What was in the boxes

This post comes to you from the airport, because I feel a little guilty leaving without showing you at least some of the things I knit this Christmas.  You were all so good about the stealth knitting over the past little while that I couldn’t wee making you wait any longer. This was the Christmas of the accessory.  I don’t know how it happened, how it got out of control, but it turned out that there was a shortage in the family, and so in addition to the 12 pairs of socks that I turned out in the year leading up to the holiday,  the family was after mittens and hats and no end of bits and pieces.  For assorted daughters and nieces, it was quick pairs of fingerless mitts. (We cannot have clothing that interferes with texting.)  Three pairs (following the first a few weeks ago) quickly came together.

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Pattern: Super-bulky Fingerless mitts. Needles: 8mm,  Yarn – Ushya Suya. (I loved that yarn, by the way. Soft and bulky, but not heavy.  Great stuff.)

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Sam’s already pressed hers into service.   Next up, I knit my mum a pair of socks – and no sooner had I done it than she announced that what she really needed was mittens and a hat.  I took a deep breath, and bang.  A pair of Cloisoneé mittens:

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The cuffs are just her colours. Lime, mustard and wild pink. I had odds and ends of Cascade 220 around for the cuffs, and that’s Galway for the hands, though any of the standard worsted yarns will do.

Mum wanted a hat too, and that was harder. She likes them big, but not too big, and loose, but it shouldn’t fall off, and it shouldn’t squash your hair too much, and it shouldn’t be too phallic.  I searched and searched and searched, and finally settled on a great hat.

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It’s Linga, and the yarn was leftover Waterlily from ages ago.

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While I was knitting with that yarn I was reminded of how sad it is when great yarns get discontinued.  I miss that one.  That hat used up the very last of it in the stash, though it was a worthy cause, because Mum loves her new hat- the other day when she ran by the house she was wearing it, and she’s not the type to pretend.  If it was on her head, she likes it.

There’s more – but in three minutes they’re calling this flight, and we’re off.   See you tomorrow.


Whew! Today’s a day of rest here at our house, and I hope it is at yours too.  Today – for the first time in nine days, despite illness, fatigue, disaster and general holiday making, we have nowhere to be, and nothing to do- beyond getting ready for another thing tomorrow. Last night’s party at my mum’s went off just as it should, with only one family member failing to attend due to the viral bomb that’s been running through the clan.  I was starting to get tired yesterday, tired of parties, tired of noise, tired of being tired, but rallied last night when all my family and friends were around, and remembered just when I was ready to give up how much I love this group when we have out party on. Megan learned to shuck oysters,

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we danced, we sang – we played a rousing game of family DJ (which is really all about impressing my sister, Amanda noted, since Erin is the sole judge of the endeavour- and we don’t think she even is clear on the rules of the game she invented.)

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Food was eaten, wine was drunk, jokes were told, and we caught up with friends we see so seldom.  I finished a hat – and that wrapped up all the Christmas knitting, the whole lot of it, and we rolled into bed late, with big smiles, and tired feet.

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Today, we rest, and in a very exciting turn of events, Joe and I are packing. We’ve been invited on a little trip, and we’re both so thrilled. I travel (you guys know that) and Joe travels – but both of us mostly for work, and we don’t go together. Once (or twice) a year I take a trip with my mum, and Joe takes one with his, and now and again we travel with assorted parts of the family, but it has been a long time since the two of us (and just the two of us!) left on a trip, and we’re both giddy with the prospect.  Tomorrow morning we’ll head to the airport, and off we’ll go.

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I’m so looking forward to it – mostly because I’ve come to think of it as Knit-o-rama. (I’m not sure that’s what Joe has planned) We’ll have the trip, and days of relative quiet, and I, my friends, am going to knit the snot out of it.  This afternoon I’m tidying, and winding yarn, and organizing what I’ll make for the next several days, and it’s like a whole other present.  5 days of knitting! For me! Whatever I want!  I love knitting for Christmas, but man – I  think I like this idea more right now.  Hunting up all my projects is completely delicious. I’ve got one for the plane, and I’m looking for yarn for one for the hotel, and I’m dreaming of finding a pattern for when we’re at dinners, and the urge to put way, way too much wool in my suitcase is overwhelming.

