Monday, December 31, 2007

Good to be Home Again

Ahhhh. I do love the holidays, but after 5 days at my parents', and almost 3 at Hubby's, with only two days in between, it is so very nice to get back into our little routines at home... even if home is an enormous mess.

Right now, Monkey is having a bath, and Daddy is assisting, (I can hear the giggles from here) so I have a few minutes to catch you up. I finished my holiday knitting just in time, again. Now this year I didn't plan on very many knit gifts because I wanted to avoid the frantic knitting/felting/sewing at midnight from last December. But still, I was down to the wire. I may not have been quite as stressed about it this year, but I was still pushing the deadline. I'm thinking that no matter how few or how many handmade projects I plan on, I will somehow find a way to be done just in time. I should just be glad that I did get them done, because the alternative is a bit embarrassing (and knitting gifts after they've been given is a bit like a chore).

My holiday knitting consisted of dishcloths for 8 (four each), a shawl, and some crazy hats.

Here are some dishcloths:

The finished shawl:

No pictures yet of the crazy hats for my BIL who likes to soak in his outdoor hot-tub in the winter, sorry. He got an acrylic rainbow hat with tail an pom-pom, and a regular hat of terra-cotta in Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, very comfy.

Today is New Year's Eve, and I'm thinking of the direction I'd like my knitting to take in 2008.
  • Knit up more of my stash, in order to switch the stash from the jumble of odd skeins it is to (many less skeins) of (nicer) yarn to be bought for a specific purpose.

  • Finish a few UFO's, to have less of them at the end of the year than the amount I have now (many more than you are thinking).

  • Knit some for charity. There are a lot of cold people out there. I have a ton of yarn. There's a connection there.

  • Publish some free patterns. Yeah, I said FREE. One pattern a month, minimum. Here on the blog. Be sure to check back.

For now, I'm working on a charity baby blanket for Warm Woolies. It usually takes me awhile to select a pattern and yarn, but this time I just picked yarn out of the stash and cast on. Yeah me!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Hosting Christmas

Each year, at Christmas, my family (or as many of that can) travel to one house to enjoy the holiday together. Thank goodness I am not hosting Christmas this year. I hosted last year and it was a ton of stress and work! (admittedly, some of the stress could have been from having a one year old child who didn't enjoy napping and my deciding to make most of the presents...)

I had never realized before how much work goes into just cleaning for the holiday! Then there's decorating, and cooking, and shopping, and it's sort of rude to do those things after the guests arrive. Then where to fit everyone (we do not have a large house) and making sure they're comfortable and sort of letting go of whether they're comfortable because there's only so much I can do without adding on a wing to the house and hiring some staff. So, thank goodness I am not hosting Christmas this year. But I feel guilty that my Mom, who is hosting, has all this work to do, so Monkey and I traveled to my Mom's house last week to help out. We blasted the Christmas music, and danced around with our dusters, then set about decorating for the holiday. It was great fun, and Monkey got to spend quality time with Nana and Poppy, so he was happy.

I brought two knitting projects with me, a Baby Surprise Jacket and a shawl for my grandmother, neither of which had been cast on. The shawl hadn't really been planned out, but I brought a copy of "Folk Shawls" by Cheryl Oberle with me, I figured I could pick something out of that. I started the lace shawl for my grandmother about 8 times this week, and FINALLY got something that resembles lace and doesn't make me vomit. (yeah, the tries were that bad) The problem was not Cheryl Oberle's book, it was my interpretation of it.

Apparently, I cannot follow simple directions. First, I ignored Cheryl's beautiful patterns, and tried to adapt her technique and stitch patterns into something entirely new. I tried to fit a lace pattern meant for a rectangular shawl into a triangular shawl (vastly overestimating my ability to adapt lace). Then I knit across the back for awhile instead of purling. When I finally figured that one out, fixed it, and the lace still looked bad, I realized I wasn't following the chart for the exceptions at the beginning and end of some rows. Hmmm... I decided to do something a bit easier, because it was very clear that I was not capable of much here. I cast on for a rectangle, used the number two lace from the sampler shawl in Folk Shawls, and remembered to purl on the wrong side (most times). So far, it's looking pretty good, and about 10 inches long (and it only needs to be about 60. God help me!)

You're probably wondering about the Baby Surprise Jacket I took with me. Never touched it. Seems it's a bit difficult being a single Mom, even just for a week, and with a few relatives around helping. Well, it is for me, anyway.