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Dear Ann,

Ah, December. We’re coming up on the winter solstice, where many magnificent crafty ambitions come crashing together in the perpetual dusk of the year’s shortest days. I’m racing against the light, and the calendar.

I’m having a fabulous time; deadlines enhance the excitement for me. But in truth there’s also a reckoning, and a bit of frazzle, in my high-endorphin world of Making Stuff. The tension is so palpable you could cut it with exquisitely crafted scissors from Italy.

Today I’m just going to talk about the knitting. The knitting is Enough.

In the MDK Shop
Exquisitely crafted in Italy, these handy scissors are perfectly balanced and come with a leather sheath to protect the blades. Stylish and sturdy, you’ll want a pair for every project bag.

At a Glance: The Kay Queue

Here we see my deadline knitting, a serene still life that covers a multitude of hunched-over nighttime TV watching. (Have I watched both the 1992 movie and 2017 TV series of Howards End, multiple times, and at a shocking time of the morning? You know the answer. At this point, the two productions are a delightful blur of bluebells and pigeon-breasted Edwardian bodices.)

From left to right, reporting for duty: my temperature blanket, shown here at the November 7 mark, still on target to finish by year end; three of five (!) intended Sophie Scarves, which have increased odds of reaching their quota because the temperature blanket is no longer suitable for moving from one room to another, let alone knitting on the train; and then we have my Cuatro Wrap, more than three-quarters of its way to the finish line.

The Cuatro Wrap (by Joji Locatelli, in MDK Field Guide No. 22: Grace) is a complete pleasure to knit—memorizable yet entertaining. But I somehow stalled in the home stretch, at the beginning of the fourth triangle. I have no regrets, because I want to finish the temperature blanket and the Sophie sisters, all of which have hard deadlines. But a project that languishes for any reason is always, always at risk of abandonment, no matter how fun it is to knit. So I’m pushing through, and now that I’m back on it, I’m in love all over again. (Find the details about my colors, etc., in this post.)

Not for nothing, but multiple Sophie Scarves are fun to photograph. Shown here in Atlas, in shades Navy, Wintergreen, and Seaglass. (More Seaglass, Lapis, and Truffle will be in stock as soon as possible in 2023.)

In Case That Doesn’t Sound Like Enough

Not included in this stock-taking: my annual Ann Wood ornament manufacturing operation. More about that later, after the people in my life who want these wee things, but may not know they want these wee things, receive these wee things. But if you’re feeling at all like stitching up a batch of seasonal baubles that have heart and simplicity, Ann Wood is your gal. Her free pattern page is chicken soup for the stitcher’s soul, a beautiful gift to makers. Not telling which one I’m making this year! (Last year was a forest of Woebegone Pines.)

And now, this elf goes back to my workbench.



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  • You just had to put a link to Ann Wood’s free pattern page i there, didn’t you? DIDN’T YOU?

    Good luck with the knit-a-thon!

    • ME TOO! I think the Very Nice Mice are in my future!

      • Have a look at the Lalu scarf on ravelry to use up all the scraps from projects you’ve made this year.
        It’s free

    • ME TOO! I was all over that link!

  • Scroll down the free pattern page.
    Snowflakes. They look like crystal, are made out of waxed paper.
    Instant decorations! Faster than a bulky knit hat!
    I need a garland.

  • Love Ann Wood’s blog!

    • Adore Ann Wood. Currently stitching the Dastardly Owl. So much fun.

      • I think he’s more disgruntled than dastardly, love him to bits.

  • Thank you for sharing the delightful Ann Wood! Such coziness. Balm for the creative soul.

  • That Ann Wood. She just does The Charming and Whimsical SO GOOD. Knit like the wind. 🙂

  • The little wood burning stoves! The apple cores!
    And your knitting looks lovely too….

  • I just went to the rabbit hole that is Ann Wood’s website – now I know why I’ve been saving fabric scraps. Such cuteness!

  • Anne, the colors of your Cuatro wrap are SPECTACULAR. I have to knit this!

    • Here’s a secret, and it’s the God’s honest truth: any four (or up to 8) colors of Tov DK will make a stunner version of the Cuatro Wrap. The Woolfolks designed such a great palette. The pattern calls for 2 skeins each of 4 colors, but I 2 skeins each of 2 colors and then 4 other colors, and it’s all working out just fab.

    • This is Kay’s letter! and I LOVE your Cuatro also, fab. You crack me up, delightful letters.

  • Oh! I am so happy to have found Ann Wood’s blog and patterns. Another place to waste time, that I do not have, finding crafts to make.

  • Never knew about Ann Wood! I immediately was taken with all the wonderful things she has to offer! Thank you Kay for leading me down that rabbit hole!!!!

    • Sometimes just looking at a Dastardly Owl can turn your whole day around.

      • Christmas deadline question: now Covid positive but involved with knitting two stockings and another gift. Do I have to delay gifting and for how long. Would freezing items help?

        • @Liz – COVID has been proven to be airborne and therefore you don’t need to be concerned about handling items and gifting them. In being cautious, you might choose to mask while knitting, but even if you don’t, COVID can’t live on a surface very long. It would be recommended that you not meet with people while COVID positive and to only interact with others after you test negative.
          Check out your state’s COVID page (should be a .gov address) for details.
          Hope that helps.

  • That blue and black cuatro has me hooked to make one. You may need to list which colors I need to buy. It would go great with some of Saint Eileen’s new blue offerings.

  • What a coincidence! Got together with knitter friends yesterday and one of them was making a Sophie Scarf for her granddaughter named Sophie. And today Kay is talking about it in her column! Thank you for including the link to buy the pattern. This may jump the line to be made before Christmas.

  • The Ann Wood miniatures… too sweet for a maker’s heart to bear! Just the rabbit hole I need in the last hectic days before Christmas.

  • I loved making Ann’s chicken ornaments last year (or was it the year before??)!! I’m making a smaller version of her happy cats for ornaments this year. They are so cute.

  • I am embarking on my very first Sophie Scarf and I am only two repeats in and I have stalled BECAUSE my brain is telling me that THIS WILL NOT WORK. I know we are supposed to TRUST the pattern but can you guys help me over this hump and assure me that doing only one…just one singular increase every 8 rows will in fact make a slowly widening triangle??? With Christmas in eyesight, I do not have time to waste on frogging and starting over. Assurances needed please.

    • It works! There is one straight edge (no increases) and one increasing (and later, decreasing) edge.

      • Furious knitting ensues with immense clacking of needles and mumbled counting.

  • The Milk andHoney cardigan is my favorite!

  • Oh, thank you, Kay !! I am loving the link to Ann Wood Handmade. My daughter in law is an entomologist and just bought a new jeep in “butterfly butt yellow” as she calls it ! I think she needs a picnic bug for the Jeep. Perfect. I’m stitching ……

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