We had our annual ornament swap at the Frome SnB group last night, and it gives me a good opportunity to share some more of the work of this talented group!
This is the total haul of gifts swapped - what Christmassy delights! I was lucky enough to receive the beautiful mini-Aran jumper in cream at the bottom. This was knitted by the ever-so-talented Mary Henderson (who by the way has a fabby Fair Isle tea cosy in the subscribers' edition of The Knitter this month). What a lucky duck I am!
Among the other handmade treats were some amazing handmade chocolates (top right, made by Jackie and received and enjoyed by Jen - I believe there were more before the photo was taken!); a couple of darling Christmas trees, one sewn and one knitted with beads; and a gorgeous knitted star that's from Rosee Woodland's design in Issue 50 of The Knitter (it has a cunning construction and is well worth checking out).
I contributed the cross-stitched mitten, which is made from the same pattern download as the Red Coat I blogged about previously. It's a great pattern, and I surprised myself by enjoying the cross stitching. I don't mind doing it, as long as I'm in love with the finished item. Too much of the cross stitch I've done in the past hasn't really had a purpose, and I'm as much of a product crafter as I am a process crafter. The process of cross stitching does little for me, so I have to be inspired by the product. And who wouldn't be inspired by this?
Apologies for the shoddy focus - I didn't realise until this morning, and it's now too late as the mitten has been gifted! :) If I had enough soluble canvas left I would be making another for our tree - these are some class A ornaments in Alicia Paulson's Snow Day Ornament Set. Highly recommended. There's nothing left but for me to make the polar bear. Clearly!
The front and back are different, with a totally knitwear-inspired design. I love it! And I'm sure that Sylvie does too. I tweeted a picture of this while it was in progress and Mimi (she also has a great article in Issue 53 of The Knitter about photographing your knits) asked me to comment on the soluble canvas... Well I can report that it was great! I used this DMC product, which I ordered from Sew and So (whose service I like a lot so far - based on two affordable and quick purchases): Soluble Canvas.
You can see that I cut out the design and blanket stitched it together with the soluble canvas still intact - this was really handy for keeping my blanket stitches neat and tidy. I'll take all the help I can get with that sort of thing... Wrapping paper with grids on the back? Yes please!
Once it was at this stage, I simply popped it in some tepid water and swooshed it around a bit. The canvas went a bit sticky, then slimey and gradually dissolved away with no trouble. I did have to rinse it a couple of times, as after the first wash it dried like cardboard, but after another soak and rinse it was fine. It certainly wasn't fiddly, which I've heard that waste canvas can be. I hope that answers your question Mimi!
Before I sign off for the Christmas break, there are a few of other bits of news to share...
First up, Belinda Boaden and Wendy Baker of True Brit knits now have a group on Ravelry, so do come over and join us there - there will be wittering about all sorts of things, including London, knitting, cooking, cake and G&T! I'm thinking of making London Cowling fairly soon, so I'll be over there chuntering about yarn choices shortly...
Secondly, if you are thinking of making a charitable donation over the Christmas period, please consider donating to Jim's fundraising for Refuge (the UK's largest domestic violence charity, providing both practical support and shelter, and raising awareness of the issue). Jim is running the London Marathon for Refuge next year, and aiming for a frankly bonkers-sounding time (less than 3h 30min?!?). We have some fun knitting-related things planned for the new year, so keep an eye out here on my blog, or over on Jim's own blog: VeufTricot.
And thirdly, Susan is taking pre-orders for the Wartime Farm Sleeveless Pullover pattern. This is being sold to help to raise money for the Women's Land Army Tribute which it is hoped will be created at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. You can read more about the pattern and history behind it over on Susan's blog. I helped to edit the pattern, and it's not only a lovely piece but also a great cause.
So that's all for now folks! Have a very lovely next few weeks, whether you are celebrating Christmas or not. I shall be back around the New Year. Have fun, and happy knitting!