Double Cappuccino & Ruffles

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The lace leg-warmers are at last sweetly embracing my now fourteen-year-old niece . . . . .   sans boots.

The ‘boot leg’ photo will have to be another time.  In fact, these leg warmers are named “Double Cappuccino” because whenever we have our Equinox sweater photos, they always, without fail, begin at Calistoga  Roastery.  That, and they really do remind me of a whip-topped yummy drink.   Until the next time at the roastery , I was lucky to squeeze in this little photo shoot before our visit was up and my nieces had to leave back home.

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Double Cappuccino Leg Warmers have a frothed milk quality with an ever-so-slightly asymmetrical lace pattern in ribbing,  and is such a speedy and uncomplicated knit.  ((proof : I made these while hiking))  Knit with sport-weight natural undyed superwash sock yarn, achieving just the right light airy quality  from knitting on US 4 – 3.50 mm needles.   Tasty !

My niece in her infinite good taste,  chose to adorn the upper rib with cute little buttons . . .

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Which makes these warm to the eyes as well as to the touch !

Calistoga Coffee Roastery is the first stop with all of our  modeling of Equinox Sweaters, so it will be the first design (and kick-off) of my ~~ Calistoga Collection !

Double Cappuccino pattern on Ravelry HERE

Pattern page for Double Cappuccino on Yarnings HERE

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Now, I can’t leave it at that , because *both* of my lovely nieces participated in our little impromptu knit-wear photo shoot of this morning.  Here is my adorable eleven-year-old niece in the “Ruffles” scarf I made her for Christmas.

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It is nice simply tied and cascading down the front,

or double wrapped and tied for a very pretty affect.

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Is she not the most photogenic kid ever?

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Ruffles details on Ravelry  HERE

Free How-To instructions for Ruffles Scarf  HERE.

One-And-A-Half Days

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Dazzled by the spirit of the holiday, and all that I’ve been busy with.

I can’t believe this pile of gifts I made . . .

((  My heart is about to burst with pride that I sure turned around when I thought I could only manage the kitty   which got sent off over two weeks ago, and the felted bag which went to Mexico with Jeff. ))

Since then I really went into making overdrive.

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All of my hand-made Christmas gifts are finished,   as of yesterday,  and tucked under the tree,  waiting for family to gather.  I hate to seem all smug & self-satisfied, but now that I am finished, I can’t help but just be elated, and enjoy myself !!!  This folks, is not something that happens every Christmas, as I am usually always making up into Christmas Day itself, and beyond.  But this year…. I just put my nose to the grindstone and did it.

( Interesting lights photo at top of page was accidentally shot while I was moving in front of our Christmas tree. )

Sending out loads of love and encouragement to all those elves busy still making, hoping all gets finished and that you may too relax ! ~~ xx.

Three Days

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One of my weird kitchen concoctions ~~ hot pepper chocolate.

I have been home alone on the mountain with Emma and The Ravens for four days now.  Jeff is returning tonight,  from Mexico where he has been visiting with his daughter in Cancun since the nineteenth, visiting ancient Mayan ruins and enjoying a lovely warm beach.  Here, I’ve been very busy with holding the fort, and working on this lacey thing . . .

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But really what I’ve been working hard on while alone in the house, is my traditional gift of Christmas to Jeff, but I dare not show you a thing until Christmas morning. In the mean time, still serving up my Spiced Chocolate drink if you’d like to stop by ~~I’ll whip one up for you !  If you can’t make it over, I understand, but you’ll have to try this at home ! Here’s how :

 Jen’s Spicy Bittersweet Chocolate 

(For two servings)

With a mortar & pestle, crunch up a couple of cinnamon sticks, and dried chile flakes or a whole small chile pepper  ~~ to taste, what you consider ‘barely hot’ , or ‘really hot’, it is up to you.

(( Optional:  a few cardamom pods, and a  ‘petal’ from a star anise pod, a dash of grey sea salt ))

Simmer in a pan with  about 3 cups of water for about 20 minutes, take off heat and melt into it a few ounces bittersweet chocolate, whisking while it melts.

More chocolate is nice… as much as you feel to balance against the heat of the peppers.  I don’t add more sugar, as the idea is to be bittersweet and spicy hot… which is really delicious. However, nobody is stopping you from sweetening it up :).

Whip up a small bowl of cream, again, barely sweetened.

Strain through sieve into cups and pile on the whipped cream , sprinkle with something… like nutmeg or cinnamon… and enjoy !

Wishing You All and Yours lovely days of these fresh first winter days (or summer) and Happy Christmas sentiments.

Six Days

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Taking a break from the yarns,  and before I get into the next big project, I thought I’d make a batch of cranberry jam !  The mountain’s freeze-drying wind is keeping me from walking today, and so here I am, with cheery sing-along Christmas songs , a fire in the woodstove,  and more still to make.

 Just feeling rather cheer’d by the seasonal dazzle of colored lights and sentimental old ornaments.  Some are very old, as this doll’s doll that was my mother’s as a child, which I made into an ‘ornament’ years ago,  and the little sheep given to me by a friend back when I just started learning to spin and got a spinning wheel  . . .

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And the little ‘teazle mouse’ given along with a really generous gift certificate to a lovely spinning shop, now two decades ago (does anybody remember the one in Jack London Square in Sonoma??)  I remember I only got to spend a little of it before the shop sadly went out of business.

