Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Day

This is a rather long post on Two Black Sheep. We have learned a lot in 2006 and we wanted to share. The first four are Lola's and the last four are Ava's. Enjoy and have a wonderful new year!

1. Just because you can knit it, doesn't mean you should knit it.
Urban Adventure is still waiting to be felted it. I just can't bring myself to throw it in the washer. I think it was knitting in the round for 19 inches on at least 300 stitches. Why put yourself through that?And even though I love my Pimlico shrug, a 2x2 ribbing on 300+ stitches for 6 inches is enough to make any knitter put the needles down. Same thing goes from my Miter Square afghan. As the Mason Dixon books says, "Who knits a queen size blanket?" This idiot. I do love curling up under it, but I also hate worrying about how much it is pilling. I always think back to it's glourious beauty right after I finished the border. Yes, it is loved and it shows it, but it took forever to finish and I want it to look gorgeous again!

2. Cabling without a needle is the greatest thing since row counters.
Demi couldn't have been completed without this accomplishment. I had to have reminders all over the charts and patterns, but I can't explain how this was a lifesaver. I have small hands, so juggling one more needle is a nightmare. I even swatched with the cable needle and without. I didn't notice a difference on the fabric and that's when I decided to chuck all the cable needles I own.

3. Seamless knitting is the greatest thing since cabling without a cable needle.
As I've said in a previous post, it is going to be difficult to seam again. And for some reason knitting these sweaters, made me feel like a real knitter. Maybe it's because I didn't have a true paper pattern. Maybe it makes me feel confident when something I've knit fits well. Or maybe it's because I love reading anything E. Zimmermann has written. I don't know what it is, but it these sweaters make me feel like a knitter.

Betty makes her pictorial debut on the blog in the Three Tiered Scarf from Knit 1.

4. Blogging isn't such a dirty habit.
Before I used to shut down my blog windows real fast if SK came into the room. I've described it to Ava a thousand times, I felt similar to a man getting caught looking at porn when his woman walks in the room. Ava finally talked me into starting the blog. I begged SK to not tell our friends on a camping trip we took right after Two Black Sheep was up. Begged. They all know that I knit like a crazed woman, so it isn't like I was hiding my hobby. And it isn't like I have normal friends, we have a ton of Star Wars, Comic book, Horror movie, Music nerds as some of our best friends! For some reason, I have yet to come out of the closet to friends or family. But blogging has been great. I love being able to see Ava's projects. It's easier than us leaving messages all week. And when we get comments from famous bloggers, I'm like a school girl .I love seeing different takes on projects. When I'm stuck, I do a quick Google search, and BLAM I'm on my way again! Ava's note to SK - when someone offers you a perfectly good pseudonym, don't say, "Dude, I want something cool, like Steak Knife" because you know damn well we would pick that one.

5. Felting isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Maybe it is because I really don’t have the patience to go and check on something all the time (as witnessed by my parenting skills . . . if they ain’t crying, they are probably okay), but I just don’t get felting. I even emailed Lola on the last round of felting and told her that this latest attempt, Fiber Trends Felted Clogs, might be it for me (and by it, I mean never attempting it again). They turned out okay, but I may leave felting to the professionals, or the folks who can’t read a care label (which is how felting probably occurred if you asked me).

6. You don’t always have to knit for yourself.
Seriously, I don’t care what anybody else’s personal feelings are on the war. Mine are my own and I choose not to get too terribly political about it unless you happen to be my brother. My point? Knitting a helmet liner was one of the most fulfilling things I knit this year. The fact that I was able to help out Kimberly and have her cousin and his friends truly appreciate something was better than whatever else I would have done with my time. Even though they didn’t start out for her, I am glad that I gave Mom the wristwarmers. She will get more use out of them than I will . . . besides, I have the pair that Lola knit for me after I went a little crazy buying Gus pressies before he was born.

