Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Keeping Busy

Oh, my goodness, is this holiday season getting away from anyone else? It’s been nonstop here.

On the bright side, between school holiday programs and waiting rooms for checkups I’ve been able to get quite a bit of knitting done despite our busy schedules. On the not-so-bright side — literally — the short days and rainy weather seem to be conspiring against me taking any progress photos.

I’m still knitting away on my Diamond Pullover. The front and back pieces are done, leaving me with about a sleeve and a half to knit before I can sew the sweater together. I still hope to have it ready in time for Christmas. Or maybe New Year’s Eve.

The projects that I knit as gifts earlier in the year — a Dingle Hat, two Scandinavian Hats, and a pair of Meida’s Mittens — have been wrapped and mailed. I can’t wait to hear whether the recipients like them.

Our home is decorated for Christmas, and we’ve begun food preparations. I spent so much time kneading a troublesome batch of dough for chruścik, a sweet crisp Polish pastry, that my activity tracker registered it as a cardio workout and said I hit my step goal.

Chruscik or Chrusciki dusted with powdered sugar
Dusted with powdered sugar, chruścik are also known as “angel wings.

This week will likely be just as busy, with end-of-semester projects and exams followed by wrapping gifts and baking cookies. It’s still making, just a different kind: making merry and making memories.

I wish you the best in all that you’re making as 2018 draws to a close.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Jingle Tree Ornament

'Tis the season — for kits!

I always seem to end up digging through my stash of project kits this time of year. Many of the kits are Christmas-themed, so on that level the timing makes sense. However, they’re rarely as quick and giftable as I want them to be. This week’s kit is an exception.

A few years ago, I was given a beginner’s Jingle Tree Ornament Kit from Penny Marble Quilt Designs, complete with all of the necessary materials except glue. Although it’s made with fabric, this is a no-sew project.

Contents of the Jingle Tree Ornament Kit

I don’t want to give away they entire process, but I will say that the most difficult part of making the tree ornament was punching the holes into the fabric-covered paper strips. I actually broke a sweat!

Note to self: A hole punch can be sharpened by punching through aluminum foil. I wish I had looked that up earlier.

Colorful Strips of Fabric Covered Paper

The entire project took only about an hour to make, which is great for quick holiday gifts. I used quick-dry craft glue, and the most time-consuming step was still holding the pieces together as I waited for the glue to set.

Colorful 3D Tree Ornament Pieces Made from Fabric Covered Paper

To construct the ornament, the three fabric pieces are strung onto a piece of ribbon along with a star for the top, two large beads to serve as the tree trunk, and a small bell at the bottom. Yes, it really does jingle!

Finished Jingle Tree Ornament Hanging on a Christmas Tree

I wouldn’t recommend this kit for young children because it requires the use of an iron, plus the patience to hold the pieces together as the glue dries. But it would be a fun holiday activity for older children with supervision, teens, and adults alike. I’m definitely going to come back to this pattern again.

What are your favorite quick and easy projects for holiday gift-giving?

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

In Progress: Knit Diamond Pullover

In the United States, we celebrated Thanksgiving last week with family, food, and football. Our family hosted guests for two nights, then visited out of town family for two more nights.

While our guests were with us, I didn’t have much time for any of my usual making; I was too busy cooking, cleaning, and visiting. But I spent about 10 hours as a passenger on our way to and from another town, which allowed me to make up for lost time.

Skeins and Balls of Sport Weight Purple Yarn with Knit Sweater Ribbing in Progress

A few weeks ago, we travelled out of state to attend a wedding. Since we don’t have any local yarn shops near us, I took the opportunity to splurge on a skein of Dream in Color Smooshy in colorway 43 Boot Camp and four skeins of Plymouth Yarn Reserve Sport in colorway 306 Mauve Mix. I’ve purchased both brands in the past and could have easily ordered them online, but it makes such a difference to me to be able to touch the yarns and see them in person when I can.

The Reserve Sport is a soft blend of 45% wool, 35% silk, and 20% rayon from bamboo. The colors range from light to medium lavender, with touches of ivory and beige. I thought it would be perfect for a top, and chose the #07 Diamond Peplum Pullover pattern by Jill Wright from the Holiday 2012 issue of Vogue Knitting. I love the classic look of the sweater.

In order to match the gauge, I’m knitting on US-3 (3.25 mm) and US-6 (4.0 mm) needles rather than the needles specified in the pattern. So far, the pattern is straightforward and works up quickly. Errata is available for one misprint.

Close Up View of Ribbing Knit in Purple Sport Weight Yarn

I had the ribbing for the back finished before we set out. During the drive, I was able to finish the back and knit almost half of the ribbing for the front. I’ve added an inch (2.5 cm) to the length. As much as I love the diamond pattern, I don’t plan to include the peplum in my version of this pullover. I also have some adjustments in mind for the sleeves.

If all goes well, I’ll be wearing this sweater by our next family gathering in a month’s time. What are your making goals during this busy holiday season?