Christmas Pixies and Whosical Trees


When my 13 year old granddaughter came to visit last week we spent much of our time happily cocooned in my sewing room creating little Christmas ornaments.  Over the next few weeks I'll write up the patterns and share them.  First up are these little pixies that were inspired by some vintage pixies I spotted on Ebay. These in particular are easy to make and would make a fun project for young children (but might need just a little help from an adult or older sibling).  The trees were inspired by trees I saw in a shop window.  They ended up looking like they belonged in a Dr. Seuss book which made me love them even more.

I've written the directions that includes templates on a printable pdf that you can find here.  Have fun and if you make them I'd love you to send me a picture! 

Supplies you will need:

Tree Supplies:
1 square wool felt
needle and matching thread
small amount of batt
1 inch thin cord for top hanging loop
beads for embellishment

Pixie Supplies:
3 craft pipe cleaners
1 25mm wood bead
4 small wood beads
1 small piece of wool felt
needle and matching thread
8” piece of ribbon or cord
glue, watercolor or acrylic paint

My 100% wool felt was from A Child's Dream and everything else is from JoAnn's

It might look like my knitting blog has turned into a crafting blog, but it hasn't.  There is still lots of knittiness going on around here, but at this time of the year I smoosh in a lot of crafting too!   I've finished my Luna sweater, the Kim Hargreaves cardi with KSH Eclipse and it's gorgeous.  Pictures soon.

Christmas Pixies and Whosical Trees, free pattern here.

And hey, this is the first time I've embedded a pdf pattern (created by me) in my blog.  What a headache.  It seems to open fine but saves it onto your desktop with weird numbers instead of giving it the correct pattern name and I didn't know how to change that.  So, if you want to save it and if you EVER want to find it again, you will have to rename it.  Blogger just does not make some things easy.  I'm going to try and figure that out later, like much later.

Congratulations to winner Ellen. She won the tower of Rowan yarn and has been contacted!

One more thing, I'm an avid reader and movie goer.  My book club read The Book Thief a few years ago and loved it.  Rarely does a movie live up to the book, but in this case, it does.  We took 13 year old Annie to see it during her visit and we all gave it a "10".  When the movie ended the theater was silent and still.  After a while I started to clap (no one seems to do that anymore but I still do), and soon the whole audience erupted.  But still no one moved.  The whole theater just sat still, we were just too moved to move.  Annie loves to read and has put the book on her wish list.  Just thought I'd share that, it's that good.


Thanksgiving Cookies

If you've been reading this blog for a bit you know I love to make shaped sugar cookies.  For many years I've collected cookie cutters and over the next year, as I make them for each season I'll pull out my favorites to share.  I make these often, it wouldn't be a family gathering without sugar cookies, I think my family would have a rebellion.  For us, cookies and milk or cookies and coffee is the best end to dinner!

My Thanksgiving cutters are among my favorites.  The big American Indian, the two Indians in the canoe and the pilgrim couple are made by B. Cukla.  At the end of the post I have links for you.

I have a tip, when you are cutting out a large or complicated design like the Indian above,
roll the dough onto the cookie sheet, cut out cookie and carefully peel the dough away.
If there are little parts like the feather headdress on the Indians in the canoe,
use a toothpick to help get the dough out.  Flour your cutter before each cut.

Hand made tin Indians in Canoe cutter made by B. Cuckla.

While I don't collect cookie cutters anymore,
I'm happy to see my favorite tinsmith and coppersmith
are still creating beautiful designs.

Here are some great links to cookie cutter artisans!

My favorite tin cutters are from B. Cuckla
 My favorite copper cutters are from Michael Bonne
 Michael Bonne on Etsy
I used to belong to the Cookie Cutters Collector Club,
they are awesome and their newsletter is called "Cookie Crumbs."
Cookies Cutters Collectors Club on Facebook

My favorite sugar cookie recipe 

And since we are on cookies, this is what I imagine Martin Storey would make if he were to make cookies!

The winner has been chosen and contacted through Facebook.  Thank you to who entered.  Also thank you for coming back, your readership is important to me.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers!



Top Ten Christmas Movie Guide with Knitting Projects

Even though it's still November, the Christmas movies are now playing on your TV, and it's great, right?  I love Christmas movies!  Remember my Top 10 Movies for Knitters?  I'm adding to it a Must Watch Christmas Movies List complete with appropriate projects to knit while viewing.  Let's begin, in no particular order!

