Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Christmas With the Goddesses

Filed under: Family,Holidays — folkcat at 4:44 pm on Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Last night was the annual Craft Goddess Christmas party, held at the last Craft Circle night before Christmas each year.

Everyone brings some food to share. This year, my contribution was some frozen hors d’ouvres – spicy beef turnovers, garlic potato puffs, and spinach potato puffs – which were quickly snapped up. Vicki brought her luscious homemade teriyaki chicken wings. Anne’s contribution was a batch of scrumptious pumpkin muffins. And Bea brought some unusual homemade candy – chinese noodles mixed with melted chocolate and peanuts, and formed into clusters. It was surprisingly tasty, and seems so easy to make!

Craft Goddesses also give good gifts!

From Vicki, I received:

Vicki's Gifts, 2006

A ball of Classic Elite Mohair in dark purple; a Cherry Tree Hill Pattern to knit a Carnival Glass Shawl; and an 8-oz. skein of Cherry Tree Hill merino lace in the Martha’s Vineyard colorway. Also in the gift bag, but not pictured here, was an enameled Laurel Burch cat button.

The shawl pattern is one I would have picked for myself, if I’d ever seen it. Which I hadn’t. And the lace yarn may well be enough to knit two of them, if I’m reading the instructions correctly! The only disappointment here is that the page protector containing the pattern has the “front cover” (the picture and title of the piece), the instructions pages that tell you what materials you need and what order to work in – but the charts are completely missing! Either they never got put into the protector, or some shady customer at the store Vicki shopped at decided to save a whole $5 by swiping them!

I didn’t discover this until after everyone went home last night, but I’ve let Vicki know, and she’s going to collect the pattern from me and go back to get it straightened out. Meanwhile, I’ll just keep dreaming about knitting it…

Bea took a more whimsical approach.

Bea's Gifts, 2006

Each of us got a tub full of Perler Beads, with all the instructions and the shapes to arrange them on. Mine has a summer theme, and comes with two different flower shapes and a butterfly. I was “too old” for Perler Beads by the time I remember seeing them around, and never had a chance to try them out. Now I can!

The canister on the right contains an apple-cinnamon muffin mix. I’ll be making these up Friday night so Gryphon and I can have them for breakfast on Saturday, the day we start the six hour plus drive to Syracuse for the holidays.

Vicki always brings Christmas crackers for the party, too. This year’s rendition had primo prizes!

Anne's Cracker Prize
Anne’s Sewing Kit Prize

Anne got a nice little sewing kit, all in a little metal tin.

Bea and Vicki's Cracker Prizes
Vicki and Bea’s Prizes

Vicki got a compass, and Bea got a metal whistle.

My cracker prize was a picture-frame keychain. Rather hefty, too – when we popped our crackers, the contents of mine were all dragged to the floor by the keychain!

And now, at long last, three of the Christmas Gifts I’ve been knitting away at can be revealed!

Vicki's Mesh Shopping Bags, 2006
Vicki’s Mesh Shopping Bags

For Vicki, who’s husband retires next year and they’re going to build a home in Costa Rica and live there half the year, a set of handknitted shoping bags, perfect for taking to market and loading up with fresh fruit. She was thrilled with them, and said she wasn’t going to wait for Costa Rica to use them – they’d be helpful now!

Bea and Anne both got different versions of the same thing – a knitted needle cushion.

Bea's Needle Cushion, 2006
Bea’s Needle Cushion

Anne's Needle Cushion, 2006
Anne’s Needle Cushion

These are the items I listed as “including a felted bowl” and “assorted scarf-like pieces”. The pattern is partly my own.

I had a vision in my head of a doubled over, spiral-wound piece of garter stitch for the main cushion, cradled in a felted bowl. I Google’d a bit, and I found a free pattern online for a “Knitted Pin Cushion or Knitting Doo-Dads Cushion” that resembled what I wanted the cushion to look like.

The main difference? The online pattern made the cushion from a series of pieces of increasing length, doubled over and sewn into tubes of different sizes. These are then inserted into each other and stitched together for further stability. I realized quickly that this approach would make a cleaner look, and adopted it for my plan.

The felted bowls I made starting with the classic pi-shawl shaping, then when they got to what I deemed to be “big enough”, I stopped increasing and just knit straight to make the sides. Okay, there was a little tubular work at the dividing line between base and sides to give a piping effect, and I did something similar at the cast-off edge for better definition at the rim.

The bowls were felted in the washing machine, and formed over the bottom of a Tupperware canister. And they turned out to be the perfect size for the cushions to fit into. Well, with a little fussing. Bea’s cushion was knit from Canadiana acrylic yarn, and the five concentric rings fit perfectly. Anne’s cushion used Encore yarn, and the gauge was different enough that I needed a sixth ring to fit the same size felted bowl.

Both Bea and Anne seemed tickled with their cushions, and promptly began sticking all the little tchotchke’s they’d received into them. I also knit a third one of these for my mother, and once the holidays are over, I’ll probably make one for myself, too!

Whew! Quite the doings when we Craft Goddesses decide to party, huh?

Christmas Decor Mini-Tour, Part One

I showed you an overall view of our Christmas Tree on Tuesday, with a promise of detailed pictures to come. I think I’ll offer one or two a day for a bit.

Today’s spotlight is on a set of ornaments that were a gift from my brother, who works at Disney. One year, he sent me this great set of Christmas Tree balls – with a twist.

Mickey Mouse Tree Ball

There are four in the set, in red, gold, blue, and white, all with this lovely satiny finish. As with many of our ornaments, this is the first time they’ve actually been hung up, since we haven’t had space for a tree for some seven or eight years.


My spinning wheel’s first public outing, at our Knitting (Spinning) Around at Panera tomorrow night!



Comment by Claudia

December 21, 2006 @ 10:46 am

Nice Party! Great gifts – what fun!


Pingback by Crafting Jen » Gifts Given

January 9, 2007 @ 4:36 pm

[…] One of the Craft Goddesses (a weekly craft circle in my home that has met for some seven or eight years) actually lives in Arizona during the winter months. This means that Judith has always missed out on our annual Craft Goddess Christmas Party, and the accompanying gift exchange. […]


Pingback by Crafting Jen » Reverting to a Childhood I Never Had

January 26, 2007 @ 6:13 pm

[…] Yesterday, I flashed back to childhood – a childhood I never got to experience, really. Never had Perler Beads before in my life, until one of the Craft Goddesses gave us all sets for Christmas this year. Sitting in my armchair, sick out of my head and needing a way to keep myself occupied all Wednesday night, I decided to get out my Cut’n’Press board and the iron, and see what I could do. […]

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