Tag Archives: christmas

Inspiration: Christmas Cookies

I mentioned on Wednesday that I’m getting ready to begin my yearly Epic Baking Adventure.  I’ve been doing my Epic Baking Adventure just about every year since college, with more or less Epicness depending on the year.  I usually make a half dozen (or more) types of cookies, give them out to friends, take them when I visit someone’s house, and (honestly) eat more of them than I should.

Every year, the menu varies slightly (usually by adding on an extra variety or two).  This year, I’m making sugar cookies (of course), chocolate crinkles, spritz, pfeffernusse (a must-do holiday tradition in my husband’s family), mocha meringues (if it doesn’t rain too much), and soft caramels.  And, maybe I’ll add on a cookie or two if I get done with those too quickly.  (We’re having a small Christmas this year, just the two of us, so I’m trying not to go too over the top.)

Let’s celebrate Christmas Cookies with some cookie-themed patterns:

This little guy is too cute!  I love the big red gumdrop buttons and the “piped” icing details.  I’m not actually a big fan of gingerbread cookies.  If I’m going to make gingerbread, I usually make a big old gingerbread cake and serve it with generous dollops of whipped cream.  Yum!

Christmas Gingerbread Boy by Teresa AlvarezI love that this designer made patterns for 5 different cookies.  I think the variety is really what makes Christmas cookies special.  When else do you get to make (and eat) dozens and dozens of different cookies without guilt?

Christmas Deco Cookies (Set of 5) by Eva PolaripopAnd how could you forget Santa?! The most fiendish of cookie fiends!  When we were kids, my brother and I would always leave out cookies and milk for Santa (even though we didn’t super believe in him, it was better to be sure… just in case).  I love these cookies- you could totally use them as super-cute coasters this winter.

Santa’s Cookies by Jessica SpencerI can’t wait to get baking this year!

What cookies are tradition in your house?

 

Holiday Check-In

Hi guys!  How’s your holiday season shaping up?  We’ve got less than a week until Haunnukah begins, about two weeks until my brother’s birthday, and just under three weeks until Christmas.  (What?  You don’t celebrate my brother’s birthday, too?!)

How is your gift preparation going?  Are you furiously knitting away, or are you already planning on wrapping up a half-finished scarf for your mom this year?  I’m keeping it super low-key this year, and the few gifts I’m knitting for people have already been finished.  Actually, I’m mostly just diving into my Finished Object Stash for knitted gifts this year.

It’s lucky that I decided to take it easy on my knitting this year, though, because it turns out I have a new work knitting project that’s due just after the new year.  So, I’ve definitely got my hands full this winter.While I don’t have a lot of specifically Christmas-themed knitting, I do have a TON of baking I still have to do yet.  And, unfortunately, you can’t really get your baking done that early.  So, I guess I’ll have my hands full (and covered in butter and flour) from next week through Christmas.

I think I’m OK with that- there’s nothing more festive than spending the day (or the week) filling up your house with a half-dozen types of Christmas cookies.

How’s your holiday to-do-list going?

Christmas Balls Are Go!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

What? It’s not Christmas yet?  But I’m drinking my morning coffee with egg nog instead of milk, and I may have just eaten a sugar cookie (breakfast of champions!), and my house is festive as all get out!  It certainly feels like Christmas around here.

We decorated last weekend.  Our front yard is full of twinkling lights (though some of our strands of lights are starting to get a little sad- I think we’re going to need to buy new ones for next year).  We’ve hung the stockings by the chimney with care, and we put up out (not quite straight) Christmas tree.

Usually I’m a “let’s use every single ornament we’ve ever come across” kind of tree decorator.  It’s usually packed to the gills, with almost every branch holding at least an ornament or two.  But this year we switched it up…

And used my Christmas Balls!I managed to finish 24 balls (I still have a handful that haven’t been filled yet), which turned out to be just enough to decorate the front of the tree!  I love how bold and cheerful they turned out.They look great, and (bonus!) I don’t have to worry about the dog pulling down the tree and breaking everything.I couldn’t be happier with how they’ve turned out.  Now I just have to make the other 30-ish balls, to finish out the book.  Maybe by next year, I’ll have them all finished?

(I tried to get a nice picture of Ollie in front of the tree, but he didn’t want to cooperate.  So, here’s the best one.)Have you decorated for the holidays yet?  What

Inspiration: The Final Countdown

Cue the 80’s glam metal, because it’s time to start counting down (almost).

December’s right around the corner and that means it’s time to break out the advent calendars!

I love a good advent calendar.  It’s the best combination of waiting (which I am very bad at.  I get very impatient), and opening presents early (which I enjoy doing quite a lot).  The past few years, I put together a beer advent calendar for my husband, where he got a new bottle of fancy holiday beer every day.  Last year, he made me a yarn advent calendar, where I got a new mini-skein of yarn every day.  It was the best!

