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Ye Olde Christmas Season

I'm still knitting for Christmas. I had to stop for a couple days because Nicky bit my hand Thanksgiving Day; it swelled up bigger than Montana and hurt like the Dickens, but it has gotten better, and now I am back to the Christmas knitting. 

So, in an effort to distract you from the lack of knitting in my blog, I thought I would show you something I found. Did you know that if you go to the Library of Congress, select photos, prints and drawings for the format in the search box and type in "Christmas", you can look at a jillion Christmas pictures from the 1800s to today? There is everything from posters, old Christmas cards that somebody in government received, old photos, everything. There is just a TON of stuff. I spent a lot of time looking at it, and I only got through about 19 pages -- out of 113! Here is just a smattering:

Future Xmas 1896

Future Christmas 1896


U. S. Christmas 1899

Stereo card print 1897

Photographic print on stereo card, 1897

Santa telephoning for more supplies1897

Santa telephoning for more supplies, 1897

(Some things never change!)

Red ross nursewith Xm deco 1910-1930

Red Cross nurse with soldier and Christmas decorations, sometime between 1910 - 1930.

Santa receives pilot's license from ASComm1927

Santa receiving aeroplane pilot's license from the Assistant Secretary of Commerce, 1927. (I am glad Santa is a safe and legal flyer!)

Wash xmas shopping Woolworths 1941

Washington, DC Christmas shopping at Woolworth's Five and Ten, 1941

Store window display 1940:41

Store window display, 1940/41

Christmas, it seems, is still the same as it always was. And that is reassuring! 

You may note that if you go to, my 2014 Christmas Musical Advent Calendar selections will be at the top of my posts for the next 25 days; you need to download Spotify to play them, but it is free! 

For Fun: Two Games for Your iPhone

Everyone is knitting frantically to get stuff done for Christmas, so you may just want to file this post away til after the holidays. The only reason I'm putting this post out now is because I, too, am knitting for Christmas, so I can't talk about my knitting! 

I got a new iPhone recently -- my Verizon plan renewed and I traded in my lowly iPhone 4 for a new iPhone 6+, and therefore I needed a couple new games to put on it! 

I looked in the app store and found Sailor's Dream, by Swedish Developer Simogo AB. It is a 'game', sort of, but there are no points to win, or  monkeys to jump over or angry birds to squawk at you. You wander around finding clues, memories about something that happened in a cottage by the sea. The thing is, I found myself getting sucked into the world, the sea, the beauty and peace of it, the music... the music is so hauntingly beautiful. This game is as much an interactive album as it is a game. 

This takes at least a week to play; you get a bottle containing a song every day for a week. I found to my chagrin that if you miss a day, you will have to wait for that day to come around again! I have found all the bottles, but I am still trying to figure out how to get to the last part of the game ... but not very hard. I like just wandering around on the sea! 

This game would be good for anyone touched by the sea. If the ocean feels like part of you, you will probably get sucked into it like I did. Sailor's Dream costs $3.99, about the same as a pattern on Ravelry. And it's so worth it.

The second game I bought is Monument Valley by UsTwo. It has a little girl (Ida) running around and squawking birds that are crows, but it is so much more that that! This game is a piece of art as much as a game, an Escheresque-world that you walk through, encountering harmlesss but noisy crows that keep you from getting where you need to go, and giant yellow totem-pole-like friends who give everything for you. This puzzle game is simple, beautiful, mind-bending in the nicest way, and it really makes you think. And, it is fun for all ages to play, from little kids to adults, who can play together, solving puzzles and helping Ida get where she needs to go. It has been a long time since I experienced a game like this! 

The art work has simple lines and colors, which set it up for being like an Escher painting that you just walk into and play in. Fans have made a gallery of Monument Valley art which you can see at Monument Friends. The game costs $3.99 for 10 chapters, with an expansion pack that is $1.99 for an additional 8 new chapters (such a deal!), and I just found out today that Ida's (Red) Dream is available until December 7 for 99¢, the proceeds donated to fight AIDS. I snapped that up right away! I am lingering over the last chapter in the expansion pack, but now I willl have to finish it, I guess :)

OK. Back to knitting!

Odds & Ends

Remember when I started my Haiku scarf a month ago? Well, I finished it in early November, but never got around to measuring its final size. It's 7 1/2" wide and about four and a half feet in length, an average size for a scarf. But, that is the resting length of this little beauty; as you wear it (or if you block it), the garter  stitch will lengthen enormously, doubling in length. 

Scarf 1

Scarf 2

I love how sheer it is. I love that it kinda floats in the air, but is very warm around your neck. 

To restate the pattern: 40 stitches, size 8 (5.0 mm) needles, knit every row, bind off when you are nearly done. That's it. Perfect. I knit it very lackadaisically, and it still was only two weeks to make. (I knit a ton of Other Stuff in the meantime.) A focused knitter knitting only this scarf could probably make it in three days -- I'm guessing here, but still. 

