Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! I sincerely hope you were all able to enjoy a wonderful time with family and friends these last few days!
I’ve especially enjoyed the chance to spend some quality time with my sister, Hannah, and my littlest niece, Claire!
They live some distance away, but were able to come and stay for a few days over Thanksgiving, which has been a real treat! 😄We even got a chance to peruse the Christmas Tree Farm together…
Hannah, Claire, Mom, & an adorable little Christmas Tree!
… and celebrate Claire’s birthday with Cousin Vera and Aunt Annelies!
Happy Birthday, Claire!
Cousins play time! Vera and Claire are still just a tad too little to actually play together yet… but playing nicely close-by is totally awesome! 😉
I’m also incredibly grateful for being able to live my dream of designing, writing, and sharing my knitting patterns, and for the support you all have shown me! A sincere and heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you! 🙂
So how was your Thanksgiving? Did you get to spend some time with family? What are you grateful for?
Yesterday was as close to a perfect day as I am likely to get! 😊🍁🍂
The weather was beautiful and it was Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival day in Berryville, Virginia; and I got to go with my sister-in-law, Annelies and my two-year-old niece, Vera!
We met up in Harrisonburg to carpool to the festival; and truly, the brilliant smiles with which they greeted me totally made my whole week! 🙂
Well stocked with fabulous company and good coffee, the 1.5 hour drive flashed right on by and before we knew it, we had arrived at the festival just in time to get a prime parking spot! (An unusual occurrence for me! 😂)
I showed Vera how to politely examine the soft and luxurious yarns on display in the vendor booths. Not only was this fun, but it helped re-direct the two-year-old urge to pull all brightly colored skeins off of the shelves and hooks! 😂💗
But of course, the biggest hit of the day, by far, was the animals: Alpacas, sheep, and angora goats!
These adorable alpacas were so friendly and calm!
The white one is named “Fenway”, and the brown is “Carpe Diem.”
They were just chillin’ and people-watching, and socializing with whomever came by to say hi!
Vera took a couple of minutes to warm up to the alpacas since this was her first time seeing them up close! Watching another child petting them certainly helped. 🙂
Once she had a chance to get to know them a bit, she absolutely loved them!
I swear she was having lots of fun – right up until we asked her to smile for a photo!
Fenway was very cooperative and photogenic! 🙂
Later on, the sheep really wanted to share a popcorn snack!
And across the isle, a super nice girl brought her goat right up close so Vera could pet it!
In addition to enjoying the wonderful animals, I was also excited to snag a great book…
…some gorgeous yarn…
100% alpaca and SO soft! 😄
…and a blending board!
My plan for the blending board is to use it to blend my Angora Rabbit’s wool with Alpaca wool so that I’ll have enough to knit something special once it’s all spun up!
Annelies was on a mission to find the perfect yarn to crochet a hat for Vera to match her new Winter coat! Here’s the yarn!
And here’s the hat!
By mid-afternoon, Someone was completely worn out from so much fun, and took a very good nap all the way home!
A hand-knit shawl does make an excellent car-seat blanket, don’t you think?! 😉
Do you go to fiber festivals? Do you have a favorite? Got plans to visit any this season? We’d love to hear all about it!
I’m excited to be heading to the Fall Fiber Festival @ Montpelier this coming weekend! Stay tuned for updates! 😊
The topic for Day 3 of the Yarn Love Challenge this month was “Most Loved Project.” This threw me off for a few days as I have difficulty determining which of my projects I love most! 😉
But then it occurred to me that looking at this question from a Handknit Recipient’s perspective might be interesting. So now I’ve got a slightly sarcastic but humorous take on “Most Loved Project” to share with you! 😄
…Not long after we were married, I wanted to knit something practical for Hubby that he would enjoy wearing. Naturally, a hat came to mind!
When asked what kind of hat I should make for him that he would actually wear, Hubby said: “Black, and plain. No cables, no patterns, no colors; just black and plain.”
