Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Capelet

This is my Christmas Capelet and it raises in my mind the specter of dress style for today's couples. Do you have a mate who's idea of getting dressed up is to wear dress shoes with jeans? I do. But I've take the view that one must dress to please one's self. Steve, bless his heart, is just not happy getting dressed up. But, what he lacks in dress style he more than recommences with wit and good company!

I'm calling this my Christmas Capelet because I knit it to wear this Christmas. I wanted something special to wear on Christmas day but not one of those gaudy Christmas sweaters that one finds in the stores. It is unfortunate that Christmas has become so commercialized because the real beauty of the holiday can get lost in all the trappings. About ten years ago we spent our Christmas holiday in South America (Chile). I was struck by the absence of a jolly red Santa on every corner. Instead there were nativity scenes and decorations made from greenery and candles. I think I like it best if there is a balance. Decorations are nice but the spirit and essence of the holiday shouldn't be lost.

I remember we spent Christmas Eve in Puerto Montt, Chile and it was cold and drizzling out. Despite the weather the streets were filled with families all dressed up milling about and the air was filled with excitement and happiness. I asked our hotel if there was an event taking place. But no. Apparently it simply is the tradition in that town to dress up and walk as a family downtown Christmas Eve. I loved being there and feeling a part of their celebration and enjoying the quiet beauty of the nativity scene, the focus of the town's decorations. It felt very special.

It has always been our tradition to take a family walk on Christmas Day. Once the turkey is in the oven we all bundle up and go for a walk on the beach. It's a nice time of togetherness. Coming home we are greeted by the smell of roasting turkey and the beautifully decorated tree. Below is a picture of me and sister walking on the beach on a Christmas morning that has long since past. Yet I still return home and walk on the beach with my parents every year.

Knitting for me is a means of self expression and defining who I am and that's really why I chose to knit this capelet for Christmas.

Particulars: Antonia Shawlette/Capelet a pattern from the Family Trunk Project a collaborative effort explained here. I used Tosh Sock yarn (malachite colorway) by Madelinetosh, US 3 circular needles. My only modification was to add decorative leaf ties as I thought a caplet ought to have a tie closure. You could easily use a satin ribbon instead.

How to Knit Leaf Ties

To emphasize the "caplet" nature of this shawl I added leaf ties reminiscent of what might adorn a cloak. My leaf ties are modeled after the leaf ties on the Cropped Cardigan a free pattern published in Knitty an on-line knitting magazine. I simply adjusted the pattern to a fingering weight yarn and to create a more rounded leaf shape.

Using a fingering weight yarn and using US 2 needles:

Cast on 2 stitches. Knit a 2 stitch i-cord to desired length. My i-cords for this shawl are 15" and 16" respectively. When your i-cord is desired length, form the leaf as follows:

Using a seed stitch pattern throughout:
Row 1: K1, M1, K1 (3 stitches)
Row 2: Increase (knit into front and back) 1 stitch at the beginning and end of the row (5 stitches)
Row 3: Repeat Row 2 (7 stitches)
Row 4: work even in seed stitch
Row 5: K2, M1, K1, M1 K2 (7 stitches)
Row 6 - 9: work even in seed stitch
Row 10: Decrease 1 stitch at beginning of the row using ssk decrease. Continue decreasing (via ssk) the first stitch of each row until 1 stitch remains. Bind off last stitch. Attached your I-cord by twisting into an "S" shape and sew to shawl using a button on the back to anchor the tie as shown in the picture below. The button will help provide some stability.

However, I caution that because shawls are knit into a fine/thin fabric, the tie is largely decorative and for light wear only.

Away for Christmas

We will be away for Christmas and the week following so no Christmas tree for us this year. But still spots of holiday cheer are to be found here and there. This year I've enjoyed making yarn ornaments fashioned after pine cones inspired by Ressurection Fern who has provided a link to all of her tutorials for this and other handmade crafts here.

These yarn ornaments add a festive touch to most everything, or any outing, as Mr Puffy can attest! I simply used odds and ends from partially used skeins of yarn and added a festive ribbon from my wrapping supplies. The yarn ball pictured above is made with Noro's Silk Garden and the one Mr Puffy is wearing in made with Rowan's Kid Classic. These are basically updated pom poms which are a quick and easy yarn project that both kids and adults will enjoy making!

Mr Puffy, Steve, and I wish everyone a safe, healthy, and happy Christmas and hope that the New Year will bring good tidings to you and your family. We will be taking a brief break from all things technical here on Mr Puffy's Knitting blog for the next few weeks but shall look forward to seeing you once again in 2010!


jillian said...

That is just gorgeous - I especially like the ties you added. The perfect touch.

What a wonderful tradition - the walking on the Eve. And Mr. P looks adorable with his accessory!

Monika said...

Your capelet is gorgeous and I love your leafy addition. I wish you all Happy Holidays and am looking forward to your return in 2010!

Willow said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, Steve and Mr. Puffy. My wish for all three is health and happiness in the new year.

I dress to please myself (and the organization's dress code) so I'm usually found in comfortable slacks and the favorite top of the moment. The Professor led the way for me in dressing for comfort.

Lovely capelet! The color is perfect for you and not so very bright Christmas green so it can be worn in other seasons.

Merry Christmas! I'll look forward to seeing you 'next year'.

Kathy said...

Merry Christmas and a very happy new year to you and yours! See you and Mr. Puffy next year.

Rainey Day Knitter said...

