Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Super Simple Superwash Scarf

A friend of mine has her birthday mid-December.  So what's better than a warm knit scarf to keep her cozy?

I had found a pattern on Ravelry a while back that I really wanted to try.  It calls for bulky yarn and knits up quickly.  I looked through my stash but didn't have any colors I was very happy with, so instead I went shopping.   I decided on Yarn Bee's First Love in the Lovely colorway.  Turquoise and dark purples and a little bit of green, with splashes of fuchsia thrown in.  Perfect for this kind of scarf.  

And to say scarf is really misleading.  I know the pattern is called Super Simple Superwash Scarf, but it's knit in the round and intended to be a cowl.  The one I knit L can be wrapped twice around your neck, being stylish but warm. This cowl is made up of  3 knit rows, then 3 purl rows, and so on.  I ran out of yarn befor the pattern really ended.  I needed 7 repeats but only got 5, although I don't think it detracts from the look.
The yarn is pretty squooshy and hopefully soft against L's neck.  I'm always worried something will be too scratchy or irritable.   I really want to make this again, except for myself.  And I really want to try it in a variegated yarn.  Some patterns, in my opinion, just don't mesh well with variegation.  But this scarf is so simple, I think instead it will make it more visually appealing.  

On a side note, now that I've had a bit of a breather since Lovebug's birth and now that we're getting back into a routine...I'm going to try and get back to some weekly posts like WIP Wednesdays and Friday Favorites.   I've had a ton of Finished objects to share recently but that will start to slow down very soon.  So stay tuned!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wee Mittens

A cute little pattern found in Vintage Knits for Modern Babies, these were finished in a matter of hours (well, split over 2 days because I didn’t have time to do them all in one sitting).  Knit with Spud and Chloe, Moonlight. (Pattern calls for DK weight but I used worsted.)

The pattern, Wee Mittens, is written to knit these flat and then seam them together.  It’s an interesting construction but I hate seaming so I converted the pattern to knit it in the round. With tis in mind I cast on 30 stitches instead of 31. 
Initially, I knit the length for fingers and thumbs as directed by the pattern.  But I had to go back and take the tops of the fingers and thumbs out and lengthen them because they were far too short for Squishy’s hands (he gets that from his mamma….).

I dislike it when I have a pattern that requires knitting 2 of something and it tells you to knit for “x” inches.  I don’t trust my measuring skills to be so great that I will get the pair the same length (some might also tell me it’s my need to be a perfectionist…).  So instead I labor over counting the rows as I go to make sure they are both the same.  Not hard to do with tiny mittens!
Anyway, I ended up adding 6 more rows to the fingers and 4 more rows to the thumb.  That’s a lot of length when you’re talking about toddler fingers!  Do you see the difference between these two pictures?

Now they fit...well…like a glove!  Squishy loves them and keeps talking about “my new mittens.”  That’s the mark of a job well done.

And to any of you out there who don’t like seaming…don’t be afraid to look at a pattern and decide whether or not it can be knit in the round.  Not everything is as simple as these mittens and would be harder to convert, but this saved me a lot of time, especially considering that if I had knit them flat, I couldn’t have fixed Squishy’s mittens and just would have had to make a whole new pair.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cozy Thermal Mitts

A year or two ago, Mom & I visited a somewhat local farm that had advertised a selection of handspun yarn, weaving, knitting, felting, etc.  While it wasn’t what we were expecting, and definitely not what I was hoping for, I did pick up a few goodies.  I found a couple skeins of handspun yarn, direct from the sheep raised on the farm.  One skein was an undyed, natural color.  I knit Lamb from Scratch with it, about this time last year.   

The other skein was a pretty, variegated purple, blue and pink skein.  It also had a couple strands of sparkly thread spun throughout. 

I have been wanting to knit this yarn for a long time but could never come up with a project I was happy with.  Every time I thought I had it, I changed my mind.  The yarn isn’t particularly soft so I knew it couldn’t be a cowl or anything like that.  I considered a hat, but wasn’t really thrilled about that either. 

