On Pins and Needles

Have you seen the special holiday issue of Interweave Knits?  I was visiting the yarn shop recently and somehow ended up snagging a copy before really looking too much at it.  This isn’t like me; I usually read through an entire knitting magazine (or at least do a long look at the pattern photos) before committing to a purchase.  So you can imagine my relief and delight when I fell in love with this issue’s contents.

There are a number of delicious looking projects, both in the Gift and Selfish Knits categories.  The first pattern to jump onto my needles was the Fleur de Lis pincushion.  My mother in law is an avid sewer, and I knew immediately that this would be a charming gift for her.  I located some festive red and green alpaca yarn in the stash and got knitting.

This is where my super-speedy process slowed way down.  I haven’t done any colorwork in quite some time, except for stripes, and I forgot how much coordination goes into the process.  It took me a while to get into a rhythm of switching colors, floating the non-working yarn, and remembering to make increases while following the chart.  After a full evening of TV-knitting, I wasn’t even halfway through the chart.

I thought I’d be done in one sitting!

The good news is, things really sped up once I hit my stride, and I am quite happy with how this little pincushion has turned out.

I carried the red yarn along, catching it every three stitches with the main color.  It’s important not to pull these floated strands tight, or you will get puckering or distorted stitches on the right side of your knitting.

I tacked down the ends of the red yarn inside the pincusion, then simply tossed the remaining ball of green wool into the pouch.  I then stuffed it full of wool roving and secured the top with a button as per the instructions.  De finition!

  • Pattern: Fleur de Lis by Tammy Eigman Thompson in IK Holiday Gifts 2010 (Ravelled here)
  • Yarn: Misti Alpaca Worsted Solids in color C815 (heathered green) and Berrocco Ultra Alpaca Light in color 4234 (red)
  • Needles: US size 2/ 2.75mm
  • Mods: Knit this with larger yarn and needles.

I’m very happy with how this turned out.  The yarn was a great choice, as the alpaca fluffs out just enough to fill in between stitches and provide a charming halo.  Like I said, once I got comfortable with knitting with the two colors, this went quickly.  For all that hard work, I think it’s a little unfortunate that so much of the lovely fleur de lis motif falls on the underside of the pincushion.  Perhaps one could knit more in the main color before beginning the chart to raise it up a bit.  You could also attach a button on the bottom side and it could be reversible!

This was a wonderful melding of my love for knitting and my mother in law’s love for sewing, the result of which is a much sought-after moment of gift-giving harmony.  I am so excited to see her open it in December!

That’s one gift down, 6 or 7 on my knitting wish list left to go…

How’s your holiday knitting coming along?

On The Needles: An Update

A shift has occurred in my knitting this week.  I went from unsure about what to knit next to over-concerned about completing a few Christmas gifts.  This is why I didn’t want to knit for anyone this year!  I will admit that it feels very nice to have my knits requested by people, it also puts a certain amount of pressure on me to deliver.

So I have tried to set myself up for success by choosing projects that are achievable in the mere 20 days before Christmas.

Project #1


I am knitting these ankle socks with some Knit Picks Felici in Atmosphere from my stash.  You may remember that about this time last year I was attempting to knit the same yarn into a pair of Jaywalkers.  You can see how that ended up.

So far the pattern is clear and simple, with instant gratification from the beginning when you turn the heel.  It felt like I was halfway finished when in fact I was just starting!

Project #2

We will call this “Project V” for my sister Veronica.  She reads this blog and so I cannot post any pictures of her mysterious and wonderful gift.  I was told to not even post a picture of the yarn because she wants to be completely surprised!  But between you and me: if you want to see what it is, you can check out my Ravelry projects.

Project #3


  • Pattern: Bramble by me.  Free pattern coming soon!

  • Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Bobby Blue, 110 yards

  • Needles: US size 8

This was a leftover neckwarmer from October’s craft fair.  When my sister in law requested something handknit, this immediately popped into my head.  It is super soft, a little bit funky, and a beautiful shade of tealy blue that should match the Fetching wrist-warmers I gave her last Christmas.


Project #4

This probably won’t be finished in time for Christmas, but it is a gift so I thought I would include it.  If all goes well with the aforementioned projects, these could have a chance.  Fingers crossed!


  • Pattern: Undulating Rib socks in STR lightweight, Pebble Beach

These socks have been resting comfortably in my knitting bag for a couple of weeks while I worked on my sweater.  I’m not happy with the stitch pattern, so with my mom’s permission I am going to rip back to the cuff and try something a little more flattering to the yarn.  You don’t mind, do you mom?

Project #5


Pattern: Improvised garter stitch border with stockinette stitch.

Simple, comforting, and satisfying, this has been my “knit in the dark at a musical performance when you think you;ll fall asleep otherwise” project.  I’m not proud of it.  But something happens to me when I hear some music performed live.  Broadway tunes, specifically.  I get indefensibly sleepy and yawn incessantly while trying to stay awake.

I know Sweetie will never forgive me for the time she took me to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and I fell asleep.  You may not either.  But let me tell you this: if I knew how to knit back then, and was permitted to bring a small, discreet project to occupy my hands and brain during interminable musical numbers, I may have stayed more alert.  Just saying.

Anyway, this isn’t intended as a gift, but it’s officially on the needles and this post is all about airing out what’s in my knitting bag.  So there you have it.

With any luck things will start flying off the needles.  Maybe I could catch a performance of Phantom this weekend and secure some additional knitting time.

P.S. I just scrolled through the post to change the font and noticed that all of these projects have blue in them.  I appear to be in a blue phase, and I suddenly want to cast on another project in hot pink just to combat the blues.  Who knows: after this weekend I may have another project to add to the list!

Have a good one.