Not a completer finisher

Hello, Woollydaze here… 

As I believe I’ve mentioned before, I love planning a project, I like doing a project, and I’m terrible at finishing a project. I lose interest just before the finish line and wander off, looking for a more interesting race to run.

Yes, the tractor rug is still under my bed. No, the drop stitch scarf isn’t finished.

At the moment, lying around the house in various places, I have various unfinished bits of craft work:

Some have been a WIP for longer than others. The most extreme of this bunch has been on the ‘to do’ list since roughly 1994. I’m determined to finish that one in the next few months, because it’s going to be a gift. For a baby. Who will not appreciate it for his or her 18th birthday.

My cold office cosy cardigan has suffered from this fate, only I’ve done the unforgiveable and started to wear it before it is finished. It was so close to being finished. I washed it, blocked it, sewed it together, tried it on, and decided it was too short.

Since I had spare wool and it’s not a precise pattern, I picked up the cast on stitches and knitted downwards for a few rows. I then bought some bias binding to sew into the seams to define them because the edges were a bit sloppy. In the process of buying the bias binding, I managed to find some ‘perfect’ buttons that were soooooo much better than the buttons I had originally bought (which were acceptable, really, just a bit plain).

I sewed in nearly all of the bias binding, and didn’t do the last tiny bit. I pinned it in, then took it out again when I wanted to wear the cardigan.

I discovered a problem with the ‘perfect’ buttons, all to do with the fact that I had bought three then WoollyDaze Too had reminded me that it’s wise, particularly when buying expensive ‘perfect’ buttons, to have a spare. The extra one I bought was clearly not from the same tube as the original three.

 In the past few days I’ve made an extra special effort to sort all of this out and officially finish this cardigan. So here it is:

Ta-da!

The irony is that the temperature in the office for the past fortnight has been hovering around the 24 degrees Centigrade mark, so really I should be knitting cotton summer tops.

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Tofty bobbles

Hello, WoollyDaze Too here…

WoollyDaze promised you wool, and wool you shall have. More specifically, you shall have alpaca.

Cast your minds back to last summer, when Woollydaze suggested that we visit Toft Alpacas. (What do you mean you don’t remember … oh, wait … you weren’t there.) She didn’t need to suggest twice and so one sunny afternoon we bundled Little Woolly and our Mum into a car and drove to Dunchurch to admire the alpacas and stroke the wool. It transpired that Woollydaze had an ulterior motive as she and Mr Woollydaze visited the Alpaca Centre in Penrith while on holiday, and had been fortunate enough to have a good chat about keeping alpacas. They can be kept alongside sheep, where the young males will guard the flock, protecting it against predators such as foxes. If there’s one thing Woollydaze and Mr Woolydaze are not short of, that’s sheep. Our visit to Toft Alpacas culminated in my purchasing a lightweight felt beret kit (garments are available in kit form, or knitted up for those who prefer their garments less nascent) and a seconds bulb bag in fully felted form.

The beret pattern was simple to follow, and the yarn was a joy to use – so soft and smooth. The felting was accomplished in my front-loading washing machine (always a nervous moment), and I was pleased that the hat turned out exactly the right size (a tad on the small side for me = would fit my mum perfectly. Christmas present sorted!).

Toft Alpacas bobble hat in stripes

Version two [Ravelry link] of the beret, with added stripes, was embarked upon while still reeling from the success of version one. This second version used stash alpaca purchased from eBay about 5 years ago (green), and a complementary colour purchased for the occasion (cream). The intention was to present this to a work colleague as a Secret Santa gift, therefore the yarn had to cost less than £5 to satisfy the conditions of the swap. I did pay slightly more, but used less than a full ball on the project so reasoned that I wouldn’t get hauled off to account to Secret Santa for overspending! While knitting version two it became clear that the yarn, although allegedly DK-weight as the Toft Alpaca original, was thinner and once felted it was evident that the hat would best fit a child, and a young one at that (it has since found a good home with a four-year-old girl of my acquaintance, and a replacement Secret Santa gift was hurriedly procured).

