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Christmas decorating is quite low-key here this year.  Apart from the tree, a crocheted star garland here … and there.  (Such a fun and addictive pattern!)

And what was that on the mantle?  Well, when I saw these (from here) I couldn’t resist making a few.  Instead of making felt hats, I used egg cosies that I had on hand.  As the elf population increased encouraged by the enthusiasm of my offspring, more hats had to be made …

I first made several sets of these egg cosies as Easter  presents a few years ago after falling in love with some on the cover of a Donna Hay magazine (issue 14).  Here is the pattern I made up, in case you have any eggs, or elves, that need hatting:

Egg Hat Cosies

Materials: Small amounts of 8ply /dk weight yarn (I used Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic 8 ply in Almond for those above and  BWM Alpaca in Havana for the ones below.)

4mm double pointed or circular needles (for magic loop method); darning needle for finishing

gauge: 5 stiches to the inch

  • Cast on 32 stitches. Join taking care not to twist.  Work in stockingette stitch for approx.  2 inches (don’t unroll hem to measure).
  • *knit 6, knit 2tog* repeat to end of round (4 decreases)
  • next round, *k5, k2tog* repeat 3 times
  • next round, *k4, k2tog* repeat 3 times
  • continue in this manner until there are 4 stitches left (ie., previous row was *k 0, k2tog*)
  • work an i-cord for half an inch or so, break off yarn and thread though stitches a couple of times, tighten and darn in ends.

Variations:

  • for a more tapered hat, knit straight for 1 inch before starting decreases, then knit a plain row between decrease rows.  k2tog on last 4 stitches and fasten off without i-cord.
  • or, decrease two times per round instead of four (ie.* k 14, k2tog* repeat once, *k13, k2tog* … etc.)
  • start off with a k2 p2 rib for about half an inch on any variation.

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It’s hard to write something new about a pattern I’ve made and posted about twice before, but making a lace shawl seems like such a notable achievement that I can’t help showing it off.  I am always surprised that such a large piece of knitted fabric (as the finished shawl is) in a fine gauge yarn seems to take less time than expected.  I think that it’s because it starts out small so the early rows fly by, and by the time it is a reasonable width, the lace pattern has been memorised (and has you hooked) and the long rows don’t seem such a chore.  Also, wetting and stretching out a crumpled diamond-shaped thing into a triangle twice it’s size helps too.

As before the pattern is the Shetland Triangle, knit in Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 4 ply in Brick.  I made this one larger than the others at 13 repeats.  I think I enjoyed knitting this version so much as I was so comfortable with the pattern, I loved the colour, and because it was for me!  I am really pleased with it.  Of course it’s too hot at the moment to wear it, but I imagine throwing it on in air-conditioned environs until it becomes indispensable in the far off cooler weather.

On a different but not unrelated note (I love listening to podcasts while knitting as well as while – more frequently – performing tedious repetitive household tasks), I have been really enjoying catching up on my classic literature and listening to Frankenstein!  So good (no, really) and includes a crash course on Romantic poetry!  Looking forward to Dickens next …

In an attempt to make the lead-up to Christmas more fun (and quell constant questions of “How many days until Christmas?”), I made an advent calendar in an unusual fit of creative sewing, inspired by one in the recent Inside Out magazine.  I love it when an idea forms and is acted on at once, thanks to an undisciplined hoard accomodating fabric stash.  This was really made on the fly in spare moments, making it up as I went.  The backing fabric is a heavy Indian cotton herringbone twill left over from some Roman blinds made many years ago.  The borders are some remnants bought at a Nicola Cerini studio sale years ago, as are some of the pockets.  Other pockets are from scraps of Japanese kimono silk, screen printed cotton from Dunnilli Arts in the NT and Balinese ikat weave cotton.

As the Cerini fabric had a canvas backing, I ironed woven fusible interfacing to the other fabric pieces to give them some body.  I couldn’t be bothered embroidering or appliqueing the numbers, so I printed them out on to iron-on transfer paper, cut them into to ovals and ironed them on.  The pieces are not exactly the same size, so the whole has a slightly wonky irregular appearance that I don’t mind given the otherwise regular grid of pockets.

It was met with much excitement, though now there is the problem of having to constantly explain why we can’t empty all the pockets at once …

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