Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What I Did on My Christmas Vacation

I didn't knit for anyone this Christmas except myself, and as none of that has pictures yet I won't bore you with it.  I did put a few more rows on Silas' Moderne, and toyed with the idea of picking out colors to make one for Ezra (grey, green, charcoal, and white?), but I don't expect either to come to fruition this year, or even next.

I did however make some gifts.  I made a whole bunch of ornaments, a few of which you can see here:

The snowmen come from this recipe for a cornstarch/baking soda dough.  It makes for a lovely, smooth, very white ornament (provided you don't over-toast them . . . ) that almost feels like porcelain.  The black details are Sharpie, and the scarves are glitter glue.  Thank goodness for glitter glue.  Remember the dark ages of drawing your designs with white glue, and then shaking loose glitter over it, oh so delicately pressing the glitter into the glue, shaking the excess off, getting glitter everywhere except where you really wanted it?  Don't get me wrong, that still sounds like fun.

I used the same cornstarch dough to make two of these;

Terribly rough, but the grandparents were enchanted.  I wish I had made impressions of Silas' newborn sized feet, but I remember at the time being way too exhausted to attempt any such thing.  Having done it with Ezra, I can attest that it's almost not worth it, trying to wrestle a newborn into making a good impression.

I tried using salt dough and mitten templates to make ornaments of Silas' handprints this year, but it was a lost cause - it is perhaps unsurprisingly more difficult to get a squirmy two-year-old to make a good handprint than trying to get those feetprints from the infant.

For the cinnamon ornaments, I combined a few different recipes and came up with:

1/2 c. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. applesauce
2 Tbsp. white glue
2 Tbsp. loose glitter
1 Tbsp. cloves
1 tsp. mace (because I couldn't find nutmeg - if you use nutmeg, use a tablespoon)

Mix it all together, wrap it in plastic wrap and allow to sit for an hour on the countertop, knead it a few times on a cinnamon dusted surface, roll it out under a sheet of waxed paper to 1/4", and go crazy with the cookie cutters.  I misjudged my thickness and many of the ornaments were only 1/8" thick; much curling and fragility were the result.  Make holes in the tops with toothpicks or a drinking straw, and bake on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 2 hours or until dry, flipping the ornaments halfway through.  Transfer to a I used a silver Sharpie decorate the gingerbread men, and more glitter glue on the one little round ornament.  I was tempted to decorate the rest as well, but I really liked the way they looked plain, so I held back.  Next year I may make more, and then the glue may run a little more freely (especially if Silas helps).

I hope you all had very merry holidays!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Catching up on the FOs Friday

Here's to mad one-handed typing skills, brought to you by one of my most recent and highly anticipated FOs:

Ezra Lee, born November 26th, a couple days late as far as the due date and a couple weeks later than everyone expected based on my rate of dilation, but this child won't be rushed on anything.  He was 8 lbs, 10 oz, 21 and 3/4" long, perfectly healthy other than a mild case of jaundice (nothing that a little sunbathing at home in the warm sunny windows won't take care of, I have been reassured), and to my own particular glee, he has my hair:

It may well lighten up as he gets older, but I hope not.  

Of course, he needed a stocking.

I used the same Mason-Dixon Knitting: Outside the Lines pattern that I used for Silas' stocking, and just reversed the red and green .  My fair-isle was much looser this time, making those portions ever so slightly larger than the plain stockinette, which is annoying, but not so much so as to tempt me towards trying to steam-block RHSS.

I also made a couple of headband style earwarmers.

Both are made using the Morning Walk Headband Earwarmer pattern with a few mods.  For the fuchsia band I used bulky weight yarn (Malabrigo Chunky in Fucsia - absolutely delicious) instead of the super bulky that the pattern calls for, which turned out fine as far as gauge went, but I forgot to allow for my gigantic noggin and blithely made it to the length in the pattern.  So now my mom has a spiffy new headband earwarmer.  What is family for but to provide us with a variety of body types and sizes so that when things don't fit us they don't go to waste?  The other mod in Fuchsia's case is that I swapped out the flower in the pattern for the more striking Crochet Picot Flower.  I like picots.

The festive headband is made in Wool-Ease Thick and Quick (color Oatmeal), which while not as buttery soft and dreamy to work with as the Malabrigo, is cozy and warm, and this time I added an inch and half to the length of the piece so it actually stays over my ears.  I was tickled by the idea of a very Christmas-y earwarmer, so I subbed in some holly for this one, using the Holly Bookmark pattern, obviously omitting the bookmark chain and replacing the thread called for with a double strand of RHSS.

Finally (and it only took two years), I finished this little elf ornament from Knit Picks.

The red and white are Sockenwolle, the face and hands are a double strand of Alpaca with a Twist Fino, and the body and feet are Lane Cervinia Forever Jacquard.  I went with jingle bells instead of pompoms, because teensy pompoms were more than I could manage.

I also made a couple of Dorset buttons for a swap, based on directions from Jane Austen Knits Fall 2013, this tutorial, and a little improvisation.  And beads.  If there's an option to add beads, I will always opt for that.  The swap was a simple ornament swap (my partner went a leeeetle overboard and sent me not only an ornament, but also cookies, tea, cocoa, coloring books . . .) with a Jane Austen theme.  Dorset is where Delaford is located in "Sense and Sensibility," so the button idea seemed appropriate.  Finding a ring big enough for the ornament I had in mind was trickier than I expected, though I have since discovered that there are places online that supply exactly what I was looking for, and I ended up using a 2" welded ring that I finally located at the local hardware store.  You can't beat the hardware store for those odd items that you only need one or two of without having to buy a whole package of whatever.  Just need four drywall screws?  You buy just four, and they put them in a cute little brown paper sack that makes you feel like you just left Olsen's Store in Plum Creek.  If only they carried stick candy (which can be had around here at the local apple orchard, which is awesome and made Silas the happiest two year old in September, I can tell you).  The yarn is the same Sockenwolle that I used for the elf ornament, and the beads are size 6/0 (E) glass seed beads, also from my stash.  The button sized button was made from a Boye stitch marker and size 10 crochet thread.  The trickiest thing about making the buttons is figuring out how to hide the ends.