handmade holiday

Yarn-mas: winter adventures and a congregation of knitted creatures

Yarn-mas: winter adventures and a congregation of knitted creatures

I had a bit of a vacation over the holidays. A few days in my hometown of Gallup, New Mexico and some time high in the Collegiate Peaks area of Colorado. I laughed with my family and friends, took leisurely walks in the desert, snowshoed in the mountains, and while chatting, doing puzzles, and playing games, I knitted. With all that time around kitchen tables I probably could have knit half a sweater. But I didn’t. Instead I made a gaggle of tiny creatures.*

The chickens were my favorite. They showed up everywhere and eventually a gang of punk-rock chickens appeared.

The best Christmas Tree ever

The best Christmas Tree ever

When I was a kid, my father had an ongoing joke every. single. year. He threatened to paint a Christmas tree on a white window shade* To decorate the tree, all you had to do was grasp the bar at the bottom of the shade firmly and pull down. At the end of the season, grasp the same bar, give a sharp downward tug and let go and the shade would roll up.

Needless to say neither me or my sister thought this was funny. And every year Dad stuck a real tree in a stand. In later years they were trees in pots from the nursery which were planted after Christmas in the back yard and all died about two months later.

Maybe this suggestion that real trees were a lot of work when brought inside the house has stuck with me. Or maybe I’m just fundamentally lazy. But a real tree has not found its way inside my house since I left home.**

Handmade holiday

There was a lot of knitting this holiday. For whatever reason, my brain kicks into knitting obsession around the end of November every year and I churn out some small project in multiples. This year there were several. I will admit that I have trouble with big knitting projects. I can happily plan and execute a very large tapestry and never lose my mojo, but actually finishing a knitted sweater is like climbing Mt. Everest. I have a bin under my bed with THREE sweaters that are completely knitted and just need to be blocked and sewn together. They have been there for years. No, small is the right size for me.

It started with the tiny trees. I ran out of wine corks (amazingly), but between my mother, sister, and sister-in-law, I now have enough corks for years to come. A forest is what I'm going for here (and to use up the bags of odds and ends of knitting yarn clogging my closet).
You can make some yourself. The pattern is by Julie Tarsha and you can find it on her blog HERE.

There were some knitted stars for my niece's Christmas tree. (Pattern is Stjarna by Karolina Eckerdal.)

Then there were the fingerless mittens. Thus far I have made five pair. I am out of yarn, so I might be done. The pattern is Super Bulky Fingerless Mittens by Spider Laurence.

And the baby hat and leg warmers...
There is another pair of leggings in process for another niece, but I didn't quite get enough knitting time on the drive across the country to pull them out.
I also put the Zoom Loom to good use making blankets for my 2-year-old niece's little people. I had to sew some together because "their feet are so cold". The only photographic evidence of these blankets seems to be this photo where the baby is wearing one on her head. The wool stuck nicely to her wispy hair. And yes, that is Santa Claus in the background putting together a new workbench for the older niece on Christmas Eve.
My Aunt Mary Lou loves to make dolls, and this one appeared under my mother's pint-sized Christmas tree for a couple little girls. Lulu is a marvel of details. She has a tattoo on her back that says Merry Christmas 2014 and an embroidered heart on her chest. My aunt knows her way around a sewing machine.
And I received a wonderful quilt from an old friend commemorating my dog Cassy who died about a year ago. Kristi knew Cassy when she was a young dog and she gathered photos of her and sewed this quilt.
A better handmade holiday has never been had. Bring on the fiber, it is only 360 days until Christmas.