Tag Archives: christmas

Christmas (in July) Balls

I’ve been knitting up a storm lately- but unfortunately (or, if you look at it another way, fortunately) it’s mostly been “work knitting.”  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond thrilled that I can count myself as a “professional knitter,” but sometimes I long for the day when I could just knit whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted without deadlines or due dates.

(Woe is me, right?)

I’m crazy busy, but whenever I have a few minutes free, I’ve been slowly chugging away, working on a project just for me.  It’s fun, it’s straightforward, and it doesn’t require me to do any math! Woo!

Since I got Arne & Carlos’ book 55 Christmas Balls to Knit, I’ve dreamed of a Christmas tree covered in their adorable red and white ornaments.

I bought a big bag of red and white yarn in January, and I’ve slowly been making my way through the book.So far, I’ve completely finished 3 balls, stuffed 6 more, and have one freshly off my needles.

They’re quick little projects- it takes me an evening to knit up a ball (not including finishing).  And, its great to be able to just follow a pattern, knowing that it’ll turn out great.

Have you been working on any “just for fun” projects lately?

Christmas Balls

It’s snowing again!

The schools I teach at had a snow day on Monday, and a two-hour late start on Tuesday.  I can only imagine what’s going to happen now that it’s snowing again!  Maybe I’ll just get the rest of the week off (one can hope, right?).   (It’s amazing how much of a Seattleite I’ve become.  The first sign of flurries, and I go into full-blown hibernation mode.  Growing up in the Midwest, we didn’t change our plans unless there was a good 6″ of snow in an hour, and then we just drove a little slower.)

And what’s better than finishing up some of Arne and Carlos’ Christmas Balls on a snowy morning?

51jEZkkM8SL._SX379_BO1,204,203,200_[1]My mom gave me a copy of this adorable book for Christmas (thanks Mom!), and I’ve knit up a couple balls since the holidays.  They’re fun, quick, and don’t use too much yarn (though I did manage to run through my stash of red and white DK wool- I’ve got to order some more).img_4559These little guys are really fun if you want to practice your colorwork in the round.  They have dozens of different designs, and they even include a blank chart in the back of the book if you want to get fancy and design your own patterns!img_4576Of course, finishing is a little fiddly (but any small colorwork project is going to be a bit fiddly).  I sat down with the newest episode of Victoria and a cup of tea, and I had all three of these balls finished before the episode was over.

img_4601Now my only problem is that I want to make about three dozen more, so that next year my Christmas tree will be decorated only with these lovely guys!

Have you made Christmas ornaments before?  What’s your favorite?

It’s Time

I’m all about pulling an all-nighter to finish a last-minute project before it’s due.  (After all, I once did the edging on an afghan in the car as we drove to my friend’s wedding.  It was finished about a half hour before the reception.  That was a stressful day.)

But, sometimes you just have to throw up your hands, pour yourself a glass of eggnog and say “uncle.”  And, I think the day before Christmas Eve counts as one of those times.

You’ve given it your all, and it’s not like you will never finish Aunt Sally’s hat or Grandpa Joe’s socks.  You’ll just finish them in January.  No biggie.

So, wrap up your WIPs, needles and all, and print out these tags that I’ve made just for you:

Christmas Gift Coloring Page

Break out your colored pencils or markers (or glitter glue, I’m not going to limit you), and decorate the tag to show your recipient how amazing their sweater is going to be… when it’s finished.

img_4413Then get yourself that second cup of eggnog and take a break in front of the tree.  You’ve earned it!

And, of course, Merry Christmas!

Give me a K!

Give me an N!

Give me an I!

Give me a T!

What’s that spell?

Knit!

What are we going to do?

Knit!

img_4420I’ve got my pom-poms out, and I’m cheering you on (sure, they’re not cheerleader pompoms, but you get the idea)!  You can do it!  You’ve got 4 days left (5, if you do your gift exchange in the evening) for your Christmas knitting!  And you’ve got this!img_4433Knit! Purl! Yarn over!  Drink that extra cup of coffee so you can stay up to “just finish this section.”  Your boss won’t mind if you’re a little late for work, I’m sure they’d understand you just had to get to the cuff.  And, remember that red lights and grocery store lines are really just wasted time, unless you bring your knitting with you.

I believe in you!

Dear Christmas Knitting,

img_3557Dear Christmas Knitting,

Hi.  It’s me.  We’ve been spending a lot of time together lately, and I think I need to get some things off my chest.

When we started, almost six months ago, everything was great.  We got along great.  It felt like we had all the time in the world.  Everything was easy, fun, even.  I enjoyed spending time with you, and planning the projects for everyone on my list.

But then, something happened over the course of months.  It was a slow change.  Instead of looking forward to spending an hour or two with you every evening, you became a chore.  I’m sorry if I sound harsh, but that’s what happened.  You know it, and I know it.

And now, this close to Christmas, we’ve been spending every free moment together, working hard to make our deadline.  I’ve been feeling the crunch as the due date looms closer.  Of course I’ll stick with you to the finish, but then… I think we might be done.

I don’t think we’ll be doing this again next year.  I think I might just go shopping for Christmas gifts, or possibly some nice gift cards.    Sure, I’ve said this before, but this year I mean it.  For real.  I promise.

Maybe.

Oh, who am I kidding. I’ll see you next year.

-Allison

Snow Day!

It’s a snow day!

Which doesn’t really mean much in Seattle, except that everyone gets really excited about the three snowflakes that land in the greater King County area.  It’s not sticking, the roads are all clear, and I sill have to go to work this afternoon (unless the weather takes a rather dramatic turn later).  I couldn’t even get a good picture of the snow, it’s so light.  But I’m still going to enjoy it.

