Friday, December 21, 2007

Lame Christmas Post

This month has completely gotten away from me. I have abandoned all further Christmas knitting, as every spare moment from now until the day after Christmas has been accounted for in working, wrapping, visiting and maybe a little sleeping.

The scarf for my MIL is done. Mitts and neck warmer for my mom are done and already gifted (she's flying to Indiana to see my grandmother this afternoon) and the mitts for Mark are done and being worn. I always think I'll have time for it all, which I probably would if it weren't for the above listed things like working and sleeping. Anything else is simply not going to get done. Apologies all around.

I also have not mailed any Christmas cards. Please don't feel singled out if you sent me one and didn't get one in return. No one did. I can't quite bring myself to send out e-cards either. Seems even more shameful than not sending anything.

I have no happy or touching stories to share this year. I've really got a lot of nothing. I explained to Kate earlier that I have pretty much given in to my inner Grinch, and I am only barely preventing myself from freaking out at everything and everyone remotely Christmas associated by stuffing my face with sugar cookies.

In the absence of anything else, I have sunk to a point I promised myself I would never reach on this blog. I was sent an email by a friend with some Christmas questions, and I'm supposed to send it to five friends. So, here you go five friends!
  1. What was the best Christmas present you got as a kid? That's really hard to answer, since I got so many nice presents as a kid. I remember being thrilled that my grandmother bought me the entire set of Laura Ingalls books when I was nine or ten.
  2. What was the best Christmas present you got as an adult? My engagement printer. My husband proposed to me on Christmas night but didn't have a ring, so we call the photo printer he gave me my "engagement printer."
  3. What's your favorite Christmas Carol? Oh Holy Night or What Child Is This. Both make me think of my grandmother and they never fail to make me cry a little bit.**
  4. How long can you stand to listen to Christmas music before you crack? Pretty long, as long as it hasn't started before Thanksgiving.
  5. How many Christmas albums do you own? Probably close to twenty-five. Possibly thirty. Is that too many? Is that weird?
  6. Did you ever go caroling as a kid? Yes. It was a Grace Brigham/Shrewsbury thing.
  7. Would you willingly eat fruitcake? I've never had fruitcake.
  8. Do you own any Christmas Sweaters? No.
  9. Do you own any Christmas jewelry? What? Yes. Four pins. A snowman pin and a Christmas tree pin, both in simple silver.The other two belonged to my grandmother. One is a wreath shaped pin with green and red enamel and faux gemstones as ornaments. Yes, it's as bad as it sounds. The other is a silver filigree snowflake with pale blue stones through out.
  10. Do you wear them? Yes, with the exception of the wreath. I'm wearing the snowflake right now.
  11. Did your family have any Christmas traditions? Like what? Oh boy. Yes. Many traditions, far too many to list. For years as a kid I would buy my mom an ornament with the year on it. I still don't know if she even like it, but it went on for years. As a grown-up, I try to see Holiday Inn with Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby sometime before the end of the holiday season.
  12. Do you buy Christmas presents for your pets? Yes.
  13. What's your favorite Christmas cookie? Snickerdoodles.
  14. What's your favorite Christmas candy? This year I discovered that Cabury's makes a Christmas version of their candy-coated eggs. That's the favorite this year.
  15. What's your stocking look like. Blue velvet with silver stitching.
  16. What's the oldest ornament on your tree? My mother has all my childhood ornaments and everything else was trashed when I got divorced. Everything now is new from 2001 on.
  17. Real or artificial? Real.
  18. Do you have Christmas decorations or lights outside? No.
  19. How far would you drive to see Christmas lights? I don't understand the question. Do people do that? It's nice to see some as I'm driving home, but go look for them? No.
  20. Are you a fan of tasteful or tacky? Oh, please. Tacky all the way!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, Peace on Earth, safe travels, and much love to all!

**Christmas Eve update: Yep, Oh Holy Night made me cry like a baby in church again tonight, right on cue. The fact that it was followed up by Silent Night with all the lights out except our candles didn't help. If they had thrown in What Child Is This, I would probably still be there.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Who Are You and How Did You Get Here?

I promised another update on some of the random blog hits we get, so here they are. Being able to see what strangers have been looking for offers me much amusement every week.

People who found us by searching for things with "disaster" in their search included classic disaster, disaster wedding, ugly knitting disasters, and many simple knitting disasters.

Searches including knitting but not disasters had (and I have not corrected anything for grammar or spelling) knit drinking glasses sleeves, knitted coffee sleeves, knitting gourmet, hug me knitting, and my favorite in this category: knitting head won't fit.