1.  White Christmas.  I know, you've probably seen it ____ times, (multiply your age times 2.5), but maybe you'll be watching it again this year just to see the great gowns Rosemary Clooney and Vera Allen are wearing and you'll be asking yourself, "When exactly is the last time I wore a gown?"  Love that spectacular last scene with the Santa costumes and the tree with the doors opening and it's snowing and they're singing White Christmas.  We really can't top that kind of beauty, but we can knit a gossamer lace shawl for the leading ladies to slip over their shoulders.  Temptress by Boo Knits.

Knit in Licktfaden Tussah Silk Lace with beads translates to unequaled elegance.

2.  The Polar Express is a visually beautiful movie and has an important lesson, to remember what it feels like when you believe.  A feel good movie.  However, the kids look so chilly going to the north pole dressed only in their pj's and just a few remembered to bring their robes.  Brrr, I shiver just thinking about it.  Let's knit up a little something warm for these kiddies.  I like the Waiting for Winter Mittens very much!

Waiting for Winter by Susan B. Anderson.  These look like they are knit in Noro.

3.  The Bishop's Wife.  Why don't they make movies like this anymore?  Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven, oh my.  An angel in the form of Cary Grant descends to earth to help a young family.  While viewing this I think we should knit my Christmas Angels! Aw, I'm really proud of them and think they turned out pretty cute.

Christmas Angels, free pattern download, knit with Rowan Angora Haze.

4.  How The Grinch Stole Christmas, the one with Jim Carrey.  The casting for this movie was so great.  What an adorable little Cindi Lou Who and with Jim Carrey as the Grinch, well, there could be no other!  But perhaps my favorite character is the fashionable Martha May Whovier.  As in Bouvier.  For the edgy Martha May we absolutely have to pick something from the new Rowan Studio 33.  Almost any design will do but let's go for maximum flash and knit the cape with beads, Pop by Amanda Crawford.  You know you want this. (As of now, the book is still shipping to your lys and will be available within a week.  Here is my preview of it.)

Pop, knit with Rowan Kidsilk Haze.

5.  The Christmas Story.   Guys like this movie, and girls do too, but guys really really like this movie as it really strikes a familiar cord.  The Christmas Story takes place in the mid west in the 40s.  The whole movie revolves around Ralphie who wants a BB gun for Christmas.  It's a hard sell, because we all know that the answer can only be "No, you'll shoot your eye out."  Poor Ralphie.  This is a classic vest for Ralphie and this charming little fellow even looks a little bit like him.  I like your smile!  Epsilon by Katya Frankel.

Knit in Rowan Purelife Organic DK Wool.

6.  The Miracle on 34th Street, both versions are worthy of repeated watching.  I love little Natalie Wood in the 1947 version.  Little side note, she went to high school with my husband's cousin who said she was shy and sweet and very pretty.  The 1994 version with Mara Wilson is my favorite.  Remember I told you my mom was a children's talent agent?  Mara was her client and mother said she was the sweetest thing.  All the people in this movie, including the extras, are terrifically handsome, wear gorgeous clothes and live in beautiful homes.  Christmas time is when I want a large dose of fantasy and this movie hits the spot.  We'll be knitting a beautiful classic for Mara; Charlotte from the Little Star Collection knit in Rowan Angora Haze.  A very special sweater on a very pretty little girl.  I'm gathering up the yarn to knit this.  I have no one in mind to give it to when it's done, I just love it so much I feel compelled to make it!  The Rowan sample was hanging in my lys, oh my, it's so very beautiful!

Charlotte, sized ages 3 to 10 years, by Marie Wallin.

7.  It's A Wonderful Life.  I can't say enough about this terrific movie.  My tradition is to bring a small TV (now my laptop) into the living room and watch this movie while I decorate the Christmas tree.  (Alone.  My husband puts on the lights then retreats to another room for a night of uninterrupted Xbox)  My favorite scene is probably your favorite scene, dancing on top of the pool!  Or maybe the hydrangea bushes?  Or the phone call in the hall?  Or the ending, sniff.  Don't forget the tissues.  I love that town.  We'll be knitting for Jimmy Stewart who deserves something timeless like this Herringbone Cardigan by Martin Storey.

This looks treacherous, but I'll bet it's not as hard as it looks.
It's a new pattern from Rowan Designer Knits
knit in Rowan Creative Focus Worsted.

8. You've noticed that most of my movies are very vintage.  The Holiday is newish as in 2006, but it plays exactly like it was a vintage movie.  Two unsettled single women decide to swap homes for the holidays.  One home is Southern California modern and the other is pure English country cottage charm.  If you haven't seen this movie, it's just delightful and worth a watch or two.  A very sweet movie with great sweaters.  There is a very tender and magical "tent scene" and we'll knit a star garland for the ceiling.  Star Garland by Kristen Ashbaugh-Helmreich.

