Category Archives: Knitting for Me

Christmas chez Bees

Here’s what Christmas looked like where I was this year:

There was baking:

Merry Christmas

Christmas cookies! Earl grey meltaways, sugar cookies, orange chocolate chip cookies, white chocolate cranberry shortbread, orange gingersnaps, and also wee meringue peppermint drops from a Regency-era recipe.

Christmas baking

Plenty to share — which is a good thing, because our extended family exchanges food (baking, preserves, that sort of thing) for Christmas every year.

There was singing:

The Orange Peel Carollers, in a 2009 video

I sing with a group called the Orange Peel Carollers, an offshoot of my parents’ Morris dancing group, Orange Peel Morris. We sing old carols from the English village tradition, combined with old Canadian carols as well. We sang at the Fort York Frost Festival for the first time, which was a real highlight.

I also got together with other friends and carolled door-to-door, collecting for the food bank:

There’s one more festive, musical event on my Christmas calendar this year, as every year: Twelfth Night revelries in Cambridge (Ontario). There will be food, drink, carols, a mummer’s play, Morris dancing, and also Regency-style English Country Dancing. It’s always a highlight for me!

There was ice and snow:

We all got together despite the most incredible ice storm.

Ice storm

The tree outside our front door, early in the day, before the bulk of the ice had formed.

Our power was out for about 6.5 hours the day the storm hit, but thankfully it came back on before the sun went down or the house got too cold.

Laddie’s preserved rosebud

Ice-laden rosebuds — photo courtesy of my dad

There was incredible food:

Tourtiere

My father-in-law’s tourtière very nearly rivals my grandmother’s!

There was tourtière, there were TWO turkey dinners, there was peach pie and mincemeat pie and blueberry pie. There were, you know, a few cookies. There was baked french toast casserole, and bacon, and sausages. There was coffee cake for breakfast.

Poutine!

Phenomenal pub poutine — photo courtesy of my dad

There was also a wonderful pub lunch with excellent local grub!

And there was drink:

Cheers!

Cheers to family! — photo courtesy of my dad

There were hopeful dogs:

Hopeful dogs

Nike, Laney, and Tux “helping” my mother-in-law in the kitchen

There was crafting with family:

Sharpie tiles

Sharpie tiles!

Gillian suggested that we find a craft to do together one evening, so we collected ideas on Pinterest. This idea, from the Sharpie website, seemed particularly promising. We got some blank white tiles, some permanent markers, and a spray-bottle of rubbing alcohol, and went to town. You just doodle on the tile, and then spritz it or dab it or drizzle it with rubbing alcohol. Because the permanent markers are alcohol-based, the rubbing alcohol re-dissolves the pigment, and lets it redistribute on the surface of the tiles. When it evaporates, you can add more alcohol to continue messing with the design, until you’re happy with it. We also doodled on the ‘finished’ tiles with metallic pens, adding to the patterns created by the drips of alcohol. I experimented with tiles coloured with just one shade (the black and purple ones above) as well as more intricate designs, and it couldn’t be easier to get cool results! Now I just need to find some sealant to protect the final product, and maybe some silicone to make little ‘feet’ to turn these into coasters.

And of course, there was knitting!

Fingerless gloves for Gillian

Fingerless gloves for Gillian

I promised Gillian a while ago that I’d make some fingerless gloves for her, to go with the ‘Bacon cowl‘ (which I still need to blog about). I used the pattern for the awesome Rusalka gloves from Knitting New Mittens and Gloves, but omitted the fancy beaded cuff in favour of some sturdier ribbing. The main thing I like about this pattern is the very clever little chains that go between the wearer’s fingers. They’re basically crochet chains, but formed with knitting needles during the bind-off process. They mean that you can shove your hands into your pockets, or into heavier mittens, without the palm of the glove rolling down and getting all wadded up. Gillian’s actual Christmas present was a cowl, but I somehow neglected to take any photos of it. I reminded myself several times to take pictures but not post them until after the presents were opened… I’m going to have to count on Gillian to snap some photos of it in action!

Meanwhile, this super-bulky fox hood is super-adorable, eh?

Alice's hood

A fox hood for friends’ little girl

It’s meant to be big and droopy, but that does mean it’s large enough to go on an adult head too:

Mr. Bee makes a great hat model, eh?

There was also a little selfish Christmas knitting: I made an ornament for our tree, and I’m awfully pleased with how it turned out. EARTH ORNAMENT The pattern is Pale Blue Dot by Denise Powell. It’s impeccably charted! It was published in the special Festive edition of A Needle Pulling Thread, so it’s only available for purchase as part of the whole magazine. I hope this particular pattern gets wider recognition in time, because it’s absolutely exquisite. (Knitting around a solid object’s not especially fun, but it’s so worth it in this case. Besides, you knit almost 3/4 of the globe before you have to insert the ball and knit around it.)

