Sunday, 25 December 2016

Origami Star

I stumbled upon instructions for making an origami star.
First, I wanted a snazzy piece of sheet music so I googled 'sheet music' and 'images' and decided on this one to print out.

I then followed these instructions to make a perfect pentagon from a square of paper, then these instructions to fold the pentagon into the star.

The resulting star is about 60% the size of the original square of paper. My square was 6" and the resulting star span is 3.7".

Make a bunch and string them up like a garland or alternate with pom poms. Here's where I got the idea.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Finished But Not 'Finished'

I have some Christmas ornaments that I have finished stitching but haven't finished them into hangable ornaments. The lettering was stitched over 1 thread.
I just unearthed this one today whilst looking for something else. It would be quite easy to make this into a little hanging ornament.
This one hardly took any time at all to stitch.
There are a whole bunch more to 'finish' but right now I wouldn't even know where to begin to find them.

I'll certainly be looking for finishing directions on Pinterest and in other places. Yet another thing for me to finish up.

Last Batch of Cookies

I threw another batch of cookies in the oven. They're very shortbread-ish spritz cookies that are so easy to make in the Kitchen Aid mixer and with my cookie press.
I'm very lazy so I didn't really decorate cookies this year except for a few sprinkles before putting them in the oven.
Yesterday, I did the last batch of gingerbread cookies. This recipe is really easy, too. They're mixed up in the food processor. The dough is chilled then rolled out. I didn't decorate these either - too lazy. The holly cookie cutter is 55 years old.
But they seem to get eaten anyway.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, 23 December 2016

Yet Another Mitten

I knit another little mitten for my tree. It's number 9 of the Mitten Garland Advent Calendar.
I like the the palm even better. If you squint a bit, you can see where I switched the yarns between hands, making one more dominant than the other - on the rounds adjacent to the crotch of the thumb, the white yarn was dominant as I held it in my left hand. From there to the tip, the grey was in my left hand.
This is the actual size. That palm pattern would work great on a regular-sized mitten with 3 stitches and 3 rows. Again, you can see the white dominance. It's also really visible on the inside but I didn't get a shot of that.
I think this will be my last one for this year. I love the little Latvian braid. The pattern gives very easy instructions for this including the set-up row where you alternate colours. In the future, I need to remember to leave a longer tail at the cuff so I can twist the yarns together to make the hanger.
They'd be great for holding gift cards or other small gifts.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

So Behind!

I have felt behind the eight ball since returning home from the cruise. Everything I do seems to be at the last minute or not at all. I've screwed up dates, finished my Icelandic sweater, had a cold that flattened me for 48 hours, lost stuff, found stuff*, attended several concerts and one pot luck luncheon, and baked and given away dozens of cookies.
Tonight I have another pot luck event - mostly after-dinner finger foods. I'm taking my usual deviled eggs. The cookie press tip I use to make them broke today so I had to resort to other ways of getting the yolk-y stuff in the eggs. They don't look that great but they are yummy.

I tried to make pralines from an authentic New Orleans recipe. Out of the 4 dozen from the two batches I made, only 5 turned out.
One of my former students and Facebook friends thought they looked like poop. I know they're not uniform in shape and size, but the consistency of the caramel looks exactly like the ones we ate in New Orleans. I did use a candy thermometer and follow the instructions to the letter but realize there's a lot more to cooking sugar than meets the eye. Hopefully there will be a YouTube video or Craftsy class I can take to improve my skills.

I had an epic fail knitting one of the Mitten Advent Calendar mittens. I was happily knitting away and only had a couple of rows to knit before grafting the top when I realized I had totally forgotten to knit the gusset and the thumb. Rip! Here it is, re-knitted, complete with the thumb.
I did another one, too.
The tree is up. The bird for Christmas dinner is bought. Wood is piled by the back door for spontaneous fires in the fireplace.
Last Sunday, Alexa and I attended the Sing-Along Messiah at Massey Hall performed by Tafelmusik.
Ivars Taurins, the music director, traditionally impersonates George Philip Handel for the occasion.
We also celebrated Skip and Scooter's birthdays.

So I guess I have accomplished quite a bit since returning home less than a month ago. There's still some stuff to do and stuff I'll never get around to doing. This is going to be the most laid-back Christmas yet.

* last night I lost something that had recently been given to me. I was SO upset. I retraced my steps and found the item in a snowbank that I had climbed over to retrieve the mail from our superbox earlier yesterday. I was SO relieved to have found it.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016


So this morning I posted a couple of photos of my lopapeysa on Facebook.
No sooner had I done that did I get a 'love' from Franklin Habit! Franklin freaking Habit!!!
I was stunned, thrilled, and gobsmacked all rolled into one. I can't remember when we became Facebook friends but I really did not expect him to notice, much less react to my Facebook photos.

I was verklempt. I could hardly breathe. Wow!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016


I had finished all the knitting I could do on the Icelandic sweater before I left for the cruise last month. The next step was to cut the front open to 'cardiganize' it and then knit on the button bands.

The steek was designated by two purl stitches. I found it much easier to isolate them by turning the sweater inside out.
It made it much easier to see the two stitches that I sewed down with my sewing machine.There were a lot of strands across the steek in the yoke.
But on the body, it was a lot easier to see the stitches.  Here you can see the completed, machine-stitched line on the left stitch and the stitching going down the right stitch.
This is plenty to anchor all the yarns so the cutting can be done between the two stitches.
Here I go! I kept the sweater inside out as that made it very easy to see where I needed to cut.
Well underway.
That done, I picked up and knit every third stitch and skipped the fourth to do the buttton bands. This deviates from the traditional ribbed band that is knit as a long strip then sewn onto the front edges. I, instead, chose to knit my button bands on.
I had to do a little arithmetic to calculate where to place the button holes. I spaced them 12 stitches apart and created them by doing a k2tog then on the return row, did a yarnover to put back the stitch. These buttons will be fairly small 1 - 1.5cm or so and I'll need 10 of them. Because the ribbing on the bands matches, it will be very easy to place the buttons to align with the buttonholes.

Looking inside, the cut ends of the steek are visible. I may stitch a grosgrain ribbon to cover that. Normally with a knitted steek (as opposed to the steek with 2 purl stitches called for on this sweater), the edges just curl under and don't need any finishing at all.
Once the button bands were done, I then picked up the stitches at the top of them with a smaller needle, and did a decrease row (k2, k2tog) around the neck stitches that had been on a holder. This yielded me approximately the number of neck stitches called for in the pattern. I first tried a K1, k2tog decrease but that left way too few stitches. So I ripped it back (this 'sticky' yarn makes it very easy to pick up live stitches) and tried K2, k2tog and that made it much better.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I knit a few short rows between the armholes before starting the yoke. This added extra length to the back so it would sit higher than the front. I defy you to see where the ends of the short rows are. In fact, I added a total of 10 short rows, or 2 courses of the 'lice' pattern, before starting the yoke.
I think the tubular cast-on looks really nice.
I'm very close to finishing up and trimming or weaving in the ends. I still have one underarm to graft. I'm almost out of grey yarn in the last ball but am pretty sure there will be enough to finish the ribbed neck and underarm. Then it will need a good blocking to even everything out.

It's nice and warm and I think I'll get a lot of use out of it when the thermostat in the house goes down.