Yesterday was an unusual day here in Key West. Cold, cold, cold. We set a new record for the coldest maximum temperature breaking the previous record set in the 1920's. It only got to 61 degrees and that had to have happened at 12:01 in the morning because the whole entire day it just kept getting more and more blustery and then rain would start to mist down and it was so bitter and wet and felt just like England.
The last time I was in England was to help my sister move back home after studying at Manchester and as we were bashing about the country having a grand time it began to rain or maybe it kept raining but just rained harder. I remember standing in Bath at Pulteney Bridge with my sister looking up at the stores that cross the River Avon discussing the next day's destination - Shakespeare's Home! Just up the river that was so flooded it looked like it was boiling and realizing that all this water had to be coming from somewhere upriver. Having come to this realization we turned about, went to the train station and changed the tickets from Stratford-upon-Avon to the Isle of Wight. That is how much I like cold and rain and wind.
However, it made yesterday a perfect day to curl up on a couch, pull a blanket over my toes and knit. Would you like to see the results of my blustery British knitting day?
May I introduce you to the Queen's Own Nutcracker? With his high bearskin cap and shiny brass buttons our sentry swore to take charge of our Christmas tree and all presents in view, keeping always on the alert, and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.
Would you like the details? I've never written a pattern before so if anything is unclear, please ask or tell me a way to say it clearer!
Here's what you will need:
1 champagne cork
1 Black Swan cork or other black cork
6 gold beads
Scrap red yarn, I used Amaizing yarn from Southwest Trading Company which is a sport / 5 ply corn based yarn
Scrap black yarn, I used Chenille Thick & Quick by Lion Brand which is a super bulky acrylic
US 3 - mm 3.25
US 10 - mm 6
Sewing Needle and thread
Okay, now to the pattern itself!
Cast on 16 stitches.
Row 1: knit
Row 2: knit
Row 3: k2, p12, k2
repeat rows 2 and 3 until body measures 1.50 inches or long enough to cover your champagne cork. Bind off. Break yarn, leaving a long tail. Wrap jacket around the cork and sew together down the front of the cork. Sew the gold beads on each side of this seam.
Cast on 10 stitches
knit in garter stitch until hat is one inch long.
Decrease row: k2tog 5 times (5 stitches)
Break yarn, leaving a long tail and pull through the 5 stitches still on the needle and tighten.
Using the long tail, sew the back seam of the hat to make a long tube that will fit on your champagne cork.
Icord! I love Icord! Cast on 3 stitches and Icord away to length desired. I wanted my little guy to be saluting so I kept holding it up against his approximate shoulder area until it was long enough to reach the brim of his bearskin. Then I matched the second arm to the first. Using the tapestry needle attach arms to the jacket and to the cap if you want your Nutcracker to salute too.
When he is not guarding our presents under the tree, he generally resides on the windowsill in the kitchen where he tells me to do the dishes and that jacket potatoes with prawns might be nice for dinner tonight.
If you make a Nutcracker of your own, please, please leave a note. I would adore seeing others this Holiday Season!