I. Can’t. Wait.



I’m still a little flattened here – I did indeed get so sick, and so did enough people that at moments this Christmas, the whole thing reminded me of the voyage of the damned. It was indeed a holiday where a lot went wrong, but instead of whinging about that (and oh, there is plenty) instead I give you a few moments where things went very right.

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There was a lot to love in this tricky, tricky Christmas – and we’ve still got a festivity to go, when we all gather again tomorrow – assuming we’re all upright and standing. More after that, dear hearts, and I hope whatever challenges your family faced this holiday, it had its moments too.

Others have peace thrust upon them

Happy Christmas Eve pets.  I’m writing this to you from my desk where  I have a hot toddy with a good sized tot of whiskey in it, while I do my best not to be too disappointed.  A few days ago, Kate came down with a cold, Carlos experienced “gastrointestinal distress” for 12 hours, and a decision was made, in the heat of battle, to move Christmas Eve from their house to ours.  This was the smartest thing we thought, for the whole family to gather here. My house is technically a little tiny for that, but it had functioning adults in it, which was a huge plus.  Fast forward to yesterday afternoon, when Joe goes down like a ton of bricks (distress courtesy of Carlos, no doubt) and a bad cold slammed into me along with the realization that I should snuggle fewer toddlers in the month of December. They’re cesspools of bacteria. (Three big cheers for our oldest daughter Amanda, who took charge completely, and while Joe was sick and I was out with my mother and sister – she went and got all the groceries that we needed. She’s amazing.) We both had a bad night, and I lay on the couch (I was going no where near Joe) and tried to sleep and worried about today. I was (and am) worried about being able to do anything – to really take part. I truly feel awful – and I’m not sure if I should go anywhere, I’m worried I’ll spread it around, and that’s a really craptastic Christmas gift, but at the same time, I’m a little broken hearted about the idea of working this hard to make Christmas nice, and then not reaping the rewards.

I got up when I heard Sam moving around, and got on with the plan to make her a special breakfast. I feel bad that she has to work on Christmas Eve, and wanted to do something nice for her.  I had bought all the stuff, and I thought maybe if I faked it, if I pretended that everything was fine, pretty soon I would be.

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It helped. It helped a lot, actually, and reminded me that although this isn’t the turn of events I would have picked, it’s only one day, and I have fun with my family all the time, and they’ll like their presents just the same, and was a nice firm smack right in my control freak nature, because the spreadsheet didn’t do anything about this – and what was supposed to be the nicest Christmas ever, is totally going to be whatever a virus decides, and there was no column for that. It’s disappointing, but true, and probably good for me to live with once in a while, right when I start feeling like I’ve got it all under control.

Katie called this morning and she felt much better and I felt so much worse, and we’ve shifted it back to her house – and that means I can opt in or out and the terrible pressure is off. I managed to get my share of the food cooked, the presents are wrapped, and I’ve taken nine pounds of cold meds (and the hot toddy) and in an hour I’ll make the call – see if I can get myself over there, even briefly. Whether I can or a can’t, one thing stays the same. It’s Christmas, and I’m very lucky, virus notwithstanding, and I know it.

What’s Luis hanging today?

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Papa Noel! Finally… holy cats, the kid made it.

Gifts for Knitters, day 24.

It’s too late.  If you haven’t got anything by now, the only thing you can do from here is try to please your knitter another way. I give you a rerun.  I wrote this a few years ago, but it’s still darn true.

The Proper Way to Receive a Knitted Gift.

1. Open the gift, and immediately say something positive.  (Suggestions are things like “Oh wow!” or “Oh my goodness!)

2. Hold up the item and smile broadly.

3. If you do not know what the item is, DO NOT SAY SO.
We understand that knitting can produce some unusual items, and that the nature of handmade objects can further complicate things.  If, after admiring the item for some time you are still not sure what it is, say something like “This is beautiful. Oh my gosh.  Can you show me how I should wear it? I want to do it justice.”

4.  After admiring and identifying the item, RUB IT ON YOUR FACE, or at the very least, cuddle it against your neck while saying something positive, like “Mmmmmm”.  Knitters love this.  It’s because we’ve been worried that you wouldn’t like it, and knitting is a tactile thing.   Lots of non-knitters find some textiles scratchy or uncomfortable, and we’re worried that will be you.  Making immediate physical contact with the item reassures us.