Which left me wanting to make fingerless mitts.  I found the pattern Cozy Thermal Mitts, shown in a yarn with a similar appearance to handspun.  I liked how the example looked so I cast on myself. 
Are you noticing a trend with the recent items I’ve knit?  They’re all simple.  Quick.  I guess instant gratification is what I need at the moment.  These mitts are no exception. 

Once I had them knit, I put them on to test them out.  I won’t lie when I say I was a bit disappointed when I started feeling a little irritation on my wrists.  The mitts are a bit scratchy, not soft like I’m used to. 

Originally, the yarn was purchased with the intention to gift something to Sis.  Then I never found a pattern.  When these were finished I decided I would try them out, see how they looked when complete and then decide.  If I was uncomfortable, I knew she would be too.  (She’s a very tactile person.)

But I decided to send them to Sis anyway.  I think she may be able to wear them over another pair of gloves.  She got glove liners from Mom & C at Christmas, and since she lives in Colorado, these would be perfect to slide on over top of her gloves.  Added warmth, with the ability to manipulate her fingers.  Win-win in my opinion! 

I enjoyed the pattern and the textural interest the stitch pattern created.  They took a small amount of yarn – I only had 124 yards and I didn’t even use it all (although there’s only a tiny bit left).  I would recommend this pattern to those of you who have one skein of worsted weight yarn that you just don’t know what to do with.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Is anyone else reminded of Lady and the Tramp when you hear “Darling?” Maybe it’s because I watched it so much when I was little, but what’s what comes to mind when I hear the word.

Enough about movies, and on to the knitting.  Slowly but surely I’ve been catching you all up on my knitting.  Once the holiday season came to an end, personal knitting took over.  I told you what my Christmas knitting was. It wasn’t that much, it’s just that we were so busy, there wasn’t a lot of down time for knitting. 

Almost immediately after binding off the Yoked Cardigan, I cast on for a cowl.  The pattern?  Darling by Armida Joy of Fairytale Knits.   A simple, knit-in-the-round pattern, I think this took me only a couple of days.  It could be finished in a few hours if you had the time.  My version was knit from HandPaintedYarn in a reddish pink colorway.  This is the same yarn as the Yoked Cardigan, just in a different color.  It matches my coat quite nicely. 
The pattern creates eyelets every few rows and I’ve found while wearing it that the eyelet portions paired with the Stockinette rows create something similar to horizontal ribbing.  My cowl scrunches together in a way that makes it very warm and cozy and squishable. 
Now is the time to admit that I have an obsession with some types of knitting. These include but are not limited to shawls, fingerless mitts and cowls.  I could spend countless hours looking through different patterns.  And I do, sometimes.  Anyway, I have reservations about cowls.  You see…shawls you can always toss around your neck like a fancy scarf and away you go.  Fingerless mitts and/or gloves are perfect for fall weather when the air is a bit brisk but you don’t want full mittens or gloves.  They’re also great for driving because the mitt covers the cold steering wheel and still keeps your fingers free.  But cowls?  Yes, they keep your neck warm.  Yes, they’re pretty.  But they’re somewhat harder to wear.  ONLY because I’m never sure if I’m wearing them right.  Should they be pinned a particular way?  Do I need to wrap it twice?  Is it too big and floppy or too small and tight?  I LOVE the way they look on other people, but I always have it in my head that I don’t look quite right in them.  But I knit them anyway.  I figure, if I look ridiculous, someone will tell me so (I’m counting on Mr. Man or Mom or Sis to tell enlighten me when this occurs). 

So I wrote all that and you’re probably thinking, wow, what a terrible thing to say in a post about the cowl I just knit!  But it’s really the opposite because this cowl doesn’t make me feel any of those things!  I wear it under my coat and it keeps my neck warm in that space between the collar and chin where the coat doesn’t reach. I’ve even napped in it.

