Tag Archives: holidays

FO: Christmas Jumper

Happy New Year to everyone!  Um, about a month late.

I had a wonderful holiday season.  I went home to Camas, Washington (near Portland, OR) for over a week and enjoyed my two weeks off from work!  I had some knitting goals set for myself while I was at home.  I kind of succeeded.  Fortunately I didn’t really plan on knitting any gifts.  I did have the dream of finishing up my Christmas sweater before Christmas.

And it got finished!

(wow, I thought this picture was in focus until I put it in this blog…)

Pattern: The Perfect Christmas Jumper by Susan Crawford

Yarn: Knit Picks Palette in Indigo Heather (5 skeins) and White (about 1/2 skein)

Needles: US 3

Start Date: November 14, 2014

Finish Date:  December 26, 2014

Okay, so I didn’t finish it for Christmas.  I made a valiant effort.  I stayed up until 2am a couple nights and it still didn’t happen.

I didn’t make many modifications to the sweater.  I did the front first and I cast on provisionally at the waistline and worked upwards.  I did two extra decreases for the shoulders because I wanted the puff to land at my shoulder and not hanging off them.  After finishing with the front, I picked up my live stitches at the bottom and did the ribbing down.  I wanted to be able to check the length.  I ended up making the ribbing about an inch deeper than in the pattern.  This still ended up being fairly short on me.  At least, ending closer to my hips than below them.

Working stranded colorwork flat is a bit of a pain, but you get used to it.  And it always goes pretty fast when you can see your progress on a chart.  (Must. get. to. end. of. repeat.)  I did the sleeves next and they went quickly considering the fingering weight yarn.  I went with the squared shoulders like in the original pattern.  I didn’t put in any shoulder pads.  I like the slight puff to the shoulders.

Here’s where I went off book.  My Mom has a knitting machine and I have never used it.  She doesn’t use it that much herself, as she is much more into handknitting.  I decided that since I was going to be at home and I didn’t feel like knitting a plain stockinette backed sweater in fingering weight yarn that I was going to machine knit the back.  This seemed like a marvelous idea.  I just had to get the ribbing done by December 22 when I got home.  What I didn’t anticipate was the learning curve.

Here’s the machine:

I think it’s a Brother, but I didn’t take note.

We did a gauge swatch just kind of guessing on tension.  After we decided it looked good, we had to hook up my ribbing to the machine.  Then you just zip along knitting row after row in minutes.  One problem I had was that it was difficult to measure the height of the piece while it was on the machine.  It was extremely stretched out on the machine, especially since I was using thin yarn.  I tried to just go by number of rows but the row gauge didn’t match my front piece.  And if something wasn’t aligned perfectly, a bunch of stitches could pop off the hooks and boy do they run when the piece is stretched and weighted!

I didn’t take any pictures of any of the disasters that I had.  Mostly because I was trying not to freak out and cry while they were happening.  A lot of laddering back up and getting all those stitches onto the little latch hooks used by the machine.  I learned how to do decreases and short rows on the machine.  There are seed stitch plackets at the back neck.  I tried to do these on the machine but got fatigued of manipulating the stitches while I went.  I ended up just knitting them in stockinette and afterwards dropping down and changing them to seed stitch later once the back was finished.

The knitting was probably done on Christmas, but then it took another day or so to do all the sewing up and finishing work.  And finally, my Christmas Jumper was done!

It was apparently hard to take flattering, in-focus pictures in any of our Christmas settings. We went snow-shoeing on Mount Hood a few days later and you better believe I was kicking myself for not bringing my sweater for the snowy photo opportunity!

Ultimately I am very pleased with how it turned out.  I love vintage styles but then I sometimes feel uncomfortable in them.  I felt a little like I was wearing an 80’s child’s sweater.  I just need to embrace it.  I wore it out for New Year’s Eve with a little pleated mini skirt and tights.  And now I think it will be put away until next holiday season!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday.  I am still working on getting rid of the last couple pounds that I gained!


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Holiday wrap-up

For Christmas this year, I went home to my parents’ house in Camas, WA.  Camas is right across the Columbia River from Portland.  We are almost a suburb of Portland.  I hadn’t been home for a full year, so it was nice to be back!  Here are some pictures from my trip (mostly of food!).

My Dad and I went to my favorite sushi place, Saburo’s in SE Portland.  There is always a crazy line.  We had to wait outside for an hour!  And outside in Portland is a lot colder than outside in Los Angeles.  You can’t really tell the scale of the sushi from this picture.  One of those salmon pieces would be about the size of my palm.  And still really tender, delicious and relatively cheap!

I think this is the only Christmas food tradition we have that happens every year without fail.  Making the Borders Family Christmas Cookies.  They feel like a lot of work and we don’t even frost them!  They are cut-out sugar cookies that are sprinkled with sugar before baking.  I love the white doughy ones and most of the family likes them dark brown, so we try to make a mix.  There were many other kinds of cookies around at home too, but these are our traditional ones.

The neighbors have a massive kiwi tree that hangs over into our yard, for an area of about 100 ft.  Seriously.  Here is the haul that we brought in this year.  I couldn’t find the pictures of us picking them.  I wish I had brought some kiwis home with me!

We’re just about ready to open presents here.  There’s a bit of extra disarray with our Christmas junk everywhere!

We had just filled up on Stuffed French Toast that my Mom made with blueberries from their yard.  It was delicious but extremely filling.  The recipe called for challah, but it was very difficult to get any kind of egg bread in Vancouver, WA (our closest town).  I get so used to all my “ethnic” foods in Los Angeles.

Another family tradition: jigsaw puzzles!  We did 4-5 puzzles while I was at home!  We set up a special table for it.  This is my Mom and Uncle.  In front is my Mom’s rigid heddle loom that she set up for me.  I’ll show you what I made on it later!  My Mom is wearing socks that I knit for her a few years back!  (Sorry for the iPhone pictures!)