7. Choose your patterns wisely.
This was one of my biggest disappointments this year. I know how to knit; I know how to get gauge; I know how to maintain gauge . . . I need to learn when to give up and admit defeat. Too many times, I have picked the wrong pattern for the wrong reasons. Sizzle was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. Maybe it was the allure of the cruise with my girlfriends or maybe it was the fact that I was going to wear it on my anniversary or maybe – just maybe – it was the fact that my tits (yes, I like that word much better than any of the alternatives) would look awesome in it. What ever the case was, Sizzle was a fizzle for me. The yarn was lovely, the pattern was very, very simple, but the fit left something to be desired. I think that I am going my own route from now on since I am the one who has to live with the results. Lola, you may have sold me on EZ’s methods as the baby sweater was so damn easy and quick to boot.

8. Stash can be managed . . . I just don’t know how.
This isn’t a section to make resolutions, but here goes. Hi, my name is Ava and I am a yarn addict. Sale at A. C. Moore? Dude, I had to buy this because the mark down is so low. Near Nazareth? I should check at Kraemer’s and see what is one sale. Plus, one more skein of Galway couldn’t hurt anyone. Visiting London? Let’s go to Liberty and grab some Rowan. God only knows when I will be back . . . truth be told, He probably does know since I give in to the Flyer every year and go back. Montreal? Who cares if the yarn shop proprietor was a little creepy and pushy . . . give me that Noro silk! See what I mean? Hell, the Flyer even encouraged me to buy another stand for my yarn when he should have been encouraging me to knit what I already own. So, in 2007, I am not buying any new yarn until there has been a significant “knit down” of what I own. Exemptions – I can buy the yarn for the Flyer’s sweater and use Mom’s gift certificate for Lady Eleanor.

Peace and happy birthday to Cara!

Friday, December 29, 2006

The One I Love

I don't know if you do this with your knits, but I build up a love affair. Especially with my sweaters, I think that's what keeps me going. The first couple sweaters I made were during the early months of my pregnancy. The Skull sweater from Stitch Bitch I thought would be big enough even when I was showing. While making a Debbie Bliss slouchy cardigan, I kept thinking, "How cute is my bump going to look peaking through?!" I imagine all the lively things I'll do in my new sweater. And when people see me having tons of fun, they'll ask, "Wow. Where'd you get that great sweater?" I'll toss my hair and say, "Oh this? I made it." And then skip away. Well, it never goes like that. The Skull sweater was so heavy and thus hot, I wore it once (While pregnant, I would almost pass out if it was warmer than 64). Someone did ask me about the Debbie Bliss cardigan, but I was washing my hands and the bottom kept falling into the sink. I think it was a bit to big. If I haven't said it, we suffer from our mother's paranoia, "Buy it big, it will shrink!" It's hard to break that habit and I still don't understand the "To Fit Bust" column of a knit pattern. Does that mean if I have a 36' bust, I should make the Medium? Or do I add on for ease? Screw it. And then there was Raspy from Rowan's Denim collection. I made this while pregnant knowing that I'd have to wait until after the kid was pushed out for a good spin around the city. Remember, I had to knit 20% more because of the built in shrinkage. The front bunches because it's the same as the back and once again, it's just a smidge to big. I wanted the perfect lounge sweater! One that looks cute with pj bottoms or one that looks cute in Target. Enter EZ.
I started this a couple months ago with no target completion date. I got both sleeves done very fast thanks to a work trip, but the body languished. About a week ago, I noticed that I stitched the year into the hem and I thought, "How horrible to not have it done in 2006!" That's all it took. I was crazed to finish this and "Ta Da..." She's done, fabulous & all that I could've imagined! Maybe I'll be wearing this when Gus finally says, "Ma, they can hear you singing 3 cars over!" Or maybe during his first trip to the zoo (haven't quite made it there yet). Or during my trip to Barnes & Noble later today...

I can't tell you how much I adore Elizabeth Zimmermann! It fits! Less than a dozen ends to weave. No pattern to shove into my purse. And it just seemed to finish itself. Last night, I put it on for SK. And I think he was as shocked as I was. It was 3 tubes only a couple nights ago. In the spirit of my Knitting New Year's Resolution, I used all stash yarn. Paton's Classic (not sure when I'll run out of this stuff) on US 8s. The only modification was the hem. I don't like how she adds the inside color last and then stitches the hem to the sweater. I'm taking Brooklyntweed's route from now on. I'm starting Beaner's sweater as soon as I finish SK's felted clogs. It' s going to take a truly gorgeous sweater to break me from the Seamless crack pipe.

