Christmas cheer - free download

We had a wonderful Christmas as I hope you all did too. The first sign of the impending festive season around here is when the house is filled with the scent of hyacinths. These are usually bought in the market, but this year we actually managed to get our own bulbs to bloom, first time ever and probably due to Philip's big dose of tlc.
Next is our annual business lunch, which we both enjoyed at Ambiente this year, a lingering lunch of many shared dishes of flavoursome food, washed down with a glass or two of full bodied red. The light was fading as we left, but we were just in time to see a gorgeous sunset over York,
City sunset
It wouldn't be  Christmas without one of Cathryn's fabulous wreaths adorning the front door. For weeks before then I'd been feeding the cakes with their festive food, so all that remains to do a few days before is the enjoyable task of decorating them with fruit and nuts.
Cathryn's wreath
I try to make a different pattern every year
 and love experimenting with the colourful ingredients
Pattern, colour and texture, just like in a knitting pattern
It was lovely to have all four of the grandkids together as well as the boys (as I call them, now men) and their partners. Much as I asked him to calm down and chill, Philip was up early baking mince pies and bourikos, a delicious Turkish cheese and pastry savoury.
The four grandees

The other day the dark skies cleared briefly to a crisp cold blue, so we grabbed the chance to go out in search of holly and get our supply of seasonal organic vegetables straight from the farm. As my hair is still at the pixie cut stage, I needed a warm hat to cover the ears, so was delighted to rediscover the Shoowa Hat from my last century book, World Knits.
Moors avenue resplendent against the blue sky
Sunset over Fadmore
After I posted a pic on Facebook recently of me wearing the hat gathering the holly, many of you asked for the pattern. So to celebrate the coming of the New Year I'm republishing the pattern. When I eventually saw the book many years ago, to my horror I realised the charts, created in Stitchpainter, were, for the most part, unreadable (before Stitchpainter became media friendly). So after reaquainting myself with Illustrator and doing some jiggery pokery, I managed to redo the three charts and insert them into the pdf. A minor miracle for me, so hope you enjoy!
Download the pattern here.
The festive colours of the Shoowa Hat
Techniques include tucks, intarsia, circular knitting and fairisle
The hat is a mini workshop in the techniques listed above, but if you don't fancy facing them all in one design, then it would look equally stunning omitting the intarsia and the fairisle tucks and knitting in one colour with contrasting single-colour tucks at brim and crown. If you still feel extra interest is needed a brooch will do the trick.
Kings Staithe, York
The only bad news this Christmas has been the terrible floods. The poor people of Cumbria have had their homes flooded three times. I just don't know how they're coping, but my thoughts are with them.
Other side of the river
Star Inn the city
To a lesser extent we have flooding once more in York. For several years we've had a false sense of security, as after the army had to be called in about ten years ago, York's flood defenses were strengthened and have held fast since. York was protected up to 4.25m above summer river levels. At the moment, however, the level is at 4.99m and won't be receding until tomorrow. 
Museum Gardens
On Christmas Eve we were rung by the Environment Agency and advised not to go out unless absolutely necessary and to keep all animals in. At the moment there is some flooding at the top and bottom of our short road of twenty houses, but the water still hasn't entered any houses up to now. Fingers crossed that everyone stays warm and safe.
Wishing you all peace, health and happiness for the New Year xx
Arlo and Django
PS The cats are at their wisest when it's wet  :) 


  1. Thank you for a lovely update from your Christmas celebrating, Jean! Wish you and your family all the best for 2016! Love from Hilde in Norway

  2. What a lovely set of photographs that document the festive season so far. Lots of love to you all from all of us. xoxo

  3. Jean, it's lovely to see these photographs of your family gathering and to be reminded (via your photo in that cosy hat) of World Knits...a book that is on my bookshelf, and often consulted.

    I've just one more knitted Christmas gift to complete, and think just a few more hours will do the trick.

    Escaping for a few hours this afternoon from that project, I went to see the brilliant film,45 Years. Although I've never been married, I was easily able to connect to the characters, and the story. A bit of a day after Boxing Day experience.

    Tonight's BBC news tells me that floods continue in Yorkshire, and so I do hope that you and yours will be secure...actually, my wish wish that everyone's dearest will be safe.


    1. Thanks so much Frances and wishing you all the very best for the New Year xox


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