Thursday, December 11, 2008

'Tis the Season

I've been meaning to sit down and blog for days, but this time of year life gets really nutty. I've been baking like a madwoman, because then I can shove it all in the freezer and have it ready for the marathon that is Christmas Eve and Christmas around our house. House guests, family, friends, a steady stream through our door and I like to have a big bowl of punch and plates of cookies at the ready.

I've also gone into my twice annual social whirl (the Romance Writer's conference being my other tug out into the world) and the Christmas season started early with an invite to Debbie Macomber's annual Christmas knitting tea.

I really look forward to this every year because of the chance to see what all the other knitters in her neighborhood have been working on over the last year. It takes a bit of arranging to go--getting hubby to cover the afternoon kid pick up and all, a ferry ride across the sound (which is just a treat, even to a Seattle native like me) and then the drive through the country, that is just across Puget Sound. Really picks up the spirit!

But this year had the added bonus--I went over early so I could go to the yarn shop Debbie has opened with several partners, A Good Yarn Shop in Port Orchard, Wa.

Close your eyes. Now imagine a shop where you could have all your favorite yarns in stock. Yeah, you've got it. I've been really good about NOT buying yarn. Let's just say I fell a bit off the wagon. Okay, I sort of nosedived off the wagon. But oh, gracious heavens, the yarn I got!

As I told Debbie, "I just signed over my last advance to you." Debbie laughed, my husband wasn't as amused. Ah, men, if they only understood! And besides, they are mostly for Christmas presents, which I am frantically knitting.

But even better, I met Lisa Ellis, of Lisa Ellis Designs. She is one of the partners, and was sitting at the work table sewing up the most to-die-for Christmas sweater. I mean, it was gorgeous. And Lisa--what a fun person. Do you ever meet someone and think, "wow, she's my sort of people."

Then I fell in love with one of her designs. Now I am always on the lookout for new hats to knit, because I love knitting hats, and she has this pattern for a Basic Twined Hat, (Ravel linked) that when I saw the sample, I knew I had to try it. But it is done using the Swedish two end knitting technique, or twined knitting, or if you want to get really fancy, Tvåändsstickning.

Now my Swedish is limited to perhaps a trip to Ikea, so I sort of imposed on Lisa to teach me in a couple of minutes of how do twined knitting.

And I have to say, while it is a bit slower, it is really cool. The finished fabric that it makes is fascinating, and Lisa picked the perfect yarn in using the Crystal Palace Taos. Though I will say that yarn, because of the twisting and unwinding you have to do, did get a little breaky at times, but it spit spliced right back together, so I wasn't too worked up over it.

So over the last few days, I've knit two these two twined hats for my nieces. I am having a really hard time resigning myself to giving up the blue one. I have to say that it is the prettiest hat I have ever knit.

My model here was a bit wiggly, hence the less than perfect picture, but oh, how yummy and pretty this hat is. Now on to two more Turn a Squares, a pair of Malabrigo Loafers and finish Mom's Clapotis. Before the 24th. A Christmas miracle, indeed!

What are you knitting for Christmas? I'm always looking for suggestions for next year.

1 comment:

Grace said...

Hi Elizabeth! I have been on bit of a hat spree myself. I was experimenting a bit with some leftover malabrigo and came up with a super simple hat pattern (which I have yet to blog!) of which I kept tweaking so I also bought more yarn! But I love it! Hats are so fast and EASY PEASY. Now I just have to finish a beret for my boyfriend's daughter, some mitts for my mom...but I did finish the christmas stocking for my niece! yippee! Your purchases are so nice and I am DYING to try that twined hat pattern. I may be emailing you for pointers!