Holidays Lazy Days

Mitten cuff

It’s the Tuesday between Christmas and New Year – technically a holiday week here in NL – but I’ll still write a little something on the blog. I have no finished object to share, but I do have some new projects to show you.

Above is the first cuff of my Kainoruusu mittens. I’m making them per the pattern, mostly. I just can’t help but modify something in every pattern! I’ve added the 2 Latvian braids below and above the color work section (the red and white candy cane). The cuffs I’m making in red and white and the rest of the mitten will be dark grey and white.

The yarn is some Estonian yarn that I bought during my trip there in 2013. It’s not soft yarn but it’s sturdy and great for mittens. It should be softer after washing, but I wouldn’t want to wear it around my neck.

Here’s a photo of the inside, in case you’re curious what that looks like. I always like to see the inside of things. 🙂


I’ve also started a pair of gloves for DB. When we went to Texel a couple of weeks ago (to get our Christmas lamb) he saw this yarn and wanted to buy it for himself. Either for a hat or gloves. I was secretly hoping for a hat, but in the end he chose gloves.

left hand

You can see that I’m working up the hand, increasing on the right side for the thumb. I chose the pattern, thinking that it would be great for gloves – sturdy and long wearing. That is certainly true! But the stitch pattern used is hurting my hands to knit. The pattern is Seascape Gloves. Here’s a closeup of the stitches. This multi-colored yarn doesn’t make it easy to see, but it’s a 2-stitch twisted thing.

You put the right needle through the first stitch on the left needle, and knit the SECOND stitch on the left needle, bring your right needle back out, and knit the first stitch through the BACK loop, then slide both stitches to the right needle. I had no idea it would cause my hands so much trouble. But you know, the things we do for love.

Here’s the inside of the glove.

I’m trading off working on the mittens, then the gloves, so my hands get a break. There has also been a little spinning going on, for the next Experimental Spinning post. Hopefully I’ll have that ready to show in another week.

These dark days make photography so difficult! I spend a lot of time trying to get the colors to match what my eyes see. I think I’m pretty close this week.

That’s it for craft pursuits this week. I’m also practicing the accordion and cooking and baking and taking care of the neighbor cat while they are out of town, and visiting family. I hope you are having a nice holiday week and can find joy, even in the smallest of things, during these pandemic times. Til next week, happy end of 2021!


This past week I finished the 12 recipe tea towels/wall hangings that I started in November. WHEW that felt good to get those off my plate. I hadn’t touched them in several weeks and in that time I had kind of forgotten how I made them so I spent more time ripping out than sewing for the first one. But after that it went smoothly and I finished them in 2 days.

I’ve decided not to trust them to the mail. They’d have to cross 2 countries and 5,000 miles and probably cost a fortune because they are heavy. I will take them with me the next time I visit my mom and mail them from there. Hopefully this Spring. Everyone will just have to wait!

AND I started a new sweater. This one is a cabled cardigan that I could really use in my wardrobe. This is my second winter after returning from California and I need more warm sweaters. This sweater is called Sandstone Peak, designed by Irina Anikeeva. I fell in love with it the second I saw it.

(c) Irina Anikeeva

I’m knitting it with Cascade 220, which I had in stash. The colorway is called “Galaxy” and it’s another one of those hard to capture colors. Most of the time it looks dark brown, but in some light it looks dark purple. On dark winter nights it’s just black and I need a neck light to knit.

The instructions have you knit this from the bottom up, seamless, then knit the sleeves in the round, then put them all together at the underarms and knit the yoke seamless. Well, you can guess from other posts that I am a fan of seams in such a garment so I’ve decided to knit each piece flat and seam it together. It just takes more teasing out of the pattern instructions, especially at the yoke, but so far it’s not too bad. The instructions are very clear and easy to follow, which makes it also easy to tear them apart and see the pieces separately. I added 1 stitch at each edge for a selvage for seaming. I’ve finished one sleeve and started the second.

My plan is to have this finished by the end of January, with plenty of winter left to enjoy it. I’ve also got some mittens queued up to start, and DB has asked for either a hat or gloves (he hasn’t decided yet), so plenty of knitting on the horizon.