One thing about the yarn that you might need to watch out for -- like any fine mohair/silk blend, it is very difficult to tink back more than a few stitches, so while it makes good TV knitting, be careful you don't inadvertantly pull the wrong needle or drop a stitch and discover it four inches down, like I did. Let's just say, I had a lot of ends to weave in, rather than just the two I had planned on!

In other news, I am now on Ello, a new social media place to hang out in, with no ads and no creepy big brother watching over me, cough *Facebook* cough. You can read their manifesto here. Ello is still in beta, so that is why you need to be invited to join, and it still has that new car smell, sorta like Ravelry did in the beginning. If you want an invite, email me at yarndemon at gmail dot com; if you are there already, I'm at

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.~Nathaniel Hawthorne


Baby Cables Fingerless Mitts

The last Unique One Knitting Weekend that I went to, back in March 2010, I gave out this pattern for baby-cable fingerless mittens -- they are quick, easy mitts and are a warming touch when the air gives you a chill. They are also a good gift to make for Christmas, and since some people are thinking about that, I thought I would put the pattern here. I somehow dimly recall doing that once before, but I can't find where I did it, so I'll put it on my blog once again with a link on the side. Happy knitting!


Baby Cables Fingerless Mittens

Materials: 2 skeins USDK yarn (light dk weight, 100% wool, 88 yards per skein) size 2 double pointed needles

tapestry needle

Size: womenʼs small (you could make a medium or a large by going up one or two needle sizes; USDK is squishy, so it works well on a size 2 needle, but it would work very well on up to a size 6 needle.)

Gauge: 7 sts and 9 3/4 stitches per inch over stockinette stitch on size 2 needles Pattern Stitches:

Baby Cable Pattern (worked in the round):

Rounds 1, 2, & 4: (K2, P2) around. Round 3: (RT, P2) around

RT = knit into the 2nd stitch on the left hand needle, but do not take the stitch off; knit into the first stitch on the left hand needle, and then take both stitches off.

Baby Cable Pattern (worked in rows): Rows 1, 2 & 4 : K1, (K2, P2) to last stitch, K1.

Row 3: K1, (RT, P2) to last stitch, K1.


Cast on 60 sts. Work Baby Cable Pattern in the round for 3 1/2 inches or desired length to bottom of thumb. End having just completed either Round 2 or Round 4, and increase one stitch at each end of last round.

Create thumb opening: Stop working in the round, and continue working on double pointed needles, but going back and forth (when you reach the end of the round, turn the work and go back the other direction.) Keeping Baby Cable pattern as established, work Baby Cable pattern worked in rows (see pattern stitch above) until piece measures 5 3/4 inches from beginning. Decrease one stitch at each end of last row.

Finish top of mitt: Join work back into a round again and keep working Baby Cable Pattern as established, working in rounds again, until mitten measures 1 1/2 inches above where you joined it, or desired length to top of mitten. Bind off loosely in pattern and weave in ends. 



Sorry I haven't been blogging much; I have been a flake of late. I have been knitting, but it is for Christmas presents. And, it snowed.

More snow

Recently I was invited by Stitch Craft Create to do a blog hop focused on Christmas, covering all sorts of different crafts. They have a slew of Handmade Christmas crafts that you can get from their website. They even have .pdf books, patterns and courses to take! 

I chose crochet as my craft; I don't really crochet much, but every now and then I do a little. They had a book that was Crochet Your Christmas Baubles: 25 Christmas Decorations to Make. It's a marvelous book, and has baubles divided into several categories: Sant's Grotto, Frozen Winter Wonderland, Fairy Tale, Scandinavian Christmas, and White Christmas. There are five patterns in each category. I thought about making a Rudolph the Reindeer...


... or a Cute Snowman...


.... but ended up making a snowflake from the White Christmas category. This was my inspiration:

Snowflake bunting

I got some 3/2 pearl cotton and a B/2.25mm hook from Halcyon Yarn in Bath. They were out of the unbleached white yarn that I wanted, but they had a pretty, icy-looking light blue, "King Blue", that would be perfect. 

I started the snowflake and realized right away that my snowflake didn't resemble the picture in the book, and then it hit me. Of course it doesn't resemble the picture; the book is printed in the UK! They are using British crochet terms! So when they say to "dc 12 times in the ring", I would single crochet, not double crochet. This page has a list of US to UK conversions for crochet. Once I figured that out, it was smooth sailing.

Flake in process

This is my flake in progress, with my "right hand" crochet hook holder. As there are only 8 rounds in the snowflake, I was done fairly quickly!

Flake done

It's so pretty! That's the picture straight off the crochet hook. After a little starch and a press with the iron, this was the result (Nicky provided the background):

Starched flake

In the book, you make a bunch of these and then string them together to make a bunting or garland, which I might do, after Christmas. It actually makes a good winter decoration, done with light blue, silver and white snowflakes. I also thought of this:

Flake coaster

It makes a perfect coaster!

Go check out StitchCraft Create, and check out the blog hop -- crafty people everywhere take part in this!