Sunday, November 21, 2010

Frantic holiday knitting

Loyal blog reader and online gal pal Teresa writes, "I imagine you are knitting away these days, as are we all. I wondered this morning how many knitters around the world were relaxed? LOL All are feverishly clicking away!"

Cute Christmas Ornaments from Mary Maxim

Teresa would be right. Every knitter I know is frantically trying to finish up holiday knitting projects, whether they be decorations or presents. I'm no different.

I'm pleased to have finally finished the Menorah Pillow for my friend, Sharon. I didn't do the knitted back that was called for in the pattern. Instead, I hand-sewed blue velvet as the back, which was a bit tricky. After some trial and error, I pinned the velvet into an 18-inch square, put the front side of the knitted piece and the front side of the velvet together, and then backstitched it on three sides. Then I inserted the pillow form and sewed up the bottom edge. I took my time and it turned out pretty well.

Here are some other considerations about the Menorah Pillow, available in Melanie Falick's Handknit Holidays (a great book, btw):
  • Make sure you check the errata because there are a few problems.
  • When you're knitting the flames, look at the chart very carefully. You'll think you're knitting up from 1 to 7, but you're not. I had to rip them out a few times before I got the flames right.
  • I wish I'd knitted this whole thing at a tighter gauge either using US 6 needles or a yarn that's thicker than the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino. I recently ordered some Knit Picks Capra DK and even though it's designated DK, it's thicker than the Cashmerino and would therefore work better for this project, I think. But one good thing about this project is that it fit an 18x18-inch pillow form perfectly. 
Next up on my holiday hit parade: Tom's sweater. I'm working away and am enjoying the project because I love how Berroco Ultra Alpaca knits up. I can't wait until the back is done so I can block it. I know from experience that it will block beautifully. This is Norah Gaughan's Beagle Pullover, btw.

Finally, I wonder how miniature knitter, Althea Crome, is going to top this Christmas sweater. A true genuis, Althea stitched the sweaters for the movie Coraline. I could die and go to heaven if I'd knitted this masterpiece in full size let alone this tiny thing. It is just beautiful.

Watch Althea in action. It's amazing to see her use sewing needles and thread to make tiny sweaters. She knits English, btw.

Only 34 days until Christmas! Do you know where your knitted gifts are? Wrapped and ready for the tree? Of stuffed in the bottom of your knitting basket? Better get moving, girl!


    I get stressed out just watching the teeny weeny stitches. I bet she has learned how not to drop any stitches or lose her place.
    Lifeline? No room for one.
    I am humbled to think I can mess up even with Bulky Yarn.

    Your pillow is gorgeous! The recipient will treasure it surely.
    Keep on Beaglin' gal, keep on Beaglin'.

  2. Althea Crome is amazing! I can't imagine in my wildest dreams doing the sweater with the Christmas scene even in normal sized yarn. How does she see the stitches??? Awesome!!!

    Julie, your Menorah pillow is just perfect! What a lovely gift.
    I really like the pattern of the Beagle sweater. Can't wait to see it finished.

    My revamped vest is moving slowly this week. Too many other obligations. Drat! I want so badly to get to the shawl collar part to see how it's going to work out.

    Happy knitting!

  3. Yes, life gets in the way of my knitting, too. The next speedbump will be the damn Christmas tree. Just when I want to be knitting I'll be having to try and make the tree look beautiful and real instead of like a very expensive, prelit bottle brush.

    Persevere, girls!

  4. Julie, the pillow is absolutely beautiful. I do have 5 holiday projects done. Some were started much earlier in the year and are small, like knitted headbands, 2 of those. I love Althea Cromes website.

  5. Your Menorah pillow is absolutely gorgeous, and you have the patience of a saint! No wait.....that woman knitting with sewing needles does! You come in at a close second, though.

    I am working on three projects right now, a shawl for my SIL, a hooded baby blanket for a shower on 12/12 and a lace scarf for a birthday swap. Oh...and I'm sending fifty baby hats to Stitches from the Heart by the end of January to commemorate my younger son's first birthday on 1/10. #41 is on the needles. Frantic? No!!!! :)