A trip home is not complete without a trip to Elmer’s Pancake House!  This is a local chain (weirdly, also in Palm Springs) that is known for its breakfast.  I don’t know if it’s very trendy but it is a classic for me.  I always get the German Pancake.  A few years back they changed the name to a Dutch Baby, which I believe is the common name of this kind of crepe/pancake.  But maybe they got some customer complaints because they changed it back to a German Pancake.  I don’t care what they call it, I will always order it.  I’ve made a couple at home with varying success.  I meant to write down the Cook’s Illustrated recipe that my Dad had, but I forgot.

I think that’s all the pictures I have for you today.  I had such a good time at home it was hard to come back to reality!  And now it’s just a normal work week.  And a full five days too, sigh!  I’ve been knitting away with little to show for it.



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Adventures of a Holiday Sweater…

Hi Jill B!

I know this is a bit belated, but I think you”ll still enjoy it…

“The Adventures of a Holiday Sweater” or “Jill P. Visits Four States and Takes All Her Pictures With a Miniature Sweater and Everyone Thinks She’s a Little Strange”

SOOOOO, I loved the tiny little sweater you made me for Christmas and thought it would nice to take to Boston with me and use as our tree topper at my mom’s house. Well, little Sweater seemed to take on a life of her own and boy was she a diva, always posing and sticking her cute, little mug in the shot.

We got to the airport early and had some time to get breakfast and hang out at the gate for a while. It was Christmas eve, so the airport was fairly busy, but not out of control. We got buckled into our seats. Sweater is a little nervous flying for the first time so she got her drink on right away.

After Sweater passed out, I had a little time to myself to work on some of my last minute holiday knits. This is the beginnings of a triangle scarf I made for my cousin (It’s an improvised pattern, lots o’ garter stitch, in Knitpicks Shadow.)

Our arrival in Beantown was super exciting! there’s no place like home…

Mmmmmm, Dunkin’ Donuts. How I’ve missed you chocolate frosted and chocolate honey-dip.

Boston is a very cultural town, so of course there was an art exhibit in the airport. And everyone knows that no art exhibit is complete without a sheep painting.

Time to meet the folks! Mom and her DH met us at baggage claim and welcomed Sweater to the family.

Kermit Kitty was a bit suspicious and probably just a little too under the influence of his new catnip toy to give Sweater the time of day.

Mom and her DH saved the joyful task of tree trimming to me and OG… and Sweater. I think Sweater did a great job, don’t you?

We spent Christmas day with family in Connecticut. The food and drink was fabulous! In New England, the only true cure for a holiday hangover is a long drive up the craggy coast of Maine for a lobstah feast complete with Shipyahd Ale and Clam Chowdah! Oh, and don’t forget the dessert! Some sort of puff pastry sundae and apple crumble. Sweater has a mighty appetite would you say?

It was a beautiful day and Sweater soaked in picturesque views of the Atlantic and a charming little lighthouse in York.

The next day we took a drive up to New Hampshire to visit more family. Sweater was the life of the party!

Sweater really hit it off with Disembodied Head. She thought this was a match made in heaven…”I have no head, you have no sweater… let’s be friends!”

Sweater also discovered where they had been hiding all the snow!

Exhausted from all the traveling, Sweater suggested that our fatigue could only be remedied by a pilgrimage our to Webs in Northampton, MA. The men disagreed, so Mom, Sweater and I gleefully hopped in the car and hit the road for a girls only adventure. Due to the madness of “End of the Year Warehouse Sale” I wasn’t able to capture a single photo inside the yarn store. My brain totally went into fiber overload and I think Sweater just lost consciousness. Webs is enormous and wonderful! We spent about two and a half hours in there and it felt like two and a half minutes. (Note to self… next time, plan for six hours minimum and bring a sack lunch.) We got a lot of good stuff. Mom uncovered a whole bunch of discontinued Skye Tweed. Lucky! (BTW, this is her photo, Nice, huh?)

I ended up with several cones of cottonflake, 10 skeins of Twize 327, a ton of bulky merino in Spring Melody colorway, some other random stuff and a special treat of 2 skeins of laceweight malabrigo in glazed carrot colorway. Ooh, I also got this really nice dragonfly shawl pin. Sorry there aren’t any photos of the amazing innards or the stuff we got, but you can imagine it, can’t you? Here’s the outside of the store anyway…

The ride home was a little treacherous with the sleet and fog, but Sweater’s keen guidance kept us on the road and out of trouble.

Weather wise, the trip to Webs in Western MA was probably the worst of it, which isn’t saying much. We were really blessed by mother nature and had sunny skies much of the time. OG and I took a nice walk around the neighborhood where my Mom lives in Chelsea, the smallest city in Massachusetts, and got some really nice shots in the sun!

Our last day in town was filled with more New England touring. We had yummy breakfast at Beach Street Cafe in Manchester By The Sea

and took a little stroll around town to check out the locals,

followed by lunch with my cousin in Newburyport (My favorite place on earth! I will live there someday!) Newburyport has a really nice LYS called A Loom With A View. Their website isn’t much to look at, but their yarn selection is prime! I really like this new yarn line they carry called Mirasol. My Mom got me a couple skeins of Hacho for X-Mas and I picked up a few skeins of Cotanani to swatch for the Cobblestone Pullover I want to make. The nice woman working there humored me by posing with Sweater.

All and all it was a lovely trip and I think Sweater had a good time. We got home super late, but just in time to pop open a bottle of bubbly and knit toast in the New Year. Thanks again Jill B. for picking Sweater and us up at the airport. It was a nice welcome home 😉

xo, Jill P.


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