Seven Days

Seven days to go, and today is the first day I felt a wave of the tiniest bit of panic sweep over me.  I’ve had a couple of curve balls come my way (nothing bad, just the planets way of making raising the high bar I’m trying to leap by a couple of centimetres, but this weeks chores have turned into more of a panicked run than the persistent quick walk that I was sticking with. Still, nothing is on fire – so I’m trying to keep my head.  (I came perilously close to a freakout when Joe announced last night that he’s working 10am -10pm for the next three days, but miraculously, I neither divorced nor killed him, but somehow managed to find something in my house that was simultaneous gratitude that I’m married to a hard worker, and absolutely nothing short of nauseating horror that I’m going to have to do all the shopping. I’ve decided not to make eye contact with the problem just yet.

The table of knitting to do looked like this yesterday:

And today there’s big changes.

The scarf is back, blocking complete, and the little red sweater now has not just a back, but a left front as well.  The little cream sweater got the buttons sewn on, and there’s another few inches on one of the men’s socks.  The baby hat made no progress, the nearly finished pair of socks are still nearly finished, but behold! The slippers are all sewn together and felted, and they just need buttons and a little bit of sewing. An hours work, no more.
Not only that, but Sam and I finished the gingerbread, a leviathan task around here.


There’s nothing in the kitchen that doesn’t have icing on it, but I’m overlooking that – well, that and about a million other things, but the time for careful consideration is past.  It’s just me now, sprinting through random Christmas tasks with icing in my hair and tape stuck to my shirt right over my right nipple. (Didn’t notice that one until I got home. Blast it.)

Gifts for Knitters? I have no idea today.  Get them a bottle of wine.  When this is over they’re going to need it.

89 thoughts on “Seven Days

  1. What a fantastic achievement to get so much knitting done with so many other calls on your attention. The “knitting table” is a great idea – it encourages you for what you have done and let’s you know where you are up to with everything else. Have a lovely Christmas and than you for letting us share yours, as well.

  2. Wine and knitting always go well together…you don’t even notice the mistakes. What mistakes? Oh those are design elements! The cookies are fabulous – how to you get the writing so perfect?

  3. The gingerbread looks amazing, the knitting is looking more and more finished each day – I salute you! And it just wouldn’t be Christmas without a few curve balls!

  4. Bravo! You make me want to knit all the Christmas gifts and no Christmas gifts all at once. I only did 3 this year and one is, I think, staying in the planning box due to other fabulous gift I found and the knitting will keep and a birthday gift is set for next year. Of course, the other two, one needs ends woven in and one needs finished. I have faith in you. 7 whole days left!

  5. I’ve found the random tape bits stuck to the boobs before. My first thought is, like yours, “how wonderful that I wore that out of the house!” But the second thought is, “what did I rub this off? Does this mean it isn’t secure now?”
    Not that I’m trying to give you something else to stress about!
    I dearly love the Christmas bat and dinosaur! They are my favorite. Sam wins Christmas this year.

  6. Christmas countdown always makes me nutso crazy. Today, I took my knitting to work and had the guts to knit through a boring weekly team meeting. No one said a word, so I’m taking that as permission to knit during all future meetings! Almost have hat #8 of 10 done…can see the end in sight and just might make it (I’m nowhere as fast as you).

  7. Hey Stephanie,
    Can you share your gingerbread recipe? I have one that is pretty good, but I am always looking for something better. Trade ya!

  8. Go go go! I got done with my Christmas knitting early this year (because I drastically reduced the list in an attempt to “be realistic”)…and I cast on a pair of socks for one more person today. I’ll never learn! Good luck finishing!

  9. Enjoying the progress photos. I refuse to do this to myself any more, but it’s sort of fun watching you hustle with it all 🙂 Vicarious stress, or something.

  10. I feel your pain. I realized at the beginning of the month that I was short 8 pairs of men’s socks to knit but thank the yarn gods for thick worsted man socks I got them all done and sent off my last package of gifts on Monday! I am officially done! Now just gonna lean back, have a cocktail and do some knitting on a sweater for myself!
    You can do it Stephanie! I have complete confidence in you! That table of stuff is evolving at a blinding rate!!