Star Garland.  We'll have to knit ours in pink if it's to go in the tent!

9. Holiday Inn.  In this movie Bing Crosby has the hairbrained idea of opening an inn that's only open on HOLIDAYS!  Hmmm, doesn't sound terribly practical, but there are some great production scenes with a spectacular July 4th extravaganza.  In fact, every holiday gets a big extravaganza and I do adore that sort of thing.  For this movie let's knit something for ourselves!  As if we were going to the Inn for a sensational evening of dinner, dancing and entertainment.  We will need something very very special and when I think special, I almost always think Kim Hargreaves and Kidsilk Haze.  That combination just can't be beat.  Here is Mystic.  The simple shaping, soft gray color and light beading make it a truly beautiful holiday sweater.

We'll have to knit the matching scarf too!

10.  Little Women.  Any version will do.  Let's just say they are all excellent and worthy of watching over and over again.   Isn't Concord, Mass. just about the prettiest place in the winter?   As a child, after I read this book or watched the movie I remember wanting to be a better person.  If you loved reading this classic as a child, you will enjoy March by Geraldine Brooks.  This book brings to life the absent father of the March family and I enjoyed it very much.  But now back to knitting, the March girls would have been knitting hats for the community.  Here is a free pattern download from Purl Soho and is sized from newborn to adult male.

Knit in Purl's own Super Soft Merino bulky weight, these will go fast!

11.  I cannot have a Top 10 11 List without some Jane!  Let's watch Jane Austen's Emma with Kate Beckinsale.  There is always a reason and a season to read or watch Jane Austen.  In Emma, there is a snowy glimpse of what Christmas looked like in the English countryside 200 years ago.  I could see Emma slipping this over her head just as she alights from the carriage.  Iris by Kim Hargreaves.

Iris Mesh Shawl in Rowan Kidsilk Haze.

This was fun!  I know there's more and if I'm missing a favorite holiday movie of yours YOU MUST SHARE IT WITH ME!   In the meantime, gather up your yarn and needles, light the fire and turn on the telly.  It's time to knit.


gathering together

I've always loved Thanksgiving and when I was young it was a big family affair with aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents coming from near and far.  I loved it for that and for the white tablecloths, shiny silver, best china and best behavior, even at the kids table!  And there was football of course.  I loved the bustling around in the kitchen and thought it was a miracle of sorts when green beans and turkey were done at the same time!  (Still do)  This past year, with it's mixed bag of good and bad memories, it's nice to have a day to spend with the family when you make a point of being thankful.  Even if our day to celebrate is not quite the same exact day everyone else is celebrating!

Our Thanksgiving table is set a little early.  We will be going out on the actual Thanksgiving Day but as a family we still like to gather around our table for our traditional dinner.   So, we are going to have it a bit early!  We are that family that never tires of turkey and 2 or 3 times a year I manage to roast one.  We have our dinner early in the day so we are ready for turkey sandwiches late evening.  Leftovers the next day, then turkey soup and sandwiches for days and days.  We hope it lasts all week!  Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers and Happy Thanksgivukkah if you are also celebrating Hanukkah! 

The links:

Paper place mats, Belle Banquet
Plates,  Arte Italica
LaRochere Footed Bee glasses, Amazon
Pumpkin Truffles, The Gourmet Work
Vases, The Botanist

Time for a GIVEAWAY!

 In celebration of the Knitionary Facebook page reaching 1000 likes 
I'm having a giveaway of a tower of yarn. 
A tower of Rowan yarn!  
These are all my particular favorites in colors that I love!

To enter you have to "like" the Knitionary Facebook page and
leave a comment on the giveaway post.  It's the post with this picture.
Next week I'll choose a random commenter.
I know some of my readers are not on Facebook, but don't worry,
I'll have another giveaway in December just for my blog readers.

Thank you so much for being a reader.

Christmas Knitting, part deux

For the love of knitting:  free patterns that are particular favorites of Knitionary and have been shared on facebook.knitonary all week.  For the non-facebookers I'll gather them up at the end of the week and post here.  All of these are gift friendly with some knitting up very very fast.  Every caption has a pattern link.

Good heavens, has their ever been a prettier baby?  Norwegian Baby Cap by Gro.

I love Edgar.  He's a very fun knit and is good for that variegated yarn you don't know what to do with!

Missoni inspired Favorite Scarf Ever by Lisa Bruce.  If you're not familiar with the chevron stitch, try it, it's fun.

Goldfish Mittens by Amy Cristophers.  Kid and mom approved.

Land Girl's Moving Cable Sweater by Lucy Jones.  I love the traveling cables.

Just out!  The Reed Shawlette by Meiju.