Pre-Season Speed Knitting

On October 6 I cast on a sweater as part of 30-Day knit-a-long.  On November 4, I cast off, sewed on buttons, then removed the buttons (which I thought overpowered the pretty cabled bands of the sweater), and washed and blocked the garment.  This experience was surprisingly not overly taxing. Worsted-weight yarn knits up pretty quickly, and there was quite a bit of suited-for-simultaneous-TV-watching stockinette stitch employed in this design.  The main problem with my participating in this KAL was its timing.  I finished the sweater on November 4.  That fact means that I now have less than two months to knit Christmas presents!  And due to some indulgence in travel and yarn shops this past year, I intend to use my stash to make presents for practically everyone on my gift-giving list, save my two teenaged sons (who, at their ages, don't see any value in handmade items).

On top of holiday knitting, there is also the whirl of my holiday social obligations:  the annual faculty White Elephant potluck luncheon and gift exchange and a few small lunch or dinner get-togethers with a a friend or two. Perhaps I should be thankful that there aren't a slew of  glittering holiday parties booked on my calendar, as I might actually have time to finish some holiday knitting in time for Christmas.  

This past weekend, I did have some social activity on my calendar, though, as I'd invited an old friend (and former co-worker) I hadn't seen since last spring over for coffee.  After a visit, we attended a small Scandinavian festival held near my home.  I have some Scandinavian heritage, as my great-grandmother emigrated from Sweden to the United States when she was thirteen-years-old. She traveled on the ship to Ellis Island by herself, carrying a small copper coffee pot and a basket of eggs; the coffee pot traveled well and is still in my possession, but the eggs went bad on the journey and had to be discarded.  I never knew her, but her joie de vivre and strong passions make up family stories. Apparently, she used to faint at will after Sunday lunch at my grandmother and grandfather's house, so that she could avoid helping with the dishes.  I'm not sure if she was a knitter or not, but maybe, in addition to my red hair and Sarah Bernhardt tendencies, remnants of her Swedish genes have given me some skill with knitting needles, as knitting talent seems ubiquitous in Scandinavian cultures.  

Here Elfrida is dressed up for a Japanese
tea ceremony.  She was six-feet tall--I definitely
did not inherit the height gene from her.  
Even the small Scandinavian festival I attended provided a fix for my fiber addiction. Knitwear in various forms--from Christmas Santa dolls with knitted caps to Fair Isle stockings were at nearly every booth, even though this event was not fiber- or yarn-themed. 

I loved these socks for sale at the festival, but the old, "I-can-make-these-
myself" thoughts took over my mind, preventing me from making a purchase.  

Taking a class in Fair Isle knitting is on my to-do list.  

Mr. and Mrs. Claus sport knitted garb.  

Happy Hills Alpaca Farm had a booth at the Scandinavian festival.  

I ate a bit at the festival, but behaved myself as far as knitting-related purchases.  Even though we'd indulged in some homemade scones slathered with apple butter with our coffee at my house, when we were out, my friend and I shared some smoked salmon with dill on rye and a few Norwegian meatballs. I'm not sure why there weren't Swedish?  Since overeating and the holidays go hand in hand, this day was a fitting prelude to the season.  

I added dried cranberries to my scones and served them with apple butter and
 pear jam.  I found the recipe here.  

I came home from the festival with a few cookies for my sons and inspiration to get started on holiday knitting.  


  1. Your KAL sweater is gorgeous - you must be so pleased with it! Fascinated to read about your great-grandmother and what she brought from Sweden - how lovely that you've still got the coffee pot! Your scones look wonderful - perfect for an autumnal tea time! And going to a Scandinavian festival sounds a great way to spend a weekend! Lovely to chat to you on Saturday - talk soon! E x


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