Sermon: Immersion in the Spirit

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Sermon preached at MCC North London, Sunday 11th January 2015 (the Baptism of Christ).

Readings: Mark 4:1-11, Acts 19:1-7

Israeli desert seen from Masada, December 2008
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Twelve Knits of Christmas

I love making and giving gifts. The whole process of finding patterns and yarns that will appeal, and working up something that’s fun to knit and (hopefully) fun to wear really appeals to me. I haven’t shared projects with you here for a while, because I’ve been focused on Christmas surprises. So here is a roundup of my Twelve Knits of Christmas (in no particular order).

To see updates of projects as I’m working on them, find me on Ravelry.

One Christmas Jumper

Lesbian reindeers

Pattern: Reindeer Sweater (deramores.com)
Yarn: Wendy Mode (7 skeins, chilli pepper; 1 skein, vanilla)

Reindeer jumper
Reindeer Sweater in Wendy Mode

This jumper appealed to Ems because of its potential to be perceived as gender-neutral, or a female couple. I blogged more about that last month when I finished it. It’s getting a lot of wear (hurrah!) and is holding up well, but I have had to re-stitch one or two seams.

Nine family scarves

On a whim in July – when Christmas was a very long way off! – I had a thought that it would be a fun thing to do to knit scarves for Ems’ close family. It was a really fun process, choosing patterns and yarns and working on the scarves on my regular commute and on the longer journeys to and from Newcastle over the summer break.

Natural Waves

Pattern: Drop Stitch Scarf (Frazzled Knits Ravelry download)
Yarn: Jarol Pure Wool Aran (1 skein, colourway 4)

Natural Waves
Drop Stitch Scarf in Jarol Pure British Wool Aran

This open drop-stitch pattern is a go-to for a quick project. It grows quickly, it’s reversible, and it’s effective in almost any yarn. It also has the advantage of being very warm when it’s layered. The natural fibres in this yarn have been spun together to create a two-tone effect that is highlighted by the dropped stitches.

Wingèd Scarf

Pattern: Wingspan (maylin Tri’Coterie Ravelry download)
Yarn: Yarnfair Stripes (2 skeins, blue mix)

Wingspan
Wingspan in Yarnfair Stripes

Wingspan is one of the most popular shawls on Ravelry. Following the modification directions in the pattern, I adapted the wedges to make a narrower scarf. The short-row shaping creates a curved edge so that scarf sits tight on the neck and will easily tuck under the collar of a jacket.

Chevrons in Clover 

Pattern: Country Girl (SJ Griffin Ravelry download)
Yarn: Twilley’s Freedom Alfresco Aran (3.5 skeins, meadow clover)

City Girl scarf in Twilleys Freedom Alfresco Aran
City Girl scarf in Twilleys Freedom Alfresco Aran

Like Wingspan, this pattern suggests a number of possible variations. I chose a narrow chevron rib, not too bulky under a coat or jacket. The photo doesn’t do justice to the highlights of scarlet and bright blue in the purplish yarn, which really lift it.

Pythagorean Orange

Pattern: Pythagorean Reversible Scarf (SmarieK knits)
Yarn: Cascade 220 (1.5 skeins, rust)

Pythagorean Reversible Scarf by SmarieK
Pythagorean Reversible Scarf in Cascade 220

This is a clever take on the standard basket-weave squares. Right-angled trangles in stocking-stitch and reverse-stocking-stitch give the pattern its name and form diamond or windmill shapes as you look at them. The garter-stitch edging stops it from curling and holds the shape.

Shades of Green

Pattern: Bias Scarf with Ribbed Cables (Fairmount Fibers)
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted (1.5 skeins, verde adriana)

Bias Scarf with Ribbed Cables in Malabrigo Worsted
Bias Scarf with Ribbed Cables in Malabrigo Worsted

Ribbed cables create an interesting edge (unlike regular cables, ribbed cables are reversible) and the garter stitch centre, knit on the bias, shows this variegated yarn off beautifully.

Pianissimo

Pattern: Counterpoint Scarf (MagKnits.com via Ravelry)
Yarn: Cascade 220 (<1 skein each of charcoal and natural)

Counterpoint Scarf in Cascade 220
Counterpoint Scarf in Cascade 220

This scarf uses a technique called ‘Illusion Knitting’. Each row of the pattern is made of four rows of stocking stitch with purl stitches used to raise the pattern off the fabric so that it appears when you look along the long edge. I didn’t manage to capture it properly in a photo, but there are some great pictures on Ravelry, taken by others of their own scarves,  that show the full effect.

Sequenced Scarf

Pattern: Fibonacci Scarf (Alive and Knitting)
Yarn: Hobbycraft Women’s Institute Acrylic (1 skein each of purple and biscuit)

Fibonacci Scarf in Hobbycraft Women's Institute Acrylic
Fibonacci Scarf in Hobbycraft Women’s Institute Acrylic

I usually prefer to knit with a superwash wool or wool-mix, but this recipient is allergic to animal fibre. This new yarn from Hobbycraft and the WI is both very soft and available in strong colours and it knitted up nicely. The scarf itself is a stocking stitch tube closed with tassels. The stripes are determined by the Fibonacci sequence, going up one side and down the other so that wide stripes sit next to narrow ones.

Peacock Scroll

Pattern: Scroll Lace Scarf (Ysolda)
Yarn: Regia Color Blitz (1.25 skeins, laguna)

Scroll Lace Scarf in Regia Laguna
Scroll Lace Scarf in Regia Laguna

This is an interesting knit. Ysolda’s patterns are very appealing, because they are interesting to the knitter, easy to follow, and very effective when they are finished. This yarn has sections of purple and dark grey amongst the turquoise base that show as blocks on the edging and more subtle flashes of colour in the garter stitch body.

Garter Trellis 

Pattern: Trellis Garter Lace Scarf  (Wisdom Yarns)
Yarn: Louisa Harding Amitola (2 skeins, marmalade)

Trellis Garter Lace Scarf in Amitola
Trellis Garter Lace Scarf in Louisa Harding Amitola

Garter stitch is a good vehicle for lace in a scarf, because it makes it fully reversible and removes some of the risk of the fabric supercurling. The yarn is a lovely wool-silk mix with a soft halo, very easy to work with.

Two post-Christmas gifts

I had some projects I had intended to complete before the end of the year, so I used the Christmas period for them.

Colourscape Cozy

Pattern: Kureyon Kozy (knitty.com)
Yarn: Rowan Colourscape (0.5 skeins, Northern Lights)

Kureyon Kozy in Rowan Colourscape
Kureyon Kozy in Rowan Colourscape

This is a quick and easy teacosy requested by a friend. I picked the lavender when it was growing in our garden over summer and left it to dry for a couple of months in my office to make the cotton pouch (which I made from a scrap in my craft box, you could also use an old tea towel).

Soft Green Spiral

Pattern: Odessa (Grumperina via Ravelry download)
Yarn: Rowan Cashsoft

Odessa in Rowan Cashsoft with clear seed beads
Odessa in Rowan Cashsoft with clear seed beads

I am slightly guessing at the yarn, it’s inherited from a stash swap. It’s a lovely colour and took the small seed beads well. The beads turn a simple hat into something a little more special with very little extra effort. A lovely quick project, a ‘just because’ present for our next-door neighbour.