In yesterday's post, I made the announcement that I was going "gut" Gus' room. Not sure if that's going to happen. I just want to prance around the house in my new sweater. She doesn't need to rummage through toy boxes yet.

Love ya,

p.s. SK just called to tell me that in his Health Newsletter at work, it says to keep your thermostat set to 68 degrees. If you have it set any where from 60-65 degrees, you could have long term health problems. They are listed as hypothermia, sleepiness, confusion, and achey joints. And he says, "Well you do go to bed early and you are confused a lot." Early to him is anytime before 11:30 p.m. I'll chalk the "confusion" comment up to him being pissed that he's working today.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Blues

This is how we feel in the Lola Camp. The Pup has been in this position since we got home from the holiday rounds. SK & I went back to work today. I'm back for one day and then off until the New Year. I plan on gutting Gus' room and play-areas. I think he's grown out of rattles... We've got to make room for all the trucks he received as gifts. Last night, he lined up 5 of his cars all with the back ends facing us. Maybe a tad OCD-ish...

I'll post a picture of my progress on the Comfy Gray sweater. I'm feverishly trying to finish this before 2007. A marathon of Law & Order are going to help this difficult task. I've joined the sleeves to the body and am about to start the raglan decreases. Still, it's a huge blob of gray crap and I'm slugging along. I'm not working on anything other than this project. I'm afraid if I don't finish it before 2007 that it'll sit in the WIP basket for the next 3 months. I want to finish it so I can start Beaner's seamless yoke. So off to the couch...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Silent Night

- Fetching (done) and given to Mom . . . thanks to Jessica for a reminder about how cool and simple the pattern is

Fetching on Christmas Eve

- trip to Kraemers for some really awesome yarn (most on clearance, mind you . . . one bag of mill ends Little Lehigh Pebbles, a huge cone of mohair blend, some craft yarn for the girls)
- only one argument about how you exaggerate
- five beers and one-third of a box of wine down (Flyer is hitting gin and Squirt)
- Dad is off for French crullers from Dunkin' Donuts

Merry Christmas! Miss you, Lola!


PS - The Flyer doesn't want to start a family incident (that means argument to those of you not related by blood or marriage) 366 days in advance, but he wants to come home for Christmas next year. Tune in!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Little Drummer Boy

This is my "Merry Christmas" post. I'm not even going to attempt to rhyme. It would never come close to your glorious poem. We're leaving tomorrow after SK's office party. I'm keeping Gus home, so there's no blogging, knitting or even watching good ole Reg & Kelly. I have one more batch of spinach rolls to make and then I can sleep. I worked so hard yesterday, so I could relax all day today. I had to create a list to keep myself on track. Here's how it read:

Wrap gifts
Make cookies & spinach rolls

Shave legs
That's just how silly I've become and you know that I have yet to cross off the last one. Let me say, thank god for the Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix! I can't believe how good they tasted the next day.

I finished Gus' tomten last night (w/o the zipper). There is something about brown garter stitch that makes me so happy. It's so simple that it's beautiful. Seriously. I made some changes to the pattern. When I finished one sleeve, I realized that it was a very unattractive length. I hacked off about 16 ridges from the listed 40 ridges. I always freak out when I have to cut knitted fabric. I'm still picking pieces of brown wool out of the carpet. I also shortened the sleeves by 7 ridges. The border is my first attempt with an I-Cord, and I loved it! I found it almost magical. While watching Bones (cried like a baby during the Christmas episode), it just seemed to appear along the edge. I'll get a picture once the zipper is attached, I need my Mommy for that one.

Next to the tomten, is the pre-felted Noni Adventure bag. I'm not sure if the picture best represents its sheer size. I tried to put a book in there for reference, but it amazes me each time I grab it. I need a free day to felt it, so it'll wait for the new year. But what do the two projects have in common? I'm crazy and have a knitting death wish. Maybe. All of my recent projects (still have one in the WIP basket) require no skills. Straight knitting. No purls. No concentration. So a resolution is in need. My next projects will involve cables and fair isle. Promise! Seamless yoke for Beaner (fair isle at the top), We Call Them Pirates & Shedir.

