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My Favorite Things: raindrops on roses

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During December, it is difficult finding time to knit and relax while continuing to shop for gifts, decorate the house, bake and cook for a large number of guests. Then again, knitters will attest that the craft is necessary to maintain sanity during such a stress-filled month. "My Favorite Things" is a daily special feature this December to highlight quick, portable knitting projects based on the lyrics to the popular song, featured in the musical "The Sound of Music."

Raindrops on Roses

A great project to take on the go is a knitted flower. They can use up old bits of yarn, they can be felted for extra durability, and they can be used for embellishing all sorts of other items, such as hats and pillows. Whip one of the several projects listed below out of your bag when you are waiting at a red light, or waiting for a parking spot at the shopping mall, or even when you need a coffee break between stores.

Lion Brand Knitted Rose: This free pattern from Lion Brand Yarn is simple enough for a beginner, and involves making strips of knitted fabric in various lengths and then sewing them together. This is the perfect project for getting rid of scraps of yarn you cannot bear to throw away, and the finished project could be placed on a handbag or hat to brighten a dreary winter wardrobe.

Hoya's Falwers (flower rattle): For people who just need to knit for the sake of knitting, Rebecca Strickland's pattern is perfect. Originally designed as a rattle with a bell for the center of the flower, the pattern offers several ways to change the pattern to your needs, and if you just need to knit and relax, a knitter can make one of these without the band or the bell in a very short time and feel satisfied.

Flower - Bloem: This pattern by Saartje de Bruijn was inspired by Lucinda Guy's Designs for Kids, and it is a great project to use up sock- or fingering-weight yarn. The pattern is available for free, and it also uses pipe cleaners to hold the stems of the flowers, so they can be displayed in a decorative vase as a centerpiece or, they can be wrapped around branches of a tree.

Flower corsage: Designer Rachel Henderson knitted this flower on a round-trip by bus, so its portability has already been tested. The free pattern can be found on iVillage and is mostly made by knitting in garter stitch, increasing and decreasing to shape the petals, making it easy enough for a new knitter.

Felted Flower hotpad and coaster: Linda Frydl designed a felted-flower set in two different sizes, one to keep pots from burning the table and the other to keep cups from leaving a mark. The pattern itself is only $2.00, and if felting is a new technique for you, this would be a good project because there is no three-dimensional shaping. The finished projects can brighten up a table throughout the year, and not just during the holidays.

Poinsettia Flower Knitting Brooch: This pattern, designed by Sol Maldonado, is designed to be close to a life-sized poinsettia and can be purchased for only $4.00 on The petals lay flat and the finished project can be used as a brooch, or an embellishment on anything that needs a bit more holiday cheer.

Tomorrow's daily feature: whiskers on kittens. Stay tuned throughout the month for more quick, easy, instant-gratification knits to get you through the holiday season.

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