5. Pronounce the item  the best gift you have ever gotten.  Kiss or hug the knitter, and show the item off to at least one other person over the course of the day.

6. Place item in a place of honour, and continue to admire it at intervals, remarking (see gift re: Respect above) that you can’t believe that a knitter thought you were worth that much time.


-Comment that it doesn’t fit.  This is not something you discuss today.  Maybe tomorrow. Or the day after. Or in a week.  Not today.  Your knitter has been busting a move for weeks or months for you.  They probably finished a hat at 2am and are a little fragile.  Save it.

-Similarly, do not say it is scratchy, or uncomfortable or not what you wanted.  Despite what some other non-knitters may have you think, knitting is a super expensive gift – and if someone gave you a Ferrari, you wouldn’t pout and tell them you wanted it in blue.

Now go forth and love your knitter.  They’re amazing.

Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel, Peace out.  Be kind to each other.  Stay calm.

I’ll see you on the other side.

Quick as old Saint Nick

One of my favourite pieces of advice, one of the best things I heard one friend tell another, was that when things are complex, you should stay nimble and light.  Try not to encumber yourself, so that you can respond, adapt and change as your circumstances do.  I love that idea, trying not to get bogged down into one right way, one answer… it keeps you from seeing answers as they present themselves.  I’m telling myself that today.

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Some things are done. More things are not, although last night I can admit that I threw in the proverbial towel.  I wrote my blog post, then looked around me at the looming crisis, remembered that Christmas isn’t really a crisis, not compared to war or illness or famine, and that I have a multitude of blessings, and poured myself a largish glass of wine, and took it to the bath.  When I got out, I ordered a pizza, wrapped a few more things, and sat down to knit and figure out what can fall by the wayside.  My mood was low, I admit it, and I did the best thing I could.  I knit, and went to bed early. This morning I feel quite a lot better, and attacked the list with renewed vigour, until I sneezed five times, blew my nose and realized that I might not be feeling entirely well. (I should have known. Despair is often the first symptom I display – loss of emotional vigour before actual vigour.) Being a clever woman, I’ve immediately slowed down, and cut nine more things from the to-do list – and moved three to Joe’s.  (He feels great.)  I’m still not sure I’m getting sick, but I’m being kind to myself as a precaution, and really, getting on your own team and staying there isn’t bad policy anyway. There’s a few things I can’t move, let go of or give to someone else, and I’m putting my energy there. Tonight my sister and I give our mum her present, and I’m so looking forward to it. She’s going to love it. Best – it’s a present I can give her and knit at the same time, which is awesome, because there’s just two “must knit” things on the list, and they’re both more than half done, which makes me think it’s not properly time to give up, at least on the sitting down jobs.

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What’s Luis hanging today?

Things must be better at their house, because Carlos’ text came bright and early today – although I didn’t need it. There are only two ornaments left. Papa Noel (Santa) who can’t be hung until tomorrow, because that’s the night he comes (despite Lou’s best efforts to hurry that process) and the wee gnome baby – in the Waldorf style. (Gnome is easy in Spanish. Gnomo. I didn’t have to guess. By the way, because someone will ask, Waldorf dolls/babies have no/minimal facial features, so that kids can imagine them with any emotion*.)

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I think it says something that Lou hung the gnome baby last – if I were his parents I’d take it as a statement of his interest in babies, and having them around (they’re attention grabbers, those other wee ones) out of all of the ornaments Lou chose this one when there were no other choices. Clever lad. I knit this one from this lovely pattern, choosing only smaller needles and yarn to make it work.

(*We’re not a “Waldorf family” but I do love so many of the ideas, this one included.)

Gifts for Knitters: Day 23

Dear Non-knitter who loves a Knitter

There’s so little time left, and I could tell you to run out now and get your knitter another item, but I’m not going to. You’ve already probably got them something anyway – so today I’m going to suggest a gift they will really, really love, that only you can give them. One that shows them that you think their knitting is an important and valuable part of Christmas, and one that shows them that you respect their craft, and the contribution they make.

This gift is a lovely, lovely one, and it will get you so many points in the love bank that I scarcely can breath when I think of it. Giving this gift is easy. Walk up to your knitter, and say the following;

“Hey, what can I do in the next 24 hours to give you more knitting time?”

Then go do it. Right away, and for the love of all things woolly, hand them the beverage of their choice before you do.

