My Adventures in Knitting, truly my Yarn-escape!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Wednesday's Yarns: Quick Christmas Gifts and Traditional Cookies

     Today we're joining the blog Sprite Writes which is doing a Virtual Advent Tour 2017.  Every day this month Sprite hosts a different blog on Christmas Traditions.  Today Lovely Yarn Escapes is featuring quick knit Christmas gifts (many suitable for beginners) and some traditional family cookies (at the bottom).  I also enclose what I'm reading (sandwiched in-between) and I connect with "AsKatKnits" at Unraveled Wednesday.  What fun!

Quick Christmas Knits

     Do you still want to create that special gift for a special someone?  There's still time and creating something with your own hands says "I love you" in a more personal way.  Only you could of given that gift because you made it yourself.  I have a nice collection of fairly quick gifts that can be made for the holidays.  Mind you, I am a slow knitter and these projects if started this week would still be done before Christmas in my hands.


     For Christmas gifts last year I did The Big Hat. It goes up in 2 days or less and looks great in Lion's Wool-Ease Quick & Thick .  The pom-pom is lots of fun.  Not only a great beginner's project, but the pattern has a very good how-to video.  I would recommend ordering the needles from Amazon.  I found them hard to find -  #15 circular needles (16" length) and #15 double point needles (5 in a package).

Fingerless gloves

     A favorite designer I especially recommend for beginners and those still learning (I still consider myself in that category, forever learning) is TinCanKnits.  Their Support Page covers many techniques and they have a collection of patterns called The Simple Collection that are easy beginner patterns, but also lovely for anyone.  The patterns include tutorial how-tos.  One of these patterns for fingerless gloves is unique and makes a great gift - Maize.  Simple wool yarn like Patons found in your local craft stores (like Michaels and Joanns) works up really nice.

     This is a lovely cowl, the Meriboo Cabled Cowl and you could knit it with the cables if you're good at that, or knit it plain.  I did a plain version of stockinette with just a ribbing on each side and I really liked it.  It also went up quick and I just love a simple mindless knit for a movie at home.  My previous blog gives more details - Wednesday's Yarns - Cowl's Galore.

      I'm working on two pairs of Boiled Fisherman Mittens for Christmas.  I've never done boiled wool before, but I talked to a woman at a craft fair years ago about her boiled wool hats and she knit them big, then threw them in the dryer.  So that's what I'm planning.  This pattern is found in an old Yankee Magazine.  The pattern itself is based on one last pair of mittens this old lady made who had been making them for years for fishermen.  She passed and another woman studied this one pair and recreated the pattern.  An interesting article, which tells of how the fishermen of old shrunk their mittens.  One method was to throw them on the bottom of the boat and then stomp on them, then to put them on the boat's heater.  For my yarn, I'm using KnitPicks' Simply Wool Bulky yarn.  It has to be yarn that hasn't been processed to still have the natural oil in the wool.  KnitPicks has great prices and quick delivery.  The gloves (I'm hoping here) take a skein per mitten, two per pair.  But I'm not done, I'm basing this calculation based on others who have knit this pattern in Ravelry (Project Page).  (If you are a newbie be sure to join Ravelry for amazing access to an inexhaustible supply of patterns!).

     I just love this cowl - The Gathering.  It's created to recapture the feel of Outlander the Books and movie (my favorite book series of all - Outlander Series).  The cowl takes 2 skeins of Lion's Wool-Ease Quick & Thick and #50 knitting needles, you knit 2 strands of yarn at a time.  I made it several times and it took 2 days to make and it's lovely and warm.  Just a heads up, the color above is called "Barley" and while beautiful it has tiny strands of plastic fiber in the wool blend that itch for me.  Plenty of their other colors don't have this, just look closely if you also have sensitive skin.  Also, there are two techniques you might have to learn, the Provisional Cast On (using waste yarn) and Kitchener Stitch (for Garter Stitch), but by following these tutorials you should do fine.

     And if you're a fast knitter or you want to make something for yourself this is really easy to knit - Just Knit It.  You only need to know how to knit (Garter stitch) and to do kfb which is a knit in the front and back at the beginning of each row.  And bind off, of course (use a knitting needle one size up to keep it loose).  All of these you can find tutorials online.  I love this scarf in fingering sock yarn.  But a quick version is to do it up on #10 needles with DK or worsted.  I started this one on Lion's Heartland in Badlands.  This is my favorite scarf around my neck to keep a draft out. 

