Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas knitting

I try to make a new ornament for the tree every Christmas.

I was turning over the leaves of handknit HOLIDAYS by Melanie Falick yesterday and found there knitted ornaments. The ornaments in the book were done with 4,5 mm (US 7) needles but I took smaller needles 1,5 mm (US 000). With smaller needles I got quite dense fabric and the ornament could take a lot of stuffing. I used Pirkka which is thin, little thinner than Jamieson’s Spindrift. I followed the instructions but placed the increases/decreases randomly to avoid ridges. With all this fair-isle inspiration around I did a very very modest two-coloured band in the middle. Used Christmas colours. Added a bit of embellishment.

But...

I am not quite sure how I feel about this...It is not quite what I envisioned...

You don't see this in a tree yet. The Finnish tradition won't let us put up the Christmas three until the Christmas Eve morning... Sometimes I dare to stretch the tradition by having the tree already on the 23rd but not before that. The Christmas magic comes when you light up the tree for the first time and that magic moment is reserved for the Christmas Eve...

31 comments:

  1. I am completely charmed by your ornament, it's so beautiful.

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  2. My children are 1/4 Finnish, so learning about the Finnish Christmas tradition has special meaning. I love your ornament. Do you have other knit ornaments as well?

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  3. I like the ornament. I think you Finnish are very wise. Folks here in North America have had trees up since late November. I love the tree, but after about 10 days, it loses its appeal and I long for simplicity in the house. I remove some ornamentation when the tree is up and sometimes it is a month or two before it all comes back. The fact is, however, that it seems to take a month or two to get the last Christmas evidence out of the house!

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  4. I like the ornament very much, but if you would make a smaller tassle, would it be more in your taste?

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  5. I am holding out with you Lena - we're the only dark house on the road.

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  6. I can see it on a tree. It has a lot of charm and the colors so suited for a winter celebration. I like to have my tree up just a week or so before and my family always took it down on Jan 6th, the date the three kings found the manger. Traditions are always fun but like a typical American I pick and choose what suits me!

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  7. What a beautiful ornament on your gorgeous blog. I enjoy all of your entries and look forward to each and every one.

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  8. We put up our tree today, so not too far in advance of yours. I think your ornament will be lovely - the tassel is very spruce-like!

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  9. Interesting ornament...are the 'bumps' at the start of the two color knitting purl bumps?

    Tho' I'm born and raised in the USA, both my dh and I are of German extraction. We never have a tree up before Dec. 15 and many times it's later than that. On occassion it has been Christmas Eve and that's fine with me.

    Funny the different expectations in different households....different countries notwithstanding.

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  10. Ann in Montreal00:12

    That is a charming little ornament, I can imagine some small crystal beads on them as well. They would reflect light in a very pretty way. I recall when I was a child my Father brought home the Christmas tree on the 23rd of December. Sometimes he left it outside until the next day, it was carried indoors and set up. The whole family decorated the tree together. For many years we had candles on the tree, we lit them Christmas Eve after we came home from Church. I also recall we kept a pail of water and a pail of sand near the tree, just in case. I am pleased to hear that other people hold to their traditions these days. Can we hope to see a photograph of your tree Lene? I am sure we would all enjoy it.

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  11. I think you ornament is wonderful!! In my family (German/Bohemian heritage) we didn't put up the tree until the afternoon of the 24. My dad put the lights on the tree and we hung decorated cookies. When Santa brought the presents, he also decorated the tree! Since we didn't get many presents, having the surprise of the decorated tree led to great anticipation!

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  12. We like to put up our tree (it's artificial) early, either Thanksgiving weekend or the next weekend. Usually, the end of November and December are quite gray in the weather department and with the days getting shorter, it's nice to have the bright and sparkly tree.

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  13. I love the ornament. I think it looks quite sophisticated. Your Christmas Eve tree will be honored.

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  14. I like the ornament too, especially the tassle. I like the idea from Ann in Montreal about beads to reflect light.



    Putting your tree up just before Christmas is very special. A tradition to treasure.

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  15. Ihmeellinen joulu ornamentti Lene!

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  16. Waiting to put up the Christmas tree heightens the anticipation. One year we waited until the little kids were in bed before taking the tree out of hiding and decorating it. The pure astonishment & joy on therir faces when they saw the tree Christmas morning was priceless. I find it sad that in general, we Americans can't seem to wait for anything, thus depriving our children of sweet anticipation.