Pale Blue Dot

Pale Blue Dot ornament

There was Netflix and a comfy couch:

Unfortunately, for the last part of our holiday, there have been fevers, aches, and hacking coughs instead of festive carols and good cheer, but at least we were warm, safe, and  comfortable, and well-supplied with leftovers.

I hope Christmas (or whatever you celebrate) has been wonderful to you and yours this year!

A reminder: you have until Wednesday (New Year’s Day) to enter to win the giveaway for Green Gables Knits! I’m LOVING all the comments that are coming in, though I’ve refrained from commenting myself so as not to cause issues with the random number generator’s comment selection.

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Just a glimpse

I finally decided what to do with my Shalimar Breathless. The winning pattern? Not a cardigan after all (it’s a pullover), and one that hadn’t even been released when I originally planned to get started.

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Actual Knitting Content: PLATYPUS

I have been knitting the most brilliant, ingenious pattern – designed by my friend Selina Siu (Littlesplines on Ravelry). This is the kind of knitting that makes you giddy, because it’s so smart, and so simple, and yet it’s so unheard of.

platypus collage

Platypus mitts!

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ColourRIOT: Did she get it right? Or: Welcome to my closet!

My sister Gillian challenged me to write  a follow-up to her post about choosing colour palettes, to tell you all whether she was in the right ballpark with the palette she picked out for me. So, if you haven’t read her post already, do go back and have a peek, then come back here and we’ll see how she did! (Also, take a moment to check out her follow-up post on her own blog, about how she has put her colour palette into action.)

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Happy 2013!

Happy 2013, everyone! May the new year bring health, happiness, and good cheer to each and every person who reads this. Continue reading

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Filed under Family, Knitting for Gifts, Knitting for Me, Meta, Weaving

What to Knit?

I’ve finished a few lingering projects lately, and now… now I’m wondering what to knit next! I want to knit ALL THE THINGS, but I have only two hands, and that means I have to pick ONE pattern and ONE yarn (or set of yarns) to start with. But how?!?

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Summertime pursuits

Lest anyone reading this blog lately fear that I’ve forgotten how to knit, I can offer two pieces of proof to the contrary.

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Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012: Day Six

Here is my contribution to Day Six of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, organized by the adorable Eskimimi. Today’s theme is Improving Your Skillset…

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Knitting and Crochet Blog Week: Day 4

Here is my contribution to Day Four of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, organized by the adorable Eskimimi. Today’s theme is A Knitter or Crocheter for All Seasons…

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The funny thing about today’s theme for #3kcbw is that I’ve had a half-composed blog week about winter knitting in my head for months. I seem to do that a lot — get an idea for a blog post, and even think up what photos and phrases might belong in it, but then get distracted, or lazy, or otherwise occupied, until the post is no longer relevant.

I was going to post about how I was working on these lovely Norwegian mittens in Classic Elite Fresco, a super-soft angora-alpaca-wool blend.

Slow and steady - progress

Norwegian Mittens by Beth Brown-Reinsel - in progress

I was going to talk about being curled up on the couch, a handknit shawl around my shoulders and a blanket over my lap, with a big steaming cup of milky tea.

I was going to talk about my favourite winter-afternoon watching: Victorian Farm and the other brilliant series in this family of shows. A team of English social historians and archaeologists spend a year on a period farm, using appropriate technologies to better understand life in the Victorian era — or the 17th century, or the Edwardian era, depending on the series. It’s a perfect combination of nerdiness and utter beauty, with a healthy dose of fibre lore thrown in.

Peter Ginn and a lamb from Edwardian Farm

I was going to talk about the quiet that muffles the city when there’s a thick layer of snow.

I was going to talk about warm, folky music that sustains me through the winter, like this Queen (!!) cover by my favourite band, The Once:

But you know what? Now it’s spring (even if it did snow the day before yesterday). We’ve had the barbecue out; I’ve shaved my legs and worn skirts and sandals. I still love The Once, but we’re on to watching the Edwardian Farm team in the summer months, picking cherries and frolicking in bathing costumes at the seaside. And as for the mittens, well, I haven’t knit a stitch on them for at least a couple of months.

Now, I’m much more interested in dreaming up frothy, lacy things to knit for a friend’s wedding this summer:

The stunning Luiza shawl by Jane Araujo... High in my queue!

Funny, that.

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Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012, Day 1: Colour

The following was originally written as a guest post for RockandPurl’s Blogstars 2012 guest blog series. It’s also my contribution to Day One of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, organized by the adorable Eskimimi. To view ALL the participating posts for today, google 3KCBWDAY1.

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