(PS. Joe likes to say “No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes.” Interpret at will.)


I can’t believe I ran out of tape

So, the best laid plans. Last night was beautiful, and this morning I woke up to the mess we made (I guess I thought elves would clean up) and the house is trashed, and there’s so much to do.  All I can think today, as people frantically call me, with plans shifting and last minute things being worked out,  is that the spreadsheet is total crap, or actually, that the spreadsheet would have worked so much better if I had the total commitment of every person on earth in making it happen.  (I know. Now that I write that I can see the lunacy of it.) I’m so close to finished, and today just erupted in a mountain of little things all getting in my way.  My to-do list was thwarted at every turn. I needed 250g of citric acid (don’t ask) and Joe brought home 113g. (It was clear on the list. I have no idea what came over him.  I needed to work at my desk for three hours, the internet went down. (Sorry I’m late.) I wanted to know what Luis hung today, but a stomach bug ran through his house and somehow (despite a profound urge for efficiency) I managed to wait nicely until Carlos sent it to me, and not text the sick guy and ask him to get right on it. (What the hell, I had no internet anyway.) The delivery guy finally arrived with a mission critical package, but I was vacuuming and didn’t hear him, and now I have to go pick it up tomorrow.  Every project is 10% shy of being done, and some little thing is standing in front of all of it, and I see no way now to make it all smooth.

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I hate weaving in ends on my knitting.  That last step, the one thing you have to do to make everything tidy and perfect, it makes me crazy, and right now, looking around the house, I can see that this whole Christmas needs its ends woven in. It’s going to be a sprint to the finish, getting the last little pieces in place, and I hope you’ll forgive my lack of Christmas cheer today, as I try to figure out where the hell I’m getting more frames from, how we could possibly need more wrapping paper, how I’m fitting the groceries in the fridge, and how many hours exactly remain before this train leaves the station, me on it, or not.  Today, I’m giving up, but for a good chunk of  knitting, because that’s the part I like anyway,  and tomorrow morning I’m going to give this thing another try.  Only a few things remain, and they’re all just ends to weave in.

What did Luis hang today?

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El buho. The owl.  I put this one on the tree because… well.  I liked it. I knit Lou an owl hat recently, and he wears it all the time, and this just seemed right. I liked it. A simple felt ornament, stitched together.  (It’s not a unique idea. Find lots here.)

Gifts for Knitters, Day 22

Another easy, fast one. Go get a Craftsy gift certificate. Bam.  I buy these classes all the time, it’s a great gift for a knitter who doesn’t get out much, or who has limited access to teachers and classes. (If anybody’s wondering, my recent favourites are Finishing Handknits,  (I actually didn’t buy that one yet, but I’m keen, and Anne Hanson never sucks) Know Your Yarn, and Blocking Handknits.

The Longest Night

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.

Susan Cooper

With profound thanks to Rams, our Lady of the Comments, who always knows the right poem for everything.

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I love this night. The longest one there will be all year, and the shortest day to go with it.  Tomorrow the sun will shine a little longer, the night – just a few seconds less.  We celebrate tonight, as we always do, with friends, and food and good wine, and mostly with candles, and light. Twinkle lights hang everywhere, the tree is sparkling against the afternoon dark,  ice lanterns will line the steps to greet our guests, fresh candles top every flat surface.  Dinner’s on the stove, and I’ve just finished the peppermint bark, which is good – because I think I have a friend or two who only come for the wee package of it they’ll find in their pockets on the way home.

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The friends who come tonight are women and mothers,  knitters too, in fact, and I feel like today I open my home to people who are the cradle of their homes. People who make things. Sweaters, dinners, presents… people… they’re powerful, wonderful women. (They’re a little twitchy this time of year, but that’s nothing that candlelight, a little knitting time and a glass of wine can’t fix.)  We’ll celebrate our unbelievable good fortune tonight, that we’re warm, that we’re full, that our children are whole and safe, that the light is all around us, and that there will be more of it tomorrow.

