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November 2003
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January 2004

Christmas Past

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I found this photo in my mother's dresser drawer (when I was seeking a black bra to borrow), and decided to pilfer it for the perpetually-on-the-to-do-list photo album of my very own past (Mom having handed over a coupla boxes o'snaps a few years back, absolving herself of the parental task). Now that I have the wee one's life to document, the boxes I culled and sorted into one for me and one for Brotherman await further attention, alas. I've not even ordered prints since mid-July -- another thing to accomplish this week! (I love having the digital, but the onus of editing and ordering gets away from me; sometimes I wonder if it wasn't easier and cheaper to shoot freely and toss the less than perfect prints . . .)

I forgot to mention this knitting news of Christmas away: I taught one of my mom's caregivers to knit! Christina stayed two hours past her shift, knitting with the rest of the red Cascade 220 left from Mom's BOC. She had to deal with the lefthander's challenges I also face, because I couldn't teach her continental, but she was definitely getting the hang of it. Armed with needles borrowed from Mom and basic how-to pages I tore from the gift sample of Knitter's, she's on her way to becoming . . . one of us!

And this additional gift: Stitch 'n Bitch[sic], the book -- a gift to myself included in an amazon.com order. How could I not have it on the table as the host of said gathering monthly for nearly three years?


Fourteen, Fourteen

When Caroline counts, the sequence at the double digits goes "10, 11, 14, 14, 14" ~

First, let me report that I finished the last of the gifts on 12/25 and 12/27, the latter's completion watched by its intended recipient, my mom. Here's her Bucket O'Chic pre-felting, drying, and ~ta-dah~ complete.

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Many thanks to Bonne Marie for her particular coaching, as I dared to make this hat from Cascade 220. The other gift was also a hat, which I'll present tomorrow when the friend returns from holiday travels. Whew.

Our Christmas was wonderful, so much of it seen through the eyes of the wee one, who now knows presents as she did not a year ago. I still haven't seen the precise moment as captured on video, since I was holding her hand as she entered my parents' living room, but let me tell you, she dug her ladybug tent!

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We all watched her open all of her presents (after discovering and playing with those left inside the tent) before we turned to any of ours, as we ended breakfast. At that point she was rather frustrated that none remained for her to unwrap, but somehow we distracted her, and additional gifts for her arrived throughout our stay.

Knitted gifts were well received by my best babes, and I was thrilled that, among them, Sarah of the cabled hat honored my obsession by giving me some Opal yarn and a subscription to Knitter's. Another beloved (lifelong) knitter made me a fuzzy blue cowl that closes with a winged, heart-shaped button engraved with the word Follow: Follow your heart! This dear one's gift of a holiday classic has left me repeatedly telling "the story about the nut-tacker" -- I've lost count how many times, but the last one at supper tonight drew particular kudos from its wee requestor. (Thank goodness for Google to remind me of the details until I can take her to the ballet next year!)

My biggest gift was the one I specifically requested and enabled by sending the KnitPicks catalog: the SpaceBoard for blocking and measuring and whatever else I find it's good for. We're still unpacking, but I can't wait to unfold it on the dining room table and figure if it's time to start the armhole decreases on the fronts of my fluted cardie WIP. My dad also gave the ThreadBears a call and rounded up a gift certificate, so I'll be ringing Indiana in the morning (Eeek, grade-school music flash, c.1973: "Indiana wants me, Lord, I can't go back there . . ."). I'm off all week as my office is closed, so I am looking forward to some good R&R, including knitting, in addition to wrangling some piles of paper and perhaps taking the wee one on her first train trip.


Happy Holidays!

We're off to Carolina this Christmas Eve, for a stay of several days, so remote blogging is unlikely. (While I know it's technologically possible, I don't have the technology. Well, there is a computer there, one faster than mine, in fact, but I'm not toting the software to sync the digicam, and what's a blog entry without images?)

