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My Favorite Things: crisp apple strudels

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Today's installment of My Favorite Things, crisp apple strudels, is dedicated to knitting for the kitchen. During the holidays, the kitchen is often the gathering place, the place where all of the magic happens, and the most animated room in the house. Even if thirty folding chairs are set up in the living room, people inevitably congregate in the kitchen for some laughs and a glass of wine before dinner. Here are some knitting patterns to beat the stress of the holiday season, all dedicated to the most lived-in room in the home.

Crisp apple strudels

Mitered square felted pot holders: The Miss Linguist blog offers a knitting pattern for a super-easy, super-fast knit of a square pot holder that is knit on big needles and felted for durability. There is an attached i-cord for people who want to attach a border, and a loop to keep the pot holder on a hook in the kitchen. The pattern is available for free by following a link on the Miss Linguist blog. Any 100% wool yarn can be used for this simple knit.

Bubble up towel: This hand towel, designed by Susan Luni, calls for white as the main color and two contrasting colors for the bubble pattern, making this pattern an easy one to match any kitchen decor or colorway. The pattern is available for free on Luni's blog, Three Sleeves to the Wind, and the edging is based on a stitch pattern from Nicky Epstein's book, Knitting Over the Edge.

Soft linen cafe curtain: Designed by Susan Mills, this cafe curtain pattern can be found as a free download from the Classic Elite Yarns website. Mills offers several reasons why knitting curtains is a good idea; all of the reasons she offers just strengthen the argument that knitting is a great stress-buster during the holidays. For instance, with no shaping and an easy four-row pattern repeat, there is not too much to think about after the first few rows. This curtain can brighten up one window over the sink in the kitchen and impress everyone who ignorantly asks where you purchased it.

Beaded holiday placemats: From the Jenna Takes On blog comes a simple seed-and-stockinette stitch pattern for placemats with a slight twist. The corner has a beaded snowflake pattern which is easy to follow, and the placemat can be made without the beaded snowflake if sewing scares the knitter. As many or few as needed can be made for a complete kitchen set, and since the item is rectangular with no complicated pattern, it can be put down and picked up again as many times as necessary until it is finished.

Felted coasters, hot pads, and beverage jackets: If you need a barrier between your dinner table and a hot dish, these knit-from-the-center-out circles can be tailored to holiday colors, home decor compliments, or just a plain solid and neutral color to be given as a gift. The purpose of the object is determined by its size after felting, so coasters and hot pads are made in the same exact manner. The pattern is free on the Knitting at Knoon blog.

Knitted dish scrubbie: The Berlin's Whimsy blog brings us a free pattern for a dish scrubbie involving knitting cotton yarn and tulle together to get those dried food bits off of the dishes with something cuter than a plain, ordinary sponge. The blog post offers tips on how to tame the tulle, and the knit itself is in garter stitch, making the pattern easy enough for a beginner. Choose yarn to either match the holiday or match the decor of the home, but be sure to test the yarn in hot water first to be sure the dye does not run onto the dishes.

Tomorrow's My Favorite Things feature will include patterns inspired by the lyric "Doorbells and sleigh bells," or knitting patterns with the theme of bells. Bells signify religious importance, but they also announce an important person's arrival, so they have great significance during the holidays. Stay tuned.

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