It’s a dragon, I promise

WIP Wednesday is here. I’ve been working on my St. Enda sweater, but you’ve already seen some of that before, so no need to photograph it another time. I’ve also been cross stitching and I suppose it’s time to show off the progress I’ve made on it. It doesn’t look like much, though. It’s going to be a Chinese dragon. Eventually.

mountaindragon

I think – at the very least – you can see something of a claw. Otherwise, it’s just a color blob for now with a sparkling gold partial border.

The pattern is called “Dragon of the Mountains” and it was designed by Joan Elliott. Happy crafting everyone!

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FO Friday: “Denim wash” Alec XL

This sweater is finished.

It’s all washed and ready for its wearer to enjoy it. The only thing is: it isn’t cold enough to wear it. Also, I’m glad I had an FO for Friday because the alternative would be to talk about the sweaters I’m wearing. I’m not wearing sweaters so I would not have a Friday post without this Alec XL.

This is the second year in a row I have finished a sweater in January. It’s pleasant to start the new year with a finished sweater.

Wednesday WIP: Another Alec XL

I’m actually here to talk about a WIP for a change, as my morning lessons are canceled. I’m a pretty fast knitter so I thought I could get one of partner’s sweaters started and finished in time for January 6, the day in Spain when people often exchange Christmas gifts and the Three Magi come to leave presents for children.

My partner picked out the color for this one, which is called “Blue Wash” by Rowan Pure Wool Superwash. It’s a quick knit, but I just need to get the second sleeve, the collar, and the buttons done.

IMG_1656

I’m definitely getting my $7 or so worth of sweaters out of this pattern. It’s so much fun to knit. I’ve already made two and plan to make more in the future. It’s also fun to wear. It’s very comfortable when it’s a little bit over-sized. Of course, it’s also very warm in winter.

The issue with sweater wearing this year is that it’s an unusually warm winter. The temperatures aren’t as extremely cold as usual.

St. Enda has been placed on the back burner until I get this semi-Christmas gift done for my partner. I made a lot of progress on it before I cast on this Alec XL. In fact, I’m 3/4 of way done with the back so all that will be left to do – soon enough – will be the sleeves, seaming, and the collar.

OT Monday: It’s FINALLY OVER!!!!!

Today’s off topic Monday post is about how the holiday season is DONE. Put a fork in it, already. The toothpick was inserted and it came out CLEAN! Hallelujah!

You see, I’m an American who lives in Spain, which means in my homeland, Christmas is on December 25. After that, Christmas is so totally done and over with. In my family, on December 26, we have a sort of Christmas hangover. Tree comes down, ornaments get banished to the attic. Back to normal in time to nurse a real hangover on January 1. New Year’s is fun a few days later, with parties and drinking and staying out late, a roast ham for lunch, then that’s that. In Spain, it’s all about the “Navidades,” and yes, that is the Spanish word for “Christmases,” which does not exist as a plural in English, because in English we are moderate on the Christmas dosing and isolate it to one day. From December 24 to January 6 it is Christmas in Spain. During this time, you may work 1 to 0 days in a week, have a long weekend or two, and put up with all the Christmas you can possibly withstand to the point of your brain exploding.

Traditionally, December 25 in Spain was just a special day to rest and have a nice meal with family. Then, they started copying Santa Claus, so then too the Christmas tree thing, and a long etc. Meanwhile, also traditionally, January 6, the Epiphany, was the day children got their gifts from the three Magi. Every child in Spain has a favorite King of the Orient, in fact. Some day I want to read a newspaper headline that says, “Child annoyed upon receiving myrrh.”

Are you starting to catch my drift? In case you haven’t, I’ll spell it out to you in plain language: Santa Claus comes here on December 25. The three Magi come on January 6. The consumerism and excess festivities are enough to make your brain explode.

This year, as a coping mechanism, I just stayed away from the blog. It was all really starting to get on my nerves. A popular Christmas gift around here is perfume or cologne, and guess what kinds of commercials they spam on the TV at Christmastime every year? Oh yes, that’s right, sometimes I could just here Nicole Kidman repeating over and over again in my head, “J’adore. Dior.” I was really happy to read all your posts about Christmas and celebrating, too. You’re all doing it the way it should be done. IN ONE DAY ALREADY DAMMIT.