Of course, I thought: ” BORING!!” But I wanted to knit him something he would like, so I tried my best to knit him the black, plain, BORING hat! But…
I couldn’t resist adding a red angora lining! “Angora is so soft, and no one will see it on the inside,” I thought…
Hubby was dubious, but he did bravely wear the hat – all of one time, to a family gathering (my family of course)! Unfortunately, a bit of red fuzz from the angora lining emerged and remained mingled with his facial hair. It wasn’t glaring, so I didn’t notice it, and probably no one else did either. But Hubby was SO mortified when he noticed it in the mirror that night, that he refused to ever wear the hat again!
So the infamous black, plain, not-so-boring hat became mine and has been well loved and much worn despite the fact that it is too big for me! 😉😂😂😂
Do you have a fun “Most Loved Project” or Handmade Gifting story to share? We’d love to hear it!
…I especially enjoyed the unusual construction and shaping methods used…
The hat is knit in the round…
…sometimes circular needles are used,…
and sometimes double-points.
The intarsia and shaping are accomplished using short rows…
…even for the ears!
After shaping the ears…
…you connect the top/back of the hat to the front/face of the fox hat…
…using a three needle bind off and keeping a number of live stitches in the center…
…to knit the nose! A very unique and very fun knit!
I had gotten some really cute animal eyes to use, but discovered that the stem of the eyes would poke through the hat too far and be uncomfortable when worn…
So I used buttons from my button stash instead!
A personalized label is the finishing touch…
I sewed the label on the outside of the hat so as to avoid any possibility of discomfort due to its presence.
Vera’s parents (my brother, Joel, and sister-in-law, Annalies), loved it!
But due to a sudden and unanticipated (by me) growth spurt, this little Foxy Hat turned out too small for sweet little Vera! 😢 (Or maybe my gauge was off? It’s possible…)
So I’ll be giving this Foxy Hat to my one month old niece, Claire; and knitting a larger Foxy for Vera! (When your aunt is a knitter, sizing issues are generally fixable in one way or another!)
Note to self: Always size up more than you think you need to when knitting for children! 😊
What was your favorite knit of 2016? Have you knit a Foxy or a Wolfie hat? What did you think of the process? Do you knit for children? How do you handle the possibility of sudden growth spurts? Feel free to share with us in the Comments, we’d love to hear from you!!
I don’t know about you all, but I find that during the Christmas Season, knitting time comes at a high premium, making efficiency even more important.
All of my dear friends and family know that if I could, I would knit something fabulous, exciting, and huge for each and every one of them for Christmas!
But alas, in this imperfect world, reality sets in and I discover (and re-discover) that this is not likely to be possible for me…
So in the spirit of both efficient and reasonable Christmas knitting, I’d like to share with you all some lovely knitting & crochet patterns I’ve spotted recently that are quick, relatively easy, and make great gifts!
The Pony Tail Hat – a delightful and practical current trend …
The Messy Mom Bun Beanie, by Ashlea Konecny, is very popular, very cute, and super easy to crochet! All you need is a size H (5mm) hook, some worsted weight yarn, and few hours!
The By My Side Ribbed Ponytail Hat, by Michelle Moore is an absolutely adorable crocheted cap version with a cute brim and the perfect spot for a gorgeous statement button or pin. SO chic! You can just see the ponytail hole near the bottom edge in the back view pic…
Here are a couple of really unique options! The Cardiff Bay Ponytail Hat, by Beth Ann Beck has a enchanting touch of simple lace and cable. Knit up in a bulky weight yarn, it would be a quick knit with lots of interest, and would make an exciting gift!
Child’s Ponytail Hat
Child’s Ponytail Hat
Child’s Ponytail Hat
The Child’s Ponytail Hat, by Gail Tanquary, is a riot of color and texture! It would knit up very quickly in aran weight yarn. Plus, the pattern is a free download on Ravelry! The bonnet type styling, the highly textured accent yarn, and the use of the yarn ends as fringe are all so creative!
The Headband/Ear Warmer – perfect for keeping ears warm while rocking fabulous hair! A few that caught my eye…
The Headband with Cable, by Elaine Phillips is a lovely and practical version of this handy accessory; AND it’s a free pattern on Ravelry. I especially love the way that it’s knit wider than normal so that it’s double-layered for extra warmth!
And the Nordic Viking Headband, by Randi Hjelm Debes, is knit in a bulky weight yarn. The pattern comes in several different sizes for both children and adults and incorporates a fascinating herringbone stitch pattern.
