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Happy Christmas!

Posted on December 24 2017

Christmas has finally arrived and this is the first Christmas Eve, for as long as I can remember, that I am not patrolling the supermarkets at the 'crack of dawn' - I did that yesterday instead!

As this will be my last newsletter for 2017 and it is a busy time for most of you, I propose to keep my news short.
When the extreme cold hit us a couple of weeks ago, I designed a very chunky, easy-to-knit cowl which would make a great beginner's project or a quick knit for anyone with some experience. It is really cosy and, although buttons are added, there is no need to create button holes as they slip through the stitches easily and so you can fasten wherever suits. If you have any wool left over, you can also knit a matching headband.
Another very easy project which will keep you warm during winter is to knit a hat and I can thoroughly recommend Mrs Moon Plump SuperChunky. This yarn is unbelievably soft and luxurious and is made from the highest quality, sustainable superfine merino and baby alpaca fibres. Just one skein will complete a hat and you can now buy ready-made pom-poms from us in the full range of colours. The pom-poms are attached by ribbon and are easy to swop. So why not knit yourself a hat and then buy a couple of pom-poms to change the look?
The hat above is knitted in rib but a very popular pattern from Mrs Moon is the Swirl Hat. The yarn used  is Blueberry Muffin which is a brilliant description for this glorious colour. As you can see from the image, just about any colour pom-pom would make a stunning finish to this hat.

My final easy knit is for the home. Alice made this garter stitch cushion cover in a couple of evenings and finished it off with (more!) pom-poms. Her Christmas project is to reverse the colours to make another cushion cover. I seem to have lots of cushions which just need a face-lift and this is a very easy way to achieve that. Adjacent to the garter stitch cushion is another design knitted in moss stitch with a contrast i-cord attached. It was my first attempt at this technique and involved watching several YouTube videos......I am going to suggest to Melanie that perhaps she could show us how to do it properly in the Professional Finishing Workshop we are holding in May.
It is always great when someone recommends a designer and I have been looking at the designs of Isabell Kraemer recently which ended up with me downloading several of her patterns. I am currently underway with her 'Beloved Berlin' cowl knitted in our own No. 2 yarn although having decided it was going to be mega-long I ripped it out and have now started again on half the suggested number of stitches. Hopefully, it will be finished by the time of my next newsletter so I will let you know if it was successful! At the same time, I downloaded a pattern to make for my son who has been nagging me to make him a sweater for Christmas - fortunately, he forgot to mention which year! As all her work seems to be from 'top down', a relatively new process for me, I will be facing a new knitting challenge in 2018....

I have written in the past about the health benefits of knitting and I would just like to share this video link  in which Betsan Corkhill explains more about the therapeutic effects of knitting. In it she says that her biggest hurdle to getting her foot in the door with doctors, clinics, health care workers and neuro-scientists was the 'K' word. Instead, she called knitting a 'Bilateral, Rhythmic, Psychosocial Intervention!' As you may have gathered, her work really interests me because I am keen to promote all the benefits of this wonderful craft which is so easily accessible to everyone.

I would just like to finish on a totally unrelated 'safety' note. My brother, who is an electrician, has always told me never to leave appliances (washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers) on whilst I am out of the house or at night. I had proof of his wisdom last week when I went out into the utility room to be engulfed in smoke from my tumble dryer. More importantly, I had assumed that my burglar and fire alarm systems (both checked regularly) were fully operational.....what I now know is that our only smoke alarm is located on the first floor landing and by the time that had sounded it would have been too late! I have not only replaced my tumble dryer but I no longer put my dishwasher on at night and have added smoke alarms downstairs.......if you take nothing else from this newsletter then please check out your own fire precautions.
 
Ending on a happier note, may I take this opportunity to wish you all a 
Very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Healthy 2018.

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