Some holiday knitting… and weaving

I had a pretty low-key holiday this year, but did manage to bang out a few handmade gifts.

First, a headband for my sister-in-law. The pattern is Chunky Turban Headband by Lorna Watt, and the yarn is Sheep Shop 2.

Chunky Turban Headband

The headband thing was inspired by my mom, who wanted one of those flowered ear warmers. So I made her one. The pattern is Knit Earwarmer with Crochet Flower by Ashlee Prisbrey, and the yarn is Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica.

Knit Earwarmer with Crochet Flower

And then there are the nieces. I bought some Mini Mochi years ago to make them some striped gauntlets, but never got around to it. So this year I wove them striped scarves instead. These are based on the knit Noro Striped Scarf by Jared Flood, but of course woven. I used Valley Yarns 8/2 tencel doubled for the warp and alternating skeins of Mini Mochi for the weft.

Mochi Striped Scarf Mochi Striped Scarf

And lastly, I participated in a Top-Secret Santa gift exchange at work this year. I know this will reveal my secret identity as this person’s gift-giver, but I’ll share anyway. It’s a beanie using the Case of the Mondays pattern by Haramis Designs. The yarn is Three Irish Girls Galenas Chunky.

Case of the Mondays beanie

That’s it! Amazing what one can do when they stop being so lazy!

Oh no ewe didn’t

This is a dramatization of actual events in my household today, starting with a typical exchange in which I ask my husband if any mail arrived.

“Did we get any good mail today?”
“No, just the usual.”

*** hours pass; hubs comes to me with a package ***

“This came for you.”
“You told me nothing good came.”
“I forgot.”

Of course, this has me wondering whether there’s a stash of forgotten packages somewhere in this house.

Anyway… the package contained prezzies from a faraway land, from my friend Ewenique.

Gifts from Ewe

We have a very pretty Christmas card, some chocolates, a tea strainer (because this American barbarian didn’t own one), sticky notes, wee note cards, crane scissors (just like my grandmother’s, you have no idea how special this is!), beautiful cotton yarn, and a pair of gorgeous handmade bags. I love bags. Thank you so much, Ewenique!

I have to do these pictorials whenever Ewenique sends me something, because they’re so thoughtfully put together and really fun to touch and look at. I am truly fortunate to have a friend like her. :)

Christmas eats

I don’t usually write about food, but we had some noteworthy edibles for Christmas that I just had to share. Tonight I attempted to make prime rib for the first time for my husband and myself for Christmas dinner. It turned out really well. You know food that makes you just stop and actually, for reals, go “mmm”? That’s what this was. Not just “yum,” or “this is pretty good”. We actually stopped, looked at each other with surprise, and made almost involuntary vocalizations that came out as “mmmMMM.” Hubby says it’s the best meat he’s ever eaten. I’m not sure if that means this was really really good or he just hasn’t had that much good meat in his lifetime! In any event, it was quite delicious, if I do say so myself.

Prime rib

The meat was just a small prepackaged standing rib from the local QFC grocery store. The recipe was a very simple one from Serious Eats. (Serious Eats also has this very good article about prime rib. Well worth the read!)

I also got a bit nostalgic this year about my grandmother’s Danish cookies. Every year, she would make these almond-topped Christmas cookies and a fried cookie called a Kleiner. Fortunately my aunt still makes them at Christmas and I was able to get my grandmother’s recipes. I made both of them up yesterday.

Kleiners and Christmas cookies

The cookies to the left are Kleiners. The dough is rolled out, cut into diamonds, shaped, deep fried, and coated in sugar. I can’t quite describe what they’re like… similar to a churro but thinner and much firmer. The ones to the right are Danish Christmas cookies. Very much like shortbread or sugar cookies, with an egg-white glaze, cinnamon and sugar, and blanched almond on top. I might play around a bit with rolling the dough out a little thinner, but it’s pretty close to what I remember.

I’ve only cooked up half-batches of each type so far. I’m gonna OD on the stuff!

The bestest Christmas gift

I delayed posting this entry until I could add pictures, so here goes.
 
My dear husband bought me the most wonderfulest gift for Christmas. I usually don’t ask for gifts, for any occasion, but I’d dropped a hint or two this year. I wanted a spinning wheel. Thinking he didn’t pick up on it, or wouldn’t know what to get (the choices are dizzying), I put together a list of good wheels and discreetly "hid" it on my desk. Imagine my surprise when a spinning wheel arrived early, a week before Christmas. Not just any spinning wheel, but a Schacht Matchless.
 
I hadn’t even put the Matchless on my list because it was too nice. My husband, who doesn’t quite get my fascination with fiber, and calls my hobby "playing with string," did his own research and bought me the wheel he thought was best, before I even made up that list. If that’s not a keeper, I don’t know what is. So, thank you, dear. Thank you, thank you.
 
Here it is:
 
 
Lovely, is it not? Here’s the first yarn I made with it, spun from merino wool from a Swell Yarn Shop, purchased at Renaissance Yarns.
 
 
This actually didn’t turn out as well as my attempts on my mother-in-law’s wheel (here and here). I overspun it a bit on the new wheel, and, of course, the thickness is still all over the place. I just need some practice!
 
And because I didn’t post this before, this is the last one I spun on the borrowed wheel, with some Louet Northern Lights wool top in the Toffee colorway:
 
 
I just bought some more fiber, too. Let’s see what I can come up with.
 

Christmas in March

Back in January I mentioned that I was still working on two more gifts for the family. I actually completed them a couple of weeks ago, but they’ve finally arrived at their destinations, so I won’t spoil the surprise by posting them now.
 
First, a scarf for my brother. This is the Seed Stitch Scarf pattern from the Holiday 2006 issue of KnitSimple magazine. The yarn is Cascade Pastaza Paints. This was so late that I wrote a note that maybe he could use it next winter, but then I guess a big blizzard hit over the weekend. Yeah, I planned it that way.
 

 
The last "Christmas" knitted gift is for my mother. It’s another hat, again from the Three Tams pattern on Knitty. The yarns are Cascade 220 and Noro Silk Garden. My mom likes red, so I picked out the red first then tried to find a Silk Garden colorway that would work. (Actually, all of the family christmas gifts have a red theme, if you haven’t noticed!)
 
 
Merry Christmas, fam!

Knitted Christmas gifts

Since I just started this thing, I thought I’d step back and grab a few projects from Christmas. It still counts, right? So, I made some gifts for the fam. Actually, I’m still working on some. (Shhh, don’t tell them.)
 
First, I made some hats for my nieces (2 and 6) from a pattern in Knit Simple magazine. The yarn is Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted superwash wool.
 

 
Then I made a tam for my sister-in-law from the Three Tams pattern on Knitty.com. The yarn is Cascade 220 Wool and Noro Silk Garden. The Silk Garden is a self-striping yarn, so it looks like the color changes you see in fair-isle knitting. Fake-isle, it’s called.
 

 
I made my mom, dad, and stepmom some Zune cozies, too. More on that later.
 
About the ones I’m not done with yet: I have two more that are kinda almost done that I’m still counting as "Christmas." I’ll post those after I’m done and have given them away.