The Fingerless/Half Finger Mitt – a classic necessity…
These Fast & Easy Fingerless Mitts by Lisa M. Beamer make a perfect gift knit! Available as a free Ravelry download, you can choose between the knit flat version or the circular version. They’re perfect for using up odd bits of yarn leftover from other projects since they only need about 50 grams in worsted weight yarn.
The Muckle Mitts, by Mary Jane Mucklestone are so charming! The perfect knit for one who loves color work and/or fair isle knitting, they’d make a wonderful gift for a loved one!
And for someone who wants a bit more of a challenge, the Urban Necessity Gloves, by Colleen Michele Meagher. Knit in worsted weight yarn, these sweet little mitts are half-finger gloves with a button down flip-top! I know many who would absolutely love to have a pair!
What about you? Are you knitting gifts for loved ones this Christmas? Do you have a favorite go-to item or pattern that you turn to for gift knitting? Feel free to share in the comments!
Wishing each and every one of you peace and joy and wellbeing in this Blessed Season, and throughout the New Year!
It’s had to stay on the down-low for the last while because it was a surprise!
Though it’s definitely been growing steadily, it wasn’t quite finished in time for sister Hannah’s second baby shower last weekend…
I really wanted to have it all finished and ready in time, but life happened and it just didn’t work out that way.
So I wrapped it up, multiple balls of yarn, needles, and all, in a cute gift bag, and gave it to her “almost finished” as it was.
She loved it! And she didn’t mind at all that it wasn’t quite finished or that I had to take it back temporarily in order to finish it. (Sister Hannah is a fabulous human being who deserves lovely warm hand knits forever!)
I’m really close to finishing the blanket now – I just have a couple more rows of yellow before I can start the final long gray section; and then the garter stitch border! It’ll be finished in time to help keep Little Niece warm when she arrives! And that makes me really happy!
Have you ever had to give someone their hand knit gift before it was quite finished? How did it go? How did you feel about it?
As you can probably tell, it was windy, cold, and damp…
… for most of the morning, the wind blew a chilly falling mist around and around. It was rather impossible to stay dry and we were so glad we’d brought our rain coats!
Even with the chill, wind, and wet, we had a marvelous time walking around,…
…chatting with friendly vendors,…
…admiring handsome animals, …
… gazing at gorgeous yarns…
… and examining knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving, rug hooking, and dying tools and equipment of every sort imaginable!
Phyllis was in need of a yarn swift and ball winder, so we kept an eye out and we found the most gorgeous yarn swifts at the Knitting Notions booth!
These swifts are made out of beautiful wood – you can choose between oak, cherry, and walnut. The craftsmanship is superb as they consist of four carefully shaped pieces that fit together with wooden pegs holding them in place.
The other neat thing about these yarn swifts is that instead of clamping onto the edge of a table, these sit serenely on the table top! (I ended up getting one too)!
I couldn’t resist this lovely skein of mohair/wool/nylon boucle in the Dancing Leaf Farms booth… The texture and colors (the color way is called “Sapling”) just calls to me!
I also purchased this lovely skein of Beezigns B’Luxor, in alpaca, silk, and linen. It’s a wonderfully soft, yet hardy 3-ply hand painted in rich blues, purples, and greens.
Now I just need to find time alongside work, house chores, and all the baby and Christmas knitting (yes, I’m working away at a bunch of Christmas gifts that I hope to finish on time!) I’ve got going on, to work on two more knitting projects!! Piece of cake, right?! 🍁😉🍂
It’s become a favorite little tradition now between Phyllis and I that we shop for each other’s Christmas gifts together each year at the Fall Fiber Festival! It’s always worked out super good for us – we have lots of fun, we neither of us have to deal with any stress or pressure about finding the “perfect” gift, and last but not least, we get to enjoy giving a gift that we know the other really wants/needs! (And of course, let’s not forget that we get to enjoy a gift that we really wanted and can/will use!!
What about you? Been to any great Fiber Festivals recently? Got any clever little Holiday traditions you’d like to share? Do you gift handknits to your loved ones? If so, how’s your Christmas knitting coming along? Feel free to share in the comments, we’d love to hear all about it!