Toft alpaca bobble drop hat

When the photos were taken, shortly before Christmas 2010, daylight was in short supply (the oft-heard complaint of the knit blogger). I was fortunate to procure the services of a hat model at very reasonable rates (payment in honey), though the styling does rather remind me of Citizen Smith

 

 

Hello, Woollydaze Too here…

Woollydaze promised you wool, and wool you shall have. More specifically, you shall have alpaca.

Cast your minds back to last summer, when Woollydaze suggested that we visit Toft Alpacas. (What do you mean you don’t remember … oh, wait, you weren’t there.) She didn’t need to suggest twice and so one sunny afternoon we bundled little Woolly and our Mum into a car and drove to Dunchurch to admire the alpacas and stroke the wool. It transpired that Woollydaze had an ulterior motive as she and Mr Woollydaze visited the Alpaca Centre in Penrith on a recent holiday, and had been fortunate enough to have a good chat about keeping alpacas. They can be kept alongside sheep, where the young males will guard the flock, protecting it against predators such as foxes. If there’s one thing Woollydaze and her husband are not short of, that’s sheep. Our visit to Toft Alpacas culminated in the purchase of a bobble beret kit (garments are available in kit form, or knitted up for those who prefer their garments less nascent) and a seconds onion bag in fully felted form.

The beret pattern was simple to follow, and the yarn was a joy to use – so soft and smooth. Once the felting was complete I was pleased that the hat turned out exactly the right size (a tad on the small side for me = would fit my mum perfectly). Version two, with added stripes, was embarked upon while still reeling from the success of version one. This second version used stash alpaca purchased from eBay about 5 years ago (green), and a complementary colour purchased for the occasion (cream). The intention was to present this to a work colleague as a Secret Santa gift, therefore the yarn had to cost less than £5 to satisfy the conditions of the swap. I did pay slightly more, but used less than a full ball on the project so reasoned that I wouldn’t get hauled off to account to Secret Santa for overspending! While knitting version two it became clear that the yarn, although DK-weight as the Toft Alpaca original, was thinner and once felted it was evident that the hat would best fit a child, and a young one at that (it has since found a good home with a four-year-old girl of my acquaintance, and a replacement Secret Santa gift was hurriedly procured).

When the photos were taken, shortly before Christmas 2010, daylight was in short supply (the oft-heard complaint of the knit blogger). I was fortunate to procure the services of a hat model at very reasonable rates (payment in honey), though the resulting styling does rather remind me of Citizen Smith.

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More Woodendaze than Woollydaze

Hello, Woollydaze here…

So, what exactly is a sail shelf? Imagine you live in a family where the mother would like to display books, the father would like room for a subwoofer and the child would like somewhere for his toy boxes (if he were able to articulate his opinion). How do you cater for all the different criteria?

Answer: You stumble across this on the internet, steal the idea and as a consequence make these: 

Aren’t they great? I love, love, love them. Possibly more than the shelves in the bedroom, if such a thing is possible.

They’re made solid oak and yet look like they’re floating. This has been achieved by drilling some very large holes in the wall and the shelves and cementing in very large steel rods. Occasionally, living in a house with solid walls has advantages, although at least one drill was destroyed in the process. The ‘sail’ on the end is very visible as you walk into the room; whilst it’s mostly decorative it does make the shelves into a feature. 

And so, at last, my books have been unpacked and dusted and put on shelves. They have never been on display before, having spent their life in stacking boxes. When Woollydaze Too and I lived at home home we shared a bedroom, and in the centre competing piles of stacking boxes grew until my mum told us asked us to not buy any more books until we had our own homes to put them in. It’s only taken me a decade and a half to achieve this.

