Christmas Cowls

Christmas CowlsIt seems a bit – odd – to be blogging about Christmas presents after Christmas, but there you have it. In the last two weeks running up to Christmas I decided that instead of making ornaments  as gifts it would be much quicker to knit something else. The quickest thing I’ve ever knit was a cowl for my hubby. Then I remembered that I had three balls of chunky Garnstudio DROPS Andes in cream that I had bought to make a hot water bottle cover for myself, as well Chunkylicious cowl that I made for Knitmas.

Christmas Cowls 004So three cowls for three friends were knit, using the cream as the base with splashes of red in different places to make each one individual. For the middle cowl in the photo I simply cast on 75 stitches and knit in the round alternating between red and cream. The edges roll nicely on this one and I hope the alpaca wool blend will be nice and toasty for the recipients.

Christmas Cowls 010Inspired by some of the gorgeous wrapping on Pinterest I decided to wrap my presents in brown paper and tie the packages up with yarn, both of which I already had at home. For gift tags I used some Christmassy card I had in my stash and cut them to vaguely resemble luggage tags. Then I used a hole punch to create a hole at the top and looped the yarn through the hole before tying in a bow. I’m really happy with how they turned out.

Chunkylicious

Red wrap 011The real joy of Knitmas for me is that I got to put a package together for someone as well as receiving some fab gifts. I love the thrill of picking great presents for people, which is part of the reason I love Christmas so much. I drew Joanne who currently lives outside Ireland. Perfect, that meant I got to put together a really Irish gift for her.

Red_wrap_005First up I knitted the chunky wrap in the photo. The yarn is Garnstudio DROPS Andes and I used three balls and a couple of meters from a fourth ball to finish the cast off. I loved the pattern, it was really straightforward and with the chunky yarn it flew up. In the pattern you pick up and knit the tips separately so I used a provisional cast on to avoid seams. You then pick up and knit stitches along the edge of the ribbing and use short rows to create the curve. Very clever and effective. I hope Joanne will be nice and warm this winter.

I also included some Dublin Dye Company yarn I had in my stash, some handmade stitch markers, a shawl pin I picked up at the Knitting and Stitching show and some Lyons tea. I’ve lived abroad so I can appreciate how much little home comforts like tea are appreciated. I really hope Joanne liked her gift as much as I loved mine.

French Vanilla Coffee?

I love Pinterest, I’ve lost many hours pinning and re-pinning nice photos, crafty ideas, recipes and planning a wedding last year. If you’re familiar with the website you’ll have seen the pins that declare “The best homemade chocolate spread ever”, “The ultimate cleaning detergent”, “The tastiest cookie dough”. I often wonder who declared these superlatives and if they have ever been tested?

Vanilla Coffee CandlesThen this morning I spotted a pin that declared “Place vanilla scented tea lights in a bowl of coffee beans. The warmth of the candles will heat up the coffee beans and make your house smell like french vanilla coffee.” Doesn’t that just sounds divine? But also a tad implausible.

I just happen to have vanilla scented tea lights purchased in Dunnes and coffee beans in the fridge. The coffee beans have been there for a while because I’m not mad on the taste of these particular beans, so they’re probably a bit stale. But sure we’ll give it a go anyway.

Vanilla Coffee CandleI filled two ramekins with the coffee beans and snuggled the tea lights into the beans. They’ve been lighting for a few hours now and the smell, while nice, is a bit underwhelming. I can definitely smell the vanilla but can only kind of smell the coffee. It would seem that the premise that the heat activates the scent doesn’t hold, but they are so pretty and would make a lovely centrepiece so not a total fail.

IT’S KNITMAS

Knitmas (3)Yes, all caps, IT’S KNITMAS!!!! A group of Irish based (and ex-pat) knitters on Twitter get together every year for a Knitmas kris kindle type gift exchange. And I got spoiled rotten by my elf, I was so overwhelmed by her generosity it brought tears to my eyes.

Knitmas (14)I had said on Elfster that I would really love some handknit socks, but that I really didn’t expect to get them. I get so cold in winter and haven’t learned how to knit socks yet. Not only did my elf Catherine knit me a pair of socks, in my favourite colour, but she knit me a pair of matching mittens. How fabulous are these socks? Catherine also included patterns for male and female socks so I can learn to knit my own too.

Knitmas (12)Catherine also included a gorgeous pink scarf, the most stunning berry coloured Cushendale yarn, as well as a kit for a really cute tea cosy, chocolate (which is already half nommed), a fab clasp and a phone cover that my phone is now snuggled into. The card was handmade by one of her knitting group, how special is that, with a picture of her knitting circle host’s dog on the front. I squealed when I saw it. Thanks you so much, from the bottom of my heart, for such amazing and thoughtful gifts, I love them all.