Monday, December 31, 2012

Handmade Holiday--Knits, Flannels and Sweets

Beginning with the mitts for E and Z, fingerless gloves seems to have been the theme for this year's knitting. For my sister, E, I had planned to make a pair of lacy cuffs, knit on size 2 needles in slippery lace weight merino and every row different with variations on YO, K2Tog, SSK, blah, blah, blah. Suffice it to say, after ten very frustrating rows, I had knit a lot more curse words than love into those cuffs, so I bought a new skein of yarn, in yummy shades of red, and knit up a pair of Maine Morning Mitts (in less time than the aforementioned ten rows took, and with nary a swear word):

E experienced a knitting renaissance this fall, and worked up a pair of fingerless mitts for his cousin, M (with a bit of help from the knitting fairies). They're done in yummy soft baby alpaca chunky that looks purple, but on closer inspection reveals all kinds of rainbowey color. They're basically rectangles, sewed up one side with openings left for the thumbs. I misjudged the gauge, so we ended up sewing them up width-wise, rather than lengthwise, but I think they'll be snuggly warm for Cousin M's first winter in Boston.

And for my ex-step-mother-in-law (I really need to find a better way to describe her), a pair of 1/2-finished to-be-felted mittens. I usually go x-country skiing with her once each winter, and while she's twice my age, she's in twice as good of shape, and usually leaves me sweating and peeling off layers in her wake, while meanwhile she has cold hands. I have been given until January 23 to finish them. (They're knit with two strands, one of each of two different shades of purple coarse yarn from a nearby farm).

The only sewing I did this year, other than a baker's dozen dala horses, were these two pairs of flannel pajama pants for C. It became clear that this is what his heart truly desired when he wrote it on the grocery list. I had actually bought the penguin material and given it to him, along with the pattern and thread, for Christmas two years ago, but never got around to making them. I decided I needed something more inspiring than penguins, and bought the gloriously soft paisley the weekend before Christmas. It must have worked, because I managed to complete both pairs while the boys were all at C's mother's house on the 23rd (only two-and-a-half hours, which makes me feel kinda sheepish about not getting the other pair done sooner!)

I kept my candy-making to a minimum this year, but wanted to make a variety of "truffles" using dried fruits and nuts as a healthier alternative to toffee and fudge. In addition to these sugarplums which I've been making for years, I put together various concoctions of date/orange/pistachio; date/cranberry; and peanut/peanut butter/coconut/chocolate (google "fruit-nut truffle" "sugar plum" or "healthy truffle" to find dozens of recipes).

Edited to add links to the recipes:

Sugarplums (I've made these for years and they're always a big hit)
Date-nut truffles (I used Cointreau instead of orange flower water, cause where on earth would one find that???) 
Orange-cranberry-pistachio truffles
And one more that had peanuts, peanut butter, coconut and honey in it and which I dipped in melted chocolate chips (I can't find the recipe anymore--because of course I don't keep track of these things!).
In just a few minutes of trying to re-trace my steps back to these original recipes, I found a whole lot more that look delicious and which I want to try next year!

What did you make this holiday season?


  1. Love those pj bottoms! And I think fingerless mitts are one of my favorite knitted gifts to give.

  2. LSM--I've now linked to two out of three recipes (the other one I could not find, but I'm sure you could make it up!).


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