Mr Woollydaze, here’s a heartfelt ‘thank you’ from me. I know that you called in the professionals to help out, but you listened to my ideas, thought them through, designed the shelves, sourced the wood, directed the show, sanded and stained. I keep sneaking a peek through the doorway and thinking ‘wow’ at the finished result. You’ve done a fabulous job.

Coming up next time: back to wool. Promise.

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Man crafting

Here, finished and installed, resplendent against freshly painted walls, is my Christmas present from Mr Woollydaze.

The Woollydaze shelves

Doesn’t they look fantastic! I had a very specific idea about how I wanted these shelves to look: thick, rustic and (this was the difficult bit) with a ‘natural’ edge.

The edge of the shelf

I think my brief provided Mr Woollydaze with quite a challenge. As most wood that’s sold to the general public is tidied and sawn, he had to go back one step. He phoned around sawmills as far away as Wales before finding one just a few miles from home that could provide what was needed. Apparently when the lengths of wood arrived on the farm, they looked like bits of tree. Sadly he didn’t take any photos so I’m not able to appreciate how scary this must have been.

After some drying out, sanding down and staining up, they were presented to me on Christmas Day. I was able to choose what order to put them in and on which side, and my wishes were carried out. Now, rather than having a pile of books next to/under my bed which have been borrowed and need to be read and returned, they are displayed and tidy. Mr Woollydaze has a ‘matching’ set of shelves on his side of the bed, but fewer book to put on them.

 Mr Woollydaze's shelves

The shelves are exactly what I had imagined and exactly what I wanted, and full credit to Mr Woollydaze for bringing to life what was in my head. In many ways I think what he has achieved here is a lot more artistic that what I do when I craft: I take patterns where the finished result is pictured and work through the instructions to recreate that. This took a lot more thought and ingenuity.

As a result of his success, Mr Woollydaze has been commissioned to build the shelves for the newly redecorated lounge. The brief is similar: chunky and built to fit, but this time without the natural edge. Not to make things too easy, this time it’s a ‘sail shelf’ where the shelves get gradually narrower. There is already talk of having to reinforce the floor to support it. The wood has arrived, has been stained and is in the hallway waiting… no doubt soon a magical tranformation will occur.

Note: all the photos in this blog post were taken by my father-in-law, since neither my camera nor I were up to the job of taking decent photos in the current murky weather. Even the photos on the shelf were taken by my father-in-law. It’s great having a professional photographer in the family.

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A soapy aside

Hello, Woollydaze here…

This was one of my Christmas presents from Woollydaze Too:

I can honestly say that it had not occurred to me that you could make soap from sheep wool ‘fat’ (which is, I think, an old fashioned name for lanolin). The information leaflet says it’s a traditional recipe and suggests that it’s good for sensitive skin.

I haven’t yet tried the soap as I’m too taken with the idea of it still, but I’m expecting it to be seriously good because it’s been around for so long and there’s got to be some reason why people are still buying it. That reason is certainly not the smell. It smells awful.

The branding reminds me of coal tar soap, which reminds me of the day Little Woolly was born. He was a planned homebirth, and as we got close to the crucial moment one of the midwives joked about how she had been at a homebirth once when a supermarket order had arrived during labour. Which made me remember that we had an order due any second. The order was late and Little Woolly arrived first, and one of the midwifes went downstairs to tell the driver to put all of the shopping in the scullery. My mother-in-law then put the shopping away in the cupboards. And for the next week I kept finding things in the cupboards that I hadn’t ordered, including some coal tar soap. We used it all up at the sink in the scullery but the sight and smell will always evoke strong memories.

Little Woolly certainly seems to have taken a liking to the Wool Fat Soap. ‘My soap’ he declares every time he sees it, and I keep having to reclaim it from amongst his toys.

