Only Three Hundred Tea Lights

Just a quick one from me, since the bulk  of my day was taken up by an epic trip to Ikea, in which Joe and I tried (and failed) to buy stuff there without falling victim to the siren call of the bulk bags of tea lights. I am helpless in the face of Ikea candles.  There’s something about the darkness of this time of year that only candles can spare you from, and we light them often, to drive the dreariness out of the corners of the house, and make the world we live in sparkly and cozy again.  As the darkness falls, the candles come out.

tealights 2014-12-08

(That picture, by the way, was taken just an hour before I hit “post” on this – at about 4:30pm It is dark here, indeed.)

Today though, in the little daylight that reigned, I finished my Indian Feathers (modified a fair bit –  more about that tomorrow) and set it to block on the spare bed, conveniently stripped for washing before the ladies all come home for Christmas.

beforeblockingindianfeathers 2014-12-08

(I’ve always called my three daughters “the girls”, but as they got older, my Uncle Tup took to calling them “the ladies” as a collective.  I can’t think of a time that he didn’t speak of them as though they came as a trio, which I suppose, they rather do.) I used blocking wires to pull out the top edge, and pinned each point with a t-pin.

blockingindianfeathers2 2014-12-08

Please pardon the odd pink cast to the photos.  The room has pink walls and a bright pink curtain (holdover from when one of the ladies occupied it during a pink phase) and it gave a queer pink cast to all the photos that I didn’t notice until it was too dark to take them again.

duringblock 2014-12-08

blockingindianfeathers 2014-12-08

The answer to blocking this was (as always) patience and a little time. (And an audio book.) I threaded the flexible wire through the i-cord bindoff at the top, and then it was a quick (ha!) matter of pinning each point.  It will be dry in the morning, and then there’s another gift, ready to be boxed and wrapped.  I have a rather lofty goal of having Christmas all in the bag by the 20th. I’m determined to be knitting for me on Christmas Eve.  (We’ll see if that’s laughable or not.)

What’s Luis hanging today?

The snowman.

snowman 2014-12-08

Or, as he calls it, Senor de Nieve.  (Mister of snow.  I take it that Spain is not a particularly snowy place, and the language falls down in spots.)  Carlos figures he picked that one because he’s wishing for snow, which I think he’s almost alone in.  Soon, I’ll welcome it – we’ve certainly already had a dump or two, but it warmed here and there, and it’s gone – leaving behind only demoralizing chunks of ice. I think Luis is coming a little early on this one, if he’s bucking for a white Christmas.  I used this pattern for the snowman (sort of) and mine came out totally wonky.  His eyes are a little crooked, and his hat doesn’t stay on straight, but he looks like every slightly odd snowman I ever made when I was little, using branches, rocks and leaves, so I left him as he was. If Luis gets a chance to make one, I bet it will be a little dodgy too.

Gifts for Knitters Day 8

Could there be a more appropriate day to advocate for blocking stuff? I think not.  Your knitter needs blocking stuff, unless they already have it.  Look around the house, and see what you don’t see.  I’m a brand new big fan of the Inspinity Deluxe Ultra fine blocking wire kit. (That’s what I’m using above, and it works a treat.) I also have, use and adore the Handworks set of dressing wires.  If your knitter has those already, think about getting them a steamer. (I don’t have one (though my family could note that from this list) but Debbi swears by this one.) Your knitter can’t possibly not need a passel of t-pins, or a set of blocking mats, or even (and I love this one, because I love to block on the bed) a blocking cloth, that lays out a grid over a regular surface, so that they can make nice, straight lines.  (Your knitter, while they may have tidiness issues in other areas, appreciates orderliness in blocking. Trust me.)

55 thoughts on “Only Three Hundred Tea Lights

  1. “Senor” is a bigger title than “Mister,” although it’s used in some of the same occasions. Think of the wee white man as “Lord of Snow.”

  2. Good luck on the Christmas-by-the-20th! That is indeed an extremely lofty goal, though since you’ve already checked the Long Range Planning Box, I hope it’s a relatively realistic one? If not, you have three days of padding there too.

    I just found out that the recipient of one of my gifts will be in town earlier than I expected, so I’d like to try to get that done soon. Er, I should probably start it first…

  3. What a beautiful gift. Luis is not alone in wishing for snow. This is my first US winter… I moved over here mid year. I’m from Perth, Western Australia, where it doesn’t snow!

  4. I’m so impressed by what blocking does to lace. Perhaps that’s because I’ve never knitted lace, and rarely block since I mostly knit with acrylics. I know, what a Philistine I am. That’s why I love watching your projects.

  5. The shawl is absolutely divine! I am enchanted by the bits of sparkle in the beads. What a lucky, lucky recipient! And “wonky” can be code for “quirky charm”. 😀

  6. Pingback: Only Three Hundred Tea Lights | Yarn Buyer

  7. I love that candle photo…I love having my tree up and getting those mini lights plugged in as much as possible. I have some big candles in lanterns, so maybe I’ll light them tonight…Particularly since it’s 4:13pm MST here right now…And the sun’s nearly fully sunk down below the horizon. *sigh*

    Good luck getting done by the 20th! That’s my goal, too!!!! (Well, 20th/21st.)

    Katie =^..^=

  8. I see nothing wonky about Senor Snowman, although maybe that’s a testament to my own wonkiness. (That’s a word now, I’ve decided.)
    We’re about to get the big north east storm this week, is that supposed to hit Canada too? Good luck if it is!

