Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Favorite Greens, Wrap Up

With 13 installations of 'My Favorite Greens', I've decided it is time to wrap things up. I've really enjoyed this quarter-of-a-year spent thinking about and photographing some of my favorite possessions. While some of them were inexpensive and others priceless, the most important thing is that I love them all.

What I take away from this project is a reminder to love the things I have and to only buy things that I love. And to remember that usually, the things we love the most are the ones made with care and by hand. It's a good lesson to carry with me into the holidays and something to think about in the new year and I hope it is something that you will consider in the new year as well.

Related: All of My Favorite Greens photos.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Handmade Gift Ideas

I'm as busy as a house-elf this week trying to finish making Christmas gifts, wrap them, and send them in time for the holiday. Since I don't want to ruin the surprise of all the gifts I'm working on at the moment, I thought I would share some neat gift ideas/tutorials I've discovered in the past year. There is still plenty of time left to make any of these items and people usually appreciate the hand-made touch!

Handmade gift ideas:

* Give a batch of this amazing-sounding carmel corn.

* Customize an embroidered corner bookmark.

* Share some yummy candy buttons.

* For something fun, how about googly-eyed thumb tacks, or even magnets.

* For a female friend, you can whip up these fabric scrap hairpins.

* I'm over-the-moon about these embellished pillowcases.

* Or you could whip up a pair of Bike Helmet Earmuffs for the cyclist in your life (shameless plug).

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Favorite Greens #13

Handwoven wool blanket that my mother made for me. While not technically a green item (it is yellow with a few green accents), it is truly one of my favorite things.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Getting Crafty and Cozy

The holiday spirit is beginning to pervade the house. Husband is loving his Advent calendar and, with the addition of a Christmas tree to our apartment, we’re really starting to feel festive. It doesn’t hurt that we got snow last week (though I’m certain that it will be May before I see grass again). At least the snow made for a nice backdrop during our outing to the cut-your-own-Christmas-tree farm. That's me below, taking my turn with the saw (in a hat that may look a bit familiar).

The other holiday celebration that brought both DH and I lots of cheer was St. Nick's Day. I always wanted to do this as a child, but it wasn't until I married a Catholic that celebrating this Saint's day became a reality. Basically, you set out a pair of shoes on the evening of December 5th and wake up the next morning to find presents inside them. Husband got a new Wii game and I received this beautiful tea wallet, in addition to some candy and chocolate. To add to the cuteness of this mini-holiday, our 'shoes' were a pair of child-sized clogs that I found at an outdoor market this summer. I'm seriously debating painting them red for next year's St. Nick's Day.

And yes, that is yet another Ishbel you see in that photo. I knit it mostly over Thanksgiving out of my 'free' ball of Cashmere-Silk yarn, Filatura Di Crosa Superior. It is just as light and airy as you would expect, and incredibly soft. I just love this pattern, and in combination with this yarn, it will be the perfect thing to wear to some upcoming holiday parties.

I'd love to hear what you do to bring joy to the month of December!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

My Favorite Greens #12

My absolute favorite teapot, a 16 oz. Beehouse, surrounded by all of the tea supplies I keep at work.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

My New Favorite Cardigan

I finished my Vivian cardigan on Wednesday morning, just a few hours before my husband, my brother-in-law, and I set out for a Thanksgiving holiday with their family in Indiana. I very happily wore it on Thanksgiving day, and got many nice compliments from the family. The other benefit of finishing when I did was being able to take pictures with the lovely southern Indiana backdrop:

Not to say that it wasn't a close race to the deadline. I kept wondering if I would finish knitting in time, if the blocked sweater would dry quickly enough, and if I would finally manage to get the darned zipper to attach to my cardigan. Let me just say that there was a lot of swearing at my old sewing machine on Tuesday night before I finally gave up and stitched the rest of the zipper in by hand on Wednesday morning. I think that having a secure zipper, with its pretty ribbon detailing, was totally worth frightening my husband a little. Sorry Dear.

I should also mention the modifications I made to the pattern, which mainly consisted of changing the hood to a stand-up collar. Thankfully, I had a little help from the notes of a fellow Ravelry user, Olga. Here is what I changed:

- I added 4 short rows in the last row before starting the right saddle shoulder.
- I skipped the BO and pick-up of stitches in the last 3 rows before the hood.
- Instead of starting the hood, I bound off all stitches (save the 3 i-cord st at each side of the front) to add stability to the collar.
- On the WS, I then picked up and purled all of these bound-off stitches.
- The subsequent RS row, I worked in [sl3, *p2, k2, p2, k2tog, ssk* p2, k2, p2, sl3].
- I worked a 2x2 rib for the rest of the collar, adding 2 short rows to the back of the collar at half of the desired height.

Overall, I am very pleased with this cardigan, which may be my favorite handknit sweater to-date. The pattern was excellent, with all of the readability and beauty of design that I have come to expect from Ysolda. The sweater itself fits great, with its lovely waist shaping avoiding the tendency for bulky sweaters to obscure the figure.

If I had to say one bad thing about this sweater, it would be that the sleeves are too long; I find myself constantly rolling them up and back down whenever I wear it. But whenever I look at the pretty ribbon on the inside of the zipper, I forget about the sleeves. (All cardigans I make in the future will have ribbons in them because I just adore that detail.) Vivian certainly took a long time for me to knit, but it was worth every minute I put into it.

Relate posts: Vivian part 1, part 2, part 3, & part 4.