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FO: Jacket for Peg Leg Otto

Hello, Woollydaze here…

Way back when Little Woolly was littler, it was discovered that he’d managed to survive the first year of his life without a teddy bear. This did not seem right or proper so Woollydaze Too set about rectifying the situation, presenting him with Peg Leg Otto (original pattern by Ysolda Teague) for his birthday. Since then PL Otto has been cuddled and thrown out of bed in about equal measure, depending on the whims of a toddler. PL Otto, loyal to the end, never complains.

 

Now, Little Woolly doesn’t have that many soft toys and he’s fond of only a few of them. The most love has been given to Raggy Lamb, a fleecy square with a head (actually, there’s two fleecy squares with heads so one can be cuddled whilst one’s being washed). He has recently fallen from grace and been replaced by Dressing Gown; yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. PL Otto is next on the list. He’s spent many lonely hours in bed waiting his turn.

The time had come to reward PL Otto for his devotion, and to make him more comfortable in a bedroom where the temperature has on one particularly cold occasion been recorded as twelve degrees Celcius. It was time to knit him a jacket. I found some aran wool in a natty maroon from the deeper and older depths of the stash, and set to work. A couple of days later, it was done. 

For the first time, Little Woolly was given the button box. Many of these buttons were liberated from my Grandma’s house in successive visits when one of the greatest pleasures was tipping out her big tin of buttons and sorting through for the most pretty and interesting. My button box is significantly smaller than Grandma’s was, but it’s still a treasure trove for a small child. We hunted through, ostensibly looking for three matching buttons but deciding in the end that two would do. We chose mouse buttons over the hippos, dogs and ducks, probably because my mother-in-law does a wonderful shriek when Little Woolly, with a twinkle in his eye, looks at her and says ‘mouse, eee-eee-eee’. She doesn’t like mice.

So PL Otto is now wrapped up against the cold and has been enjoying more cuddles for the past few days as his new jacket (with mouse buttons) is shown off. PL Otto needs to eat more marmalade or honey for his jacket to fit properly, but once again he’s not complained. This jacket was quick and easy to knit, but making it gave me much pleasure and continues to make me smile. Ravelry link here.

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FO: Bella’s mittens

Hello, Woollydaze here…

It has been a holiday of eating, drinking, merry-making and crafting. We have celebrated with friends and family, relaxed and enjoyed the slowing down of time. Whilst the return to real life and work is never welcome, it is necessary. It is the contrast that creates much of the enjoyment and appreciation.

To follow on from where I left off, the snow came. The builder (to put in the wood burning stove) didn’t, and the carpet fitter didn’t. The stoic electrician got a lift in a 4×4 and did turn up, which was appreciated as he was the breaking point for us uninviting all of our guests for New Year. We didn’t want to risk having seven children under the age of six running around the house if there were still bare wires sticking out of the walls rather than sockets, and no lights. So after he had worked his magic, we were able to use the lounge as a dining room with the loan of some trestle tables from the local Methodist chapel. It felt like eating in a school canteen but at least we were able to seat everyone.

 And back to the curtains, which are progressing. I’m three-fifths of the way through. I’ve made two roman blinds and one set of curtains, so the office is much more snug. Next on the list is the biiiiiiig curtain for the lounge, but I need the space of the carpeted lounge in order to sew it together.

My sincere thanks to everybody who has helped with this project, including Woollydaze Too who spent Boxing Day sewing finishing touches under the guise of learning to make curtains. Also to the kind friend who came to visit in the week before Christmas and got me started on the making interlined curtains; my enthusiasm had waned after making the blinds and the company and expertise she provided got me going again. Thanks also to Mr Woollydaze and my mother-in-law who have done far more than their fair share of childcare to give me the time I needed. Two hour of naptime sounds like a lot of time, but in the world of curtain-making it can take that long to sew one hem.

I had to take a few days out of the curtain-making schedule to make my Secret Santa present for the New Year gathering. The criteria changes each year and this time it was to spend no money – so Freecycle, regift, , skip diving or reusing something already in the house. I had ideas; bath bombs (needed citric acid); muffin mix (needed tropical fruit mix and a suitable jar); something from the ‘junk’ lying around the farmyard (needed welding skills and lot more time and creativity).

