Sunday, January 24, 2010

Elliott's Christmas Adventures!

Well, better late than never. Elliott got to do a lot of interesting things over the Christmas holidays. One weekend we drove over the Fredericksburg, TX to do a little Christmas shopping and boy is that a great place to do it. We were having that cold spell then so it was actually nippy here in Texas so we all had on jackets - except Elliott, he had fur of course... Here is Elliott and myself meeting Santa. I am not sure what Elliott told Santa he wanted, but I heard something about miniture sports car.

We got to see some fabulous lights in Johnson City, Texas (named for President Lyndon B Johnson's family) called Hill Country Christmas Lights. Elliott ooh'd and ahh'd.

In early December Elliott and I got on a plane for Calgary, AB. Now I have to say, I was really prepared. I got some Cuddl Duds (fancy long-johns for those of us who didn't know), layers of clothes, new knitted mittens, a wool baktus scarf, and a Noro hat and my coat but -22 degrees F is ri-donk-u-lous! Taking a breath while waiting for a taxi was literally painful.

The day we arrived, Edmonton, AB which is further north than Calgary set a record for the COLDEST PLACE ON THE PLANET!!! (I am sure they mean where people are silly enough to try to live). But as the saying goes - I put on my big girl pants and toughed it out. Elliott, the coward, shivered inside my Couch purse. Those Canadians are of hardy stock - here are some Carolers on a pedistrian mall. Do you notice that they have on matching crocheted hats? Love their scarves!

The good news about going to Calgary in the heart of the winter, was I got to stay at one of my favorite hotels - the Fairmont Palliser. It was built next to the Grand Central Railway station in Calgary to allow tourists to have an upscale hotel to stay at before journeying on by train to other locals in Canada. It is such a treat, an old world feel and they have their own line of teas, which I adore and it was so great to have room service in your beautiful room with tea service after donning 17 layers of clothes and giving up all pretense of feminity to brave that kind of cold and snow. Here is a picture of the Christmas tree in the beautiful lobby.
Here is Elliott trying to hide in the decorations of the stairway so he won't have to go outside again. Elliott is essentially a Southern Texas monkey and likes his sunshine and warm weather

On the knitting front, here is a picture of the Baktus scarf I knit for the trip. It is in a lovely tone-on-tone red that I could not pass up. It was on my Christmas list for 2008 and my DH bought it for me and I decided to try this lovely scarf pattern with it. It is sooo flattering and an easy-easy project. I used 2 balls Happy Feet sock yarn with size 3 needles (I think). You start at a small end of the triangle, knit until 1 ball is gone and then start the decreasing side of the triange with the 2nd ball. I did a KBF increase rather than a yarn-over since I didn't want the hole. I am definitely going to make another one of these, maybe with a bit of a lace pattern to it.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Braided Sealing Wax Mittens

Hey! I'm a designer! Here is my first design as a knitter. I have made this a free download on Ravelry. You can also download the .pdf below.

I wanted a pair of really warm Mittens to match a bright red coat I have. I had just gone on a trip in November to Ann Arbor, MI where I bought the perfect shade of tone-on-tone Malabrigo Twist in an awesome red with orange undertones to match my coat in a colorway called Sealing Wax. So even though I live in Katy, TX, near Houston, I had a trip to Calgary, AB, Canada planned for mid-December so I needed some warm mittens. I looked and looked for just the right pattern that used worsted weight yarn and had some kind of cabling. I couldn’t find anything that was just right. So I decided to design a pair of my own called the Braided Sealing Wax Mittens.

I have very long thin fingers and always need a women’s large glove but I had several others who wear a women’s large that have thicker hands and/or fingers try the Great size on and they fit very well. Wee fits a large child or youth or small woman’s hands, Middling fits most women and a small man’s hands, Great fits a large women’s hands or a men’s Middling hand. You could probably go up a needle size for a men’s large or use one size larger needle with instructions for the next smallest size down to have a less dense mitten.

I like a nice defined cable and a densely knit mitten to be extra warm. I used a braid that is 9 stitches wide for the cabling so you don’t have to worry about mirror-imaging. Using size 4 needles and framing the braid with 3 stitches of purl on each side really makes the braid pop. I also used a twisted ribbing that is slightly reminiscent of small braids themselves.

You can get a .pdf of the pattern here: download now. Please let me know if you download the pattern and and make them up. I would love to see your own Braided Sealing Wax Mittens!