the holidays have pretty much arrived and some of you (not ME this time) are still scrambling to finish up some works in progress for the big day.  i, myself, have gotten my projects in the mail to anthony in oregon and deni in colorado.  i’m really not much in the christmas mood this year, so i don’t plan on doing much decorating.  i have a string of lovely twinkle lights in the window and that may be all the decorating i do!  tom was hinting around about not putting up a tree, so if he wants one, we may run out and pick up a live tree this week.

laura mcguire (aka crazy sock lady) had me itching to make a pair of socks BUT i found a boot sock pattern which uses size 5 needles and worsted weight yarn!  (woohoo)  i used dream yarn in a red/green color way and made a pair for anthony (size 13 shoe) – the colors seemed appropriate given that his birthday is christmas.  i decided to time myself to see how long they would take.  given his size, it took 6 hrs and 40 minutes to make one.  13 hrs for a pair is nothing to the year and a half it took me to make anthony’s other sock in sock yarn!  

ha ha  turned out i had pretty much yarn left, so i made myself a pair out of the leftover.  i was pretty sure i wouldn’t have enough to complete them, so i knitted the heel and toe out of a different color.  they are very comfortable and being 100% wool are nice and warm.  i figure if you were making a ‘normal’ size sock, you could definitely get two socks out of one skein of dream yarn.  now crazy sock lady herself has been converted to the boot sock.  she is working on several pair!  we aren’t surprised at all.

welcome knit chicks!  we have a new wonderful group of ladies in our midst!  linda, susan, beth, judy, marlene, and ruth learned how to knit only last month and have been going crazy ever since!  beth made a beautiful baby sweater and hat set; linda felted a couple of purses, scarves, wine cozy; marlene made too many scarves and neck warmers to mention; judy knitted a hat and scarf set, a drop stitch scarf, felted purse, and is now finishing up a scarf for her hubby, and susan felted a purse, some fingerless mitts, and a scarf.  believe me, i haven’t listed all of their accomplishments, but it warms my heart to see people so enthused about knitting!  below is a picture of beth’s beautiful granddaughter wearing the sweater grandma made:

betsy ohr’s naughty knotty knitters had a ‘high tea’ at the greensburg art center for their christmas meeting.  everyone brought their own tea cup and we had some traditional english treats, including the bakewell tart, eclairs, shortbread, lemon squares, nut rolls…. need i say more?  14 ladies enjoyed this day and we’re all appreciative of betsy’s efforts!  for some reason, unbeknownst to me, betsy asked ME to make the traditional bakewell tart.  (oh no – why ME???)  it was actually fun to make – a pie crust with a filling made of almond meal, eggs, sugar, and butter!  there was an added layer of jam between the crust and the filling, then sliced almonds were scattered over the top.  definitely different  and not too sweet.

i don’t know what everyone else is working on at this point (other than crazy sock lady now making boot socks), but i am working on a pattern called the holden shawlette.  alicia lund had made one and was wearing it at the tea party.  it was SO beautiful and she assured me it was easy.  (see the photo above with the 3 ladies?  gudrun, betsy, alicia – alicia is wearing her holden shawlette) .  here is the link:  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/holden-shawlette 

SO of course as soon as i got home, i found it on ravelry (it is a FREE pattern by the way) and began to knit it.  alicia’s shawlette was a beautiful heather green; unfortunately what i wanted was a shawl with an ombre look.  i looked and looked at the shop til i drove myself crazy and settled on an alpaca sock yarn in beautiful oranges and greens; however, you know how sometimes the yarn looks so different on the skein than when its wound?  this is what happened to me.  didn’t like it at all – it came out a bit stripey – NOT what i envisioned.  back to the drawing board.  i started searching on the internet for ombre yarns and almost ordered some.  then i had a V-8 moment!  i have that beautiful kauni yarn which blends from one color to another exactly how i wanted it to.  sock yarn OFF the needles and kauni on.  i chose color EU which goes from red to orange to yellow.  at this point i have about 120 stitches on the needle but i have to work up to over 300!  

yesterday with the snow gently falling outside, a fire burning in the wood burner, homemade tomato sauce on the stove and a peach cobbler in the oven, i happily sat with my wool boot socks on and my yarn in my lap watching a corny christmas movie…. ahhhhhhhhhhhhh how can you not love winter?

forgot to get pictures of the critters but i promise to for the january newsletter.  we have a couple of new roosters and they are so friendly and lovable – one of them follows tom around like a puppy.  maybe grizzy is reincarnated already?

upcoming dates:

monday december 16 at 1:00 alyssa buchanan’s jump ring bracelet class (which had been postponed due to weather – hopefully it will finally happen!)
december 19 dollies xmas party at pasqualino’s murrysville
saturdays dec 21 and 28 craftique fiber art group at craftique in gbg
shop open fridays dec 20 and 27
no KA til january

holiday reminder:

friday, december 20th, we will be celebrating a low-key christmas here at RaggZ.  stop by for a cup of mulled cider and a homemade christmas cookie or two!  nothing extravagant, just a good reason to wish each other a merry christmas in person!

happy december 26th birthday to nancy m!

let me remind you that a gift certificate from RaggZ is a great gift for your knitting friends or a set of hiya hiya short tip interchangeables, or a skein of beautiful yarn!  

coming soon to the shop:  beautiful handcrafted wooden skein winders made by a local craftsman.  then when you buy yarn from the internet or a shop who doesn’t wind the yarn for you (WHA???) you can take it home and wind it yourself!  stay posted – hoping they will arrive in january!

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