It was a strange Chanukah in 2020, though of course we all did our best to feel celebratory! I made little gifts for my parents–we couldn’t have a party or light the Chanukiot together, but we could meet for a walk outside. For my mom, I made a Parisian Twist Headband.
I used one skein of superwash Cascade 220. In addition to being washable, I find that superwash are softer–I assume it’s because the microscopic scales (that would cause the yarn to felt) have been stripped off. Anyway, this is my third time making this pattern (one of my previous iterations is here), and it’s pleasure to make; the pattern is simple and with worsted-weight yarn held double, it goes fast! In terms of sizing, I find that the small size still needs to be reduced in length, so I shortened the two overlap by an inch, which gave it a snug but comfortable fit.
For the button, I used this tutorial to weave a button-cover, because I didn’t have any dark blue buttons handy. It was time-consuming but satisfying–definitely something I’d do again. You use a stiff paper template, wrap the yarn around it to make spokes, and then weave around the spokes until you have a tight little circle that cinches around an existing button. I used a metal button leftover from my Carbeth Cardigan, which has a different style of yarn-covered buttons.
For my dad, I candied some orange peel. It was easy, but time consuming–I cut strips of orange peel from five oranges, scraped off most of the pith, boiled them twice to make them less bitter, simmered them in sugar syrup, drained them, let them dry, and then tossed them with sugar. Still, though, it was only an evening of work–when I think of it, it probably took less time than the headband. I don’t have many photos, but oh my goodness, homemade candied orange peel is spectacular–sweet and slightly chewy, with a gorgeously strong orange flavour, and just ever-so-slightly bitter. Definitely worth the fuss! This is what they look like after simmering in the syrup: shiny and translucent.
Materials: one skein of Cascade 220 bought at my local yarn store for about $14. I nipped out to get it the day before the store was due to close for lockdown–me and about forty elderly ladies waiting in line around the block for the chance to go in the store one-by-one and stock up.
The oranges required five navel oranges to make about two cups of peel, plus five cups of sugar. It was a LOT of sugar. I used this Martha Stewart recipe, and if I do it again, I’ll let the peel dry overnight instead of only 30 minutes.
These were two successful gifts! I daresay the recipients were both happy and surprised.