So go forth and knit yourself one as well! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Yoked Cardigan

I’ve talked before about listening to what yarn wants to become.  More times than not, I find a pattern I want to knit, and then hunt down the yarn to knit it with.  More recently, I’ve been using stash whenever possible to fulfill the yarn requirements, although that’s not always the case. 

But sometimes, when you receive lovely yarn, it speaks to you and there’s nothing you can do but give in.  I received some beautiful HandPaintedYarn from a friend during the E is for Elephant Swap.   I got 2 skeins in a reddish pink color and another in a deep blue-green.   It’s probably of no surprise that the blue-green skein was my favorite. 
I had big plans for this yarn.  I had been scouring cowl patterns for awhile now, having decided that this soft, squishy yarn would be best served around my neck.  I had even settled on a pattern.  I almost cast on when I stopped.  Yes, this yarn would be lovely wrapped around my neck, keeping me warm.  But it wasn’t really satisfied with that.  And then I realized why.

Those lovely deep shades of blue and green would be so striking when wrapping around my little girl's arms and shoulders.  I could even picture just the right pattern.  Lovebug has beautiful blue eyes, just like her brother.  I doubt they’ll change in color.  Squishy’s didn’t.  This would make them POP.

And once I made this decision, I was happy.  It all felt right.  The pattern is Yoked Cardigan by Hannah Fettig (she’s got some great designs).  While reading some other knitter’s notes, I agreed with one who said she doesn’t think of this as a yoked cardigan, but rather a ribbed cardigan.  And that’s what it is.  Hannah has you slowly increase the purls between the knits the further down you get in the sweater.
Simple, top down construction, this is sized from baby to adult.  The 4 x 1 ribbing is flattering, and especially cute on a baby!  I knit the 17” bust.  The next size up was a 21” bust, which I felt was just a bit too big – I wanted Lovebug to wear it now.  Knit in a heavy worsted yarn on US 8s, this took no more than 2 or 3 days, tops.  If I were to knit it as a gift, I would use the 2nd bust measurement just to make sure it fit the baby I was gifting it to.
I did add a few mods to the pattern.  Instead of a garter button band, I followed the example of another knitter and did 1 x 1 ribbing, picking up 40 stitches on each side of the front. 

I wasn’t sure if I had enough yarn, so I kept the sleeves a bit short. I followed the pattern to a point, then went my own direction.  After picking up the arm stitches, I knit 10 inches in the 4 x 1 rib pattern.  Then I purled 1 row.  Then 5 rows of 1 x 1 ribbing.  Finally, binding off in pattern.  This draws in the bottom of the sleeves nicely and keeps the edges from rolling.  I wish I had the forethought to add ribbing to the bottom of the cardigan.  It’s a sweet cardigan without it, but I feel as though it would have been more congruent with the overall look of the sweater.
And what’s better than finding perfect buttons to finish it off!  I added some buttons I’ve had in the stash for awhile.   They made me think of Paul Revere for some reason – with a man riding a horse.  Not girly, or masculine.  They stand out nicely against the dark background. 
So get yourself some yarn and knit your own Yoked Cardigan for a little one you know. You won’t be disappointed!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Christmas Gifts

So far most of what you’ve seen of my Christmas knitting has been for the Advent Swap or for Lovebug.  And that’s pretty much accurate.  The last 2 years I’ve tried to knit something for everyone in my immediate family.  I didn’t this year because I didn’t figure I’d have time what with caring for a newborn and all.  Good thing I didn’t because I had just enough knitting to keep me occupied and happy, and not a mad dash to finish.

Instead, I knit a set of dishcloths for each of the women in my family.  Mom got a knitted dishcloth and a crocheted dish scrubber last spring.  She uses them a lot and we’ve talked numerous times about her getting more.  I used Christmas as the opportunity to supply her with some.
The first pattern I used was the Official Pattern of Revenge of Dish Rag Tag by Emily Ivey.  I liked the open knit material these dishcloths had.  These were made with Spinrite Peaches & Crème Ombres & Prints in Good Earth and Spinrite Peaches & Crème Solids in Burgundy.  These colors were picked to match Mom’s kitchen.   This pattern is quick and easy to follow.  Knit diagonally, you can make it as large or as small as you want.  These turned out a little bit small.  If I made them again I would add another 4-5 increase rows. 