Finally, a little picture of Gus for the holidays. He worked so hard one night, but never quite got there. He wiggled and wiggled, but was never able to turn around. His daycare teacher created a CD of their circle songs for a Christmas gift. It was perfect because we have a lack of children CDs. Last night, we danced to Wheels on the Bus and Five Little Ducks. Sounds better than the rap station he tuned the bedroom radio to a couple weeks ago. One night, I'm watching him dance. We're laughing and joining in, and then I listen to the lyrics. Not so cute.
I wish you an enormous amounts of holiday cheer! Have fun with Mom & Dad. I'll completely understand if I get a phone call and you're whispering. Just have lots of wine in the fridge.
Love you all,

Monday, December 18, 2006

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

With my sincere apologies to Clement Moore and family (and a stellar reason as to why I don't teach poetry) -

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house,
Pulling my hair out, scurrying like a mouse
The stockings are here, but the cat? Oh dear
So when is that St. Nicholas man coming here?

The girls were sprawled out with yarn on their lap
When I thought to myself, “I could use a long nap.”
But the Flyer with his Tumi and the dog with her bone
Would soon make a case to leave well enough alone.

Out in the kitchen there arose such a clatter
I jumped from the table to see what was the matter.
But on the way to the oven, I tripped over a case
And fell on the floor, sprawled flat on my face.

Not sure I like this

The Flyer, he sighed, saying, “I thought I put that away,”
And picked up the needles before I could say,
“Was that a set of rosewood DPNs on the kitchen floor?”
As I tried to convince him to show me once more.

The dog, bless her soul, came running in from the cold
And jumped on my back which wasn’t too bold.
She’s a lab, full of energy and kind of a beast
So I must have looke like a right proper feast.

Oh cashmere, oh silk, oh alpaca wool blend!
Oh stockings and hats and all socks I must mend!
Now merino, now soy, now silly bamboo,
Now Brown Sheep, now Elann, now lovely Knit Picks!

“But think of the slippers I could knit with those things!”
And flew through the house like a demon with wings.
Were they under the tree? Were they on a high shelf?
Betty said, “Mom, get a hold of yourself.”

Gilly and Betty

“The knitting will wait, you still have work to do here.
Your parents, yes them, will knock in less than a year.”
(Actually to be fair, they will knock in less than three days
But this rhyme scheme is getting a bit old, don’t you think?)

But the gauge swatch was calling my name on the wind,
“Ava, sweet Ava, just look once again.
I’m sure that the rosewoods are easy to find
If you want it enough, you’ll get out of your bind.”

My hands started shaking, the knitting DTs,
We’ve been through it before, without resorting to ease.
You all know the type: fun fur and quick knits to boot
Only later - “That looks likes shit,” your kids say with a hoot.

Veronica calmly sat down and tossed me a ball.
“Knit one, mom, purl two,” she began as a call.
My finger responded to her knitting commands
And I saw that a rib was forming under my hands.


I can do this, I thought, I can get through the day
And the yarn began to act in a magical way.
The tensions of the week that weighed heavy on my head
Took a pity on my soul and floated to bed.

So the scarf looked like crap and I frogged it right quick
I knew that in no time, I could leave it all up to St. Nick.
The hand knits will wait ‘til birthdays come right?
Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight.

* The swatches, which I dutifully knit this weekend, are from AllHemp6 for Eiffel (the first one) and Peru Luxury for an unknown sweater for which I need my head examined. Oh, Lola, there may not be enough schnapps for this one!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Purple Snowflakes

Ever compile a To Do list that just grows and grows and grows, and yet you still keep adding to it? I stopped today. If I added one more thing, one iota (a vocabulary word this week for my kids), the paper may have cried out in agony. That last little thing to do, probably something silly and insignificant, isn't really that pressing. Last week, Julia was gutsy enough to show photos of her house in action. Sometimes, I get that fake holiday spirit amidst the whirlwind of life and it is refreshing to see someone actually show the chaos.

Now that I am in the holiday spirit (only ten more days), here is a quick tour of what my holiday is like. The photos are there for those of you who think in pictures.

1) Our Christmas tree. Sure it is fake and a pre-lit strand of lights are burned out, but I treasure the ornaments on it more than anything. Betty's collection of Mary's Angels, Veronica's Mischievious Kittens, the Flyer's Star Trek and Batman , our university ornaments, and my what-ever-is-50%-off-at-Hallmark - love the disorder. Not so fond of the disorder in the dining room.