  11. Why do we do this to ourselves??? After all, Christmas, and birthdays, etc., come at the same time each year….there is no big surprise!
    Anyway, I agree with other comments….Sam gets the Cookie Decorator Prize this year. You go, girl!!

  12. “Knit Me” — LOL! <3 <3 <3
    Happy holidays, dear Harlot… you’ve brought so much joy and goodness into my life, and I’m so grateful I found you. I even got to meet you once (in Kansas City, you were wonderful!) and I hope we can do it again someday. Be good to yourself, and when all else fails… Knit Me!

  13. I would make use of that Sam woman for the shopping. She’s competent with chemistry and thermodynamics (baking to the muggles), and she seems to like a challenge. Wonder where she gets that?

  14. I was doing great until I realized I am working everyday until the 24th, and when I am not at work I am either at a practice or a performance in a choir!
    Yikes

  15. Here’s a virtual toast to you, Stephanie, and also to Sam. Looks like she could turn pro in the gingerbread department.
    Glad your knitting is going so well. I need to put buttons on a toddler grandson’s sweater and knit the neckband and button bands and sew buttons on the matching sweater for his baby-brother-to-be. Then i can tackle worsted leg warmers for my bestie, who’s always chilly.
    Happy holidays — ALL of them.

  16. Wine always helps! You’re amazing, Steph. I decided not to knit anything this Christmas – but in front of me are two shawls I knit during the year, and I”m wondering if I should gift them to someone!

  17. There’s no ‘celebration’ more carefully calculated to make single, alone people feel more single and alone. I wish I had what you have.

  18. Or beer… and my heart goes out to those among us who are alone, or lonely in a big crowd. Do what you need to do to find some joy in your life… Cherril @ 10:36, hang in there. here’s my namaste hug over the ethernet to you.

  19. In addition to sharing the gingerbread recipe, could you share your icing recipe? I made gingerbread men for the first time ever this year, and they’re great – but not frosted yet. I can’t remember if Royal icing tastes OK, so I keep putting off making it.

  20. Those cookies are beautiful! Even though it doesn’t feel like it, your finished list is growing! Keep your chin up move on & Up! LOL
    I have felt the same on some Christmases. Now they are grown and my husband passed away a long time ago. I’d love to have the confusion, chaos and “hassle” again. Don’t miss the joy of now, it doesn’t last forever! I love your blog and your sense of humor! Thanks for sharing your family and life situations! You are great!

  21. Sounds like a great idea. If you are buying for me, try to find some local Mad River White, a semi sweet delicious wine.
    Next year, I will start my Christmas knitting in September.

  22. I’m actually remarkably calm.
    My parents gifts are done (just need to be wrapped and mailed). The gift for my brother and his wife should arrive tomorrow, ready for wrapping. Mailing will be tomorrow or Friday (since they are relatively nearby, arrival before Xmas is probable).
    I have 8 houseguests staying with us beginning Sunday for eight days. I bought stockings for all at Target, labelled them, have been busy wrapping for all the stockings (guests plus the five of us), and have a nice present ready for wrapping for each guest (one hat needs binding off and a pompom, but otherwise I’m done).
    House is relatively clean, and food and supplies are here (or ordered) for the guests plus Xmas dinner for 36.
    I have presents for my husband, both sons, and brother-in-law ready for wrapping. None are handknit.
    BUT…
    I haven’t started my daughter’s gift, my sister-in-law’s gift, or birthday gifts for my niece and nephew (both born January 11, but a year apart). I may need to repurpose a not-quite-perfect knitted accessory or two from my just-in-case gift stash.
    Youngest son has an out of town soccer game on Friday, right after finals are done. Then he needs to finish college applications before the relatives arrive, which means I get to supervise (and get less other work done). His room will be given to guests, so despite cleaning the house thoroughly yesterday, I have more cleaning work ahead.
    My husband and I shared a bottle of Argentinian Malbec at dinner tonight. Finishing the bottle off just seemed to make sense.

  23. Although not yet up to gift knitting, I am knitting faster and more enjoyably than ever before, thanks to your speed-knitting lesson. So I’m already enjoying one present you didn’t know you gave.