In random hits that could possibly stretch to cover something we talked about, we have hits for chocolate maramge pie as well as cholate marange pie. At first I thought this must be from the same person, misspelling their search twice, but no. These came from separate people in Idaho and Kentucky. Apparently the pressure of having to make a cholate maramge pie the night before Thanksgiving sent their ability to spell right out the window. There are also searches for electromagnetic street lights, life aquatic costumes, franken chickens, my neighbors make me crazy (I feel your pain, really I do), and my personal favorite this time around: stop dog from sh*tting on lawn. Man, I really wish I could help you there. Kate, I think we need to explore this franken chicken thing a little more. This time the search tracked back to someone with an IP address at Disney World. I'm thinking movie rights...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Christmas, Part II

I called this post Christmas Part II, because I got over here to find out that Kate had beat me to the gift update post. I do have some pictures of my progress for you.

This is the first of what will hopefully end up as a pair of fingerless mitts for my mom. She's like me (or technically, I'm like her) in that her hands are always cold. The yarn is a superwash merino from Art Yarns that I used for my own mitts. The colors in the photo are pretty true to how the really look. When choosing colors for Mom, she's very flexible, as long as they fall in to the category she refers to as "Hello Kitty Colors." The pattern is my own design, cobbled together from about three written patterns and my unfailing stubbornness to follow a written pattern.

Next up, a scarf for my mother-in-law. This is a fairly simple and (in my opinion) a slightly boring scarf. I do like the flippy little ruffle on the ends. My MIL is a very sweet woman, who I am very lucky to have drawn in the In-Law lottery. She is always very put together. She doesn't wear clothes so much as she wears outfits. I'm hoping that this will fit in to her outdoor repetoire somewhere. I really hope so, since there are about eleventy-billion stitches in this scarf.

These are the socks least likely to be finished for Christmas. I'm not saying who they are for, since I think she reads this blog and I don't want to disappoint her if they don't get done. I adore these socks, done in a variegated Koigu (the blue/green yarn) and Cherry Tree Hill solid purple. They are knit in a two-color stranded pattern from Charlene Schurch, and I'm so proud of this sock! It's the first time I've been able to get the color work on a stranded sock to properly make it's way around the heel. I even managed to get the heel gusset to stripe like it was supposed to. Love, love, love them. On second thought, maybe they will have to be my Christmas socks and I'll make something else for her. Don't tell her I said that.

Okay, so that sweater for my honey. He and I talked about it yesterday and after a long list of excuses, he said to me "Even if you started that sleeve right this second, it wouldn't be done by Christmas, would it?" No, no it wouldn't. "Why don't you see how much you can get done on your other things before doing mine?" I do so love that man. I'm still feeling guilty about it, though. I've done about four embroidered pieces that will eventually be a quilt/throw for him. These are the two I have photos of today. I can imagine how I want this to look, I just hope I can make my vision a reality. Don't feel too bad for him - he will be getting many fine Christmas presents. They will most likely come from amazon or somewhere else on line. No malls for me. They give me hives.

In other news, I won a trivia contest online, and I won yarn! Yay for free yarn! The online shop is and they have a great store. I've gotten a few skeins from them in the past and I found them to have a wonderful selection. I may wait until after the Christmas knitting is done before I go shopping though. I certainly don't need any pretty distractions. Kris from sonny & shear also has a really interesting and well written blog at If you need yarn, give them a look!

Next up... another installment of "Who are you and how did you get here?" You won't believe some of them!

Finding time

Every knitting article I see this time of year assumes we have all the time we need to make handmade gifts for friends and family. I believe them every time... forgetting to factor in things like, oh... shovelling, making dinner, eating dinner, paying bills, grocery shopping, and sitting around wondering how people with kids get it all done.

I have three, no, four projects on needles right now. That beats out the number of books I'm reading at the same time. I try to keep my projects simple, since I do walk away and can forget what the stitch pattern was, which row of the pattern I was on, etc. I also forget where I wrote down those details. The Better Half got me a small notebook that I could hang from my neck like a pair of librarian glasses. You know, on a silver chain so I wouldn't lose it. Of course I misplaced it, with my project progress notes inside. So I am forced to scatter them across various notebooks at my desk. Not in the front, oh no... but on whatever page I quickly flipped open to because I was in a hurry to put the knitting down due to some highly distracting factor like burning soup or a knock at the door, sometimes both.

Of my four projects, I must finish the Christmas present. I had myself convinced that it would take no time at all, and sat down to start with scads of holiday cheer. I've now started it four times, and I'm mad at having lied to myself about the easy factor. Some yarns get so cranky after you pull them out a third time. Mauch Chunky wool begins to pull apart when you cast on repeatedly. I hate knots in my cast on, I truly do. Ultimately, it will be felted so I suppose it doesn't matter, but it's terribly annoying. I'm sure it will get done, in that last minute panic that punctuates much of my holiday preparation.

With any luck, we'll get some more snow, the temperatures will be inhospitable, I'll be trapped inside with my needles and the yarn, and we'll work out some kind of truce.