It’s been so long since we had any real snow around here.  I had a real snow day four or so years ago, when I still had an office job.  They closed down the whole campus and made us go “work from home” for two days.  We barely had to do any work, and we still got paid.  It was great!  There was actually a few inches’ on the ground that time.  Since then, we’ve had sprinkles of snow here and there, just like today.  A little pretty snow in the air, but no accumulation.

But, today, for my snow day, I’m going to enjoy it.  I’ve got Christmas carols playing, and my tree is all lit up.  I had hot cocoa with my breakfast, and I have the first batch of Christmas cookies in the oven (meringues, so they’ll be a disaster in this weather, but I’m trying anyway!).  Ollie’s got the right idea, he’s been napping by the window all morning.img_4084I think I’m going to take the rest of the morning to work on my one remaining (unending) Christmas knitting project (I’ve only got a week or so left before I need to get gifts in the mail!), and watch a movie.  That seems like a good thing to do on a snow day.

What’s your go-to snow day activity?  What’s your go-to snow day movie?

Panic

Now that we’ve got Thanksgiving out of the way, it’s time to hit that Panic Button.panic-buttonYup. It’s one month from Christmas.  I’m going to go finish the Thanksgiving dishes, then I’m going to sit down for the next four weeks to knit.  Wish me luck.

Let’s Do This- Again!

It’s two months until Christmas (sorry to keep mentioning it), and there’s something I want to do.   Let’s do another (very informal) Mother Bear drive!

Last year I made and sent a half-dozen bears for the Mother Bear Project.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you missed it or forgot, the Mother Bear Project collects hand-made (knit or crocheted) teddy bears and delivers them to children living in emerging nations whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS.  It’s a great foundation with a simple message that I think all knitters can understand: sending comfort and love through the gift of something handmade.

(Plus, the bears are crazy cute, easy to make, and a great way to use up leftover bits of yarn.)sizeI’ve made 7 more bears since last Christmas, and I’d like to make another 3 before I send them to Mother Bear HQ this Christmas (to make a round 10).

Will you join me on this bear-making adventure?  Will you pledge to make a bear (or 2 or 3)?  Even one bear can make a big difference in these kids’ lives and let them know someone is thinking about them.

How many bears will you make?

Inspiration: Tree Skirts

OK, I’m going to share a little peek into how my brain works.  I usually try to keep the weird, free-association-y part of my brain a little under wraps, but here we are.

Last week I talked about how I’ve been dreaming of a cozy knit skirt. And yesterday I talked about how Christmas is 81 days away (actually, now it’s 79 days away!  Eek!).

Skirt + Christmas = tree skirt.

It’s a bit of a stretch, logic-wise, but hey, that’s what I’m thinking about today.

So, let’s talk tree skirts.

For the last 10 years (or whatever it’s been since I left home after high school), I’ve always had a little fake tree.  At first it was a 2-foot tall plastic guy that I could fit in my dorm room.  Then I moved to an apartment, and I got a waist-high silver tinsel tree (it looked especially gaudy with multi-colored lights.  It was the best.  My roommates hated it). Then I got to grad school, and had a more grown-up apartment, with room for a full-size tree, so I got one for $10 from JoAnn’s After-Christmas Sale.  I really scored, since we’re still using that tree years later (though it is beginning to get a little threadbare… it might need to retire soon).

I’ve never had a tree skirt- I just shoved presents down there to hide the foot of the tree.  Or, if I felt fancy, I’d grab a blanket (white, if I could find it), and kind of mushed it around the bottom of the tree to look like snow.  It wasn’t fancy, but it worked well enough.

But, last Christmas, my mom embroidered me a gorgeous felt tree skirt, just like the one she made when I was a kid.  It’s covered in all dozens of little appliques, beads and sequins.  I’m so excited to get out the Christmas tree this year so that I can use my new tree skirt.  (I’ll show you pictures when I get it out from storage- if I dug it out right now, I think my husband would get worried.)

Anyway, with tree skirts on the brain, let’s look at some pretty knit and crochet ones, and wonder why I never thought to make one for myself…

I like the use of granny squares to make a star in this skirt, and the combo of ivory and cranberry red is gorgeous.

Christmas Tree Skirt Pattern by Kara Gunza

crochet_tree_skirt-1-3_medium1Here’s another classy star-shaped skirt.  The use of graduated chevrons is very clever, and by changing the colors or stripe pattern you could come up with some really beautiful variations.

Christmas Tree Skirt by Donna Mason-Svaraskirt2_medium21Or if you wanted to go really classy, this lace-y skirt is just gorgeous.  You could make it in ivory for a real antique look.

7-Hour Tree Skirt by Katherine Eng6148_1_medium1But who says Christmas is a classy holiday?!  Not me!  I may have graduated to a tree-colored tree, but I still have that silver tinsel tree with the bright, multi-colored lights.  Christmas should be tacky and fun, in the best possible way.  And, this multi-colored tree skirt is just the ticket.

Granny Tree Skirt by Ann Regislw3208_project_medium21What’s your favorite Christmas style?  What do you celebrate this time of year?

 

Christmas Is Coming

Oops!  I totally spaced, you guys.  I was going to give you a 100-day warning about Christmas, but… I forgot.

So this is your warning.

81 days until Christmas.christmas-bmo[1]I’m so sorry.  I know it’s early- Halloween isn’t eve here yet.  But, we’re knitters, and Christmas Knitting is our Superbowl- you can never prepare for it too much.  So get out your Christmas giving lists, dig through your stash, and start trolling Ravelry for good gift ideas.

Good luck!