Too Dr WhoAttempting to stay true to the agreed principles, I decided to raid the wool stash and knit a pair of Fetching and a mobius cowl. I went searching for an aran wool. I found a super-chunky wool already knitted up as a scarf that was in the stash to be frogged. The colours were perfect for this particular friend.

I found a different pattern; Bella’s Mittens. Woollydaze Too ‘persuaded’ me to unwind, wash and hang the wool properly to try and remove the kinks (she’s a wiser, more patient person than me). Ignoring the issue of gauge, I started knitting.

Ouch, ouch, OUCH! 5mm needles plus super-chunky wool plus knitting cables is a painful combination. My gut feeling is that the wool the pattern is originally knitted in is a chunky, not a super chunky. It’s necessary to doubt the wisdom of Ravelry occasionally. I did manage but ended up with plasters covering blisters and was unable to do some of the manoeuvres in the pattern because the wool was just too thick. The finished mittens are certainly sturdy and warm but do not allow for much movement once they are on the hands. There might even have been some cheeky references to ‘oven gloves’.

 

So that was the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011. Despite all this busy-ness, the list of things to make has certainly not got any shorter. Is it supposed to? The day I survey my wool stash and find nothing in it will be a sad, sad day. I’ve finished the next project, but more about that next week. Oh, and Mr Woollydaze has been crafting too, in his own, manly way. That was my Christmas present. I’ll share that one once the installation is done.

Here’s to a happy, crafty 2011.

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Preparing for Christmas

Hello, Woollydaze here…

As advent calendars count the passing of the days in many households around the world, December passes by. For most families this is the countdown to Christmas, the anticipation of gathering together, the food and the fun. In the Woollydaze household, it’s the tick-tock of time passing as we desperately try to finish decorating before the holiday.

This is a quieter time of year on the farm so we always seem to end up decorating, culminating in a mad panic as the end of December approaches. Three years ago it was a whole 3-bedroomed house, two years ago it was Little Woolly’s bedroom, last year we had the year off due to me being ill. As the colder weather of winter starts to bite, we have to leave windows open in order to dry out plaster. The house is covered in dust so I’ve not started the Christmas cleaning and as for decorations – ha! I wish there were another, less stressful, way but there isn’t.

The lounge has progressed:

  • the walls are plastered and painted.
  • we have doors
  • we have skirting and the architrave has been bought
  • the fireplace is finished
  • the woodburning stove is being installed on Tuesday
  • the carpet is being fitted on Wednesday.

 It’s all very, very tight. The saviour of this particular project is that we’re paying for help. For the past few months we’ve employed somebody to work on this room (amongst other general tasks around the house and farmyard). There is a simple joy in coming home from a day at work to find that another job is done, and it wasn’t me who did it. However, we’re getting to the stage where I need to contribute, and I’m scared.

My first job was buying a carpet. I went for a recce last week and found enough potential carpets for Mr Woollydaze to be required to give an opinion. Time passed, more time passed, he couldn’t make it day after day, and eventually we concluded that it was down to me. Just for the record, carpet shopping in a lunchtime when you have to make a decision that day is very, very stressful. We need a 5m carpet (so that was half of the stock discounted) and it had to be deliverable before Christmas (another quarter of the stock gone). I was running around the shop having samples shown to me in approximately-the-right-colour until we found one I liked enough to say ‘yes’ and to hand over my credit card. Mr Woollydaze had better like it because we’re going to be looking at it for a good number of years. I won’t be there on the day that it’s fitted so he’s got a little time to ‘appreciate’ my tastes before telling me what he thinks.

My next job is to make the curtains, and cushions for the window seat. I also owe Mr Woollydaze four blinds/sets of curtains for his office, where he’s shivered through the three winters since we moved into the house. I have a sewing machine. I have made one set of curtains. Whilst 37 weeks pregnant. I can do this. But I’m scared.