2) Yarn! Any excuse to splurge on yarn is my kind of holiday. I just got the All for Hemp 6 to make Eiffel and want to cast on so badly it kind of hurts.

3) Christmas cards. Granted I have been known to send out Valentine's cards instead, but I love reading the greetings and catching up with the letters.

4) Our frig. It has become a sort of catch-all for, well, everything. Postcard from Nick when he was in Cuba? My favorite photo of the Flyer with the girls circa 1992? Gus smiling in his carseat? Beaner and her brother? Really lame poetry? Just look on the frig.If you can't find it there, it can wait until Easter.

5) The ornament. Flip it over and it says 1972. That was the only Christmas with Clark. If this ornament ever breaks, there will never be enough glue to put my heart back together.

6) The pink tree. I admit it, I adore pink so a tree in this shade of Barbie Tart Pink is just my thing. Betty and Veronica dubbed it the knitting tree - hence the Noro "ornament" and yarn garland. Next year, proper knitted ornaments.

7) Joy. There isn't enough of it, people. I am guilty of it. Look into getting more joy.

8) The pets. This is Gilly; she has recently discovered that Livvie can't reach her under the tree. Smart kitty!

9) Cookie day. For the past several years, the girls and I have baked Christmas cookies. They wanted to add a gingerbread house to the mix this year, so we bought a tacky premade one and it turned out fab. They made the house, I stamped my cards. It was a win-win situation.

Enjoy the weekend! I have a feeling the real chaos has yet to begin.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

This is a quick, seven sentence rant. Do you ever feel like some blogs are merely vehicles to pimp the author's book or upcoming book? I used to read one blog and truly enjoyed what the knitter had to say. Lately, it has been nothing but cryptic references to the upcoming book and pictures from it. You know what? I really don't care. If it takes me more than five minutes to figure out what you are trying to say and I must consult a thesaurus, a star chart, and the tea leaves, I tend to get really irritated. Here at Two Black Sheep, we (and I haven't asked Lola, but I am pretty sure she will be on board) promise never to create a book of patterns . . . probably because we really aren't that talented.

Ava, who swears she will get in the Christmas spirit by the end of the day

PS - I am 99% positive that the knitter in question doesn't read our blog even though we both have knit her patterns before and had problems with fit. If you read this and think it is you, trust me, it isn't.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

My Favorite Things

Why is that song linked to Christmas, or is it just me? Here it is, as promised, proof that I'm not all Scroogey this year. A few of my favorite reasons that it's Christmas time:

1. Hot Chocolate. I discovered this recipe from Poise Gets Cozy. You know that I'm a coffee gal, but for some reason December screams for some chocolate and marshmallows. This stuff if pretty rich, not like the watery stuff produced from the envelopes with foam "marhmallows". It'll do in a pinch, but I'm in love.
2. Staying indoors. I went through a phase where I loved astrology. My sign, Cancer, always said that, "You're a homebody." I never believed it! I wanted to be out. You could find me in the dirtiest neighborhood watering holes (Ava, you've been to my favorite). But deep down, I loved having an evening to myself. Wine, garlic spread and a book (before knitting) was heaven to me. Now I've given into the fact that I like staying home. That's not real fair, maybe now I've had to give into that side since we don't have instant access to a babysitter. But I like sitting on the couch & no one gives you shit about it in the winter.
3. Great time to discover new things. SK and his family are into submitting Christmas lists. I dread having to write up a list of things that I'd like for Christmas. I hate "asking" for things. What's worse is, I never feel like I need anything. I'm practical. But every year, I sit down and type something up. For the last 2 years, it always comes back to Gus. I veer away from my list and stumble onto things that we'd love for him. He NEEDS nothing. Please NO toys, Ava. I'm in complete love with "Snowy Day" & Ezra Jack Keats. I love the artwork and when the snow PLOPS on Peter's head, cracks me up. Also happens to be one of the books that Gus will sit through. Anyways, there's a Keats Neighborhood book that I'd like to get for Gus. But that's it. Until he understands Christmas, he's getting about 2 gifts from us. Did Keats do the "Stick a butter, gallon of milk & loaf of bread" Sesame Street skit? Note to self, find out!
4. Emmet Otter's Christmas Special. One of the only Christmas specials that our Dad will sit through and not say, "Oh piss on it. I'm going to bed." Doesn't that picture make you so happy. SK has never seen it. Never! I've got to find it & sit him down. But I'm afraid the it won't measure up. Remember our Private Eyes experience? "You loved this as a kid?" SK asked. I had to say "Yes" but I forgot why we liked it. I'm confident that the Riverbottom Nightmare Band will still rock.
5. Certain Christmas Songs. I love Mele Kalikimaka! Reminds me of Christmas more than anything else. Our grandparents played it maybe all year round. Just typing the word, makes me smell rum and evergreen. Two staples. I also love a Dolly Parton Christmas (I'm going through a Dolly phase again)! Click on it, doesn't it make you want to wrap gifts?