Well, this one, actually. But if I've crafted my poem well, you'll find them on your own.
Good times, safe travels and knitty gifties to all~

Making Michael's Wreath

Where streetlights shine the tracks
as bright as tinsel, a boy has walked
along their graveled twist to Christ
the King Center. His brown fist,
ungloved, grips a blue spruce
sketched in pencil—his only tree
this holiday, he answers when
I ask. A volunteer, I guide
his choice of living cedar spray,
red holly berries and pine cones.
I play the guardian angel to one
who needs nothing from me. I'm drawn
to his face as a poinsettia bends
to the light that bleeds its leaves to red
from green, as if the flower longs
to bloom in honor of Christ’s birth.
The nights I leaned toward you—
will I exalt them now?
Michael lifts his hands to me,
a flourish of ribbon swirls from his fingers
and I see your face. Nothing stopped
us from reaching for each other.
But the truth is as pointed and sharp
as the holly leaf that's jabbed my thumb
and left it stinging: you chose
not to embrace me, never mind
the color of my skin. I raise
the finger to my mouth to dull the pain,
a move more childlike than the face
haloed by his finished wreath.
Michael takes my other hand, pulls me
toward the door. You know the way,
he says. We step into the night.


GSRP, round one

I sure was puzzled by the big box waiting at my door tonight, because I didn't recognize the name of its New Jersey shipper. Coincidentally, I had taken a pretty detailed look at Amy's logistics for the Great Stash Reduction Project after Kim directed us there today, and determined that I'd not see my first box until March. Wrong 'em, boy-o! I enjoyed reviewing the contents; selecting, as it turned out, only some sock yarn and a pattern; making my own stash choices to load in, reserving a bit for a future GSRP box; and wrapping it all back up. Either tomorrow or Friday it will be on its way up the road to Kristine, and I'll see the next box in March.

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Shades of Gray

grays0002.jpgMore completed gifties to show off! The fuzzy fulled purse from the free pattern turned out quite nicely (if I do say so myself). That eight feet of i-cord shrunk to a perfect six feet; I knotted the straps on the inside of the bag. (And got that thing shipped but forgot to sew one of my fun labels inside.) Also finito: Brotherman's fingerless gloves.

And with Mom's Bucket on the needles still, along with ASP's watch cap, what do I do? Start something else, natch! Just mittens for the wee one, from the leftover Koigu in the blues colorway of the booties pictured on the left (the door to the gallery). Couldn't help myself -- I needed a new totable project, and this practically fits in a pocket!


On the Avenue

As promised, a stroll down the grand boulevard near our home began with nibbles & nog, although a pair of friends favored flasks.

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tinystars.jpgHere is the group assembled, this year a total of nine adults, two toddlers and one dog. Said canine, Sebastian, wore a festive vest, but I'm not sure he needed it; I'd have preferred a chillier evening than we had Tuesday. While much of the enjoyment comes from our critique, and seeing near and far (across the street) perspectives on entire facades, my photography lends itself only to the presentation of certain details. These fine homes tend to feature columned porches with plenty of room for door decor. I favored this combo that included our fave colors

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while one of us took a closer look at this natural, freeform option. Of course, this Commonwealth being what it is, you can't get away without seeing some quite traditional interpretations, from the fruit-enhanced to the gold-trimmed.

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potsanta.jpgAs we worked our way along the north side of the street, we were tickled to come upon this
vintage Cadillac, c.1963, stuffed with lights, toys and Santa at the wheel. The homeowner noticed our little crowd of appreciative gawkers, and came out on his porch for a chat, sharing with us a new tidbit of info: the two sides of the street compete! We realized we were about a week early, in comparison to prior years, so we weren't ready to judge, having only moments earlier encountered the fellow who's hired to create/install much of the extravagance. But our insider's scoop also explained the inflatable visitors who'd been placed, uninvited, at a neighbor's door -- by someone from the other side.

After we puzzled over a new installation*, we took a break, as we always do, beneath one of our perpetual faves.

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*What do geese have to do with Christmas, really? And what is this pair up to? I know the people who own this house, actually, so I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask!
A hit yet again, the annual holiday walk was enjoyed by one and all. And I was pleased to see that participation in the decorating involved one and all, as well.

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Glove Love

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Yup, Brotherman sez the first fingerless glove is A-OK. And now I'm about to knit the thumb's place-holding stitches on the mate. The Jo Sharp DK Tweed isn't all that easy on the fingers, but this has been a good project in which to make that discovery. Is it that way with all tweeds? I've been away from my recycled Tahki for so long now, I can't remember.

