Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I'm a bad gift knitter

Before I get into the ugliness, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I had planned to post a "happy holidays" entry, but last minute preparations for everything got in the way. I'm lucky I managed to have clean underwear to pack for my Christmas trip north.

OK... so you remember all those mysterious Christmas Gift knits I had listed on the side there? There were, like, six things listed. I started pretty much everything earlier this year. Yeah, well, out of the six things I got two done--the girls' sweaters. That's it. Nothin' else. The other items? Here's a status report:
  • Christmas gift #1"Watchcap" -- started the earliest for my mother's boyfriend. Status: my attempt to alter the pattern from worsted to DK weight yarn resulted in a bigger hat than I wanted. However, my mother really wanted it for herself, so I started a new one (in worsted weight) for him and have not yet finished this one for her.
  • Christmas gift #1a"Watchcap--redoux" -- Status: about an inch of knitting done.
  • Christmas Gift #3"Bluefoot" -- socks for my youngest sister. Status: Gusset stitches picked up for one sock. Other one still waiting. I really thought that I'd get these done, but
  • Christmas Gift #5 -- socks for my mother to match the sweater she's working on. Status: yarn bought, no pattern, no swatching, no nothin' but skeins of yarn.
  • Christmas Gift #6 -- headband or hat for my other sister. Status: yarn bought for both options. Headband in mid-swatch; nothing on the hat.

See, I told you. I suck.

I don't know what happened. Everything was planned out well in advance. But coming down the homestretch, I collapsed like an old nag. Seriously, though, I think the combination of work, the transit strike (with its 2+ hour commute each way), last minute Christmas shopping, and scrambling to finish the girls' sweaters a week earlier than planned did me in. (Plus my thumbs hurt. I think it from the intense hotel knitting.) It all burned me out. I last touched the socks on the train home on Thursday night (the only ride last week where I managed to stay conscious that whole way). Until last night, I hadn't picked up the needles since then, and even at that I knit 12 stitches of Jim's armsock and called it a night.

Maybe the deadline thing just doesn't work for me. I'm thinking that maybe I should just start and finish the items whenever I do, and people will just get random gifts of knitting. Whenever it's done, it's done. Maybe I just need some time off to rest and regroup.

This weekend I'll be heading back up to Vermont for a week off. Maybe a little quiet time with some Malabrigo will help me relax.

In the meantime, here's the picture of the peaceful holiday village that I was going to post for Christmas. Hope you enjoy it, even if it's a little late.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Strange Elves

Christmas Elf Name

My Christmas Elf Name is
Get your Christmas Elf Name at JokesUnlimited.com

I'm not sure what to think about mine.

However, I do like Jim's.

Christmas Elf Name

My Christmas Elf Name is
Get your Christmas Elf Name at JokesUnlimited.com

So, what do you think. Does it fit him or what?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Two Christmas Gifts Are Finished! And Gifted!!!

Yes, people, hell has frozen over!!! I managed to finish and give two of the Christmas gifts--the sweaters for my nieces!

Yankee Knitter Designs #20--Easy Bulky Sweater
Lamb's Pride Bulky (RPM Pink and Amethyst)
Sizes XS and S

Of course, I still had to finish the sleeve lengths after they tried them on (which I did last night), but the girls now have their sweaters! I spent most of my trip on Amtrak seaming the pink one, and finished everything but the bottom of the sleaves Saturday night in the hotel we stayed at, in front of their fireplace and HDTV.

I was happy with the fit of the purple one, but the pink one seems a little small, but I think the next size up would swim on her. I think she grew a bit since more than I expected. Still, I really like the sweaters and, more importantly, so do my nieces.

Unfortunately, these two girls were the only gift recipients on this trip to my sister's. I've had no time to really do anything Christmas shopping related, and, well, just read my last post and you'll see why.

In any case, I'm pretty much done with the big stuff at work, so maybe I can now get some stuff done during lunch.

Of course, with the transit strike an hour away and the LIRR unions rumored to be honoring the picket lines, it looks like I've got a day off tomorrow.

Newsflash: I'm watching the news, and the union
has rejected the last offer and have left the building. Get your sneakers

Guess I may be off tomorrow. Well, it's a chance to go Christmas shopping, and maybe get a haircut and highlights, and get an oil change for my car, and maybe get back to some blogging...

For now, on to Project Bluefoot, which without a train commute for knitting is going to be a challenge. How many days until Christmas?

I leave you with another picture of the north fork of the island from the ferry.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Tis the season to be... Freakin' Stressed!

I apologize... It's been 12 days since my last entry... I've been too busy... work... books that gotta make December... compositors that won't freakin' cooperate... performance reviews... I written 5--FIVE--performance reviews in the last week... too tired to think...

Been sleeping instead of gift knitting... running out of time... the nieces' sweaters need to be done by 3pm afternoon... ohmygodohmygodohmygod!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Breath.. must breath...

Must knit! Gotta go knit! Will blog next week--I hope!?!?!?

OK, maybe just one picture. From this past weekend, up in Vermont.

Yeah, a relaxing weekend in Vermont, setting up a new computer... writing performance reviews... trying to squeeze correct proof out of offshore compositors... cooking dinner and changing light bulbs in ceiling fixtures and setting up a Christmas tree--all at the same freakin' once.

