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Friday, December 28, 2012

handknit holidays, part I

I didn't really intend to do much holiday knitting, but I got carried away and knit quite a few small projects this year!

This is the third wee bear I've knit, each of which has been well received.
pattern: Mother Bear Project Teddy Bear, by Amy Berman 
needles: Clover US 6 bamboo 24" circs and DPNs 
yarn: leftover Patons Classic Wool Merino & Cascade 220

notes:
An easy knit, but the finishing is time-consuming and fiddly! I always anguish over how to embroider the face -- that's the trickiest part. This time I used seed stitch for the sweater. This guy went to my best friend's youngest son (his older brother already has a bear).
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The kitties spent Christmas in the lap of luxury at a friend's house while we trekked to snowy, beautiful Minneapolis to visit my family.
Lucky Sugar! Jauntily perching atop an Herm├Ęs scarf just doesn't happen chez Caffeinated Yarn.
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More holiday knits soon -- I turned into a virtual hat-knitting factory while listening to the first Game of Thrones book on tape! It has been years since I read the book, so the audiobook has been enthralling. Ned Stark is such a great guy -- noble and idealistic, sometimes to a fault. I will say that some of Daenerys' story among the Dothraki makes for uncomfortable listening -- Paul has suggested penning Fifty Shades of Dothraki, sure to fly off the shelves.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

making spirits bright

Holiday preparations are in full swing around here, though there never seems to be quite enough time. I tried a new-to-me cookie recipe this year -- chewy chocolate-gingerbread cookies (from Martha Stewart):
Yum! I love the combination of spice and dark chocolate (I've switched to using Whole Foods vegan chocolate chips almost exclusively -- a good price for high-quality chocolate with very little filler).
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The kitters have been doing pretty well with the tree (no one has tried to scale Mt. Doom), so I added red glass balls and a few wee sheep:
So far, so good -- only two balls have been knocked to the floor as of yet.
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I'm deep into holiday gift knitting right now, and can't share too much on ye olde blog yet, but I did crochet a few squares for a new afghan:
While I'm not necessarily in love with the randomness of the color changes of the self-striping yarn, I am enamored of not weaving in many ends. I'll do some more and re-evaluate. Each square receives a cream-colored border before everything's sewn together.
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Still looking for an easy pattern or two to knit before Christmas? I am, and I'm about ifandany's recent quick knits posts -- hats (my favorite), cowls, toys, and mitts.
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Oh, I'm late to the game on this one, but I'm really enjoying Call the Midwife, the BBC series about young midwives (and some nuns) working in London's East End in the 1950s. Oh, Chummy... what a great character. A middle-class patronizing attitude toward the poor underlies some of the sentiments, but overall it's a good watch.

Friday, December 07, 2012

holiday spirit

The holiday spirit is in full swing around here...
The tree is up, though we haven't finished decorating it yet. With our new, energetic kitties, we weren't sure what sort of mayhem might ensue, so we did a trial run with just (unbreakable) Swedish straw ornaments. So far, so good -- time to try adding a few more.
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My knitting friends came over for a crafty afternoon last Sunday, so the holiday baking has begun. These deep dark chocolate cookies are amazingly delicious and just happen to be gluten-free.

I also made cranberry crumb bars with mulling spices from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Also yummy, esp. since the cranberries taste fresh, not jammy; however, they are a bit tart, so if you crave a sugar rush, this may not be up your alley. Also, they are best served fairly soon after they're baked, as the crumb crust tends to sog out with time.
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My current knitting projects are a bit dull right now, so I've been cheating and reading lots of novels (aided in part by an unfortunate incident with my Jeep that has left me riding the CTA for the past week -- public transit = reading time).
I'm stranded on sleeve island with my Drops cardigan...

and I'm knitting the most boring scarf pattern in the world. The yarn is lovely, the finished project will be classy and very wearable, but I'm never touching this pattern again.