  24. I’ve had a yarn crisis so I’m as one with all the frazzled knitters out there even though this is not my personal crisis because I’m not giving gifts this year. It’s worse; it’s a professional crisis. I’m knitting animal slippers, one pair grey and the other dusty rose. I ran out of the dusty rose right at the end of the second slipper but BEFORE MAKING THE EARS!!!!!!!!!!! So I had to sacrifice prime knitting time (the house to myself) to run out and try to match the yarn as closely as possible so I can put the darn ears on and have done with this ridiculous, stupid, badly written completely assified pattern that I wish I’d never seen. Once the last slipper is finished on Thursday night, that is the LAST time I will ever knit the stinkin’ thing.
    A word to the single and alone at Christmas: I too have been where you are and I can highly recommend the course of action I always took. I would find people who were single and alone, or old and alone, or poor and alone, or otherwise sidelined and having no part in this season of joy, and I invited them to come to my house for dinner. They can bring something, it can be potluck if you can’t or don’t want to make everything yourself – and let me tell you I’ve eaten some pretty strange meals for Christmas dinner! But while you are busy trying to cheer up other people and make them feel wanted and cared for, guess what? You end up making yourself feel that way too. I don’t want to sound impossibly Pollyanna-ish, but the joy has to start somewhere and personally, if I can’t find it, I find a way to make it. Blessings on all at this joyous season, whatever and however you celebrate.

  25. Oh my goodness the gingerbread looks fabulous! It’s my absolute favorite, with a little hint of chocolate and/or orange in it – or those as the beverage.
    You’re doing great Steph! Wish I had your speed. And now we know what a yarn breast looks like – yep you need a new winder, lol.
    Today at my office party I had a piece of Nanaimo Bar (our Director is Canadian). Wow! That is my new favorite decadence! I Googled the recipe and came across a Saveur magazine article that made me laugh because it stated perfectly my first impression of the confection including that the heat of your fingers melt it into a sweet chaos as you try to get it to your mouth fast enough – no wonder the servings are tiny. Making it for Christmas!

  26. You’re doing great, and after all is said and done (or almost done) Christmas will be great. You know, you’ve written posts on gifts for knitters other years, why don’t you refer us to those and get on with other Christmas stuff?? We would entirely understand! You’ve been so generous with your posts this year as it is!
    I’m nowhere close to where I should be with Christmas…. but I’m refusing to stress about it. One week!?

  27. I love the snail and little sheep that says “knit me”. Very cute.
    If I lived anywhere near Toronto I’d be your personal shopper for the day.
    Good luck, and remember most if us are knitting right along with you trying to get it done.

  28. Or a bottle of single malt scotch. At least 12 year, 15 is preferable. I am only 3 mug cozys and a stocking cap away from done (and 4 batches of cookies and a casserole for another mom with Cancer) . Ready set GO!!!

  29. Wow, what a great collection of cookie cutters. Fabulous gingerbread! The knitting is looking great, too. Putting in a word for some chocolate, in moderation. I always find it calming.

  30. As the late, great EZ said, “knit on!” the gingerbread is fabulous and Sam is obviously an incredible asset in the kitchen. Here in the remote bits of the English Lake District (think Woolfest) we rely almost completely on grocery deliveries. Having just completed two-at-a-time 70inch striped linen stitch scarves in Rowan Felted Tweed for the sons I just have approximately 2 trillion little bitty ends to finish. The daughters-in-laws silk lace scarves are luckily one colour only and have blocked beautifully. Now to persuade the DH that oven cleaning can only be done by a big strong man…….. The 18 year old Talisker is looking good at this point!

  31. Wow, you’re steaming through that knitting! Must admit I felt a bit faint when I saw the first picture but it looks like you’re getting there.
    I had to get most of my Christmas knitting done two weeks ago to get it sent off in time. Of course, this meant I then had ten days to spare (unheard of). Naturally, I decided I could whip up a quick shawl for mother-in-law.
    Finished it last night and now pondering what else I can knit before next Wednesday. Ignoring the fact that I have a mahoosive list of other stuff to do!
    Totally agree about the wine, although two bottles would please me more.