So many people can’t say the same this evening, and I’m going to skip gifts for knitters today, and suggest that this day, we think of a gift for someone with less.  I don’t know how much you have, and maybe all you can give is a few dollars, or even a little time – you’ll know best what speaks to your heart, and what you can manage.  We give to charity this day, it brings a little more light into the world, even while it is the longest night. Who we give to varies, according to what we’re grateful for, and what we wish other people had.  This year, it’s MSF – because we’re so grateful to have outstanding, affordable health care, and because we’re so impressed with the incredible work and risk that the MSF teams have undertaken on the front lines of the Ebola outbreak.  We’re giving to Because I am a Girl, because we have three educated, healthy daughters.  We’re giving to PWA because they do so very much good, and what the hell. I’m riding again. We’re giving to World Birth Aid, because on that map of maternal morbidity – I live in a country that is coloured blue.  There’s no safer place to give birth, and a clean birth kit can change that for another woman, so another family can have their mum with them, like I have mine, and my family has me.

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Happy Happy Solstice, dear ones.  Light a candle. Namaste. Peace.


(PS. Luis hung up the reindeer.  He has no sense of decorum.)

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That whole house is sticky now

When my girls were little (and when they were bigger too) we always had a Gingerbread Party.  It used to be that we’d fill up the house with people, and food, and music, and I’d bake a couple hundred gingerbread cookies, and make a few pounds of royal icing (that kind that gets hard when it dries) and then we’d just make merry all over the place while my gingerbread cookies got decorated by littles and big ones alike.  It’s been a few years since we did it now.  With no real littles around, the tradition seemed silly to the big kids I think, and I’d invite them and we’d try to make it happen and they’d say no, because it was gingerbread and what self respecting young person trying to assert themselves as an adult shows up for a gingerbread party? It undermines your adulthood.

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In my secret heart through, I really, truly believed that I wasn’t the only one who missed the gingerbread party. I brought it up a few years, but nobody seemed to want to – but I thought they were lying.  I had rented kids over to scratch my itch (the neighbours, and Jen provided a few) but this year I took a different tack.  I invited the family for dinner. A regular family dinner, like we do all the time, and then – I ambushed them.

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When everyone arrived, the gingerbread was laid out, icing was made and put into ziplocks to be makeshift piping bags (they actually work really, really well) and from there, instinct took over.

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It was a wonderful evening.  Music was made, dumb reindeer songs were sung, Lou decorated his first gingerbread, and everyone got into it. I’d go into the kitchen to lay out more food (the food – holy cats they demolished it all) and come back out to find someone else had sidled up to the table and was having a go.  People came and went from the table, but the die hards -the ones who decorated the most and had the biggest fun, were the young men. Exactly the ones who shrink back in horror when you suggest such a thing.

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The older men didn’t have a terrible time either, and my mum and Joe’s were happier than I can tell you.  It reeked of good, clean fun.  When the night was over, and the last gingerbread decorated, and the house tidied, I sat on the chesterfield and had a good, long smirk.

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I knew they would love it.  Sneak attack gingerbread  party.  One of my better plans, and worth the sacrifice of the knitting time.  They’ll remember this more than whether or not I finished their mittens.

What did Luis hang today?

El jersey.  (That’s an easy one to learn in Spanish, isn’t it?)

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I knit this one almost to the pattern (although I admit to changing the shoulder shaping, and the pattern on the yoke, so it would match the hat. WHAT.  I thought it should be a set) and Joe used a paperclip to make a tiny little hanger.

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I know that a sweater isn’t something that would thrill Lou (and that likely explains it’s late arrival on the tree) but it was intended as a little homage to the many sweaters I’ve knit him.  I am the sweater Auntie, and when he’s bigger, maybe he’ll think of the sweaters I’ve made him over the years, keeping him warm and cozy.  (More likely he’ll remember that Sam let him squirt icing straight into his mouth at the party, but I can’t compete with that.)

Gifts for knitters, Day 20

This one’s quick and dirty, easy and fast.  Personalized labels for your knitter to sew into the things they make. There’s great ones here, and charming ones here, and if labels aren’t quite your kntiter’s style, think about some personalized tags.  They all say “I’m proud of the things you make” and that’s a great message to send your knitter.