Excuse me while I go fortify myself...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Crazy Aunt Purl Tags Everybody

Laurie tagged everybody last week, so here goes...

TEN random things you might not know about me.
1: I tend to over analyze things.
2: When I travel, I take pictures of the hotel rooms--bathrooms included.
3: I'm a dog person.
4: When I'm driving over a state border, I left my feet. (I don't want to skid into another state!)
5: I'm a civil war reenactor.
6: My fantasy job is to be one of the Reeferettes--Jimmy Buffett's backup singers.
7: I love milk--have since I was a child.
8: I worked at the racetrack for 10 years before I worked in publishing.
9: My father passed away in 1997 and I miss him every day.
10: I drive a Subaru Forester.

NINE places I’ve visited
1: Vermont (a lot).
2: the other states in New England.
3: Williamsburg, VA.
4: Toronto.
5: Maine.
6: Chicago.
7: Atlanta.
8: Orlando.
9: San Diego.

EIGHT ways to win my heart
1: Rub my feet.
2: Take me to a Jimmy Buffet concert.
3: Be kind to strangers.
4: Feed me filet mignon, garlic mashed potatoes, and a nice red wine.
5: Remember my birthday.
6: Take me to my favorite creamy stand in the summer.
7: Give me flowers for no reason at all.
8: Take me to a yarn shop!

SEVEN things I want to do before I die
1: Live in New England.
2: Get married.
3: Visit all of the Margaritaville Cafes.
4: Go to Ireland.
5: Attend baseball games at Fenway and Wrigley Field.
6: Go camping in Maine.
7: Go back to school and get my MBA.

SIX things I’m afraid of
1: Being trapped underground.
2: Cancer.
3: Heights.
4: Rough seas.
5: Roller coasters.
6: Another terrorist attack.

FIVE things I don't like
1: Loud cell phone talkers, especially on the train.
2: Seafood.
3: Cole slaw.
4: Cablevision.
5: Pickles, especially if they're touching my french fries.

FOUR ways to turn me off
1: Be rude to others.
2: Be insensitive.
3: Be self absorbed.
4: Invade my personal space without my permission.

THREE Things I do everyday
1: Knit.
2: Talk to my sweetheart.
3: Listen to public radio.

TWO things that make me happy
1: My significant other, Jim.
2: My nieces.

ONE thing on my mind right now
1: ... I must finish the gift knitting...

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Birthday Yarn Crawl—Part One

I spent Thanksgiving with my mother and youngest sister, but Friday morning I headed up to Vermont to spend an extended weekend (and my birthday) with my sweetheart, Jim. I started my trip north on Friday with a stop of Fabric Place in Cromwell, CT—site of my Malabrigo obsession a couple of weeks ago. My friend Elsie loved the skein of Stonechat I had bought, so I picked up one for her. When I gave it to her this week, she cuddled it like a puppy. (I’m telling you, the Malabrigo has powers…) Of course, this followed me out of the store.

I’m such a Malabrigo ho.

Then it was back on to the interstate and an hour later a stop at Webs. I didn’t get out of there as easily as Fabric Place, thanks to a sale on this:

Kureyon: colors 51 and 164.

I picked up two skeins of each. (The bottom one is definitely going to be some Hurry Up Spring Armwarmers.) I had a third color in my hands, but wound up refraining. I also picked up some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky for some more hats (one a gift, the other I don’t know). In the warehouse area I managed to find the last three balls of Karabella Majestic in a medium blue. Perfect for another pair of socks! In all, I spent enough to get their 20% discount on everything but the Noro, which was a bahgain at $6 a skank skein. After I closed the store, I stopped here for some wine, here for some groceries, and then arrived in Vermont around 9pm.

Then Saturday afternoon I went up to Adams Farm for their spinning circle. I love Adams Farm! I try to go to their knitting circle on Sundays when I’m around, but because Jim and I were going to be away this weekend, I stopped by on Saturday. It was so good to see Jenny and Elizabeth, the women running the spinning circle, and they helped me to do some spinning with a hookie stick and a spindle. See what I made!

The greenish one is plied; the other is a small (maybe 3 yards?) skein of yarn made from three different fibers. (I'll swatch it soon to show the differences.) I had attempted this last spring but found it difficult and awkward. This time it went much better. Over the winter I’m going to try and get over to Adams Farm more often. If you’re ever in southern Vermont, you should make every effort to stop by this fabulous place.

Of course, I couldn’t walk out of there without buying some of this:

It’s from their own sheep, and it’s even softer than Morehouse Merino. I bought four of them. I think it’s going to be a scarf. (The colors look great with my down jacket.) I have no idea what kind of scarf, though. I'm open to suggestions on what to do with 4 ounces of this yarn. Anybody?

Next time… the second half of the yarn crawl!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Hats done!

Here's my contribution to Knit Unto Others, just before they went to the post office for their trip to Indiana. I had wanted to knit a couple more, but I'm happy that I got these two done. I hope they make someone feel happy and warm.

I don't have much time to blog today, but I promise more blogging about my birthday yarn crawl last weekend. My birthday was this past Monday, and I spent my little weekend away going from yarn shop to yarn shop dropping some dough. And I even did some spinning, too! Carole got to see a little of it on Sunday, but I'll show y'all the rest soon.

In the meantime, here's a picture from our stop in Sturbridge, Mass. on Monday. I think it's pretty even without the leaves.