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Friday, 7 November 2014


It's November, and that officially means we can start to think, and talk about Christmas without feeling the slightest bit guilty! I groan inwardly as huge tins of Quality Street, Christmas wrap, cards and baubles begin to appear in October, but November feels more like Winter, Christmas is only a matter of 6 weeks away at best and is the perfect opportunity for us knitters to get planning our gift knitting.

This year my gift knitting has all but been taken care of by the launch of our latest book - Winter Knitting. I confess it actually felt as though Christmas had come early when I received my own copy - it feels like the most wonderful gift, and although I knew all of the patterns that went into the book, I sat down with my hot coffee one afternoon and browsed at my leisure.

The outcome, of course, was that I immediately wanted to knit everything in the book! As I turned the last page I realised that I had subconsciously been choosing items and colourways for specific people, and wondering who, among my knitterly friends who also love a book like this. That too was easy, as I know that every one of them would cherish Winter Knitting and find myriad projects to keep them happily knitting through the dark days of Winter.
Snow Storm Wristwarmers in Forget-me-not and Snow

Faced with so many things I urgently wanted to knit, I decided to start with something small and relatively quick for some instant gratification. The Snow Storm Wristwarmers are the perfect small project to begin with and the fairisle pattern is so typically Scandinavian which is always so evocative of crisp, snowy mornings for me! I choose a classic combination of midnight and snow (with my Mum in mind - hope she isn't reading this . . .) and set about my knitty business.

I knitted the rib in midnight and looked to the chart to begin the fairilse body of the mitt, realising almost at once that the chart didn't match the ones shown in the picture. My heart sank a little, as I could see that the chart was actually the one included in the cowl pattern which is opposite to the wristwarmers. No matter, I thought as the mitts will match the cowl which I'm almost certainly going to knit too. So, I continued faithfully knitting as per the pattern - the second picture below is my wristwarmer blocking - beautiful, if different to the one shown in the book.
Snow Storm Wristwarmers and Snow Storm Cowl both in Forget-me-not and Snow

My first finished Wristwarmer in Midnight and Snow

Curiosity had me wondering how the midnight and snow would look in the same layout as the pair shown in the book, and so before I began the second wristwarmer I embarked on a mitten-sized swatch with the colours reversed. This is easily managed, just by logging in your brain which colour square represents which colour yarn and so I didn't have any difficulty in switching them around.

The swatch with the chart reversed nearest to the bottom of the picture

Keeping my place on the chart is an entirely different matter though, and as you can see in the pic below, my top tip for keeping your place (even when you put down your knitting, or a small person inadvertently picks up your beautiful new book) is to use Washi Tape which is easily removable but will restick too. Mine is Christmas themed - just to remind me that I'm knitting gifts!

Christmas themed Washi Tape keeping my place on the chart

It seems that Winter Knitting has inspired a flurry of gift knitting in the MillaMia team. Tanya cast on her own version of the Snow Storm Wristwarmers too, in a beautiful combination of storm and lilac blossom. As you can see, she has reversed the chart so that the main colour storm is transitioning from the rib into the main body and the lighter lilac blossom is the contrast colour.

Tanya's Snow Storm Wristwarmers in Storm and Lilac Blossom

I wonder if these will make their way to a friend or family member this Christmas, or whether Tanya, like me is going to find it too hard to gift them away . . . !

(posted by Max, with help from Tanya!)

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