Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A burst of knitting, plus paper craft

At about this point in December, crafty people are starting to hand off the gifts they've made for people they won't see on Christmas Day.  My strategy for this year was to do that, instead of running overtime on making stuff, and then wrapping presents till 2am on Christmas Eve... and Christmas Day... and then well on into the season.

Because that plan seems to be working for reasons I really need to pin down for future reference, this is how I spent Sunday evening:

Yep, working on the last of the gift knits.  As you may have surmised from the picture, this is the Churchmouse hot water bottle cosy pattern, and it is so very lovely to knit you should cast one on right now and worry about the matching bottle later.  (sadly, the matching bottle is smaller than the ones I see for sale locally, so if you live in Toronto too you may want to order one of the Churchmouse ones.  Or maybe you would want to order one anyway.  They are priced to reflect their specialness, but they also smell like vanilla? so you are going to get what you're paying for.)

When the box turned up last Friday and prompted me to push through every other project so I could cast on as soon as possible, I unwrapped the Cascade Eco Duo I'd ordered (pre-caked!) and expected something a little bit rough because affordably-priced woolly yarn so often is.  But no, it turns out it is essentially an underspun cloud of baby alpaca blended with merino wool, with a very subtle colour shift as you go along, such that you can practically fall asleep as you work your way along the row.  Or, in just one word: bliss.

(Just don't make mistakes that need ripping out, as for example when determining gauge, because did I say alpaca?  Alpaca doesn't like to be ripped away from its neighbouring bits, and you do not want to cross it.)

In other news: my Knitter's Mending Tray is no longer crowded with mending, because I ran in all the ends of all the mohair boot socks and have even washed all of them and worn a pair.  That's how 'old news' the mending tray is already.

Now, it's a paper craft tray.

This is yet another example me getting a good idea and then going totally overkill on it: bookmarks cut from double-sided scrapbooking card stock.  I wanted to attach them to some candy canes for various and sundry kids who read, and then I thought they were such a great idea they could do trimming service on some presents for grownups, and then I realized I just wanted to cut a lot of bookmarks and there was simply no point in worrying about where they will go.  I think there are about 80 of them stacked up there in this picture, waiting for holes and scrap-yarn tassels.

Marketing is everything when it comes to the kind of presents I usually give, so in more of my spare time on Sunday I made some card backings for the seasonal pins I found for a few nice ladies who don't read Hugs (except for Lannie, who already has hers.  What are the odds of finding a Christmas pin with bright pink in it?? and if it's bright pink, it's gotta be Lannie.)

In progress:

and a few Afters:

This idea is the result of my scoring about a dozen vintage Christmas pins over the summer.  I hadn't seen any of these things for sale in forever, though they were very popular when I was little, and I thought I was going to look so genius come December.  Then in November I walked through Sears and found two huge revolving racks of them.  (I still think mine are cuter.  Plus, vintage!)

I used different accent tapes to fill the boring white space on the index cards - the hole punch I used for a secure way to attach the pin only goes in so far from the edge - including washi tape of course, and some paper tape which I guess is a scrapbooking accessory also.  I saw the paper tape in a discount store over the summer and thought: there will come a day when I will want something that will do what this does.  And that day was Sunday, and by some freak of nature, I knew where to find it.

(I'll have to tell you about the organizational tools that made that possible, because I can't be the only one who needs that sort of help.  Maybe on the break between Christmas and New Year's, when we go back to caring about that sort of thing, after weeks of just trying to make as much stuff as possible in not enough time.)

Tomorrow I think I'll do a proper tutorial to show you how the bookmarks came out.  I really love them, and they made good use of soooo much scrap yarn.  Not to mention the scrapbook paper I used to make them.  Seriously, I paid less than $10 for the package and I've already gotten 2 cute wall banners and a ton of tiny gift toppers out of it. And there is still so much left over to play with.

For now though: have a great day, and I hope a super productive one!

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