  32. i laughed out loud over the wine prezzie for knitters… at 3:57 in the morning when i finally got into bed after my evening of try ing to finish what was on the day’s list…:)

  33. I second (or is it third) the request for recipes for gingerbread and icing. Agree with the Sam for Prez – of the cookie club. I have been on a cookie cutter collecting kick this shopping season. Now I see I need to find some dinosaurs (and a hedgehog) to have a complete set!! Personally glad and sad no one I exchange gifts with are worthy of hand knits. The kids are way too young and the parents of the kids would prefer the latest from the stores so… no knits for them!! Keep on keepin’ on, you are doing a great job!

  34. I should know better than to take a sip of tea while reading your blog. When I got to the gifts for knitters, I spit tea everywhere. Your suggestion is both hilarious and perfect.
    I’m sending best wishes for speedy knitting and finishing to all knitters. My boys will be home starting tomorrow, which means I only have today to make headway on the knitting front. I hope that there is wine at the end of the tunnel.

  35. Keep on trucking! I’m always amazed at how much you manage to knit in a crunch. And I love the cookies, especially that stealthy little “Knit me” in there!

  36. I’d love the gingerbread recipe too! I MUST add to my cookie cutter collection – yours is amazing! As for the wine, works for me. Rum is another good alternative.

  37. Now I have the urge to get out the cookie cutters and bake gingerbread cookies…I need more designs though. I REALLY need a hedgehog cookie cutter. Love the tape comment…that made me laugh out loud.

  38. I always get the horrifying realization at the last hour before we have to be someplace on Christmas Eve that if it weren’t for me, everyone in my family would throw a gift in a gift bag (something lovely like shaving lotion and a pack of shavers) and head out the door, wearing what they put on that morning and hoping there’s food at the Aunt’s house after church. On Christmas morning they’d be okay if there weren’t a coffee cake and omelette and they’d just buy a bag of cookies if they wanted cookies. They’d buy their knits at Walmart and their stockings would go forgotten until they had to take them down while they deconstruct the tree (if they even bothered to put one up). The realization that I’m the source of all the stress, worry, obsessing over gifts and food and events…it always whallops me at the last hour and I think, “all I really want is a cup of cocoa, my annual watching of It’s a Wonderful Life and Meet Me In St. Louis, and maybe a magic cookie bar, and I’ll be fine with Christmas utterly sucking.”
    Before that realization hits, though, I’m still struggling with seven crocheted Minion hats (I hate crochet), a pair of colorwork mittens, two Jane Cobb hats, two half-finished pairs of socks, a lace scarf, and a knitted Link hat (from Zelda: Ocarina of Time). Cheers, Harlot! We are in solidarity with our struggle to knit something for everyone we love.

  39. um yes, i could certainly use the wine. husband sweater (not a surprise gift) is not done – one more sleeve, then seaming and collar; cowl for brother-in-law’s fiance about 1/2 done; scarf for sister’s boyfriend about 1/3 done. eeeeeeep.

  40. Sam did an AWESOME job with the cookies and we all know that that means she is in charge from now on!!!! Please send her to my house! OOPS too bad—I am in Massachusetts!!!

  41. my daughter’s birthday is on the solstice. She is three years old. I was trying to come up with a good “birthday tradition” and I think it might be gingerbread cookies. Thinking on it, but the idea holds some promise.

  42. The gingerbread look amazing. The sheep with the “knit me”, love it. My kids and I went to a friends house to decorate sugar cookies with her kids… what a mess of sprinkles and frosting, but oh so much fun. Also made cinnamon rolls. Hopefully my kids and I will get to do more baking today. Knitting has been on a bit of a hiatus, so I guess it’s good that I don’t have any knitted gifts planned. Might whip out a couple pairs of leg warmers for my little girls, 3 and 6 years old. Right now my oldest 3, add a 4 year old boy to the above girls, are making a mess of glue, yarn and construction paper on our dining table. Good times.

  43. Where did you find the great sheep cookie cutter? I’ve been looking for *years* for one of that size. The ones I’ve found are all little tiny things & the resulting cookies a PITA to frost. I did find a moose cookie cutter, which is on its way. I’m thinking chocolate moose cookies.
    Thanks for helping us get through the holidays. I’m soooo far behind, & kids come home for Christmas tomorrow. I can hardly wait, but have a ton of housework/knitting/laundry/decorating left to do.
    Happy Christmas/Merry New Year!

  44. If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

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