Maybe you need to lower your standards

All is well here, although only because I’ve given up, in the most relaxed way possible.  I’m still trying to get everything done by the 20th, but I understand that’s tomorrow and that  I live in a world of dreams.  Even if I don’t totally finish, I’ll be close enough that the last few days of the holidays won’t be an enraged blur of wrapping paper and baking.  The gingerbread was baked last night, dinner for tonight is almost made, and it’s a simple one, so it’s bubbling on the stove, making the house smell like I’m ready, even if I’m not. A little while ago I got this huge urge to vacuum, and then realized that only a fool vacuums *before* a two year old comes to your house for dinner.  I’ll clean up the crumbs he leaves behind tomorrow.  It was always a pipe dream to have the knitting done by the 20th – I haven’t thought I would make that for a while… but I stand by my idea that I’ll be knitting for me on Christmas Day, with a cup of eggnog and the tree twinkling next to me.  I don’t have that much to knit really (sorry, let me just stop laughing enough to type.)  No, really – it’s not that bad.  A pair of Cloisonée mittens remain to be finished…

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and I’d forgotten how much I love this pattern. Fast, fun, and easy to make the right colours for anyone – I hunted on Ravelry for just the right thing for a while before I realized that I’d already come up with it.  (You know you’re not thinking when Rav suggests a pattern you’ve written.)  After that there’s one more pair of mittens (two, if the sun shines) another pair of fingerless mitts, and one (two if the sun shines) hats.  I’m still in the running. This afternoon I’ll finish the cooking, work for a little longer, and then if all goes well, I’ll have an hour to knit before the hordes descend.  (Did I mention I’m looking forward to the hordes?) I was going to clean, but then I remembered I just don’t give a sh*t. I’d rather this was the first year I didn’t give anyone a gift still on the needles.

What’s Luis hanging today?

La luz de navidad. The Christmas light. (Edited to fix my crappy Spanish spelling. Big surprise.)

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I admit, I think of this as the “Christmas bulb” but Christmas light is close enough.  I was knitting it, and thinking that really, Lou probably wouldn’t know what it was, since all the strings of lights now are little LED things that look nothing like this, which is so much better for the environment, and so much worse for nostalgia.  Still, when I think of a the strings of lights you hand on a tree (and despite not having had anything that looks like this for years) this seems just right.  I  used this pattern, and didn’t change a thing, but for the gauge.  (The pattern called for worsted and 3.25mm needles, and I switched to fingering and 2.25mm needles to make it small enough.)  I imagine that when Lou’s old enough to really look at these, he’ll think of this the way that he will dial phones with an attached cord. If I were a better woman, I’d knit a long string of these for my tree.

Gifts for knitters, Day 19

Today’s gift for knitters, is project bags.  I know, I know, yesterday I did bags for knitters, but these are project bags, not knitting bags.  These go inside the knitting bag.  (I know. I told you we had a bag thing.)

I love these box bags from Splityarn with a passion.  There’s big ones, and smaller ones, and they squish enough to fit in my bag when I travel or go places, but they’re also tidy enough (and have a handle on the end) so that I can take it as is.  Lots of other great people make box bags too (look! Polkadots! This ones a call box! Sharknado! Hedgehogs!) Ones you can colour co-ordinate to your other stuff!)   and they’re fabulous (and they stack, like bricks so that the place your knitter is keeping projects is very tidy indeed.  (Yes, having more than one project on the go is normal, as a matter of fact, it’s a pretty good idea.) If you’re as crafty as your knitter, there’s a great tutorial on how to make a box bag here.

If your knitter isn’t that square (see what I did there?) then you can go the more traditional project bag route.  There’s a million of them, and they’re all good – there’s so many in fact that there’s no reason that you can’t co-ordinate it to fit in with your knitters other interests.  Sheep? CoffeeTardis? Do they wanna put a bird on it? Maybe chickens? Creepy stuff? The Enterprise? Crafty PiratesDaleks?  (As an aside, and this fits in with yesterday too.  If your knitter has a thing for the Doctor, maybe you wanna go nuts and pre-order this.)  If your knitter likes something, you can find a bag that goes with it. Go to Etsy, and modify this search with something your knitter likes.