So, Happy New Year! Las Navidades se acabaron. And I can get on with my Scroogey self for the rest of the year.

Seriously, if I was in the USA, Christmas would be more fun. I promise.

Wearing Sweaters #3 (and I can’t count to eight)

It’s FO Friday and I don’t have any FOs to showcase, so we shall have a look at what sweaters I’ve been wearing.

I’d also like to take a moment to let you know that I have recently discovered that I can’t count to eight. Browsing through my blog today and reflecting on the sweaters I’ve knit and crocheted this year, I realized that my post “Sweater #10” was totally wrong. In that post I said I had finished 10 sweaters this year. Totally wrong! In reality, this year I have finished eight. I counted ten because, first of all, I thought I finished my gray cabled sweater this year when in fact I actually finished it in December 2016. Also, I thought I finished two snowflake sweaters this year, one for me and another for my partner. That is so wrong! The other snowflake sweater was completed in 2016 in August. Whoops!

Anyway, I think was inspired to reflect on this because this week I’ve been wearing my HUGE snowflake sweater, or, if you like, the star motif sweater. This is a 1970s Leisure Arts knitting pattern and I love it. I loved it so much, in fact, that I made two, as mentioned above. Last year, when I knit it, I was a bit larger, so of course I made my sweater larger. This year, I’m smaller, so this sweater now fits me with a whopping 7 inches of ease! I don’t mind, though, because it’s so comfortable to wear. It’s an easy and quick knit, too, especially if you don’t follow the directions and knit the whole thing in the round instead of fussing with knitting the lower body and the sleeves flat.

snowflakesweater

I’ve been wearing this so much that I’ve wrinkled it just a little! I don’t care, it’s comfy and it keeps me very warm. I used Cascade 220 yarn for this and planned my snowflakes, or “stars” to be a faded color so that they appear and disappear, depending on what angle you see them at and the amount of lighting that shines on them. In the above photo they are very subtle. You can tell how huge this is on me by looking at my underarms. There’s lots of room to move around in this sweater! I could probably fit another person under it, or perhaps even shoplift if I were the shoplifting type.

I hope you’re wearing handmade sweaters this winter. I have no idea why, but it’s just fun to wear them.

Saturday is the new Friday

Yet again, having an FO, I missed FO Friday. So, now that I have absolutely nothing to do, here is my finished object:

sheephat

This is knit from the “Baa-ble Hat” pattern, which can be found here. My knitting group here in Valladolid did this as a KAL. I was so pleasantly surprised to see how other members of the group, who I have never seen do anything more than garter stitch or crocheted amigurumis, know how to knit in color. One person, a crocheter new to knitting, learned how to knit in color with this pattern. She also knit in the round for the very first time, too. Her hat came out really well and she was so proud to learn so many new things.

Knitting in color for me, as you know, is “old hat.” I whipped this up in about two days. I made the pompom with the Clover pompom maker. I have to tell you, it is really convenient and I recommend it to anyone who is shopping around for one.

Now I have to decide who this hat will be for. It isn’t exactly my style so it’s definitely going to be a gift for someone who needs to keep their head warm in winter.

Done: Autumn biscornu

I have just finished my autumn biscornu and now it is resting in its place, on my coffee table.

This one is a lot larger than the previous one I made, which is perfect because I have plenty of stuff to put on it or stick into it. The pattern is by Barbara Ana and can be found here. Here’s a warning, though: if you hate backstitching, this is not for you. As you can see in my second photo there is plenty of backstitched lettering and other little details that drive some cross stitchers crazy, such as the little black outlines to distinguish the squirrels’ teeth.

And now I’m going to cast on the Baa-ble Hat, because my knitting club is doing this as a KAL and I think it will be fun to do some color knitting for a change of pace. Also, I’m finally going to use the pompom maker for the first time. I bought it a year ago. It’s about time I got around to using it, right?