A Cardigan- or Vesty-type Thing!

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

It’s Christmas! Really and truly. We even got some wintery mix yesterday that left a carpet of thickish frost to look snowy in the morning. And this, our last Christmas without little children for a very long time, was perfectly lovely.

Jared and I spent Christmas Eve with my family, engaging in the typical Jennings festivities of finger foods and a movie. (Admittedly, Highlander was an odd choice.) Then just the two of us drove down to Fairfax, VA for probably the most festive Christmas eve service I’ve ever attended. Truro Church has that particular Virginian beautifully classy Evangelical thing going on, both in architecture and style, and this service was jam packed with music of all kinds, a darn good sermon, a live nativity scene, and a sung Eucharist (are they sure they’re low church?). Thanks to baby demanding an IHOP stop on the way back, we didn’t get home ’till just after 2.

Mercifully, having no one in the house younger than 21 means that everyone can sleep in ’till at least 9:30 on Christmas. Stockings are a perfect example of knitwear in action.

Mom Osborn made family breakfast, including the traditional stollen that the kids (read: Jared) insist upon for it to feel like Christmas. We even sang Happy Birthday to Jesus.

And at the Osborn house, you can’t open presents until you’ve told the Christmas story, with the use of homemade props. But this year, the retelling was preceded by a good hour of impromptu carol singing, interspersed with Bible readings. It was as if we all just took a big sigh and sank into the beauty of Christmas, which at is heart, is an occasion for worship. Baby Girl loved it and kicked along the whole time.

Carina and her new mandolin have assured that the song I will forever associate with this year’s holiday is “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers. The entire house has been singing it sporadically for days.

Don’t get me wrong, there were presents. I’ve got some new toys to play with that I’m very excited about. In fact, one of them I will share for the first of this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas series.

I’ve been straight with you this year: I haven’t done much Christmas knitting. I did a good bit of knitting, and much of it ended up as Christmas presents, but I’ve already blogged about the majority of it (mostly arm warmers, honestly. They were a big hit; turns out that in spite of not selling any at sweetwater, I didn’t make enough). But it wouldn’t feel like Christmas on this blog if I didn’t fill this short season with numerically-related posts of some kind. So I’m just going to stretch as far as it takes – including gifts received instead of given, things knitted but not gifted, and even some random thoughts that have nothing to do with anything except a vague relationship to the relevant integer. Because that’s how we roll here.

So indeed, this first day of Christmas is about something from my true love. I’ll let him tell you about it himself.

Jared: Pattern review: The Shalom cardigan caught my eye on Black Friday as I was looking for inspiration, and immediately I was inspired. A one-piece cardigan knit in bulky weight yarn, so that the whole pattern was only 115 rows! How could I resist? The original pattern is wonderful and easy to follow… apart from the fact that it does not tell you how much yarn you will need. The author has addressed this and other issues on her blog under a few posts named “Shalom Tips,” but hasn’t bothered to update the pattern PDF. Several knitters on Ravelry have also posted variations on the pattern, so if you want a version that has more buttons at the top, or buttons all the way down, it’s available. I chose to stick with the one button at the top since I thought it would make a great maternity sweater. The design is simple and classy and the pattern is available in at least 6 languages. Apparently it’s become very popular. Also, I maintain that it is in fact a cardigan and not a vest. It has cap sleeves.

Yarn review: I used Fiberists Audobon bulky, which I also acquired on our Black Friday adventure. The color is what I would call an emerald green, but is not the colorway called “Emerald,” which is somewhat lighter (unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the colorway, and I left all the tags at home in PA). The Fiberists caught my eye with several deep, bold color choices. Audobon bulky was a pleasure to work with most of the time. A couple of times per skein I would find a ply or two that had broken and been tied back together. But these were easy to hide on the wrong side of the knitting. Overall, an excellent and gorgeous yarn. I chose to go with 4 skeins for a total of 420 yards, which was a bit less than the recommended amount. I ended up having to cut out 8 rows toward the bottom in order to finish with the amount of yarn I had, and that modification was just right.

Back to Rebecca: You can tell he reads the blog, amirite? We both bought yarn for each others’ Christmas present on Black Friday – but he knew what his gift was going to be (more on that tomorrow) so I assiduously hid the project from him so there could be some surprise. In contrast, Jared knit this whole cardigan right in front of me, but I had no idea what it was. (I was pretty convinced it was going to be a very big cowl.) I was fully surprised when I pulled it out of the bag to discover it was a Shalom. I’d seen the pattern many times on ravelry (it’s been made nearly six thousand times!) and liked it, but didn’t have the right yarn for it.  So even though I was surprised, I recognized it immediately, and it became part of my Christmas day outfit.

Happy start to the Christmas season, everyone! I hope you all got to celebrate with someone you love, or at least like tolerably well. Anything you did this year just to make sure it felt like Christmas? Get any new toys? Fiber you can’t wait to play with?

3 thoughts on “A Cardigan- or Vesty-type Thing!

  1. The cardigan/vest is beautiful! Jared does good work! I got to spend Christmas Day with all my girls and their families, which is the ultimate joy for me. I brought along a knitting project that I am making for someone whose baby is due in February, but I only got 4 rows done. Then I was asked to hold a sleeping baby, which tops knitting in every way – as I am sure you will find out.


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