Here's a reason to switch to two circs: sleeves. No, not making them; my problem has been the DPNs getting caught in the sleeves I'm wearing. Maybe I need shorter needles -- or shorter sleeves. I bought a second set of US2s so I can make Caroline some tiny mittens from leftover Koigu (without taking the Brotherman socks off the other set), but I think my next go at socks may have me trying the circulars.

Fuzzy little purse is probably spinning by now -- I reset the agitation twice already. Felting really does vary by washing machine as much as by yarn. The things I fulled at my parents' over Thanksgiving were done in one go.

Note to self: Don't host two social events in three days, even if one only involves guests for half an hour. Last night we made the annual stroll to look at the lights and other decorations along the grand boulevard in my 'hood (scene of much September hurricane devastation). We just started here with nibbles and eggnog before stepping off, but it sure added to the clean-up I've been up to all night in preparation for my turn at hosting the holiday gathering of my women's dinner group tomorrow night. I toted a ton of knitting paraphernalia to hide in the basement. Whine. But hey! Pix of the former on Friday, as I'll be otherwise occupied tomorrow eve.


Knit Lit

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(This is my second go at this post, dammit; still adjusting to Tyepad, I guess.)
Our Saturday shopping stop at Narnia Children's Books reminded me I wanted to share a few images of knitting that have caught my eye in Caroline's library. (For some reason I can only recall a pair right now, though I swear there was at least one other.) This little illustration is a detail from the final spread of Peggy Rathmann's 10 Minutes Till Bedtime, one of our favorites. As the visiting hampster family settles in for the night (having completed the 10-Minute Bedtime Tour), the mama starts knitting a top for her next offspring, each of whom sports a numbered tunic. And we didn't even know she was pregnant!

Surely the other has already sprung to mind if you're a parent ( or aunt, uncle, or babysitter): the quiet old lady whispering "hush" in Margaret Wise Brown's 1947 classic, Goodnight Moon. Anyone have others to share? I know there's at least one more around here somewhere . . .

In my own knitting, Brotherman's first fingerless glove awaits a fitting and a length consult. I don't think I mentioned that I'm knitting these from Jo Sharp DK Tweed. He's not one for brights, alas. Mom's red hat, on the other hand, is started and about to be frogged, but in a good way: Bonne Marie must've heard my cry, for she's posted specific hints for making the Bucket O'Chic in Cascade 220. Therefore I won't mind ripping the 70 or so rows of the hatband I'd begun on US11s and starting again on 8s. Finally, another hat, the last of the gift items to hit the needles, is underway, the skullcap designed by Knit by Nora (with skulls by Glampyre Knits).


It's a wonder

Gift knitting continues, along with using every scrap of yarn. The leftover Lamb's Pride from Matt's Fuzzy Feet has become this to-be-felted bag for my nine-year-old goddaughter Kathryn. (I can't recall the name of the eyelash that's in there with the LP; shame on me for tossing it already!)

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Of course it needs some handles, the design of which is reminiscent of the Booga Bag's. (I have little coilless safety pins marking the YO holes for the strap.) So I've just now tried out my coolest new gadget, which I am using to make the i-cord: the Clover Wonder Knitter, a/k/a Formidable Tricotine, Tejedor Maravilloso, and Strickwunder. It's whipping out the most uniform three-stitch i-cord I've ever made, and there's an attachment for six-stitch cord, too. All for less than ten bucks!

On other needles, IK fingerless gloves (the ones with thumbs only) for Brotherman, the third try at SLB's scarf, and a red, ribbed watchcap that no longer has a designated recipient. Still in line for Christmas: another hat, for which the second ball of Cashmerino just arrived; and Mom's Bucket O'Chic. Despite warnings from Bonne Marie and evidence from Theresa, I'm still going to give it a go in Cascade 220, because Mom & I selected the yarn to match a coat of hers. I hope that won't prompt Bonne to pull Caroline from the Bucket-O-FAQs page!


Earthquake!

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Yup, 4.5 on the ol' Richter. More official details here. The last time one measured over a 4 in these parts was 128 years ago. I feel somewhat privileged by this experience, since nothing fell off any shelves. Frankly, we all thought perhaps a particularly large truck had traveled past the c.1844 house in which I work. Often an emergency vehicle will rattle our windows. But hey, this time the floors were shaking, and for a couple of minutes. Wow.