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My Favorite Things: cream-colored ponies

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Today"s My Favorite Things, the weekday December feature dedicated to little stress-busting knits inspired by lyrics from the song in The Sound of Music, is cream-colored ponies. White and off-white are the color of the season, every winter, because it reminds us of snow. White shades also symbolize purity, clarity, and peace, which are three qualities we cannot get enough of during the holiday season. Today's patterns are dedicated to their color, although they can be knitted in any color. Get inspired by snow, and cast on.

Cream-colored ponies

Aran winter set: This pattern set, designed by Beth Brown-Reinsel, originally appeared in a Classic Elite Yarns booklet in 2002 but is now available for $7.00 as a download for a hat, mitten, and scarf pattern all together. For those who like their winter accessories to match, this is an excellent set to knit, and everything is done in the round so there is nary a purl in the bunch. Cable patterns are stunning in white because the shadows of the day or room help to bring out the patterns.

GAP-tastic cowl: Jen Geigley's wildly popular free Ravelry download, available in both English and French, was inspired by by an accessory seen at the Gap. Her version is seamless, and was originally knitted in Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky, making it easy both to wear and care for. According to Gene from Gene Ann's Yarns in Barrington, Illinois, "Cowls are HUGE this season!" Since they are generally a quick knit, they make great gifts and great accessories to make for yourself as well.

Dreaming Away throw: Making an afghan while relaxing in front of the television, or taking a break from a round of chores and drives to school and ballet class, is a great way to end up with a finished product perfect both as a gift or for your own home. The neutral off-white, shown in the Dreaming Away throw, designed by Lauren Frehel, will match most decor, and the pattern can be memorized from repetition after only a few pattern cycles. The pattern is available on Ravelry for purchase, and the instructions are charted.

Knitted polar bear hat: What makes this hat so great is that it is sized for grownups, meaning you can beat the stress of the holidays by making something silly and whimsical, and then wearing it to the amusement of yourself and others. While the pattern is slightly more complicated than the average knit-in-the-round hat, it can still be done while slightly distracted by the demands of the season. The pattern is designed by Rachel Henderson and available for free from Sweet Living magazine.

Hectanooga slouchie slippers: These slouchy slippers, made in bulky yarn and easy enough for a beginner, are featured on Emi Harrington's Etsy page and can be purchased for $4.99. Because they are made on large needles and can obviously be made in any color, making them for the entire family or office pool would be quick and can be done in time for the Christmas holiday.

Sweater bag: This free pattern, available on the Lion Brand Yarn website, offers a great opportunity to knit an accessory on size US 8 needles and practice making cables while knitting at a tight enough gauge where the finished project will be functional without a lining. The bag, originally knitted in Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky in the color called Wheat, has a wintry feel and soft texture, and the center cable pattern can be used to make a matching scarf.

Tomorrow's My Favorite Things feature will be dedicated to crisp apple streudels, or items to knit specifically for the kitchen. The white snow of winter and cream-colored ponies can inspire even the most stressed out knitter to make beautiful items for themselves and others at this time of year. Try to enjoy the season amid the chaos, and cast on every time a break from the hustle is needed.

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