Monday, December 29, 2008

100th Blog!

I can't believe I actually have made it to 100 blogs! Of course a celebration is in order!! I haven't selected the exact goodies yet, but a drawing is definitely called for. I can pretty much guarantee yarn but haven't selected it yet. Anyone who comments on this blog by end of day January 4 will be included (that means all five of you so your chances are good :-))
Now that Christmas is over I have some pictures of my Christmas knitting projects for your viewing enjoyment. You'll have to envision these colors darker since the flash tends to wash them out.

These are Nicole's monkey socks (and yes there are two). She was very happy with her new socks and wore them all Christmas day. As you all advised, the Trekking yarn did get much softer after washing.

These are my daughter-in-law's transition gloves using Shibui knits wasabi and periwinkle. The pattern is seriously lacking in directions for a beginner to Fair Isle and knitting thumbs, but I was able to puzzle through it.

This is my son's new hat (scarf still in process). I used Dream in Color superwash worsted in the special blue they do exclusively for The Loopy Ewe. It is an absolutely beautiful blend with shadings of blue and purple.
There was a definite knitting theme going in Nicole and my Christmas presents. She got a yarn sampler from Knitpicks and a variety of knitting themed stocking stuffers. Here are some photos of my Christmas haul.

The knitting bag and yarn were gifts from my daughter. She picked out the fabric and her friend Billy made the bag (she's a quilter). The yarns are all local products from when Nicole visited Colorado over the summer. Nicole's new boyfriend contributed one of the skeins so he gets some brownie points. The books were from my husband, a loving and generous man. I'm saving my new Sanna book to read New Year's Eve and Day.

I'm ready for 2009 knitting with new Knitpicks interchangeable circulars, Harmony dpn's, Custom Knits and a good laugh with "It Itches". Thanks to all of you for your support of my knitting efforts in 2008 with particular thanks to Amy Lane for bringing me over to the dark side :-) I never would have thought a year ago that I'd be so excited about all my knitting presents!

I told you all I was working on some special projects for the kids, which I can now share. For years I've wanted to transfer our home VHS tapes over to DVD. I was concerned about fading or breakage on the oldest ones. My husband and children did a lot of local theater over the years and all of those performances were on VHS too. Last year I used my birthday and Christmas money to buy a Panasonic VHS, DVD, hard drive recorder but never got around to doing much with it. November and December of this year I transferred roughly 50 videotapes on to 35 DVD's and made 3 sets. The kids each received a set for Christmas and I kept a set. I used archival pages, for storage so hopefully they will hold up well.

My other fun project I learned about from Dani at Sunshine Yarn. She had posted on her blog about a website called Wordle, where you can create free word clouds. Since I was looking for some low cost Christmas gifts, I went there and made each of the girls one. My husband and I picked words that made us think of each person and then the program generates a pattern and colors. There is a lot of flexibility in colors and patterns. You can't save your projects unless you are willing to publish them to the web, so I just printed them out once I decided on a pattern.
Tomorrow we take my son and daughter-in-law back to the airport. I can't believe how fast the visit went! Nicole and I took my daughter-in-law maternity shopping while she was here so she can breathe in her pants again. It was a great outing and we had so much fun. We've watched movies, read new Christmas books and eaten way to many cookies. All in all, it has been a great holiday and we look forward to 2009 with anticipation.
Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Handsome Christmas Dog

Blue models his new Christmas sweater. He's been wearing it for several days and is very proud!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Egad - It's only a week away

I got up this morning in a panic when I realized that Christmas is only 1 week away!!! I have now pared down my "to do" list to only those things that must be done (like disinfecting the hall bathtub which some unknown cat keeps using as an extra litter box).

I am now absolutely sure that the Christmas knitting will not be done by the big day. I do have enough for each person to wrap with an IOU for the rest :-) I should be able to finish by the time they all go home. Nicole will be here from Saturday, the 20th through the 26th and can help with all of the baking and cooking. Dominic and Alex will be here the 22nd through the 31st to eat the cooking and baking. They are all here a long enough time to get a real break from the daily grind.

In answer to KnitTech's question, the baby's due date is May 12, so I'm looking at knitting cotton items initially. I think I have enough of the blue yarn I used for the toddler sweater to make a six month version. I love the color plus it is quite soft and washes well.

Yesterday it was cold and rained all day. That got me in the mood to do more decorating (finally!). We have quite a few buildings for a lighted village but I haven't put it up in a few years. The set up isn't bad but the taking down is a drag. I'm just getting out select pieces and putting small groupings around the living and dining room which adds light at this dark time of year.