So there you go, just a couple of my favorite Holiday things. I could list a hundred more; drunken nights in the dorms repeating, "What sound does a piggy make?" from A Christmas Story, John Denver's Muppet Christmas, making Aunt C's Christmas cookies (which really aren't as good as I remember. Real yeasty), etc. Who can hate the Island of Misfits? Who? So I'll leave you with that, maybe you could fill out the holiday meme that's starting to float.

Take a look at that first picture. Look close. That Lizard Ridge square has really pissed me off! I've always liked that color of Noro (maybe 95), lime green, hot pink and dusty brown. Could you ask for more? I make the square and there's no pink! None. Just yellow and green. You can't really squeeze 2 squares out of one skein. Now I've got to mix it with something else. Looks ok, but the mixed blocks never look as good as the originals. If Noro wasn't so expensive, I'd use the scraps for something else. Still plugging away.

I love my Fiber Trend clogs! Knitpicks Wool of Andes felts really well. The pattern is kind of weird, because you knit 2 bottoms for extra cushion. Once you felt them, it makes sense. I'm thinking about making another set and add the hard bottoms from their site. Wear them all around the city. SK wants a pair, so I'll get cracking.

Yesterday, we had a request for a picture of our stockings. The pattern is from Handknit Holidays. I wanted a mismatched look this year. So I used a bunch of Paton's Merino leftover from the MasonDixon Afghan (warmest thing ever, get your's done Ava). I really liked the slip-stitch pattern and the bobble bind-off on Gus' and SK's. I got lazy on mine. I machine sewed rick-rack as the hanging loop. We haven't filled stockings yet. Once we stay home from the holidays, we'll test them.
Love, Lola

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Winter Wonderland

Our mother LOVES Christmas. She's the type that once Thanksgiving hits, we were only allowed to listen to Christmas music. Seriously, that will turn anyone into Scrooge. You can only hear "Little Drummer Boy" 11 times before you want to beat your head to a bloody pulp. Too graphic? Since moving out, I've started to experience the Christmas spirit a little more each year. Kind of... I love the idea of Christmas. Good will towards men. Cookies and handmade gifts. Ornaments full of childhood memories. But as you get closer to the date, my love for the holiday starts slipping away. I get mad at all the people in Target that aren't usually there (kind of like the Christmas People at Christmas mass, Where'd they come from?) . Do I make or buy gifts for the daycare? If so, who gets them? What are the nieces and nephews into this year? It just starts to pile up. This year, I'm going to try real hard to enjoy Christmas all the way to Dec. 26. Starting with last weekend.

Enjoying Christmas is a lot easier with Gus in the picture. He has discovered Christmas lights. We visited the ILs this weekend and MIL really wanted to go to Children's Wonderland. It's held at an indoor fair ground building. SK used to take field trips to this place as a kid. He warned me that it was real cheesy and some of the displays would probably have duct tape holding the arms together. However he was really excited to get a wax Santa (Put money in & two metal arm close. Wax is shot into a mold and then the Santa is dropped. 4th picture from the top). He kept telling me about the wax figures like they were as common as Sesame Street. Anyway back to Winter Wonderland. Not sure how to describe this place. Kind of like the "Small World" ride without the boat, song, or class. I can't explain how much Gus loved this place. He couldn't even smile. He just walked around with his mouth open and pointed to every light. "Ights! Ights, Momma. Ights!" Watching him discover each new scene would make the biggest Scrooge soften.

