On the learning of new skills.
Today was my first whole day without unavoidable distractions since the thing with the Irish boy and I was determined that today would be the beginning of operation no more tears, and I have so far succeeded! I am quite proud of myself, I used to be a very strong person but my Mum said she had noticed I was not the strong person I used to be any more, and so I want to get back my confidence and things.
So, today, in order to maintain the no more tears plan, I distracted myself with knitting. Last night I finally started knitting the christmas puddings I am hoping to give as little presents this christmas. I basically have used the Little Cotton Rabbits cupcake pattern that I have used before, only with some tweaks. I used the top half of the cupcake pattern and knitted it backwards and then forwards so that I had a whole cake that would be separate from the case. I also didn't tie up the bottom of the cake, I left a hole big enough to put chocolates in.
Don't they look cute?! Each one has 4 chocolate christmas puddings tucked inside, and the little case means they don't fall out of the hole. I also didn't use the Little Cotton Rabbits holly pattern because I was getting an indentation in my finger from trying to do all the complicated twists with my sharp but not quite pointy enough needles.
I think they will be great as little gifts, and they don't take too long so are great for when I just want to sit for a bit in the evenings.
I do however need to make a few more, I want to give one to each of my family members that I normally give gifts to. I also need to figure out how much stuffing would be needed to keep it poofy after the chocolates have been eaten so that I can put it in little baggies for them.
So, some technical details, I am using some DK weight acrylic blend for the main body of the cake, I got a slightly tweedy one so that it looked like the orange peel etc. I am using hardly any per cake as they are small, knitted on 2.75mm needles so I should still have loads left over when I am done. Maybe I will make more charity things. The brandy sauce is 4ply mercenised cotton, as is the berries, holly, and cake case. Again I should have loads left, maybe I should tuck them away for making more next year.
Another thing I started working on today is this:
It is the Koolhaas hat by Jared Flood. I decided I would make this pattern for my dad's christmas present. My Dad is very short on hair due to the progression of time, and in his youth used to have thick dark brown hair so I thought a nice thick brown hat would be appreciated for when he is tramping around the garden doing Dad like things. To add a bit of luxury that his current woolen hat doesn't have (shop bought so has a high acrylic content, ick) I am using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. I have said before, and demonstrated in how often I use and purchase her stuff, that I love Debbie Bliss Cashmerino yarns, they are really soft and when knitted feel incredibly lightweight.
It is this hat that is teaching me new skills today. I have never knitted from a chart before, and this pattern has a chart. A lot of the explanations for reading charts seem to say that after you start knitting with a chart you will prefer it, but I don't so far. I am not sure if it is because I don't know what each symbol means without looking it up and it would maybe be better once I do, or whether because it is quite late and I get frustrated easily by mistakes at this time of night, but right now I prefer to read written instructions.
Another thing this pattern is teaching me is twisted knit stitches. I watched a video tutorial on the twisted knit stitch a couple of weeks ago on this lady's blog and it was great, I hadn't actually had to do one since then however so today I hunted down the video again to make sure I wasn't imagining how stupidly easy it was and started doing the twist!
Unfortunately my picture doesn't show the stitches very well, I may try and steal my sister's camera on sunday and take a better picture in better light, I am really proud of my progress today though. It is one of the things I love about knitting, that I am constantly learning something new. I haven't managed to cable without a cable needle yet though, that I think will be Sunday's day off challenge!