And that’s my FO (finished object) and WIP (work in progress) for this week. I was hoping to post about my spinning project(s) but I’m not quite ready for that unveiling. Come back next week for some spinning experiments in color.

Christmas Traditions

I’ve been spending time on Spoonflower lately, looking at all the amazing fabrics, and also uploading a few designs of my own to use. You can print your own fabrics here, which is exciting and if you aren’t careful you can spend a truckload of money very quickly. They also have a lot of tutorials, which I was browsing one day and saw one about making your own tea towels with your own family recipes printed on them. What a great idea! I wanted to make one with one of my Grandma’s recipes on it. She was a great writer-downer of recipes.

When I was growing up, my most exciting Christmas tradition was helping my grandma make Christmas candy. She had a set of recipes that she used every year, rarely, if ever, deviating from her tried and true candies. The hardest one to make, the one that sometimes had to be thrown out because it failed, was divinity. It wasn’t one of my favorites since it didn’t have any chocolate in it. And it wasn’t one that my sister and I were allowed to help with. Too tricky. But if you look at the recipe it seems so easy, so innocuous.

When I was visiting my mom in September I looked through a big box of Grandma’s recipes, trying to find the candy recipes. Not in the box. My sister had the divinity recipe card, which she had laminated (seemed like a good idea at the time) and I asked her to scan it and send to me. I got this…

And cleaned it up in Photoshop to this….

I then uploaded it to Spoonflower and ordered 1 meter (1 yard) of Linen Cotton Canvas fabric, which had 4 recipes printed on it. Here is a link to my recipe fabric on Spoonflower.

You can see where the printing ends and the background fabric is, and I cut along those lines. And also in between each recipe print. I ended up with 4 pieces ready to have the edges finished.

When I was in Amsterdam a few weeks ago I looked in a fabric shop for some nice Christmasy fabric to make a border but I didn’t find anything at all. So back to Spoonflower I went. And besides I could order border fabric in the same Linen Cotton fabric. I found this holly berry fabric and candy cane fabric. The candy cane fabric brought back another Christmas tradition memory. My grandparents always had a silver artificial Christmas tree and an electric color wheel that turned and sent colored light onto the tree. They had blue balls of different sizes hung on the tree. And lastly, big red and white candy canes, one for each of the grandkids, hung on the tree. On Christmas Eve we could take down our candy canes and eat them – or start to eat them because they were big and would last a long time. So candy canes for the border of this tea towel would be perfect.

hanging loops, ready to use

I had ordered just a fat quarter of the holly berry fabric, so I cut that into strips and made hanging loops with it. I then cut out strips of candy cane fabric, 6 canes wide, and did my best to sew on a border strip. I sewed each edge separately. Hmmm. Not very beautiful. I went to the internet and looked up how to sew on a border and saw how quilters do it. Much better. So I gave that a try. Better, but still not great.

top one is the first try, bottom one, second try

I did make my border strips like quilters do, by making a diagonal seam to make long strips.

You can see in the above photos that I had moved on to EIGHT candy canes wide. I thought this would be prettier and also easier to manipulate. Sometimes more is more.

On the third try I did pretty well.

However, you can see that I sewed on the hanging loop onto the back which looks bad. I removed this loop and sewed it onto the border. Also ugly. Why not sew that into the border seam? Which is what I did on try number FOUR.

Here is a photo of turning the corner, something I got pretty good at after so many corners.

Here they are, stacked up, from 1st try to last final version that I’m happy with.

The final version, front and back. I didn’t bother to leave any of the border on the back side. All of that candy cane goodness should be on the front where you can see it. And, besides, this is just how I sewed it and I wasn’t going to try yet another method!

I want to give one of these to my mom, my sister, my aunts and cousins. Maybe they will use them as tea towels, maybe they will hang them up as decoration. They can decide. All of them will immediately recognize the handwriting and the recipe. And the candy cane reference. Good thing I bought enough fabric. Only 12 more to make!

ready to iron the rest….