Knitting new, lady! I haven't been doing much. I finished the stockings' linings last night. Since the sewing machine is out, maybe I'll work on my Amy Butler purse. I made a hideous hat (Spidey makes his return). Oh, gauge is my devil. So screw it, I picked up a snappy beret at Target and called it done. I've made some progress on the Grandma Afghan. My crochet is slow going, but it's going. I'm trying really hard to not commit to any Christmas Knitting. But I really want to try Paton's SWS. I think that an entrelac scarf would look fab with this yarn. Not to mention the price! We're talking 50% the cost. I will not commit. I will not commit.
Off to clean up the fake tree needles! I thought that didn't happen with fake trees? Let me tell you, that fake tree may have saved our marriage. Every year, the real tree almost kills me. Making sure the trunk is straight. Needles are green and not too pointy. Trying to get it to stay in the stand. Watering and vacuuming, oh my! SK said, "I think we should go with a fake tree this year." Oh thank you Santa, thank you. I got my gift early this year!

Tomorrow I will post some of my fondest Holiday memories. Just to show you how much progress I'm making on shedding my Scrooge exterior.

p.s. & edit to post: The lovely, Mrs. Frick, posted about multitasking the other day. Here's something you shouldn't multitask: felting and cooking. I was assembling a casserole while felting my FiberTrend clogs. I'd flip the veggies and run downstairs to check on the clogs. This went on for about 15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes. When I took out the last batch of eggplant, I noticed little fuzzies on some of the spears. I thought that I'd picked off all the wool, but found a couple strays as I was mixing the concoction. Don't tell SK... At least I'm not pulling it out of the trash and serving it like our mother used to do if she forgot to save dinner for Dad. I feel a little better.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Get Behind Me, Santa

Ah, it's that time of the year. The time when you spend more time in Target than with your family, muttering about all the other people in Target and wondering why they (or you) don't do more shopping online. Honestly, the 8th circle of hell must be the back corner of every Target store where they so smartly choose to put the Christmas tree lights. What retail architect came up with that configuration? Probably one who does his or her shopping online!

There has been virtually no knitting in my household. This is the second time (in November, no less) that I have taken a trip abroad only to come back to a full week of work, the Flyer leaving the day after we get back on business, and having an Academy weekend (classes from Friday 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM and then all day Saturday).

Putting the tree up this weekend put me in a little less than the Christmas mood . . . more like Scrooge with a couple of vodka tonics in him. Betty and Veronica did most of the labor (unpack tree, fluff branches, plug in), but neither one wanted to bring in the Crinkle Klauses. Lola, when did I get all these? Was Mom secretly sneaking them into my suitcases like a roofie? And, I even suggested putting the extra twinkle lights around the kitchen window! I did, however, sign a statement verifying that I would remove them after the holidays. What has happened to me?

Montreal was so much fun. The weather was nice (no rain until the last day), the language was not an issue (most folks say, "Bonjour! Hi!"), and the food was good (loved the crepes). The knitting and yarn wasn't what I expected. Let's just say that when these Trekking socks are done, I may never pick up another ball of Trekking again. I think I may name them "Unknittable" because they are destined to linger in my knitting basket forever. Knitting on zeros was my first error; the second was picking a stitch pattern with a k3tog through the back loop. As far as yarn shopping is concerned, I wasn't very pleased. I thought it was going to be great as Zellers had a huge selection of Patton's yarn as well as a rather cheap and pleasing acrylic. We made a quick jaunt to a yarn shop in Montreal and I was initally pleased, but I got really annoyed when the owner kept interrupting my touching. I wanted to say, "Trust me, I will buy something and probably a lot, but leave me alone to make my selections." Every five seconds, the owner was showing me how this was done or how these two yarns knit up together. In the end, I walked away with some Galway I had never seen, two lovely-rub-it-on-me-in-private skeins of Noro silks, and something for Veronica. Nothing major and certainly not what I would have purchased left to my own devices.

I'll post some more tomorrow with pictures of the idiot socks. Right now, I have to grade some papers so I can get progress reports done.


PS - What are your thoughts on parents letting their young use those Wheelies in stores? Personally, I will slap you if I ever see Gus in a pair, but that's just me.