Posts Tagged ‘holiday’
Have you finished all of your holiday knitting? Of course not. It’s ok, we’re all in the same boat. As if I didn’t like to spend countless hours hand making gifts, I also really love a gift that looks beautiful. Jon’s family isn’t really into gift wrapping but I really can’t bear to give a gift without at least some nice paper. I think I drive him crazy but it makes me feel like an old-fashioned, thoughtful gift giver.
Generally speaking, I bargain hunt for gift wrap at TJ Maxx. But I really can’t say no to a pretty knitted paper. Maybe it’s a cruel fake out, wrapping up your store-bought gifts in this paper that screams “I’m a hint! Psych!” but I love these knitted gift options that wrap your gifts in their own little “sweaters.”
How do you gift your hand knits? Do you fuss over gift wrap?
Last week I shared one of my favorite gifts to make, the hot chocolate mug. I take gift giving very seriously but I have a limited budget so DIY food gifts are my go-to. When it comes to giving food, you can’t lose and if you’re willing to put in a little bit of time, you’ll save a few dollars.
I’m sure there are still a few of us scrambling for last-minute gifts (as we decide those sweaters will be given Christmas 2014) so here are a few options for DIY food gifts.
A good rule of thumb is that anything in a mason jar makes a good gift.
What mason jar gifts do you give?
Shopping for knitters is simultaneously the easiest and hardest thing to do. We love yarn but we’re very particular. We could always use more needles but interchangeable sets aren’t cheap. We’re always searching for new patterns but with the enormous variety of books out there, it’s tough to pinpoint which might be right.
I tend to advise against buying a knitter yarn (unless they ask for it) as a gift. Usually, we’re all on yarn diets. Of course, no one has ever given me a skein of yarn that I’ve refused. And it’s easy for non-knitters to become sheepish, dizzy, and dumbfounded at a LYS. But around this time of year I like to put together a guide for what knitters really want, those little things that will let them know that you really thought hard about them.
And, don’t forget, knitters always appreciate gifts that are handmade, local, and/or independent!
What gifts would you love to get this holiday?
I don’t have big plans for holiday making this year. I know that I just don’t have the time for it. But I did want to make one or two gifts. I mean, come on, what’s the point of being a knitter if you don’t make a gift? I figured a few gifts would be manageable (Christmas is still a few months away, right?) until I found out that Chanukah is the same week as Thanksgiving this year.
So now I’m a little stressed out. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines!
I feel like hand knit socks are amazing gifts. They’re warm and lovely and they look really complicated like you spent a long time on them but they’re actually pretty quick. Something about giving a gift to keep your toes warm makes me really happy.
Luckily, socks make great car knitting and there will be plenty of opportunities for that in the near future (Rhinebeck!). Also luckily, Jon got me a subscription to Yarnbox for my birthday so last week I received some beautiful of Candy Skein yarn. Everything about this yarn is perfect for socks.
I love solid colored fingering weight yarns! Especially for cables. I was trying to find a pattern slightly more challenging than Hermione yet easy enough that I could put down for a few days and not get lost. Also a big must was doing a pdf or web-based pattern because I need something I can carry around on my phone. I don’t like fumbling around with books while I’m in the car.
When I went over my Ravelry queue, I found the Froot Loop pattern by Kristi Geraci. I can’t believe I haven’t knit this pattern sooner. It’s really really easy without being boring but it looks really gorgeous and the cables are super satisfying. It doesn’t require a cable needle so it’s the best for knitting on the fly. (I’ve knit cabled socks on the subway before. It gets messy.) It’s basically just exactly what you’d want in a sock.
The pattern knits up so quickly, I’m not nervous at all about finishing in time for the holidays. Socks, you are the best! (Sorry, sweaters, nothing personal.) Now I just need to keep my sanity until Thanksgiving.
Have you already started your holiday knitting? Do you have big plans or are you staying small?
Tags: cable, candy skein, car knitting, chanukah, fingering weight, froot loop, gift, hermione's everyday sock, holiday, knit, knitty, kristi geraci, sock, sock knitting, sock yarn, travel knitting, yarnbox
Passover is beginning soon. Are you getting prepared? It’s one of the most important Jewish holidays and it’s one of my favorites for these reasons: a) the story is epic, b) the Rugrats made a really good holiday episode, c) you’re supposed to drink a lot (like, a lot, guys), and d) it’s supposed to be very personal. It’s the story of how our ancestors escaped slavery in Egypt. And when I was a kid, I wanted to be an Egyptologist so the whole Jews building pyramids thing was pretty exciting.
