Tuesday, December 30, 2008

december: the end

whatever it is you desire in the coming year,
i wish you just enough.

happy new year.

Monday, December 15, 2008

december: week 3

It's like Groundhog Day around here, with all the Turn a Squares and Dashing... I'm still busy working on Dashings.  I've got the second pair half done, but that is the mitt that my father-in-law picked up with his own and is now mailing back to me.  The third pair is also half done, and I'll probably finish that pair later today.  This last pair is for the husband and are shortened dramatically.  

So as not to bore you further with seeing the same dang yarn knit up in the same dang pattern, here's a Christmas-themed meme I copied from Andrea's blog.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?  Wrapping paper.

2. Real tree or artificial?  Real.  Noble Fir.

3. When do you put up the tree?  Usually the first weekend in December, but this year it was the last weekend in November.

4.  When do you take down the tree?  As soon as the tree is officially a fire hazard.

5. Do you like Egg Nog?  Yes, non-alcoholic right and out of the carton.  Bud's of San Francisco is the best in the West.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? LA Gear tennis shoes, pale pink/pale green.  I was 11, I think.  It's not so much that this was a favorite, but I remember this gift very clearly.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?  No.  We have a near-entire set of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" characters.  (Our Yukon Cornelius is not quite the same scale.)

8. Hardest person to buy for?  My father-in-law.

9. Easiest person to buy for?  Annika.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?  Usually, mail.  This year, I'm not sure that I'm going to get any out, though.

11. Favorite Christmas movie?  Elf.

12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?  Anything on the smörgåsbord.

13. Clear lights or colored?  Colored on the tree.  Clear on the house.

14. Favorite Christmas song? "Christmastime" as performed by the Smashing Pumpkins.

15. Travel or stay home at Christmas?  Stay at home.  I am a firm believer that the kids should be in their own beds on Christmas Eve.  I do wish we could be nearer to family, though.

16. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?  Yes.  Absolutely.

17. Angel or Star on top of the tree?  Star.  A sequined gold star.  

18. Open presents Christmas Eve or Morning?  The Pajama Fairy brings the kids -- sometimes the adults -- new p.j.'s that are opened Christmas Eve.  All other presents are opened around 6am on Christmas morning.

19. Most annoying thing about this time of year?  That it goes by a little too fast to enjoy it.  And that after-Christmas sales commercials appear on TV beginning Christmas Eve.

20. Which looks best, theme trees or homey trees?  Homey, I guess.  I hadn't ever really thought about it.  Our tree is covered in ornaments that people have made us or the kids have picked out.

21. Gingerbread or Sugar Cookies.  Gingerbread.  Always gingerbread.

Enjoy the last few days until Christmas.  I'm constantly reminded -- by television, my kids and my pocketbook -- that there are only 10 more days until the big guy arrives.  And 375 more days until next Christmas.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

dashing WIP's

Our family had its first Christmas celebration yesterday.  The kids were very excited for it, but I couldn't muster the same.  There's something about multiple Chrismases that wears on me, and it's not just that it creates multiple knitting deadlines.
I gifted the first round of handknits: one Birthday Cowl and pair of Toasty to my step-mother-in-law, and a Turn a Square and one-and-a-half* pair of Dashing for my father-in-law.  You've seen the others, but here is the Dashing:

I modified the Dashing by only knitting 12 rounds -- not 18 -- in the rib pattern from the last cable twist to the thumb opening. The husband (a small framed 5' 7", just like his dad) thought they were too long as it was. Imagine six more rounds between wrist and thumb.  The Dashing might have reached his elbow.  

I knit Dashing in Cascade 220, colorway 7821, to coordinate with the Turn a Square.  I like the pattern overall, but when I had holes at the thumb opening, I thought I must be an unskilled knitter.  After a hurried photo shot and harried post on flickr, I was comforted to know that some of you still get holes, too, and all you do is sew them shut with the tail end.  Phew!  I've knit mitts before, but always with a thumb gusset.  Guess I'm a gusset girl, with two more pairs of Dashing to knit.

*So I had the left-hand mitt of another pair of Dashing on a table near where the gift unwrapping was happening.  I think the father-in-law accidentally picked that one up, too.  I'd like to be a fly on the wall when he unpacks his loot and finds three mitts! ;-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

december: week 2

the turn a squares are all completed.
it's hard to believe that all three hats were knit out of one skein of noro silk garden (color #126) and just a little over one skein of cascade 220 (color #7821).

you saw the very neutral one in my week 1 post. i was extremely pleased with its outcome, as it is very similar to the designer's. the masculine color combo and striping effect was precisely the look i was after. and yes, i had noticed that my skein of silk garden had some bright spots. tried as i might, ignoring the turquoise mixed in there was not possible once the second hat was cast off.

the third hat turned out to be a near identical twin to the second. the bright hues were toned down just a few notches.

the pattern calls for knitting the first two plain body rows in the silk garden, then knitting three rows in the solid cascade, and continuing in that manner through to the end. upon casting on this third hat -- and with unnecessary foresight -- i decided i would knit the first three body rows with cascade 220 and if i should run out of the silk garden, i would just finish the hat in the cascade. i have several yards of silk garden left, so i didn't need to worry after all.

all in all, these hats were satisfying knits. there are too few masculine patterns available, in my opinion. i understand the why of it, but when it's time to knit a gift for one of the great men in my life, i often struggle. it was great to be unconcerned with whether or not my father-in-law would like his, or if my dad would like his... and i really hope that third hat is well-loved by its recipient, too.

and so a question for you handmade gift givers: how do you wrap your goodies? i'm looking for inspiration...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

have i got a deal for you

do you have $12?
seriously. do you? whip it out.
one skein of malabrigo worsted is about $12.
$12 + free toast pattern = heaven.

you can knit a pair of easy-peasy toast or toasty with nearly any single skein of yarn, but honestly, malabrigo is hands-down the greatest. especially when it's this wintry grey colorway called "polar morn."

and, dear reader, you will want for nothing else.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

december: week 1

do you hear them? the jingling sleigh bells? i have, and now i can't stop the gift knitting.

birthday cowl and toasty in malabrigo worsted, "continental blue" colorway

darkside cowl in malabrigo worsted, "polar morn" colorway

i also have been (sorta) knitting the adventskalendar, though until i find some suitable green and yellow yarns, this will sit for a bit.