The second pattern I used for Mom was the Mother’s Day Cloth by Kris Knits.  It’s a bit hard to see but it says “I (heart) MOM.”  This is a solid, knit dishcloth and more similar to what she already had.  I’ve asked her to get back to me on which she prefers – the open design, or the solid knit fabric.  This cloth was considerably larger than the previous two, and actually, larger than any other dishcloth I’ve made so far.  But I liked the size and the pattern was easy.  Just a bunch of knits and purls.  This too was knit in the Spinrite Peaches & Crème Solids in Burgundy.
The final pattern I used, with Good Earth, was Granny Square Cloth, a crocheted pattern.  This was my first crocheted pattern to try.  I’ve had some made for me and I enjoyed them, so I made one for Mom.  These work up in a matter of hours!
To complete her gift, Mom also received some matching dishtowels, a dish scrubber and some handmade soap. 

For my sister, I made a set of 4 crocheted Granny Square clothes.  Two were crocheted using Spinrite Peaches & Creams Solids in Strawberry Stripes. 

One was a mixture of Lily Sugar’N’crème in White and the Strawberry Stripes, and the final cloth was striped using Spinrite Peaches & Crème Solids in Soft Blue and Lily Sugar’N’Cream white and yellow.

The last cloth was a bit different because it involved striping and learning how to attach and weave in the ends in crochet.  A bit different from what I’m used to with knitting, but I think I caught on fairly quickly. 

Sis also got 2 bars of handmade soap as well.  They smelled very yummy.  I really hope she enjoys them and gets some use out of them.  I always get so worried about whether what I knit (or crochet in this case) is appreciated or will be used.

Finally, I crocheted Mr. Man’s mom a couple yellow Granny Square Cloths.  This was just a little something extra for her gift as she was also getting a new picture of Squishy.  I got a lovely text from her telling me she had used her new cloths and really likes them.  I love this kind of feedback!  Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of them beforehand, so you’ll just have to imagine them looking like the above photos, except in yellow! (Yarn: Lily Sugar’N’Cream in Yellow)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thank You!

Recently I was blessed with a wonderful surprise!

Stefanie, from Knitspiring Odyssey honored me with


The purpose of this award is to share 5 enjoyable blogs with under 200 followers with the blogging world.

Very quickly, I had my own list in my head of who I wanted to nominate!  (Stefanie came to mind immediately, but since she gave me the award, I needed to pick other people.) :)

1     Fairytale Knits:  Raili is so inspiring.  She shares her knitting, crocheting, baking and other activities with her readers.  She’s not afraid to write about her faith and readily shares both her accomplishments and her struggles. 

2     Saucy: I love reading Jill’s blog.  Her knitting is amazing – she can knit a sweater faster than you can blink an eye!  I would love to be able to knit that fast and that well. Many of the things she knits I would love to try myself.  But her blog isn’t limited to knitting, she also writes about her family, her garden, her reading list.  She’s a busy woman!

3     Useful Hands & Heart: On Debby’s blog, you see an obvious love of her family.  She’s always writing about her kids and grandkids and all the things she does for them, as well as how God’s love strengthens and supports her.  Sewing, scrapbooking, knitting and taking care of her grandkids keeps her busy.  She’s an amazing lady.

4     Knitting a Baby: Melissa has been a bit occupied lately, as she recently welcomed her baby girl into the world in July.  Although she hasn’t had the time (a baby takes a lot of work!) to blog as often as she used to, I always find her posts to be enjoyable.  She’s honest and straightforward.  She’s one of the first blogs I started reading consistently . 