Here’s the story of Passover and my ancestors (I imagine they look like me but with way more epic eye make up).
We were slaves in Egypt. It sucked. Moses came and was all, LET MY PEOPLE GO which is probably the best catchphrase ever. The Pharaoh was all like, “No Way, Jose.” Then the ten plagues happened, yadda yadda yadda.
When the Pharaoh told the Israelites that they were free to leave Egypt, they left as fast as they could. They knew he was kind of a fickle bitch and was constantly changing his mind. Like, one day he would be like, “Guys, this is where I the pyramid should go,” and then halfway through building it, he’d be all, “I think it would actually look better over there. Don’t you think it’d look better over there?” And then they’d have to go and start all over again.
So when the Jews were freed, they hauled ass out of there. They packed up so quickly, they didn’t even wait for their bread dough to rise! That’s why we eat matzah. (Don’t have any idea what the geflite fish is all about. Don’t ask.) My ancestors packed up so quickly that they didn’t even wait to finish all of their WIPs! They just took whatever stash yarn they could carry and GTFO. Moses was all like, “Um, I don’t think you’re going to need a scarf in the desert” but they were all like, “It’s not a scarf, it’s a 10 Commandments cozy. By the way, did anyone pack stitch markers? I left all of my notions in Egypt.”
Then, the whole Egyptian army showed up because the Pharaoh had changed his mind (so predictable, this guy!) and so they were all like chasing the Jews to the sea. My ancestors were like, “Oh crap, I don’t think salt water is very good for wool.” But Moses was all, “Guys, don’t worry. I have a plan.” And, guess what. He OPENED UP THE SEA so everyone would just walk across. I know, crazy right? And when they got to the other side, all of the Egyptians drowned and the day was saved.
And somebody was like, “Hey did anybody bring a map?” and my ancestors were like, “I have a pattern for a nemes. Would that help?” And Moses was all like “OMG WE’RE GONA BE IN THIS DESERT FOREVS.”
Anyway, the point of this story is that, just as we eat unleavened matzahs to commemorate our ancestors time in Egypt, I will knit with matzah-like yarns to commemorate my ancestors who were probably walking around the desert like, “Are we there yet? I’m hot. Golden donkey? How about a golden sheep? Maybe it can send more yarn.”
This unleavened yarn will probably make you a lot less constipated than matzah.
ps. If you stuck it out and read this whole story, you’re a real champ. It was ridiculous but I made myself laugh.
St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, everyone! I have to admit, I’m not really a big participant in St. Patty’s Day festivities. I’m Irish and I like drinking but there’s something about chugging Guinness with a bunch of dudes from New Jersey wearing backwards green baseball hats in a crowded bar that turns me off of the whole holiday. Also, the arbitrary addition of green food coloring to beverages and breakfast foods really grosses me out. In fact, I have no idea what Erin Go Bragh means. And I just found out that Guinness has two n’s because I’ve never typed it before.
God, I sound like the Grinch who stole Patrick. I have a feeling my Irish card is about to be revoked.
This year, maybe I’ll get lucky and change my mind. I hope I can find a four leaf clover or even catch a leprechaun. And his pot won’t be filled with gold but maybe full of yarn!
And if his pot is full of gold, well I guess I’ll just have to buy the yarn myself. And some beer.
Are you planning on celebrating St. Patty’s Day to the max? Will you be wearing any green knits?
ps. Can you believe Ravelry hit 3 million members last week! Congrats to them!
You’ve heard of Christmas socks? How about some Chanukah socks?
I wanted to make my amazing Aunt Sherry something for Chanukah. I promised myself (for the sake of sanity) that I would not make gifts for everyone but I made a few exceptions and she was one of them. She is very special to me and I am constantly getting awesome handmade gifts from her. I don’t think socks are ever a terrible gift (ungrateful kids these days!) so I made her these.
I was inspired by the Purl Soho homespun socks (as I’m sure you can tell by the colors I chose and the style of the sock. I won’t pretend I didn’t rip the idea of a neutral, chunky sock off a little bit.) But I’m a sucker for toe up socks. So I designed my own toe-up sock.