Tonight is the Christmas Chamber of Commerce mixer so I'd better go try to make myself look festive. After that I need to do some serious knitting. Probably means I shouldn't have more than a glass of wine at the mixer or I could have some very interesting FO's.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Closer and Closer

I'm trying really hard not to look at the calendar but Christmas is coming closer anyway. I've actually made a lot of progress. Cards are mailed, packages are shipped and the shopping is almost done. Then I remember, nothing is wrapped, I'm still chipping away at the house and I have invitations to design and get printed for a foundation annual meeting in January. Other than that I'm in good shape :-)

Amy Lane asked about the pattern for the toddler sweater. It is the Buttons Cardigan from the Cabin Fever website. I delivered the sweater last Friday and got to see it modeled. I think he'll be able to wear it for a month or two and then it will be too small. Oh well, it was really good practice for the GRANDSON we are expecting.

I got an excited text message this afternoon from my daughter-in-law making the announcement of her ultrasound results. I've already sorted out the knitting patterns that will work for a boy and put the cute little lacy sweater and hat patterns away for a future time. Since my GRANDSON will be living in the cold country for another year or two, wool will definitely be in order.

My daughter called tonight to let us know she completed her first semester of nursing school with an "A" average. She was very excited and glad for a break from the studying grind. She'll be here on Saturday to help me start baking. We'll probably do our annual tour of the lighted houses over the weekend as well.

Nine more knitting days until Christmas - Yipes!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Knitting photos

This will be a quick one as I'm off to meetings again, but wanted to show you the completed toddler sweater. I learned so much and am happy with how it came out despite a few errors. I need a good method for weaving in ends though, as one pulled out in the wash.

I couldn't get a good take on the color, which is a royal blue and much darker than it appears here.
Once I know the sex of my future grandchild, I'll try another one.

I also took a picture of the weiner dog's sweater although it looks pretty much like a long tube. His mom will try it on him and then let me know if we have to make any adjustments over Christmas. I used Universal's Classic Chunky LP, which is a wool, acrylic blend and knits up quickly. TaTa for now.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

To the great Phoenix and back

For the last twenty four hours I've been off to Phoenix for school board orientation. I now know enough about school finance formulas to recognize how much I have to learn. It is going to be a busy year trying to figure out which end is up.

It was definitely a worthwhile day, just really long. Since the Superintendent and I drove down and back together, I had lots of time to ask questions about what I heard. I'm getting a rudimentary understanding of the numerous acronyms and educationese. It is way more complicated than speaking knitting as a second language.

I'm tired after stuffing my head full of facts, figures and laws. Bed is calling and I plan to answer :-)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Making progress

I'm making progress on my holiday knitting, which is more than I can say for my Christmas cards. I do have the cards purchased and sitting on the table, so might get them out before the 25th. Today is the day I need to make my plan for getting the house clean and cooking/baking that needs to be done before the kids come in. We do a lot of it together (like decorated sugar cookies) but don't want to spend all of our time in the kitchen.

It is amazing to me that I've been off of full time work for almost a year and at least half of my house is still a disaster. When I was at the office 50-60 hours a week I blamed the mess on lack of time. I have now affirmed that my clutter is out of control because I hate to clean and my husband isn't terribly picky.

The bedroom where my son and daughter-in-law will be sleeping still is about 1/3 full of old family photos, books that don't fit in the bookcases, wine from our vineyard tour 4 years ago, collectibles I don't have room to display and artwork I haven't gotten rehung since I painted in the spring. I suspect, as in past years, it will all go out in the garage on a table for now. If it were a financially flush year I'd put them up in a hotel and call it good but alas, that will not happen. On the bright side, that bedroom used to be 3/4 full so I have made a lot of progress. Sadly, cleaning the bedroom only shows how dirty the carpet is. For that I'm calling someone in!

Now that I have whined a little, I have 1/2 of each Christmas knitting project done with two weeks to go before the kids start arriving. Since these are pairs of items, I can at least put one under the tree and give an IOU for the other :-) There also were some creative suggestions on a previous post about knitting in front of people or giving the yarn with an IOU! Next year I either start earlier or skip the holiday knitting.

I did get the baby sweater knitted but still have to weave in ends and put the buttons on. Except for a couple of minor booboos, I think it came out very well and well have pictures later in the week.

This morning I have two more school tours so better get moving. Later.

I have a couple of other kind of cool projects I'm working on for Christmas but can't post about them here since at least one family member reads the blog occasionally.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Moving along slowly

I'm slowly making progress with my sore toe and have been able to wear sandals this week. After a couple of hours on it I have to take a break. I'm sitting in the recliner preparing to watch Miracle on 34th St., my all time favorite holiday movie and knit. I'm making steady progress on my Christmas knitting and may get my primary projects done by the holiday.

I'm decorating little by little and playing some holiday music to try to get in the mood. We are still above normal temps for this time of year so feels more like spring than winter. We had one fire in the fireplace over Thanksgiving thanks to a rainy day but suspect that may be the last one for a while.

I've gotten most of my shopping done except for stocking stuffers. I know we should shop locally but I much prefer doing it online and having everything show up at my door. I usually give the UPS delivery people a workout but have cut back quite a bit this year. It still should be a nice Christmas together. As my darling daughter pointed out, we are lucky to already know that the most precious gift is our time together. May we never take it for granted.