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I’ll be making some peppery spiced cocoa a little later today so do hang around !

Seven Days

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Seven days left to make things.

Leafy green is finished !

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As is the sea critter . . .

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As is the mint-licorice . . .

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and also the sherpa hat ! ! !

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A dandy one indeed.  Wool shell & cotton ‘lined’.  I will have to show you sometime how I accomplish this.

 Until then I’ll keep you all guessing.

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Okay , but that’s not the whole list. There is one more thing I must make, and I will not post until Christmas morning. In the mean time, I will show you the progress of my first lace project . . .

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Yes , my first, oh the glorious fun I am having ! And it’s no surprise to me that lace work is so doable while walking the ridge!  As this  progresses,  is blocked out, you will see the lace pattern so much better. Until then, oh the suspense is a little nice.  Well, I appear to be ahead of the game and can relax and do some gift wrapping now ! I hope all of you Elves out there are blissfully making.

* All project details on Ravelry HERE .

Eleven Days

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There is something so pure and beautiful and full of quiet wonder when winding off a fresh skein of yarn.

I feel a strong sense of personal obligation to my creativity,

and the yarn, and the potential it has to ‘become’.

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And this project is going to take everything I can muster to ‘get it right’… because it will involve (hopefully) my first attempt at simple lace stitches.  I figure there will be no surprises or mysteries with this project, and that I will post my tentative steps along the way.

Progress of Things Handmade :

Something fuzzy and very leafy green is in the bag . . .

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It incorporates alpaca yarn & mohair/silk yarn alternately.

I love, love, love same-color mixed-texures knitting !

Next, something ruffly, also alpaca, and resembling some kind of a sea creature . . .

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Lastly, something  mysterious,

hanging from a lamp to dry . . .

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There is the progress report for now at eleven  days left to Make before Christmas.

How are your Christmas Creations coming along?

Fourteen Days . . .

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I am sharing all that I am ‘making’ through the holidays (and other noteworthy things going on).  Fourteen days left, and three hand-made gifts finished, with several more to go. A scarf much like ‘ribbon candy’ in wintergreen and licorice, made from some old yarn I can’t even remember what it is.  The kitty, shown a few posts back.  And here, a quite large & roomy felted satchel made of stashed tweed wool o’ the Andes, and which has two thick 5-stitch icord straps. More to come… watch this space !

(( The very artful steel cut & welded ‘coat’ hanger my brother made. It is a daffodil bulb,  and is mounted right at the doorway))
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Now, the Lovers Of Wildlife out there , you absolutely *must* see this ~~~ the pair of ravens which perch often right near our house, these are photos taken from upstairs bedroom window, literally 30 feet away from where I stood in the house (I zoomed in).  First you see Mr. Raven lone on a branch surveying his domaine, then his mate busying herself ripping some dead bark off of a dead oak branch, then she flew to him and they cuddled a while while they prattled loudly to each other, it was amazing to see such big handsome birds be so affectionate.

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They didn’t seem to mind me at all standing there photographing & admiring them. I am so grateful & lucky to live here in these woods with the ravens!

Red & Green

I woke this morning, and wrapped a bunch of little presents to send off in the post to Jeff’s sister’s family in Vancouver & his dad’s too.  Lots of little things, and I found as I had plenty of wrapping paper, I was totally unprepared in the festive colors ribbon department.  No worries… with a huge stash of every color yarn, and a spinning wheel… a spool o’ Christmas twine is not but a few turns on the wheel away !

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See how whimsical & cheerful a little pom pom is to finish it with?

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I was only lying to myself.

I can’t not make more gifts.

This my friends, is the shift I was hoping for, into high gear  making  , and I will do my best to post finished things here.  Starting with this one, my secret recipe shortbread, for the Scottish host of the Christmas party I attended on the weekend ~~~ and it was a particularly delicious batch!

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It got all wrapped and tied with plaid ribbon and everything, and it was so smart looking. Oh, also, I wore my Vineyard Rows Tam (California Highlands Bonnet) and had so many lovely compliments from the folks at the party about it, it has inspired me to make a little game with myself, which is this :

I vow not go out into town for the rest of the winter without wearing something I’ve hand knit. Today I went grocery shopping wearing for the first time my Red Cardigan ~~ I can’t believe that was the first time I wore it out, it was wonderful indeed! I felt extremely lovely in it. Well, here’s to the holiday spirit, and all things hand-made !

Kitty

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This *possibly may be*  the only gift I plan on knitting for the holidays this year. I started with a Louisa Harding pattern, a very simple pattern indeed, thinking for a first-time toy knitting, I couldn’t go wrong.  Ah, but I couldn’t help myself from changing it all around… so this is a very modified version.  I used up some left over pima cotton boucle yarn from her baby blanket I made almost 3 years ago, and stuffed it with a bit of wool fleece I had in my loft closet…not bad for a first toy , eh?  Kitty is purring and ready to go to Nora for Christmas!

I was up against a decision just before Nora’s kitty was finished:  1. Spend from now until xmas knitting gifts, or 2. Design fun new things!  Though in recent years not my first choice, but gifts can always be bought , so  I am choosing to work on new ideas through the holidays instead. ::sigh of relief::  ((however, this doesn’t prevent me from giving away my prototypes…lol)

Coming up: Another something to add to the ” Vineyard Rows” ensemble, as well as another thing from a ways back… in blue !