  9. The wonky snowman is the handmade touch. In some cultures, a mistake is deliberately made in the handiwork (I believe the Navajo do that in their weavings) because only God (or the Divine Spirits, whatever works for you) is perfect. Pretend you made him wonky on purpose. Which you sort of did. I’m still utterly charmed seeing what Luis picks each day. My kids are old enough that I have to remind them about the Advent calendar, and sometimes we forget for a few days. But they still wanted one (we actually have two – one Lego and one traditional chocolate. They alternate who gets what.).

  10. I love the links to all the goodies and the steamer is now in my Amazon cart, although I have plans to use it first to steam off a wallpaper border in my new house!! Thanks Steph, it’s just what I wanted 🙂

  11. I understand the dread about the gloomy nights. I live in Tasmania, so our winter days are very short as well (we are so close to the South Pole). In saying this, since our seasons are the opposite of yours, we are enjoying very long days at the moment, with Christmas being close to the longest day of the year. So Christmas eve is usually spent outdoors (if the weather permits), enjoying summer temperatures and dusk at about 10pm. I am almost done with my Christmas knitting. I have high hopes that wrapping will be done by the weekend for most of the presents (no, I do NOT see it happening, since I have a few things to block myself beforehand). Maybe we should organise you a knitting trip here over (your) winter so you can enjoy a few more warm days in Australia?

  12. Thanks for all the pattern links, it will take the work out of making them for next year’s Christmas party favors. I knitted red Santa hats/sweater onto wine corks, painted black dots for eyes. Tea lights?? I find they burn out before the evening is over. You might want to get the “fake” candles that have a light in them.

  13. Pretty, pretty, pretty — the “Indian Feathers”, that is…and the candlelight too. I am also a sucker for tea-lights and votive candles…use them year ’round. No Ikea nearby so the Dollarama and Wal-Mart have to fill the gap. My daughter used to treat me to “Party Lites” which are particularly nice…and with practice, one can knit simple stuff by candlelight… .

  14. I love the wonky snowman! I think he looks like he’s either winking or like he may have tippled just a bit of egg nog. Could go either way.

  15. I enjoy the gift ideas but I really can’t see paying $29 for printed grid material when the tried and true idea of using gingham fabric from the craft store works as well.

  16. I too have succumbed to the lure of bulk bags of tea lights. Three years ago. Still working through them….. As for Mister of Snow – where is the LOVE THAT button.

  17. I left work today at 4:40, and it was full dark out. PITCH black. And yet, there were cars (mostly black ones) driving around with no lights on. Weirdos.

    I think you’re doing great on the Christmas list!

  18. A trip to Ikea is not complete without buying a few packages of tea lights and at least the meatballs and fries with gravy and lingnion berry sauce. And the drink you proclaim as being water but really you choose the lingnion berry juice instead. It is all about the TRADITION!

  19. Remember to use a strong magnet to make sure you get any stray T-pins out of that mattress before you put the sheet on. You don’t want one of the ladies to be sticking stray T-pins in you!

    Glad to hear you’ll have all three of the ladies home for Christmas, weather permitting. And yes, I’m dreading winter too. Here, the sun is already setting by 4 pm. The long nights and overcast days are already getting to me :-(!

    Ikea is a good place to shop for candles and candelholders. If you can’t make it there for some reason, try Target — they also have a pretty good selection and good prices.

  20. about tea-lights – don’t go to a Party-Lite home demo “party” – You will be even more crazed! and scented!!!! (…. and, need I mention, broke!)

  21. The tea lights look lovely … No candles here though due to a curious toddler … But he will love a snowman and won’t care if it is wonky. I’ve been looking for a good pattern … Thank you for pointing me in a good direction.

  22. Be nice tell them they can go to Canadian Tire (at least us Canadians can) and buy interlocking foam floor mats to block with. I’m sure there’s all sorts of stores that sell them.

  23. The little snowman is adorable, they’re supposed to be wonky, it’s more realistic that way 🙂

    I imagine you’re excited about having your “ladies” home for Christmas. I have a little girl and am expecting another, sadly I think two will be it for us but I quite like that it’s going to be “the girls” and eventually “the ladies” instead of just “the kids”. We also have a bedroom that has pink curtains, I am hopeful she’ll outgrow her fondness for it with time though she has taken an interest in blue lately.

  24. Lovely Advent calendar! So fun to see what Luis picks each day.
    I had emailed you asking about steamers for gift ideas, so I was glad to see your link to a steamer. I may have just emailed that info to my husband. I’m helpful like that!

  25. I’d be wishing for blocking wires, except this year we’re getting a new home for Christmas! All other “wishes” and wants pale by comparison. I love your snowman, definitely has a hand made look & that makes him charming.

  26. It would be wonderful if I could be articulate about how beautiful, and how beautifully thought-out, your knitted gifts are (and this includes that spectacular Advent Calendar), but I have to admit I’m stunned at how much you can get done! What a whirlwind you are! Also, my thanks for pointing out the Indian Feathers shawl. I love Holiday Yarns, and missed Jen very much when I couldn’t make any of the fall shows. I always look forward to her kits.

  27. It’s one of those days. Therefore, I just re-read most of your archives from December 2004.

    I feel better now having read that, but I have a sudden urge to knit mittens – Latvian mittens – for all 22 people I will see at Christmas.

    It won’t happen, of course, but it’s lovely to think about. I love being Harlotly crazy.

  28. Another good resource for blocking pads, pins and wires is Knitpicks.com. Great prices and good quality items I use all of the time!
    Thank you for sharing so very much with all of us. I am breathless with the volume of your creations and links and ideas! Merry Christmas!!!

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