5     Lucy’s Arts & Crafts: Lucy lives in China and has an interesting perspective.  Her blog used to mostly encompass her knitting, but has grown to include her love of art and culture.  She frequently talks about differences or traditions in China, which I love to read because I feel like I gain a different perspective myself. 

Congratulations, ladies! 
Pass on the love!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas Booties

After shopping for Christmas clothes for the kids, I had this brilliant idea that I would knit Lovebug a pair of booties to match her Christmas dress (not the Little Sister’s Dress I knit, she wore that on Christmas Day – although I did have that in mind when picking the pattern.)  She’d be wearing tights and would need something to keep her tootsies warm.

I picked out the pattern a couple days before Christmas Eve Day (needed them for the Candlelight Service) and got to work.  They worked up very quickly, each being completed in a matter of hours.  And they were soo cute!.....

…..I have come to learn that my daughter has very long, narrow feet that don’t really fill booties out very well.  My button/strap placement was not the best and unfortunately they just kept falling off her feet.  They have since been fixed and stay on her feet much better, but she wasn’t really able to wear them for Christmas. 

The pattern is Rosy Baby Booties by Julia Noskova (you can find my version on my project page).  This woman has loads of bootie patterns that I’m dying to try.  I would knit them all.  Anyway – I love her patterns and I loved this pattern.  I think normally, these booties would fit baby feet really well.  And the size I chose was 0-6 months, so she’ll be able to wear them for a little while.  I’ve not knit many booties and I was a bit worried that they wouldn’t turn out.  But they did!  And they looked just like the designer’s pictures. (That’s the best, when that happens.)

About the pattern – instructions were very easy to follow.  I never felt confused about where the pattern was headed.  It was clearly written, a beginner could easily make these.  I wish there were 0-3 and 3-6 month sizing instead of 0-6 months.  I probably could have figured out the mods myself but didn’t have time since Christmas was so close.  For the patterns that are more like boots and less like shoes, I don’t think it’s as big of an issue.
I used Ella Rae Milky Soft in Red (dk weight) and Knit Picks Comfy Sport (sport weight obviously) in Whisker as called for in the pattern.  The gray strap and edging was to match Lovebug’s Christmas dress.  The booties are knit flat and then seamed together.  Although I really dislike seaming, I found this pretty easy and my seaming was decent enough. 
I already have a couple other patterns picked out to try next.  Baby feet grow so fast and instead of spending a lot of money on shoes bought in stores, I figured a couple hours and some stash yarn every now and then was a lot cheaper!

Candy Cane

Some friends of ours shared the news last spring that they were expecting their first baby in November.  Mr. Man has known the husband for many, many years and we were so excited to hear about their growing family!  It was especially neat she was due the same month as me!  Although we don’t live anywhere near one another, it was fun to hear little tidbits here and there about how the pregnancy was going, and so forth.  We even got a chance to visit when they were in Iowa this summer.

In planning all that I wanted to knit for Lovebug, I also knew I needed to make something for their little baby.  Originally, I had intended to knit the Lil’ Pumpkin hat by Susan B. Anderson because she was due in November and what’s better than a pumpkin?  But, I didn’t have a chance to even cast on for the hat before their baby arrived. 

They chose to wait until the birth to find out sex, so all the knits I had been looking at needed to be a bit unisex.  Again, the pumpkin hat fit that description, but by the time I HAD time, pumpkins were a bit out of season (or would be very shortly). 

I pulled out Susan’s trusty Itty Bitty Hats and went to it.  Of course, going into the Christmas season it only seemed right to send a Candy Cane hat.  (You saw one version I sent with the Advent Swap package to Nina and her daughter.)  The book calls for red and white, but I also added green. 
I really love the three colors together. Festive, but not overwhelming as some hats can sometimes be. And it’s not too Christmas so it can be worn throughout the winter.  (I don’t mind the idea of a Christmas hat worn after Christmas, but when knitting for other people, I take these factors into consideration.) 

