Monday, December 26, 2011

December Lights

In December, I really enjoy the lights.  Here are some photos that I took this month around Graz, Austria.  Yes, a very merry Christmas, I am together with my son and DH this year!

This is one of our favorite shop windows - filled with beautiful glass ornaments. 

The little shops that set up in the town square for December.

 This is a little "train" that you can take along the decorated streets to see the lights.  We do this early December before it gets too crowded!  That is my son and DH walking along it - we are on our way UP a hill to the ice skating rink.

I am always a little sad when all the lights come down and then we just have long, cold winter days where it gets dark early.  This December was fairly warm so we went out for after dark walks to see the lights a fair bit.  It was really nice!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Socks

Really, I have very little time for crafting right now.  Earlier this year I made ONE sock with this yarn.  I packed that one sock and the remaining yarn and hoped that I would be able to knit a second sock by Christmas.  Mission accomplished.  This pair of socks is for my mother-in-law, a very talented knitter in her day, but she no longer knits because it bothers her shoulder.  I know she will appreciate them!  Oh - and now I just looked at my photo and see that you can only see 1 sock, but there are really 2 - they are stacked on top of each other!
The yarn is Lana Gatto Tollegno (made in Italy).  It is 80% wool and 20% cashmere.  It was on clearance at a LYS in the baby section.  So soft!  I am not sure though - I cast on using size 2 needles and only 52 stitches - that is what I always use for myself because I have thin legs.  Now I am thinking that I should have cast on  60 for my MIL.  Ah well, it is K2, P2 for the rib and then I did K3, P1 all the way down to the toe - I think it has enough stretch.  If not, she can always give them back to me and I will knit her another pair.
One great thing about being in Austria - the stores (even the grocery stores!), often have wonderful sock yarn.  It won't be hard for me to find yarn to start a second pair, if needed.  However, I doubt that I will find wool/cashmere blend.  OK - fingers crossed that these will have a wide enough cuff for her.

Monday, December 05, 2011

2nd Week of Advent

I think we have an especially pretty Advent wreath this year.  Last night was the 2nd Sunday of Advent so we got to light the 2nd candle.  
And today is the Eve of St. Nicholas's feast.  I have my son's little bag all ready for when he gets back home from school.  It is filled with the traditional treats of peanuts, oranges and chocolates.  Usually people put figs in there too, but he does not eat those so I didn't buy any.
See that smaller chocolate in the front - it is a devilish figure known as Krampus that comes with St. Nicholas.  Good and evil - they are a pair, you know?  If you are a good child you get the treats, if you are bad, you get hit by Krampus with his switch.  He is a very scary figure with big horns, wears animal skins and is usually dripping with blood.  Last week was the Krampus parade.

The parade goes on and on with so many different Krampuses, all making tons of noise, some pulling fire pits, some lighting off fireworks and smoke bombs.  Scary stuff!  But the children stoically endure the Krampus parade to see their beloved St. Nicholas...
And that is my take on St. Nicholas Day and Krampus from Austria!