When I was little, we had advent calendars, too.  My brother and I each had our own tiny fake tree, and we picked out small ornaments for each day. By the end of the month, we barely had a square-inch of tree visible beneath all the ornaments.  I still have a bunch of the advent calendar ornaments, though my little tree has gotten lost along the way (though, maybe it’s at my folks’ house… I should check the next time I visit).

It might be a little late in the year to put together an advent calendar, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try!

I like this one because it includes a very cute little tree!

Christmas Tree Advent Calendar #294 by ShiFio’s PatternsThis one looks even simpler- maybe you could get it knit up by the end of the weekend, if you really put your mind to it? I particularly love the teeny tiny balls!

Advent Tree Wall Hanging by Roxanna JuneBut if you felt like getting really fancy, I kind of love this garland!  I like that each day is a totally unique ornament, and I love that they hang from all those little buttons.  If I had a million hours of free time, you’d better bet that I’d be all over this project!

Advent Garland by Frankie BrownDo you have an advent calendar tradition in your family?

One-Month Warning!

It’s coming!

Get ready!

I hope you’ve already gotten a jump on your knitting.  Because:

You’ve got one month until Christmas!Good luck!

(OK, really you have a month plus one day, but still…)

Inspiration: Christmas

It’s October 25th… you know what that means.  2 months until Christmas!

That means you have 61 days to get all your Christmas knitting done (or at least started enough to have a good excuse when you wrap up a half-finished scarf in the wee hours of Christmas morning… not that I’ve ever done that).

Might I suggest a few patterns- a few of my free patterns?  These are some of my favorites, they’re small, simple, and fun enough (if I say so myself) to whip up a handful in the next two months.  Plus, they’re nice enough that even the pickiest gift-receiver will be happy to open them up on Christmas morning.

I love the Snowbank Spa Cloth.  It’s a super simple dish-cloth (with almost no finishing-just two ends to weave in!).  The pattern calls for fancy-pants cotton yarn to make it a “spa” cloth, but you could use any cotton you have on hand, and just rename it “dishcloth” or “washcloth” depending on how soft your yarn is.  It’s a simple repeat of knits, purls, and slipped stitches, surrounded by a nice garter stitch border, so it’s easy to work up.  Make a stack of them, or just one and wrap it up with a fancy bar of soap for a lovely gift.

Get the pattern hereI’m also a fan of the Snoqualmie Cowl.  I can’t wait for the temperature to drop enough so that I can break mine out again.  It’s worked with really bulky yarn at a massive gauge, so it works up in almost no time.  I used fancy leftover yarn from a big shawl I made years ago, but you can use whatever you have on hand- the colorblocking is perfect for using up leftover bits and bobs of your fancy bulky yarn that you couldn’t bear to throw away.

Get the pattern Snoqualmie Cowl.

If you ever need a super fast gift (for Christmas or otherwise), you’d be hard-pressed to find a simpler (or easier) project than my tiny Coffee Sweater.  Worked in the round with just enough cabling to make it interesting, this little guy knits up in an afternoon.  Use your favorite yarn, or whatever worsted-weight yarn you have laying around your craft room- it doesn’t take more than an ounce or two. If you start now, I bet you can make Coffee Sweaters for everyone on your Christmas list before Thanksgiving has passed!  Wrap up each sweater with a gift card to your favorite coffee joint- and I can’t imagine a better gift!

Get the pattern Coffee Sweater!What are your go-to patterns for gift giving?

What If?

Sometimes when I’m working on a particularly slog-y project, I start playing “What If” with my knitting.  (When I was an office drone I also played “What If” with my job.  What if I was a barista?  What if I started working for the postal service?  What if I went back to school?)

I’ve been thinking “What If” I didn’t have to finish the Vampire project?  What would I be doing instead?

And, since my calculations tell me that I’ve got a little over a week left before I finish (assuming I haven’t made any major mistakes/don’t have to rip back the whole thing/am able to stay on schedule), it’s just about time to start thinking about the next thing I’m going to do.

