook so it makes a Christmas decoration hence the decision to wait to start opening till the 13th. Plus I don’t plan to knit them right away so there isn’t a hurry.

We had a nice Thanksgiving. We sat spaced out sitting 8 at our table for 14. The 3 boys living in Cincinnati attended in person (one lives with us so already part of our bubble). 3 others attended via Zoom. Better than nothing and since they don’t live in town it’s not like we would have got to see them even without Covid. We wore masks much of the afternoon, opened windows for additional ventilation and sat far apart. We designed our home with cathedral ceilings and no interior walls on the main floor so it’s easy to be spaced apart. Hubby dished out the food so no buffet line. Now fingers crossed it worked and no one develops Covid. Sadly our daughter in Charleston, SC has it but so far it’s limited to loss of smell and taste.

I did cast-on my Shellseeker sweater so a WIP for 2021. Hoping 3rd time is a charm because I keep twisting it. Finally pinned the edges together hoping I don’t end up twisting again. 😝 I don’t like the boat collar the pattern calls for so I’m doing a small (4 rows) of K1P1 rib. I had to go up 4 needle sizes as I’m using a smaller weight yarn. But I want a more open fabric for warmer weather wear. As with hers, I’m going to make ever increasing stripe widths from top to bottom alternating between 3 colors. This has been on my list to make for over a year so I’m glad to finally start it.

Christmas decorations come out today. Bought a smaller, prelit tree this year since we won’t be having parties or family gatherings. Also, we are getting too old to be climbing a ladder and reaching to decorate a 10′ tree.

#78 Christmas House

I’m like a kid when it comes to fireworks or Christmas lights. I literally countdown the days not to Christmas but to when Christmas lights will be back on (next weekend!!). There has been a house around a mile from mine that would do an amazing display every year with penguins sledding down a hill, tin solders marching in the yard, etc. They would even dress up as Santa and Mrs Claus and pass out candy canes to children driving by. It is a very nice display, not a tacky hodgepodge.

Well about 5+ years ago it stopped. I was afraid of the worst and indeed I did hear the owner suffered a heart attack. But the good news is he survived. So imagine my delight when I drove past this week ….. and they were putting up lights!! I’m so excited I can barely contain myself.

So what does this have to do with knitting you ask. Well, this was not on my 2020 plan, but I’m now knitting fingerless mitts for the husband and wife. It’s the only thing I know to do to show my gratitude. Hopefully the mitts will keep their hands warm when the take down the lights later this winter. I had enough “sparkly” yarn that I used for my son’s girlfriend’s mitts to make a pair for Mrs. Claus. I hope to get Santa’s done this week. For me it’s the first time I’ve used 2 yarns at a time with “Santa’s” mitts so a new learning.

With Covid, visiting various light displays is how I plan to enjoy the holidays in 2020. I’m trying not to get depressed but instead focus on how extra fun next year’s holiday parties and family gatherings will be. We are back to “shelter in place” here in SW Ohio.

MASK MAKING

Another not in my plans for 2020 is mask making. This week I made some masks from my “Christmasy” fabric to give to family members. Another attempt to add some fun to the holidays.

NEW YARN

Mail was good and bad this week. Had some stress when my daughter’s Christmas socks didn’t arrive Monday as the post office predicted. Finally showed up Friday after several days of my berating myself for not insuring the envelop. On the plus side for me, new yarn arrived!! This is the yarn I will use to knit my daughter another summer top. She requested a top in mint green. This will be a 2021 knit.

#77 Fingerless Mitts

Year of Projects

Not a lot this week. I did finish and mail my daughter’s Christmas socks. I started these fingerless mitts. I’ve loving them so fingers crossed there is enough yarn leftover to make a pair for me. While taking our morning walk today a pair of mitts would have been appreciated. My hands always get cold even if the rest of me is fine. Indian summer is over here in Ohio. The mornings are going to start being nippy.

I’m loving the yarn more than I thought. It is Knit Picks Japanese Rainbow Sparkle which apparently has been discontinued (hence the big sale last year when I bought it). Despite being 38% acrylic, I’m loving the softness of the yarn. It’s going to feel great. I must confess it is worsted but doesn’t look too bulky to me. There is a fuzziness to the yarn making it look like I’m knitting it with mohair. The mitts look and feel cozy. I chose a very basic pattern as I wanted to highlight the yarn, not a pattern. So it’s just a ribbed cuff, stockinette “body”, and bindoff.

The mitts should be done today or tomorrow. Then whatever yarn is left will be knit into a pair for me that I should get done this week. That means I should be casting on my next sweater by next weekend at the latest!!