Yesterday afternoon I started my holiday from work and went fabric shopping. It was an interesting experience. I bought two fabrics, lounge and office, from two different shops.

Lounge curtains

Office curtains

In one shop the staff were very knowledgeable and helpful. They asked me if I needed d-ring, cleats and acorns, and I said ‘yes’. I have nothing, therefore by default I need everything. I have a vague idea of how to make a roman blind but I don’t really know how the components fit together. Think of it as doing a jigsaw without knowing the final picture.

I have a behemoth of a task to complete. The only reason I’m getting on with this job now rather than putting it off again is because I have the luxury of a relatively child-free week. Little Woolly has three days at nursery when I am at home. It’s now or never. 

I’m hoping that my next post will be ‘look what I’ve done’ and ‘happy holiday’ rather than a ‘I’m hand stitching hems at 2am!’. Wish me luck. Oh, and all of our planning hadn’t factored in this:

How much snow?

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Advent, noun: the arrival of a notable person or thing

As soon as WoollyDaze and her husband announced they were expecting, I knew that Little Woolly should, one day, have an Aunty-made advent calendar of his very own (with the expectation that it be shared with future siblings). I also knew that knitting more than half an advent calendar was a route to madness – though making the first version (Ravelry link) was challening and fun, and we’re pleased with the result, I have no desire to repeat the slightly fiddly process. So when pre-printed fabric advent panels came into stock in my local fabric shop last Christmas, I did a little happy dance and promptly bought a panel and all the bits needed to make it up. And in the paper bag it languished until September this year, when it became evident that it wasn’t going to make itself.

The first step was tHand-quilted advent calendar depicting Santa holding a Christmas tree with bare brancheso take advice from my sewing advisor-cum-mum, who supplied sewing threads in the right colours and suggested that hand-sewing would give a tidier result than trying to keep to the lines using a sewing machine. The first part to be made up was the ornaments (a quick win), though I would advise ironing on the Bondaweb on top of a piece of scrap fabric, as my ironing board cover still bears the (slightly sticky) scars. Having admired the ornaments for a couple of months, I faced my fear of doing it all wrong and tackled the quilt top. At idle moments I would pick up the quilt top/wadding/scrap cotton sandwich from where it was draped over the fireguard in the living roomHand-quilted advent calendar depicting Santa holding a Christmas tree with branches covered in decorations, to complete a seam – I started in the centre in the hope that this would help the fabric not to crease with the quilting (not entirely successful). Next I sewed on the buttons, before folding over the edges and backing with a holly-themed fabric that picked up the greens in the quilted top (folding the quilt top and backing fabric to the same size took a long, long, red-wine-assisted time). And finally I finished off the ornaments by sewing 2” pieces of narrow black ribbon to the back of each, and dabbing Fraycheck over the cut ribbon edges to prevent fraying.

As you can see from the pictures, I ran out of time and the hanging mechanism is currently a skirt hanger, but I intend to rectify this at Christmas. Some wooden dowelling cut to width and attached to the back (or inside the top, if I’m feeling patient) should do the trick.

WoollyDaze and I were careful when seeking out the knitted advent calendar pattern for our nephew that we wanted to create an item to mark the passing of the days without creating the expectation of daily trinkets or chocolate. Credit is due to Nancy Halvorsen for designing such a jolly Santa and I hope Little Woolly enjoys counting down for many years to come.

Twenty-four fabric advent calendar decorationsNancy Halvorsen’s instructions:

Advent Ornaments
Materials needed

  • 24 red ½” buttons
  • 13” x 17” heavy weight fusible web
  • Black felt
  • Black crochet thread

1.      Iron the fusible web paper side up onto the wrong side of the ornaments following manufacturer’s directions. Let cool.