I was so happy to receive a text message from J after she and K received the package (I sent a couple other goodies as well…) saying how much they loved the hat.  She even included a picture of their baby girl wearing the hat!  If that’s not a great thank-you, I don’t know what is. It’s so nice to know these things are appreciated. 

(Lovebug modeled the hat for me before we mailed it off!)
And imagine our surprise when a couple weeks later we received a Christmas card from them – that adorable little girl wearing her hat!  Mr. Man and I both agreed it was so neat that out of all the things they could have chosen for a Christmas card picture, the hat we sent made the cut! (I would share the card with you, but I didn’t ask for their permission to share a photo online of their daughter.) 

So if you’re looking for a hat that’s guaranteed to be a hit, I’d recommend this one.  It doesn’t have to be holiday colors.  You could make it any color you wanted, I promise the baby will still look cute! 

Playing Catch Up

You all have to know that swap knitting is not all that I was doing while on maternity leave.  (I’m going to take a moment and just say how much I could have used a couple more weeks at home before returning to work…)  There were things knit for my family as well.

Today I share with you Little Sister’s Dress by Tora Froseth Design.  My friend Lyndsey knit this awhile back, although she didn’t make it a dress, she left it at a tunic.  Just another reason to give this pattern 2 thumbs up.   
I wanted a knit dress for Lovebug during the holidays.  We have several Christmases to attend and I wanted her to be festive.  She has had very few dresses in her wardrobe at the time, so I chose this pattern. 

I chose it because it was a top-down construction that didn’t require cutting the yarn and rejoining on the opposite shoulder to finish the look.  I had several patterns picked out at different times that were a little fancier, but each time I looked into the pattern, I found that it wasn’t knit in the round.  This was a problem because I had a very specific yarn in mind.  I knit this with Premier Yarns Serenity Garden in Hibiscus.  It took two skeins for this size.  (At least I think only 2 – I bought 3 skeins and can only find 1 in my stash so I must have used 2…)  This is a self-striping yarn.  While I can appreciate variegated or striping yarns, it doesn’t work well for patterns that divide and knit the shoulders separately because it breaks up the color pattern and isn’t symmetrical. Yes, this is an issue for me.  There must be symmetry (at least in color if not in the pattern). 
So, again, I say, this pattern was terrific for that.  Serenity Garden is a microfiber which is a type of acrylic.  I’m not a huge fan of acrylic, but this yarn is so soft and squishy and I didn’t find it the least bit squeaky.  One of the best features of the yarn is that it didn’t require blocking.  When looking up microfiber on Google, I found some information saying it’s designed to not need blocking.  (Now, I know some of you will say –but you can’t block acrylic!! To that I say, yes, you can.  In a couple different ways.  And I had planned on blocking this dress until I saw it finished.  The information proved true – no blocking needed and it STILL looked straight and even and lovely.)

Knit in the 3 month size, this pattern went along very quickly.  Only a few days and it was finished. (It helps that I was knitting it for a bitty baby!)  I learned a new cast on called the Old Norwegian Cast On (also known as the elastic long tail cast on).  I don’t remember at the moment how to do it, but it’s always good to have tried something once – the more you use something, the easier it gets.

Lovebug was just under 2 months at Christmas and it was obvious (at least to me) that the dress was a little big.  The armholes, especially were large.  I think they would be large on a 3 month old who’s a little more rotund than Lovebug even.  The good thing about this is that as she gets older, she can continue to wear the dress and eventually it will become a tunic that she can wear with leggings or over a little pair of jeans, depending on the fit.  I love the idea that she can wear it for so long.  We knitters, crocheters, sewers, etc. put so much effort into the things we make, it’s nice to know they’ll be of use for a long time. 