Snowbirding

Houston, we have a decision. Been going back and forth on if we should head down to Florida in mid-December or after Christmas. Have finally decided to stick with Plan A and celebrate Christmas in Ohio despite not being able to do any of our usually traditions. It does mean two more weeks to knit in cool weather which will hopefully help keep me motivated on the sweater I’ll be beginning. Since I only ordered a 12 days of Christmas Advent calendar for me guess I’ll have to decide if I start it on the 1st or the 13th. Or I might go with opening on odd days to make it last longer.

#76 Advent Calendar

This week’s “project” wasn’t on my plan but I’m excited to share what I’ve been up to. I’ve mentioned how lucky I feel to have my local group of knitting friends. We met taking sock and sweater classes at our LYS 3 years ago. This evolved into meeting at the LYS at it’s bi-weekly knitting session. Then we added meeting on “off” weeks at a local coffee shop. Now we have even taken some “girls” weekends to visit yarn shops, wool shows, or VogueLive classes.

With Covid, we have moved to weekly Zoom sessions. So I wanted to do something special since 2020 has been such a isolateing and frustrating year. Back in August I started planning how to make an advent calendar for my knitting friends. I didn’t like how most calendars I found online are yarn only or stitch marker only or teas only. I found an inexpensive hinged wooden box that I stained and 2″ gold and silver cube boxes to use to hold each day’s surprise. I was able to include support for another friend who has moved from teaching at the LYS to making and selling her own yarns by buying 12 minis for each calendar. The other 12 boxes are filled with inexpensive charms that make cute stitch markers, tea bags, or chocolate pareils. I spent half of what purchasing a yarn or stitch marker calendar would cost online displayed in a MUCH nicer wooden box than the paper bags most online calendars use.

Advent Calendars
Mini skeins

There is no pattern included in my calendar as all 12 of the mini skeins don’t necessarily go together in my opinion. But I hope that opening the little surprises give my friends something to look forward to and some joy in this very stressed time. The holidays are going to be very different and probably a little sad this year.

YEAR OF PROJECTS UPDATE

2020 Project List
Mitts/Hats: 1 Planned and about to cast-on
Socks: 4 Planned with 6 Done and another already cast-on
Sweaters/Tops: 4 Planned with 3 Done
Shawl/Cowl/Shrug: 2 Planned with 2 Done
2019 WIPs: 2 carried over with 1 sweater completed and the argyle sock put in hibernation

I’m fairly satisfied with my knitting accomplishments this year. Basically replaced a sweater with 3 pairs of socks. I am almost done with my daughter’s Christmas socks. I will have to mail them to her as she is not able to visit us in person for Thanksgiving. As soon as I get them finished I will start on the fingerless mitts.

#75 – Planning is Half the Fun

Well, I’m certainly not the first to say it, but it’s definitely true for me. I think it’s what makes buying yarn that goes into the stash so much fun. It’s the imagining of the project that is exciting.

So guess who has already drawn up her 2021 knitting plan. Yep, just couldn’t resist. Even with 2 months to go in 2020 I couldn’t resist starting to layout my plan for next year. It gives me peace (a sense of control) to know what is coming next. So as I was reaching the end of this year’s plan I needed the “control” of being able to imagine the knitting I have planned post Christmas. Plus I’m going to need to pack my Dec thru April knitting for our wintering in Florida.

I appreciate the Year of Projects Ravelry group uses a July to June calendar but fortunately also welcomes other “calendars”. A July to June timetable revives unhappy memories of my working career which operated on that fiscal year. Thus calendar year is better for me. 2021 is definitely even more a year of sweaters/tops with only a few pair of socks thrown in. But since I just bought more cute sock yarn I may be trading out a sweater for some socks.

I finally finished my Amrum sweater!! I’m really happy with my modifications. Instead of stopping the pattern at the “side seams” (it’s knit in the round), I carried the pattern onto the back. Then I also knitted one repeat of the pattern at the end of the sleeves. Finally I used an I-cord bindoff instead of the typical K1P1 hem called for. For more photos check out my Ravelry project page (https://www.ravelry.com/projects/MaureenHD/amrum).

Project Update

Love it but can’t wait to cast on my next sweater project. But first I want to finish my Christmas knitting. I’m making good progress on my Christmas socks having finished the heels and now I’m moving up the legs. I do want to knit a quick pair of fingerless mitts for my son’s girlfriend who works as a cashier at a large retail store. I know those poor cashiers get cold with the constant opening and closing of doors so I’m hoping they keep her a little more comfortable.

New Yarns

Arg!! The LYS was having a yarn sale so I stopped in. Of course I had to pick up more sock yarn. I do love Fixation yarn for making summery footies. And it was half off for goodness sake. Then I realized that I wear a lot of black leggings with black/grey sweaters so I couldn’t pass up the Berroco Sox yarn in black and greys. Finally Lollipop yarns posted her restocked yarns so I just had to buy one of her cute self stripping sock yarns. Ordering online does give a double thrill – when you order and when it arrives!!