What a treat to read your blog this evening. I love your Christmas capelet, the dark green is so fitting for this time of year. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday together and I look forward to "seeing" you in 2010. Enjoy that walk on the beach :D

Anonymous said...

Beautiful capelet, one of my favorite colors! Merry Christmas to you, Mr. Puffy and Steve!


KnittySue said...

Your post is as beautiful as your shawl. Wishing you and, Steve and Mr. Puffy a blessed Christmas and New Year.

Anita said...

Your caplet is lovely, and I really enjoyed reading this post. I think you've helped bring back some of my Christmas Spirit with your story, very touching.

Mr. Puffy looks adorable with his accessory!

I hope you & your family have a wonderful & peaceful Christmas.

larissa said...

LOVE your capelet - and how you modified it to make it yours. The color is beautiful on you. Happy holidays to you and your family (that includes Mr. P)! and I will be checking in to see what you're up to in 2010.

Kristen said...

What a pretty capelet! I look forward to seeing your knits in 2010!
Have a very merry Christmas.

Tracy said...

The capelet is so very lovely, Claudia! The color is so lush...and love those leaf ties! Beautifully done. I can relate to what you're saying about mates and dressing up. My hubby is the same way. He hates having dress in anything but jeans, polo/or t-shirt and sneakers--LOL! I, however, do love pretty clothes and an occasion to dress up. Our flight to the USA was cancelled yesterday due to bad snowy weather on the east coast... so we are waiting for a new flight on Wednesday... Very disappointed, but still will get there! Stopping by to say hi while we wait...LOL! Your holiday plans sounds wonderful. Wishing you all the Happiest Holiday ((HUGS))

Michelle (Northernstar28) said...

It is lovely to hear a meditation of the true simple beauty that should be venerated on that day of days. Thank-you for sharing your leaf ties! Wishing you, Steve and Mr. Puffy and your entire family a blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year! That photo of you and your sister is so beautiful. Happy trails on the beach!

t does wool said...

absolutely gorgeous work Claudia...
and the leaf is perfectly perfect.
Happy Holidays to you all ;)

amanda said...

Beautiful capelet, and beautiful tradition. Merry Christmas, Claudia!!

kim said...

I love the picture of you and your sister. So sweet. Beatiful shawl. I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

Channon said...

Stunning - as always. I love the color and the added ties. I want to spend Christmas at the beach one year!

I too am married to a casual - to the point of painful - guy, but such is life. What he wears isn't nearly as important as how good his heart is, so I'm a lucky girl.

Enjoy your holiday break!

raining sheep said...

Beautiful little Christmas shawl Claudia. I just wanted to wish you a most wonderful Christmas and a blessed holiday season. I look forward to catching up on the other side.

Bridget said...

The capelet is so pretty, and so very Christmas-y! I always spend most of Christmastime enjoying it my own way, and tend to block out a lot of the stuff I either don't like or don't "approve" of! Some of it is just intrusive though, I have to say.

Mr P looks quite festive in his holiday pompom, and I LOVE the picture of you and your sister!

Happy Christmas to you, Steve, and Mr P, and all the best to all of you in 2010. Enjoy your lovely break.

Hilary said...

What a lovely, lovely Christmas capelet! The leaf ties are just perfect. I love that you wanted something special to wear for Christmas (I do the same thing) and that capelet is such a nice, classy way to express yourself. I also love the idea of taking a walk as a family on Christmas (the photo of you and your sister is wonderful!). When I was in Chile with my family around New Years a few years ago, we noticed whole families walking together, too, and were struck by how affectionate they were with one another. There didn't seem to be anything weird about a teenage boy holding hands with his grandmother. Beautiful.

Hilary said...

P.S. Merry Christmas!!!

Denise said...

Merry Christmas Claudia, that capelet is beautiful. Here's wishing you all a very blessed 2010.

betty said...

Lovely capelet, and the leaf ties are great. Sort of reminds me of something out of a Charles Dickens scene.

Don't feel bad about Steve's wardrobe choices. I work and live in silicon valley, where to most men, Dockers are considered dress pants!

Nantucket Dreams said...

you are going to be beautiful in your christmas shawl! i love the color!
merry christmas to mr puffy and his family of humans!

knittingdragonflies said...

The caplet is beautiful, and thanks for sharing the memories of Christmas's past.
I love the added touch of the leaves on the ties.
Enjoy your Holidays!

At Home Mommy Knits said...

Beautiful capelet! What a lovely tradition to walk on the beach. Much to cold and snowy here for walks :) Hope you had a wonderful holiday.

Renee said...

Oh, Claudia, your caplette is lovely!! So festive and green. The leaf detail is wonderful.

We had a busy and fun Christmas and are looking forward to New Years Eve. We were gone from home more than we expected which made the time feel like it flew by too quickly.

Happy rest of your holidays to you, Steve and Mr Puffy! I hope your beach walk was beautiful. Will be with you in spirit and looking forward to 2010.
Hugs and love,
Renee and family

subliminalrabbit said...

that is one beautiful capelet! happy holidays from our family to yours... have a great vacation!

Lara said...

The caplet is absolutely gorgeous! That is definitely going into my queue now! I love the added leave ties. Great job!

lucky knitter said...

Stunning capelet! Love the color. Happy New Year, Claudia!

Anna said...

It is a beautiful capelet - very festive colour! I hope you had a good Christmas and wish you all the best for 2010.

amanda said...

Hope you've had the best of holidays Claudia! I'm sure that your Mum will have brought an English touch to things.

Happy happy New Year!

Amanda & Lily