Archive for December, 2010

There’s Still Time to Knit This Scarf

December 21, 2010

I don’t generally commit to knitting deadlines, let alone one that is four days away, but this scarf pattern is so quick and I am half-way there that I think I can make it.  You can find the pattern, “Easy Mistake Stitch Scarf,” here at The PurlBee. I altered it a bit by casting on just 27 stitches onto size 10 needles – since it is going to a younger person – and chose CascadeYarns’ 128 Superwash (2 skeins), a 100% merino wool. It will definitely need blocking, so tonight it’s Mad Men (courtesy of Netflix) and knitting. Then, to avoid gifting a damp, soggy scarf, I will block it tomorrow.

Happy knitting!

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A Family Gift: Sharing a Craft and a Lot More

December 16, 2010

We all know the holiday season is more about the giving than the getting, but I have a family gift that will soon be wrapped and waiting under the tree for Christmas morning that is a bit of both. This year, well more likely next year, the entire family is going to learn to knit and we are going to do so by knitting a scarf for another family member. I am going to wrap up four balls of yarn and each person will choose one package from the bag. Then, together we will open them up. I’ve made it simple: the scarves will all use just one stitch, the garter stitch; the yarns are user friendly; needle sizes range from size 9 to 11; and the finished scarf can not measure more than 72 inches unless the knitter is completely agreeable to the idea of making it longer. Oh, and yes there is a deadline, we have to finish by Valentine’s Day.

I love the idea that a new skill is being learned by my husband and son – my daughter knits a little – and that we are making something for someone else. It will require patience – students and teacher alike – but I am hoping that 12 months from now, everyone will pick up another ball of yarn to knit a scarf or something else for another person in their life. I’m also hoping for some funny memories to stash away and tell in the years to come!

A Simple Advent Calendar that Celebrates the Season

December 2, 2010

Where I’ve been since my last post: Thinking about this blog, raising kids, helping family, working, getting the outside ready for winter, volunteering, cooking, cleaning, working out at the gym, thinking about projects I want to make, but not actually making them. Where I am now: Writing on my blog rather than just thinking about it, making the projects I have been contemplating, cleaning out the studio, and all of the aforementioned activities. Sometimes, you just have to move the stuff you love to the top of the list 🙂

Now to share my Advent calendar idea:

For the past several years, I have wanted to make an Advent calendar, specifically a wall hanging with lots of embroidery, applique and other embellishments. I have every intention of starting it in July or August, but something else always takes priority. So on Sunday night with December 1st three days away, I came up with another idea. A simple idea that involves the whole family and celebrates the season without the commercial hoopla that surrounds this time of year.

Each member of the family (four people in our case) received six pieces of paper on which they had to write an inspirational quote, a family goal for the coming year, or something for which they are grateful. After everyone went to bed, I got busy and wrapped each slip of paper with a “treat”. For the most part, the treats are really activities that we will do the day the package is opened. So often during the holiday season, I find myself saying stuff like, “We don’t have time to play that game right now because we have to get ready for Christmas.” The treats are an invitation to slow down and spend time together. Last night, on December 1st, the treat was to make M&M cookies together after school – before homework! The house smelled great and there was lots of talking and laughing; my teenage son participated but since he shuns anything sweet, he will get soda bread, one of his favorites, tonight. We finished up by taking a plate of warm cookies over to our neighbors. It was a nice change of pace before we moved on to homework and an evening of work and volunteer activities.

Other treats packaged up include drawing a winter wonderland picture together on a really long piece of paper, inviting neighbors over for dessert (something we have been meaning to do for months), making fudge, and going to see It’s a Wonderful Life at the Tivoli theatre here in Downers Grove to raise money for Sharing Connections, an organization that provides household items to families in need. There was a bit of orchestrating required when it came to deciding what activities to do on what days – I did take a look at the calendar and planned the treat accordingly so that the activities will hopefully not seem like work. At first glance it looks like a jumble of flat brown packages, but each of the 24 packages is numbered 1 through 24.

Abiding by my mantra of “reuse, repurpose, recycle,” I used brown paper grocery bags (I knew there was a reason I forgot to take my own bags into Trader Joe’s last week). What I also love about this idea is that there is not another decorative item to box up so that it can be stored for 11 months out of every year.

Happy making!