What Yarns (or Books) am I Enjoying?

     A great way to power through your knitting is to have a great audio.  I find knitting while I listen helps me to get a lot accomplished and I'm more focused on my task.  I joined Audible and it's a great deal.  Every month I pick an audio.  Last month's choice "The Templar Prophecy: John Hart" Book 1 by Mario Reading has proven to be exciting.  Starting in the Crusades, and flowing through the time of Hitler, and up to the present.  A mystery involving the spear of Christ. 

 "June 1190. A Knight Templar, Johannes von Hartelius, rescues the Holy Lance from the drowning body of Frederick Barbarossa during the Third Crusade. April 1945. A courier arrives at the Hitlerbunker with a parcel. The Führer calls for a vacuum canister to be brought, seals the documents he has received inside it, attaches the canister to a leather case containing the Holy Lance, and sends it away, guarded by a descendant of Johannes von Hartelius. Present Day: British photojournalist John Hart finds his father crucified, with the mark of a spear in his side. Shattered and bewildered, Hart learns for the very first time of his family's destiny—to be the Guardians of the Lance. As Hart begins to investigate, he discovers a German occult rightwing organization called the Brotherhood of the Lance. Hart infiltrates the organization to investigate his father's murder—but the secret of the Lance is more terrifying than he could ever have imagined." Goodreads - The Templar Prophecy.

      Another good listen that I'm just in the beginning, but so far it is so good, is Leonardo da Vinci Audiobook by Walter Isaacson (Author),‎ Alfred Molina (Narrator).  The premise of the author seems to be mainly two-fold; he writes about successful men and how their success was determined by how they straddled different disciplines and created from that place.  He writes about Leonardo da Vinci as the artist and a scientist and how this is entwined.  Also, he contends that even though Leonardo was a genius he also had his quirks that made him more of an ordinary human being and that we also can identify with him and perhaps also can achieve a measure of greatness learning from such men.  Maybe we won't create a Sistine Chapel or Mona Lisa, but the author contends we can be influenced by observing these Masters.  He explains that now he has studied Leonardo he observes the sheen on an object, how the color plays in shadow or how people's expressions play out at a table.  It's a wonderful book to listen to.  The Intro is read by the author and the rest read by Alfredo Molina with a wonderful European accent, rolling the Italian names with an Italian flourish.

                                                                                      Ripples of Peace Shawl (Project Peace 2017)

A Holiday Tradition

     My Mom made the most wonderful Christmas cookies every year when I grew up.  A combination of Sugar Cookies, Shortbread, Pfeffernusse Cookies, and Springerle.  The traditional Springerle is rolled out and molded by Springerle rolling pins.  Then they are aged for about a month so they soften inside.  To make a softer cookie (and also doesn't need to age) I'm making another version - SPRINGERLE SHORTBREAD.  To keep a more traditional flavor you can anise flavoring and anise seeds, or you can use vanilla and enjoy them plain.  To me the essence of Christmas is found in these rich plain cookies, then they are stored with the spicey Pfeffernusse Cookies.  

Pfeffernusse Cookies - All Butter Recipe

More on Project Peace 2017 check out my previous blog post - 

Wednesday's Yarns - Entering Into the Quiet - Project peace 2017.

Unraveled Wednesday


  1. Thanks for the pattern links. Your Project Peace Shawl is lovely, especially in that gorgeous yarn.

    1. I hope you find a fun Christmas gift to knit. The yarn is Malabrigo Silky Merino in Mares (the color). It's the recommended yarn for this Project Peace and it's delightful to work with, and so pretty! Thanks for dropping by. :)

  2. nice blog. Traveled here quite by accident. What an interesting read. Thanks.

  3. I love your Peace Project yarn choice! It looks so Adventy! :)

  4. I do love your Peace Shawl. I picked out some yarn, and I'll start one for myself as soon as I find time to wind the yarn.
    And how did I miss the Maize mitts? I adore Tin Can Knits, so I'm sure this is one more great project!