2.      Cut the ornaments apart leaving some cream border around each ornament.

3.      Arrange the ornaments onto the black felt and fuse with your iron following manufacturer’s instructions.

4.      Cut the ornaments out just inside of the black ornament outline, so all of the cream fabric is removed.

5.      Cut twenty-four pieces of crochet thread approximately 2” lng. Fold in half and hot glue the ends to the top back of each ornament to form the hanging loop.

6.      Sew 24 red ½” buttons to the tree on the quilt at each red berry.

Advent Quilt: Add borders, batting and backing to advent quilt as desired. Quilt as desired. Cut three 4 ½” squares for loops to hang the quilt. Fold the squares in half with the right sides together. Stitch the edge opposite the fold. Turn and press. Fold in half with raw edges together. Baste or pin to the top edge of the quilt, matching raw edges. Position one loop at the center of the quilt, and place the other two loops 1 ¼” in from the raw side edges. Bind quilt in your favourite method.*

*This instruction implies that one has made a quilt previously and therefore *have* a favourite method…

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‘Tis the season to be jolly and joyous, tra-la-la!

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Dig out Delia, find the tacky CDs… let’s get ready for Christmas! I’m feeling remarkably festive already. I think it’s because with a little one in the house, the build up feels more relevant and fun. He might not quite understand what’s going on yet, but we’ve watched ‘man’ (The Snowman) on DVD twice already and I’m sure we’ll watch it again before Christmas. The Muppets Christmas Carol has been purchased and will be viewed at some point soon.

Post It heaven

Thanks to the liberal use of Post It notes, preparations this year are going well. The Christmas cake is made and is ‘maturing’ (with the help of a bottle of brandy), the Christmas puddings are cooked, there’s stuffings (thanks, WoollyDaze Too), cooked red cabbage and sausagemeat in the freezer, the presents are mostly bought and wrapped. The turkey has yet to be ordered but my husband’s supposed to be doing that and I do keep reminding him. He thinks this is far too early to prepare for Christmas. Vegetarian Christmas dinner, anyone? I need to make and freeze mince pies, and write the Christmas cards. But all-in-all, this house might just be a panic-free zone this year. Remind me I said that on about 23rd December, won’t you?

When you were young, did you find an essential part of the countdown to Christmas was digging out the advent calendar? In our household, the decorations weren’t put in until the last Saturday before Christmas so up until then the advent calendar was the only reminder that something very exciting was approaching. We had the same advent calendar year after year. With three and then four children in the family, we followed a strict routine of opening the doors in turn and could have told you what was behind each door before it had been opened. But that’s wasn’t really the point.

Alan Dart Advent Calendar

For the next generation of youngsters in the family, we seem to be starting a tradition of making advent calendars. Three years ago WoollyDaze Too and I knitted Alan Dart’s advent calendar (Ravelry link) for our nephew. It took us forever. We went on holiday together in September and we were definitely knitting it then. I remember because I had my hand luggage searched at the airport, having packed a gift-wrapped candle as a wedding present without thinking about how that might seem a little fuse-like on an x-ray machine. In my bag was also the glittery wool that I was using as the numbers on the pockets, and that seemed more interesting and amusing to the security staff. WoollyDaze Too was knitting the background ‘present’ structure, and then we split the different shapes between us. To finish it in time, we stayed up until 4am on a Friday night at the end of November, drinking wine and eating chocolate raisins to keep us going. It’s a wonderful heirloom and something that will be treasured and I’m really glad we did it, but never again.

Therefore when the time came to create an advent calendar for Little Woolly, exactly what and how was a problem. I tentatively suggested an idea to WoollyDaze Too only to find that she’d already taken the initiative and bought a sheet of printed fabric. The result was presented mid-November without the accompanying late night beforehand. Today, Little Woolly hung the first shape. I feel I should end the story there as the making of this advent calendar is not my story, and hand over to WoollyDaze Too to continue…

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