First, I think I’m going to finish up my Papaya Sweater.  It’s been sitting, abandoned, on an end table in my studio for more than a month now.  Poor thing.  I’m really looking forward to getting it finished.  (And I’m really looking forward to a simple project that doesn’t involve any cables.)I’ll probably work up a handful more Christmas Balls, or at least take some time away from actual knitting to finish up the ones I’ve already knit.  I’ve got a stack that still need to be stuffed, and almost all of them need their tails woven in and their hangers added.  (I feel like “hangers” isn’t quite right, but I can’t think of the right word.  I mean the dangly loop they’ll hang on the tree from.)I also need to spend a weekend finishing up my Mother Bears before the end of the year.  I’ve got 4.5 bears that need to be stuffed and assembled, plus another 6 more that need their faces sewn on.  Maybe that’ll be a Christmas Vacation project?And, I think I want to do something new, something fun, and something that uses up some of the yarn I’ve already got in my stash.  Maybe a new pair of socks, or some sort of shawl that uses the last few mini-skeins of fancy yarn I got last year for Christmas.  Options!What are you working on now?

Christmas Knitting

I’m feeling much better today (thanks for all the advice!), and hopefully I’ll keep up the streak of no-headaches for a while.

It’s cool (40s and 50s) and rainy outside, and the leaves are all changing.  So, obviously it’s the time for me to start making my Christmas plans!What?  You’re not a total Type-A planner like me?  Crazy!

Usually, I plan out Christmas gifts (and really, Christmas Knitting) super early- like, over the summer early.  But, I’ve decided to do something truly shocking this year.

I’m. Not. Knitting. Anything.

I swear!

(OK, I am making one small gift because it was specifically requested, and I made a promise.)

Every year I spend months knitting at top speed to make it to December 25th- I make sweaters, I make socks, I make mittens and hats and stockings.  And, they totally stress me out.

This year, I’ve got a bunch of work knitting that’s keeping me busy, and really, I just want to sit back, relax, drink some peppermint cocoa and enjoy the holiday season.  (And maybe selfishly make myself a few dozen more Christmas Balls.)That’s not to say that no one will be getting knit gifts.  You remember my stash of finished objects, right?  There’s nothing to say that someone won’t be receiving a nice scarf that I worked up in March, or a pair of socks from January.  I’ve got people in mind for a bunch of my finished projects, and I’m sure they’ll be excited to get them.  And, for people that aren’t getting anything knitted… well, that’s what shopping is for!

I’m just excited that I’m not going to have to worry about knitting my fingers to the bone, racing the clock (and Santa) to get everything done before Christmas!

Do you have any big plans for your holiday/Christmas knitting?

New Pattern: Tannenbaum Tree Skirt

It’s a very special day today.  (No, it’s not just Friday, October 13th, the spookiest day of the year)  It’s new pattern day!  And, better than that, it’s new Christmas Pattern day!

Knit Picks just published an insanely adorable collection, cram-jammed with cozy holiday patterns.

Everything in this book is stinking cute, and gives me “Cozy Christmas Cabin” vibes, which is exactly what I want when I’m gearing up for the holidays.

I think the cutest pattern might be this adorable color work Santa pillow.  I see myself spending the next couple months knitting up a handful of these bad boys.  I love how the hats of one row of Santas form he shoulders of the next row- very clever!

Santa Pillow by Kathy LewinskiAnd these stockings are just too sweet!  I love that they’re worked in bulky yarn (making them extra-big for extra presents!) and the non-traditional burgundy, navy and cream are a really nice alternative color scheme.  If I hadn’t already made my stockings, I’d be seriously considering whipping up a few of these guys for my family.  Maybe I’ll end up with a sweater featuring the reindeer and snowflakes…

Holiday Stockings by Michele Lee Bernstein

But, if I can totally toot my own horn, I think my pattern might be my favorite.  It’s the Tannenbaum Tree skirt!

It’s a creamy, cabled, cozy tree skirt knit in a single piece, featuring Christmas-tree-shaped cables all the way around.  (Trust me, it’s even cuter in person!)It’s a smallish skirt, about 30″ in diameter, so it’s perfect for a skinny tree, or a small table-top tree.  It’s worked in bulky yarn, so it works up in no time at all.  Plus (and I realize this might not be something that everyone agrees with), the cables are insanely fun to work, all complicated and twisty, but really satisfying at the end of the day.

If you want to get a copy of my pattern, head over here!

Or, if you want to get a copy of the whole Merry Knitmas book (and why wouldn’t you?), head here!

Warning!

I know I just made a post on Friday about how great it is that fall is finally here, but I’ve got bad news for you guys.

It’s officially 3 months until Christmas.  Start panicking.It doesn’t seem right that it’s so close, but I’ve checked and re-checked the calendar.  And, well, it’s 3 months away.

So, if you’re planning on doing any Christmas Knitting, now’s the time to get cracking.  (And I’d better increase my production of Christmas Balls if I’m going to have that red-and-white tree I was hoping for.)

(Also, if you’re making Mary Berry’s Christmas Cake, now’s also the time to start collecting your ingredients.  I’m having the darndedst time finding mixed peel this year.  I wonder if Whole Foods has it stocked already?)