It’s a simple toe-up sock with a short row heel. That’s kind of my go-to sock pattern. I adjusted it to use size 6 needles and Cascade Eco Duo. (Undyed alpaca, you are my kryptonite!) I thought a nice chunky sock would be nice to wear around the house or with snow boots. And, selfishly, they worked up pretty quickly. (Which is good because the other gifts I’ve decided on are driving me insane.)
I love the look and feel of the socks. I’m excited to make more with this pattern. And hopefully more for Aunt Sherry!
(Gift knitting also means that I never get proper photos. Hopefully I can update sometime soon with better ones!)
Have you given socks as a gift? Seriously, though toe up or top down?
Here we are in the holiday season. Let’s not talk about holiday knitting. You have plenty of time to finish all of these gifts! So let’s not focus on the stress of the holiday season matched with your well-intentioned yet over ambitious insanity. Let’s talk about you. What would you get you for the holidays? You are a devoted, thoughtful, wonderful friend/spouse/parent/child/aunt/uncle/niece/nephew/cousin. You are spending all of December working on gifts for these wonderful people that you love so much.
No, no, it’s okay. I know you were swearing about how you can’t believe you’re making another gift for Aunt Kate even though she never even shows up to Christmas dinner. You didn’t mean that. You’re just a little over worked. I mean, you’re still making cousin Joe’s baby some booties even though they didn’t invite you to the shower. See, you’re a wonderful person!
Here are some gifts that YOU deserve.
What do you want for the holidays?
More gift guides coming up!
ps. If you are still looking for patterns for gift knits, Amy Christoffers is offering 20% off her fantastic patterns for accessories! No coupon code necessary! Buy Savory Knitting patterns! You will not regret it!
I wanted to write a bunch of posts this week before the holiday but it looks like life’s getting in the way. There’s so much to do to get ready! I just wanted to take a moment and share this pretty picture of autumn in New York. The weather’s been weird here but the leaves on the ground look so pretty on my way to work.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! I know we are all thankful for a lot. This year, I’m going to be spending Thanksgiving with Jon’s family which means I’ll be away from my family for the first time ever on Turkey Day. I’m definitely going to be a little sad that I won’t be there to help them prepare but we will be sharing leftovers with them over the weekend (and leftovers are the best part, aren’t they!?). I love seeing different family traditions so I’m excited to see what a big holiday with a different family will be like.
Have you spent a big holiday away from your family before? Was the food different? Did you bring any of your own traditions to their table? Did you take any away? Happy Thanksgiving!
Happy New Years, internet! Hope we’ve all shaken off our 2010 hangovers.
New Years means champagne, of course! So I popped a bottle to make these desserts. If you’ve got an occasion to pop a bottle soon (bridal shower? birthday party? Tuesday night?), these are a really fun way to cook with a little bubbly.
I adapted a recipe from Allrecipes and halved it.
Champagne cupcakes with Sweet Champagne Buttercream (recipe follows)
Yeilds 10 cupcakes
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup pink champagne
3 egg whites
(I’d like to try it again with 1/4 teaspoon almond extract. The champagne alone wasn’t sweet enough!)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line your cupcake pan. I used little foil cups. New Years is all about sparkle.
Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. I use my stand mixer which I am in love with. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Then add to the creamed mixture. I went about 1/4 of a cup at a time, alternating with the champagne.
If you’re using a stand mixer like me, you’re going to have to transfer your mixture into another bowl because you’re going to whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. This was a bit of a pain in the ass for me because it meant transferring everything, washing the mixer’s bowl and then mixing the eggs (at medium and then on high). And then washing the bowl again…
At this point, your mixed ingredients don’t look like cupcake batter. Mine was thick, almost like a cookie dough but! after the eggs have reached a stiff peak, fold them into the batter. This makes all the difference and after a few minutes of aggressive folding, my batter became smooth and shiny.
Pour the batter into the cups and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Don’t forget to rotate them if you have a tricky oven like me!
Sweet Champagne Buttercream adapted this recipe at Gimme Some Oven!
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (might try almond next time)
a splash of Champagne
Start by creaming your butter and confectioners sugar. I was really patient and it turned out beautiful and smooth.
Then add the vanilla and champagne. I added more to taste. And I guess because I was having a glass myself, why not add more! Be careful, though, you could thin the icing too far with too much liquid.
I iced them and added some black glitter. The glitter was kind of on a whim because I had some left over from Halloween macarons but I think New Years Eve in New York City is all about black glitter.