More Christmas

I’m going to start with a Christmas miracle of sorts.

On May 31st I posted some newly-finished towels for sale in the Handwovens For Sale group on Facebook. The next day a lovely woman living in France ordered 2 of them, and decided, based on her experience, that she wanted First Class shipping. I mailed the towels on June 3rd. Keep that date in your head as we proceed.

In about a week tracking information told me the package was in Jakarta, Indonesia. And there it sat. And sat. And sat. I communicated periodically with the buyer, and on June 28th she wasn’t concerned; her experience told her it was all good. On August 3rd – a full two months after mailing – we were both concerned. I attempted to do the whole ‘missing package’ thing via USPS, but because it had been sent First Class, without insurance or Registered status, they couldn’t/wouldn’t track it once it left the country. And the woman in France had no luck on her end either. By the end of September I’d given up all hope. I figured all I could do was learn from this experience if I had other out-of-country buyers.

Then on December 28th the woman contacted me — her towels were just delivered!! Five days short of seven months since they left my house!! 😀 We were both so pleasantly surprised.

towels arrived in France


Finishing up Christmas gifts, although some packages have been delayed due to major funding problems at the USPS, the recipients should receive them today or tomorrow. Since I don’t believe either read my blog anyway, I’m finally comfortable posting pictures and information here. As I usually do, I’m going to show the things I made in chronological order.

In addition to gifts from my kitchen, I’ve made hats, fleece headbands, socks and towels, and perhaps other things that aren’t coming to mind right now. Since my two nieces live in the south, figuring out what I can make that will work for those of us in cold western New York as well as those in the southern clime is a challenge, and I like making similar things for everyone. (That must be my OCD side.) This year I decided I wanted to try my hand at beaded wristlets. I’d seen photos of them and found them rather elegant looking. A woman who teaches at the Weaving and Fiber Arts Center had offered a class on how to make them over a year ago, but I hadn’t taken it. I took a chance and emailed her, offering to buy her patterns/instructions. She graciously provided them. Thank you, Marcia Weinert!

The first pair of wristlets were for my daughter. I used a things I had in my stash – basic wool/nylon blend sock yarn in off-white and some size 8 seed beads. The beading was one of the patterns from Marcia.

tan on cream beaded wristlets

I found the wristlets easier to make than I’d thought they might be, so decided I’d make a pair for each niece and my sister. However the majority of my seed beads were size 11, too small to thread onto the yarn. So I put on my mask and my big-girl panties and made a trip to a local bead store. I didn’t really know what color yarn I’d use, or what pattern of beading, so bought a variety of beads.

The next pair would go to a niece. I didn’t want to use the same pattern, so I spent some time online looking at beaded wristlet patterns and found this one that looked complex enough to please my eye, easy enough to accomplish, and called for a number of beads that I could accomplish with my recent purchase. Because they were heading south, I dug through my stash and found some off-white sock yarn that was 45% cotton, with some wool, nylon, and elastic in the mix. I’ve made socks from this type of yarn and like it, so hoped it would be fine for more-sensitive and warmer wrists.

I used size 11 Delica beads for this pair. I had a difficult time photographing them, as there wasn’t much value or color contrast between the beads and the yarn. I honestly am not certain which niece got which pair – LOL. I THINK this pair was sent to Dallas.

baby blue beaded wristlets

I had enough left in that skein of sock yarn to make a pair for the other southern-living niece, but didn’t want to use the same beading pattern. Again I went back to the internet looking for a pattern, and after going down that rabbit hole for quite a while, I ended up playing with graph paper and a pencil till I came up with a design I liked and had enough beads for. These are size 8 beads, and I like the not-quite-monochrome nature of the finished pair, which I THINK went to Hilton Head.

cream on cream beaded wristlets

I was really enjoying myself, and these little beauties worked up relatively quickly, so next up was a pair for my sister. She lives in Buffalo so could easily use the warmth of a standard wool/nylon sock yarn. BUT. I know she’s very sensitive to wool, and while I find standard sock yarn to be fine for my feet, I wasn’t at all sure it would be soft enough for her wrists. I didn’t believe I could find what I wanted at a standard craft store, so I placed an order and did a curbside pickup at my local yarn store. Because I totally trust the quality of yarn this store sells, I was comfortable that I’d be happy with their 50/50 nylon/acrylic blend yarn without having to feel it first. And I was. I also was happy enough with the beading design I’d worked out for the last pair to do it again, this time in a size 8 peacock blue bead on black yarn. Much more eye catching.

blue and black beaded wristlets

Now the reality is that I have absolutely no idea what the younger generation will think of this as a concept. Add to that two of the three live where it’s warm, and they may simply be stuck in a drawer for a few years and then donated somewhere, but I enjoyed making them, so that’s good enough for me.

In my final holiday knitting, my daughter had asked for a specific knit hat for Christmas, in black or camel.

Michael Kors cable knit hat

It’s a Michael Kors, and in addition to the fact that the black was out of stock, I knew I could knit something similar. And I really do like knitting cables. I could have designed it myself, but would have struggled with making the decreases for the crown look good, so I again poked around online until I found a similar pattern. Then I masked up and went to my local craft store for yarn, ending up with an acrylic/alpaca blend.

black cable knit hat

I’m very happy with how the hat turned out. But while I’m confident in my knitting, it has been proven over the years that I can’t make good pompoms that hold up – but my daughter can. So I made sure I’d have a sufficient quantity of yarn left so that she can make herself a nice, full, long-lasting pompom for the top when mine falls apart. 😀

I think that’s all I’ve got to report right now. It’s the time of year for me to do the dreaded inventory. Then I think I can finally get back to actually weaving…it’s been almost 2 months since I sat at my loom!

8 comments to More Christmas

  • Jennifer Petschke

    Such beautiful and creative work! Glad the wristlets were so pleasing to make. Your towels were an inspiration and I love them. Glad they arrived in France!

    • Peg Cherre

      Thanks, Jennifer. Those towels…who’d have thought they’d make it France when they spent more than 6 months sitting in Jakarta? Amazing!

  • The wristlets and hats are wonderful – lucky family!

    • Peg Cherre

      Thanks, Cindie. I’m sure your family got some great things this year…even your cards were lovely. Hope life is smoothing out and cheering up a bit for you.

  • Wristlets, now that is something I have never heard of but am liking the thought of them. I think the light colored version with the light blue beads is really pretty as well as the black and blue combination. You are fortunate to be able to knit so well, I am a hack! Love your new hat as well.

    Good story about the French ladies traveling towels, I imagine she is very happy to have them grace her home.

    Happy New Year

    • Peg Cherre

      I’d not heard of them till the woman who teaches the class at my Center taught it. But if you google Lithuanian wristlets you’ll see some REALLY fancy ones. I know nothing about Lithuania, and am very much NOT a follower of Renaissance stuff, but they remind me of that era. The knitting of them is all garter stitch. No purling, just knitting. Easy peasy.

  • Judy T

    Oh how I LOVE my wristlets Peg! And I even wore them this morning on my daily walk. They’re beautiful to look at and warm and comfy on my wrists. Thank you!!! And I also love getting to see the ones you’ve mailed for the girls. I bet they’ll be big hits for all of them.

    • Peg Cherre

      Thanks, Judy. I’m glad you like them. I’ll be interested to hear what the southern girls think about the whole concept.

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