I have to mention that I had something very specific in mind when I went searching for buttons.  A little back story – when I was little I had a red dress with teddy bears and hearts on it.  Although I don’t exactly remember what it looked like, I remember really liking the dress.  And it had a little white apron (is that called a frock?) that went over top.  The little bears were holding hearts and just something about it made me love it so much.  This dress, although wildly different than my dress, reminded me of that dress. No buttons would work unless they were similar to what was on MY dress.

So when I found these little teddy bear buttons and had flashbacks to my childhood, I knew they were perfect for the job.  They’re not Christmas-y or even winter-y, which allows this piece of clothing to be worn year round without looking out of place. 
I highly recommend this pattern for knitters with little girls in their lives.  You’ll love the end result and how effortless it was to get there.

My only regret is that I bound off too loose.  I wanted to ensure the hem on the dress wasn’t too tight, especially as Lovebug grew.  I achieved that, but in my opinion, the bottom looks less finished than I would like.  

Wrapping Up

Today’s post is to share with you the remainder of the Advent Swap package I sent to Nina.  I really had fun finding little things to include and send to her!

December 9:  Christmas mice.  Yes, I said mice, not mouse.  This little couple comes from the mouse pattern in the Christmas Set of Itty Bitty Toys by Susan B. Anderson.  I had hoped to make the santa and bag to send as well but I just ran out of time. 
The first mouse I made was brown.  A nice reddish brown, in fact.  I imagined it a him, for reasons I’ll explain in a minute.  He got a little red scarf and minty green ears.  He’s very “smart” looking to me.  (Smart as in handsome, not as in book-smart…) Made with Cascade 220 Superwash in Cordovan, with Berroco Vintage in Kiwi for the ears and pom-poms and in Claret for the nose and scarf. 
Before he was really a mouse, he had whispered a notion in my ear that I couldn’t let go.  And once he was fully whole, his idea really took hold of me.  He had told me he needed a companion.  Another mousey companion.  It really is better when you have someone to share things with.   So another mousie came to life.  This time, a she.  A creamy white, Miss Mousie compliments Mr. Mouse well.  They have matching ears to indicate they’re companions, as well as “matching” scarves.  I say matching because hers is mint green with green and red pom-poms, while his are opposite that.  She’s made with Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton in White, Berroco Vintage in Kiwi and in Claret. 
I love these two and they were very hard to part with.  Especially Mr. Mouse.  But from what I hear, Nina’s daughter took an instant liking to them, which is all the thanks I need to hear!!

December 10:  (something green)  Pancake mix kit.  I really enjoy pancakes.  We don’t have them very often which probably makes them even better.  I found this little green bag with a penguin on the front.  Inside is pancake mix and a tiny whisk.  Certainly something festive for the holidays!
December 11: Puzzles.  I found a couple Christmas puzzles while shopping at Target with Squishy one day.  He wanted to open them up and put them together himself, so these had to go into hiding until they could be mailed.  A good activity to get little minds moving!
December 12: Reindeer salt & pepper shakers.  I actually found these right after I got my swap partner’s name.  My mom has many different sets of fun salt & pepper shaker sets.  They’re great for the holidays to give a little oomph to the table. 
December 13: Cookie cutters for the win!  I’m only speaking for our family but Christmas time usually means sweets of all kinds.  Mom is the master at all things awesome and we always eat way too many cookies and chocolates, etc.  But it wouldn’t be Christmas without them and they’re SO good!  Sugar cookies fit right into that mix!
December 14:  Spatulas.  Nina mentioned in her questionnaire that she enjoys cooking.  I took this to mean she also enjoys baking.  I found a couple sets of spatulas with cute little pictures in silicone portion of the spatula.  I’d not seen this kind of thing before and thought they were unique.  Who knew I could find something so neat at Kmart?
December 15:  One skein of Spud & Chloe Sweater in Watermelon.  I love Spud and Chloe.  I would love to use it more often but unfortunately my budget doesn’t allow it.  They always have such fresh, inspiring colors.
December 16:  Pattern: Playful Stripes Cardigan by Alana Dakos.  Alana has the most beautiful patterns available.   And many of her designs are for little girls, which is terrific.  This pattern could go either way.  I’d like to make one of these for Lovebug in the future.  Nina had it on her wish list – her little girl will look so cute in this sweater!
 Photo by Alana Dakos
December 17: (knitting accessory)  Stitch markers made by me.  I looked for gnome stitch markers but I couldn’t find any I was happy with.  So instead Nina got some Christmas inspired markers.  Hopefully they’re not too heavy (a couple turned out a bit large). There are 2 penguins, a snowman and a Christmas tree. 
December 18: Gnome project bag.  Nina likes and collects lawn gnomes.  I had wanted to incorporate this into a previous swap where I had her name but didn’t get the chance.  This time I found a really cute, well made gnome project bag.  I hope she gets a lot of use out of it!
December 19: So following the gnomey theme, I sent her Gnomeo & Juliet.  Such a cute movie.  The flamingo is the same person who did the voice for Ray Ray in The Princess & the Frog. 
December 20: (knit/crocheted cloth)  I just recently picked up on the crocheted dishcloth bug.  When I was working on the items for this swap I hadn’t gotten that far yet.  I found a pattern set called Winter Wonder Cloths by Kris Knits on Ravelry.  There are 6 patterns in the set.  I had hoped to knit all 6 but only had time for 4.  Nina received the snowman, Christmas trees, stocking cap and snowflake.  The other 2 patterns were a mitten and a cottage.  These were knit with Lily Sugar’n’Cream in White and Spinrite Peaches and Crème Solids in Soft Blue.