Another Freakin’ Column

Without a word of a lie, I swear in the name of all things woolly that today was going to be easy.  Yesterday’s shopping mission went off without a hitch. I left, I shopped, I returned, and I even got home about an hour earlier than I thought, because it was all so easy.  I poured myself that reward beer and wrapped gifts for that found hour (I see now I should have been knitting. Someone else could have wrapped.) I got the meringues in the oven – right on time, and despite the perilous business of having to turn the oven on and off (it gets too hot otherwise, and the cookies colour instead of just dry out) I did not once forget that they were in there during the “on” phase, and ruin the whole batch. (I used a timer. I can’t be trusted.) I even put a post it note on the button for the stove, so that someone else wouldn’t turn on the oven – not knowing they were in there, and torch the whole thing. (We had a pizza dough incident a few weeks ago. Joe’s right. You should tell people if you’re going to leave something in there.)

meringues 2014-12-18

Last night I almost finished a knitting project, and made the gingerbread dough so that it could chill in the fridge for long enough – and I went to bed early, thinking that today was just about going to be the most pleasant walk in the park that you can imagine.  I drifted off to sleep thinking about what a pleasure today was going to be.  I can only imagine that the high of finishing the shopping did some kind of number on my brain, because I woke up this morning, made coffee, sat at my desk and looked at the spreadsheet, compared it to the calendar, and then opened the top drawer of my desk and threw up into it.   Okay – that part didn’t really happen, but it could have.  I am a delusional lunatic if I think I’m finishing by the 20th.  I can’t even believe that was a goal. See, I think I forgot another column on the spreadsheet.  Social.  We have FIVE family gatherings between now and Christmas Day, and let me be super clear about this, that’s cool.  Actually, it’s better than cool, it’s fantastic.  I love it when the house is full and the family is here, and I feel right and whole and happy and the reason I do all of this is so that we have those evenings, but why the hell didn’t I put them on the spreadsheet? What part of me thought I would simultaneously host the whole family while baking gingerbread and pounding out another pair of mittens? Who exactly did I think was going to cook for that crew? Santa?

cookie cutters 2014-12-18

I’ve moved up the cookie baking to today, so that tomorrow I can cook, clean and get that together, and since knitting tomorrow night will mostly be out while I run with Lou and the girls and put dinner on, that means that today I need to somehow finish the knitting I need for Saturday.  I suddenly regret the bath I took yesterday.  Time wasted, I see that now.

Wish me well, knitters.  Today has to be a miracle, and so far it doesn’t look so good. It’s 3 in the afternoon, and progress has been dismal. I think I’m tired.

What’s Luis hanging today?

I’m embarrassed to say that I had no choice this morning but to look up the word Carlos texted me.  I know I don’t speak Spanish very well (that is an understatement. Lou speaks Spanish better than I do) so usually I’m not bothered when I can’t figure it out, but this one is a word that matters to me so much in English, that I can’t believe I didn’t know the Spanish!  It was “El calcetin”

weesock 2014-12-18

The sock!  Now, this one I remember the pattern for very well.  It was this rather charming bit of business, although I converted it to be knit in the round, and knit it on smaller needles.  Also, when I was looking at that pattern just now? Mystery solved on the mitten.  There’s the chart I used. (I must have been having some sort of urge to make a matched set.) Voila.

Gift for Knitters, Day 18

There is an affinity that lies between knitters and bags that’s hard to explain. Knitters are, in general, so drawn to them that the presence of several bags about a person is a good way to spot a knitter.  (Usually we try to condense this, putting bags inside bags, but sometime we still end up with a couple visible.)  For reasons unknown, no matter how many bags your knitter has, another bag is always a good present. You can get just about any bag you think your knitter might like, except remember two things.  First, no velcro on the bag. Velcro is, along with moths and carpet beetles, a natural enemy of knitting. The presence of Velcro automatically makes something not a great knitting bag. Second, zippers aren’t so awesome either, depending on where they are in the bag.  A lot of zippers on the inside or near the top of the bag is just going to snag yarn in the pulls and teeth, and force your knitter to use language  unbecoming an artisan of their ilk. Last, it should stay open, and stay upright. If you’d like to get them a knitting specific bag? Start here. Tom Bihn had a whole line of knitter-friendly bags, from wee pouches to larger ones that are fabulous. (I have several swifts, and love them.) This Knit and let Knit tote is big this year, I see it everywhere, and this one is cute too.  Namaste bags are to die for, Della Q makes several nice ones, Offhand Designs makes ones that could go with any outfit (if your knitter wears outfits, instead of just clothes) and Green Mountain Knitting bags? Well. just look.  The Nantucket Bagg is super cool (and masculine, if your knitter rolls that way.) Jordana Paige has some good ones – and while you’re there, check out the tool butler. (Your knitter would dig that. They would put it in their bag.) Good hunting.