Friday, December 23, 2005

Holiday knitting

At last, some pictures of things I am working on.

The bears:

The one on the left is for our friend's baby, made out of Cashmerino Superchunky in Rose. I had to double the yarn to get the right gauge. The flash on the camera made the stuffing look more apparent than it actually is in real life. The white bear is for my sister, and knit with Blue Sky Bulky Alpaca. She loves bears, especially polar bears. And what self-respecting polar bear would go outside without their scarf?

So, I had some yarn leftovers. I still can't figure out how I ended up with 2 skeins of the alpaca left. It will be a question for the ages. So, I whipped up a couple more items:

I've talked about the scarf before and its tendency to shed. But isn't it purty? And the fingerless gloves have already paid for themselves. I always have cold hands, so I carry them with me everywhere. And they are SO soft.

And, the project I am working on now:

I am on the 7th repeat of the first half, and I love this pattern. I also love the way the leaves pop up (heh, I almost typed "poop"). I keep showing my husband this phenomenon, but he is less than impressed.

Today, I wrap gifts, clean up the house a bit, go to the tattoo/piercing shop to get retainers for my body piercings (so I don't get felt up by airport security), and possibly go to a holiday party tonight.

I'll be in Victoria, BC from the 27th through the 31st, so you probably won't see any posts for at least a week (but really, is that so unusual?) So, I hope y'all have a smashing holiday, and that you get everything you wished for :) See you next year!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Thoughts on Yule and Knitting Content

When I was growing up and still going to church, Christmas was my favorite time of year. I loved the presents. I loved working at the Christmas Tree Lot at my church. I loved taking pictures with Santa. I loved singing carols in choir and going to the Christmas Eve service. I loved playing handbells for the same service. And I loved hunting for and decorating the Christmas tree for the living room. Church was such a huge part of my life until college that most of my memories surround church.

Ever since my spiritual path veered away from Christianity, the holidays have been difficult. I can still celebrate parts of Christmas that are really more "Yuletide" oriented - the food, the decorations. But there is a part of me that misses all the other stuff that went along with the Advent season at church. Strangely enough, these other things weren't overtly "Christian". I would feel like a hypocrite singing carols, however. I believe that Jesus was a real person and had a good message, but Son of God? I don't believe that anymore. And I believe that a lot of people have twisted his words to inspire hate and war, and I can't be a part of an organization that promotes that. Jesus was a cool dude, but Paul was full of shit.

So what am I babbling about? I don't know. I'm trying to figure out how I feel about this time of year. I'd like to start a new tradition of having a holiday gathering, with lots of food, cookies, wassail, and spending time with our friends. That, to me, would be the best gift. I never understood the idea of posting your list, and then getting everything you ask for. Although my mom was good at being creative, and still has the knack of finding the perfect gift (J has experienced this firsthand every Christmas). I just don't like the materialism, and the stress of trying to find that perfect gift that the recipient may not even want (this has happened to me more than once).

I am still trying to figure out what this holiday means to me. It has changed so much over the years. And this is the first year that I've had time to sit and think on it. This is what I've come up with so far:
- celebrating the cooler weather and the change of the seasons. Or at least pretending if you live in CA like me.
- spending time with family and friends
- reflecting on the past year for inspiration and lessons learned, and looking to the year ahead. Face it, the only reflecting happening on New Year's is your face in the toilet bowl. Or maybe that's just me.

Ooookaaay. On to some knitting content!

Being the knitting slut that I am, I have once again started new projects, casting the old ones to the side like so much garbage. I do have a couple of FO's (which is where using your imagination is going to come into play, since I have no pictures yet). I finished the Bobbi Bear for my sister. I used the Blue Sky Bulky Alpaca in Polar, and some black Cashmerino Aran for the eyes and nose. Since this bear is for a 40 year old, I am not worried about it getting dirty. However, my gauge must have been a little off. The pattern calls for 6 skeins of yarn, and I only used 4! So, I broke out my size 35 turkey basters, cast on 8 stitches, and knitted myself a big garter stitch scarf with fringe. I'd estimate it at 55-60 inches in length. The Blue Sky Alpaca is so poofy that it made a pretty solid fabric. It sheds like crazy, but I love this scarf.

We had a work party on Saturday, to put together walls for our SCA encampment. One of the couples brought their baby, were watching me knit the bear, and expressed great interest in said bear. So, of course I had to get a few skeins of Cashmerino Superchunky to make a machine washable version of the bear. In rose, because this baby is crazy about pink. Note to anybody wanting to knit the Bobbi Bear in this yarn - you will need to double the yarn. The pattern calls for more of a polar weight yarn, so just something to keep in mind. It is turning out splendidly, but I ran out of yarn after doing the ears, and I just have the arms left, so I will need to grab a couple more skeins to finish. I think they (and the baby) will really enjoy it.

And, um, I'm also working on the Backyard Leaves scarf in Cashmerino Aran. I have fallen under the spell of this yarn. I had to pry a skein of the Superchunky out of my husband's hands. He normally doesn't care much about yarn in general, but he sure loved how soft it was. And the shine! Gorgeous stuff.

I also feel the need to bare my soul and list those projects that I have cast aside. Read 'em and weep:

- Irish Diamond Shawl - is reclining gracefully in my knitting bag. There are no problems with it, I just need to get the gumption to pick it up again.

- Socks for my friend, Mary - need to be frogged. I tried them on, and I could barely get them around my ankle. Seeing that Mary has larger ankles than I, I will need to increase the needle size. Luckily, this pattern is easy, so I forsee no problems in re-knitting these socks.

- Turtleneck Shrug - Yawn. So boring. And itchy in the Kid Classic! Maybe I should make it in the Cashmerino, and my obsession would be complete.

- Scoop du Jour - will be frogged. I can't imagine what I will use this yarn for (Wool Ease). I'm spoiled, it seems so rough to my fingers now. I don't think I would ever wear it.

- Vintage Scarf - will be frogged. I messed up the cabling at some point, and I wouldn't be able to find my place in the pattern again, anyway. I am fascinated with the yarn, (Touch Me) though when I start it again I won't knit with the bamboo needles. Major stickage occurred.

- Mariah - how can I forget dear Mariah? I tried to be a smarty-pants, and knit a second sleeve up to the same point as the first, so I could do both at the same time. Unfortunately, I picked up my size 6 needles instead of the 7s, so the gauge is off by quite a lot. I need to frog the second sleeve portion and start it over.

My stash has grown to biblical proportions by leaps and bounds, so I really need to figure out what projects to do with the yarn I already have.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Thanks Secret Pal!

It took me a week, but I finally took pics of the box that I got from my Secret Pal!

As you can see, I got all sorts of goodies. And there's another box on the way! Yay! And yes, I did thank my Pal by email this week.

This secret pal stuff has been fun, but sometimes life makes it hard to keep up. Because of my jury service, I got really behind on sending stuff out. I hope that my last box I'm sending out will make up for all of that. Because of the unpredictability of things around here lately, I'll sit the next SP out.

I also have a couple of pictures that I owe to this blog. First up, here's the first sleeve on my Mariah:

I'm very proud of that knotwork!

And here is the first sock of the pair for my friend:

I really like the colors, and I hope she does too.

Lastly, here is a pic of my Bobbi Bear in progress:

I've done the body, the butt, and am working on the first leg.

I've gotta go, but I will update with more pics around the house this week. I leave you with our fall colors from the grapevines in the backyard.