December 21: Tiny Elf by Susan B. Anderson.  Another swap requirement.  This fun fellow was knit with in Claret, Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton in White and my own handdyed superwash wool in what I call Woodland Fairies.  The green is my favorite part of him.  It gives him spunk and a bit of personality.  I’ve been so very pleased with how this yarn came out.  The original dye job I did was not good, but when I chose to overdye my mistake, the result was wonderful!

December 22: Christmas sticky notes – you can never have too many!
December 23: Candy Cane by Susan B. Anderson.  I wanted to include one more thing for Nina’s daughter so I knit this hat.  Using Cascade 220 Superwash in Christmas Red Heather and Shire (forest green heather), this hat was a quick knit.  I like the way the green and red play off each other.  A little different than the traditional colors, but I’ve never been one to do things by the book.

December 24:  Flavored coffee – Nina mentioned she has a French Press at work that she uses instead of stopping off for coffee on her way to work.  With that in mind, I sent her 4 small one-pot servings in 3 different flavors.
December 25:  The gift for Christmas was supposed to be something we thought our partner would really enjoy, made or gifted specifically with that person in mind.   The last swap I had Nina’s name, I gifted her a coffee mug, which she apparently uses a lot.  But she did mention that sometimes it gets too hot and she needed a coffee mug cozy.  And as mentioned above, she has a French Press at work which she also mentioned needed a cozy. 
I couldn’t resist knitting these items up.  The mug cozy is called Plaited Coffee Cozy by  Evan Straub and is a really easy pattern.  I did some of my own modifications to ensure the cozy was big enough and followed some other knitters’ mods.  More information on my project page.

The French Press Cozy by Derek & Lauren is very simple.  So simple in fact, I needed to add in some flair.  So I got out my Super Stitches Knitting Dictionary and picked out a pattern that would fit well.  The stitch is the daisy stitch (I'll have to look up the page number).  I think it gives it a little bit something extra.

For both patterns I used in a red/pink colorway.  This yarn is discontinued now, but I really enjoyed knitting with it.  From what I’ve been told, it’s much like Malabrigo worsted, if you’re interested in something similar. 

I also included a bag of flavored coffee just for good measure.

Nina – I hope you enjoyed this swap as much as I did!  It will certainly be something fun to repeat next Christmas!  

And readers, if you've made it this far, thanks for sticking with me, I know it was a long post today and lots of pictures - but I wanted to finish up sharing all the swap details.