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Hugs and Kisses Aran Stocking Complete

country living family food knitting stockings yarn

Fireflys Barn on a Rainy MorningGreen. My world is filled with green. I come from a place where we had about two days of green each year (Los Angeles) and I find myself in a place so lush and rich with water and soil nutrients that even the brown is green. Each day we have some beautiful sunshine with blue skies and puffy clouds skittering along followed, at some time day or night, by rain. This morning it rained early, but now the sun is shinning and reflecting off of the sweet water on the streets, on the lawn, and on the corn field. Fireflys Willow PondOur pond grows deeper daily ... unfortunately, our septic system has backed up a bit because the ground is so saturated there is no where for it to drain. Oh well, so it goes. I am told to avoid running the washing machine for a few days to give it time to drain. Luckily I can still take showers ... I am so spoiled! As for knitting--first of all, I want to say I made it. For those of you who have followed the progress of the stocking I have been knitting for my husband, I did not run out of Winter White. All I had left was a tiny little ball, but ... I did make it through to the toe. Whew! [Note: I won a blue ribbon for this stocking at our agricultrual fiar on October 1st. Info on that posted in another posting, for your info.] Hand Knit Hugs and Kisses Aran Christmas StockingFor more information about some of the details of knitting this project, see my blog of 7 Sep 06. This stocking was knit using the "Hugs and Kisses Aran Stocking" pattern on page 57 in Christmas Stockings: 18 Holiday Treasures to Knit from Interweave Press; designer Dee Lockwood. I used Size U.S. 6 dpns for the cuff, and Size U.S. 5 dpns for the leg as called for in the instructions (knit on four dpns, so two sets are needed to have a total of five of each to work with). The yarn is Berroco's Ultra Alpaca in Winter White and Cardinal. The pattern stitches include 2x2 ribbing, OXOX cable, 2x1 twisted ribbing, and latticed spindle cable. I found the directions to be thorough but for one exception: the pattern stitch on needles #1 and #3 continue through the heel and the instep, whereas the pattern stitches on needles #2 and #4 do not continue through the heel. That's all fine, but confusion can occur after you knit and turn the heel and pick up stitches to continue on toward the foot. At this point the author merely says that you might not be at the same place in the pattern stitch on needle #1 as you are on needle #3. If you do not keep track of where you left off on needle #3, it can be disorienting when you start working that needle again. Hand Knit Hugs and Kisses Aran Christmas StockingTo avoid confusion, write a note to yourself stating exactly which row you ended off with on needle #3 before working the heel on needle #1. The hanger is a knitted I-cord, which is a pretty cool detail I believe. You cast on a few stitches on dpns and knit across but then instead of turning, you slide the stitches to the end of the needle and pull the yarn across the back, then knit across. You end up with a sturdy cord that can hold up a stocking full of goodies! The finished product is wonderfully cushy to hold and squeeze. When I finished it last evening I gave it to my husband so he could give it a squeeze, which he did. He thought I was being a little silly, but this is the first time anyone has knitted something for him, so he wasn't aware that squeezing the completed item was a part of the ritual and celebration of calling it a "done". If you would like to see photographs of other Christmas stockings I have knit using patterns from the same book, please leave a comment so I can get an idea of how much interest there is in this topic. At the end of this month we are going to an Agricultural Fair at the country village and museum I have spoken of in other blogs. They are having various competitions and I decided to join in the old fashioned fun and enter some items of my own. I will be entering baking soda biscuits (my grandmother's recipe from her farm, tweaked to suit my baking style), pumpkin pie (my grandmother's pie crust recipe and my filling recipe), several photographs I shot while in the village recently, and this hand knit Christmas stocking. I am not entering the competition to be competitive, to tell you the truth. I am entering to be supportive of the event and for the fun of participation. I feel certain there are many women around here who have skills far beyond mine in both cooking and knitting, so I am not anticipating bringing home a ribbon; I will, however, enjoy spending a day in good wholesome company with my husband in that beautiful and historical country village. ~firefly

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