Foggy Sunset

Foggy Sunset
Photo by Aisling Doonan

Friday, 25 November 2011

30 days to Christmas, a shawl, a blanket, some mitts and no party :-(

Okeydokes, it's exactly a month to Christmas day so it's officially ok to enjoy and mention the whole Christmas thing now!

I was trying to be a regular poster and do a post per project but now I find I have a backlog!  I feel like I'm back in the office now working to a deadline, and it's amusing because it doesn't feel unpleasant!

I tend to miss working outside the home the most at Christmas time, it may be odd to some, but I used to love this time of year at the office.  The excitement, the holidays, the silly secret Santa, the extended happy lunches and of course, the office party.  I miss this the most.

Why?  It's not like I am the heart and soul of a party, I don't dance, never sing in public and I am a very cheap drunk (and a slow drinker, please don't include me in the round, you benefit, my pocket certainly doesn't).  I miss the warm and fuzzy feeling of 20 & 30 something's pretending they are going to their Debs again and buying a new sparkly outfit, wearing ridiculously high heels and spending the evening with workmates who loosen their collars for once.  I adore the meal and drinks and then settle back, ever so slightly tipsy and giggly and watch everyone else get rat arsed and fall over!

I really miss all the light hearted giggling and togetherness however fleeting the Christmas 'do' brings about.  I belonged, I booked my ticket, I attended, I dissected the evening the next day with everyone else in covert whispers behind the coffee machine.  Sigh.

Instead this year, I will be trying to contain the excitement of a three and a five year old during the entire month of December, dictating the spellings for the letter to Santa, attempting to make mince pies that no one will eat and wrapping everyone's presents (including my own from my darling hubby...that's a whole OTHER post's worth :-)  I have a feeling I wouldn't want to trade that, even if I could.

I shall also be knitting.  Something you can't do on a Christmas party.  I have a few plans for what I'd like to be working on over December.  I need to knit my son something.  He's 3 now and has slowed down slightly with the growing, so if I make him something oversized now, he might get the year out of it!  I have some green aran weight put aside for a jumper, hat, scarf and gloves for him.  Then I would love to continue on with some more Fair Isle work and I have plans for a Fair Isle Poncho, also in aran weight, which should be very cosy and warm.

On the finished project list, I have a shawl, a baby blanket and a pair of festive mittens (very apt).

My friend from secondary school Fi is due her first baby in February next year and I wanted to make her something handmade and personal considering we've been friends for over 20 years.  She's a teacher and she has a very appropriate surname (giggle) for one, it's Wise!  I was playing around with a few ideas for a baby blanket and finally settled on a square shawl/blanket with rows of hearts, x's and o's (kisses and hugs), stars (teacher reference #1), and little tubby owls at the top (teacher and surname reference #2).  I knit it up fairly quickly from the centre out in an ivory mercerised cotton (it's machine washable for all the baby goo!) and then knit on a garter stitch edging around all four sides.  If I do say so myself, it is perfection!  I really hope she likes it.  She also doesn't have a family christening shawl, so this could also be used in a pinch as it's ivory.

My Doogarry Mor shawl is also finished.  She only took 5 days to complete and she worked out roughly the same size as the Doogarry Beg shawl I made before (this version is lace weight instead of 4ply and is an extended version of the smaller one).  I took a chance with the yarn as I bought from a new seller on etsy (I was her first customer) you can see more of her yarns here, her shop is AllessandraPaints.  In the skein I wasn't 100% in love with the colour, but then I wound it and knit it up and WOW, the colours were fantastic.  The Blue Faced Leicester is so soft and perfect for next to the skin, the wool was a joy to knit with. I am working on releasing this pattern so, it's mostly written up, just needs checking and tweaking!

Lastly, my Festive Mitts, there were a fun little project.  I went to the Glen Gallery in Ballymena (sorry they have no website but you'll need the directions if you ever want to go and see!) for a Debbie Abrahams workshop to make them.  She was really lovely and approachable and gave us loads of helpful tips and techniques as we were making the mittens.  They are beaded, have fair isle, colour work, twisted ribbing and cables and are very interesting to work up and gorgeous to wear.

The Glen Gallery itself is an absolute treasure trove of yarns, accessories and crafts from paper to beads and everything in between.  You could happily spend an entire day there and still only look at half the stock.  It's well worth a visit if you are in the area, or if you want to take one of their workshops, I can heartily recommend them.  I really need to go on a yarn diet but I couldn't resist coming home with 2 skeins of Araucania Botany Lace, in beautiful tropical and sea like colours as a remembrance of a great day out.

So that's all for now, a long post, but hopefully an interesting one!

Happy knitting xxx


  1. Wow! Aisling you are soooo clever to have designed that baby shawl so appropriately for the lucky baby. I wish I could be so good at seeing how all the "holes" should go.

    What gorgeous wool that is, love the colours, I will look forward to seeing whatever you make with it.

    Although we all think the Christmas blurb starts far too early, there's nothing quite like the excitement from young children as it gets nearer. Such precious years - wish I could have them back.

    Some of my knitting has been trauma. I will update you on Ravelry. Anne

  2. Hi Anne, I usually start with squared paper and just start adding 'o' for the lace holes and arrange them in a pleasing design, then I add all the corresponding decreases and start knitting! So far I have been very lucky that everything has worked out! I'm not big on swatches, eek, shouldn't have admitted to that :-)

    Oh dear, knitting trauma sounds nasty! Hope everything is ok!