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  17. Anonymous12:15

    I like the ornament. I'd like to make something like that too. My sister asked me this year how many of our tree ornaments I have made myself and I realized that I haven't made any!
    I don't know if it is just the colours on our computer but they remind me of a jussipaita. So Finnish.

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  18. My husband is Icelandic, and we put up the tree the day before Christmas Eve (that is the tradition in Iceland). I was thinking this year how waiting to put it up allows you time to appreciate advent.

    The ornament is very pretty.

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  19. ellen in Conn14:10

    Hi, Lene,
    You are always a joy to read, but not usually funny - but using "smaller" needles is very funny - most people would go down a size or two . . .
    My mother in law says that humor comes with the unexpected.
    But, I like your little ornament, and maybe it is time for such a tradtion here, too - the making of one ornament. Our tree goes up when we can get to the tree farm to cut it, and then I like to have only a few white lights on it for a week or two.

    OH! You're all in the dark, there, now. You haven't mentioned it this year. Lene, a year or two ago, you promised pictures of the real "dances with wool". Do you think that might happen this year?

    And by the way, I have been enjoying the Helsinki Complaints Choir on You-Tube.

    Adeu,

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  20. one more question. do you still have the instructions for how to make the felted stitch marker balls?

    I looked and looked but didn't find it.

    I want to make some.

    Miriam
    The Red Sofa

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  21. I think it looks great! Is there a traditional Finnish time for taking the tree down?

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  22. I love your ornament - I am left wondering what you had envisioned instead?

    How long do you leave the tree up, if you put it up so late?

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  23. That makes better sense than putting the tree up in November, as so many people here seem to do. By Christmas all the novelty is long gone!

    Ours usually goes up a few days before Christmas, so we have a bit of time to enjoy it, but not so much that all the magic gets used up.

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  24. I like the ornament! Very nicely done. :0)

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  25. i love the ornament as well! i made a couple of them last year, but none as detailed and beautiful as yours.

    maybe you could knit some snow for xmas ;-)

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  26. A few years ago I became interested in making Danish woven paper hearts and I have some on my Christmas tree. My dh will not let me have a "theme tree" so our tree is decorated with a variety of new and old treasures. Your little decoration is lovely, and is sure to become a keepsake.

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  27. I really like the ornament. I must knit a few of those myself for next year.

    Is decorating the tree on Christmas Eve a Scandanavian tradition, not just Finnish? My father is of Swedish/Norwegian descent, and we always got the tree the day before Christmas. I delay as long as I can, but my kids usually start agitating for a tree by mid-December.

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  28. I wouldn't be game to knit ornaments for fear bugs would make dinner of them during storage!But your is lovely!!Can you show some more of your collection?
    I broke my tradition this year and let the boys put up the tree when school finished but that meant 2 weeks before Christmas as holidays started early this year,usually I let them decorate two days before the big day!
    The main reason? The tree lost that special touch and became ho hum... so your tradition sounds wonderful!

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  29. That is a lovely little ornament. I come from Irish/French Canadian background, and we never put the tree up until Christmas eve. Santa decorated and when we came down in the morning it was MAGIC! I still hold out, but decorate Christmas Eve and invite neighborhood children to help.

    Taking the tree and all decorations down was done on January 6, the feast of the Three Kings. If left longer, it brought bad luck!

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  30. Yes, all greenery must come down on January 6 as well, and burned if possible, to avoid bad luck. We bring the potted fir tree to the front door from around Dec. 15 and put some holly and ivy on to it. Then on Christmas Eve it comes indoors and is decorated, staying there and giving us its fresh scent until around December 27, when it goes gratefully back into the open air. The scent of the Christmas fir is one of my most special memories from babyhood.
    I love your tree ornament, Lene.
    Jo
    Celtic Memory Yarns

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  31. Thank you for this description of the Finnish tradition regarding putting up the Christmas tree - it saved my sanity. With a busy stretch at work and a recent move to a new house, I was running a little behind my usual decorating time table. When asked about the tree (or the lack of one) I told my children I was broadening their cultural references - we were being Finnish this year so that meant we couldn't put up a tree until Christmas eve morning. So we went tree shopping on Christmas eve morning and all was well!

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