Maybe little nails would work

Lookout world, because here I come.  Actually, it’s more like lookout living room, here I come, but today is the day that I pull this house the hell together.  (The little lights above the door fell off again. I need to try something else.)  The first of many holiday gatherings is here tonight, and I’m using it as the impetus I need to get the place squared away. The wrapping stuff has been put away, the bathroom is almost something you could let another person use, and I’m thinking about taking the pressure washer Joe was using yesterday to the kitchen.  It turns out there really are only so many hours in a day, and if you spend a bunch most of them knitting, everything else goes to Hades in the proverbial handbasket.  Still, the knitting is the only thing that seems to be going well (that fits, considering where I’m spending my time. I had a meeting last night where I plowed along on a wee sweater I’m not showing you, and when I got home I got the first of two hats on the needles.

hatstarted 2014-12-10

The other will have to wait until I make a trip to the yarn shop – and can I just say that I can’t believe I have to go to a yarn shop? I practically HAVE a yarn shop here in the house, and it boggles the mind that I’d have to go to the store for anything at this point.  (I’m making a careful note of what I don’t have – and when I get to the shop I’m going to buy double. Just to be sure that it’s on hand from now on. The stash should be a force against yarn emergency, not just a curated collection of pretties.) I’m cleaning in sprints today, my favourite way to manage the task. I set a timer for 10 minutes, and then address a problem, moving at light speed until the timer goes off. You’d be surprised what can get done. After a while I should have just the big jobs left, like swabbing the decks and running a vacuum around to collect up the worst of the cat hair.  (How can there be this much cat hair, and still be any on the cat? It’s a mystery. I think she grows extra on purpose – in cahoots with the hoover company. The wee beast is likely getting a kickback.)  So- the timer needs setting for the dining room, so let’s get to business, shall we?

What did Luis hang today?

Bola de arbol de navidad. (That one stretched my Spanish, though  it shouldn’t have.  Arbol is tree, I knew that, and Navidad is clearly Christmas – we’ve all sung that song, it was bola I had to think about.)

balldone 2014-12-10

It’s a Christmas tree ball! Carlos thinks he probably picked this one because they got their tree up, and Luis had a great time decorating it.  (I think he’s just so pissed he can’t put up the Santa and truck forever that he doesn’t care.) No pattern for this one, I just cut the shapes out of felt, embroidered on it a little, added a few beads from the stash for pizazz, and sewed them together.  Boom. It was a quick one.  There’s lots of patterns for knitted Christmas balls, but they were all too big for me, and I wanted something flatter that would fit in the pockets of the advent tree.  Felt, to the rescue.  (It’s still wool. It counts.)

Gifts for Knitters, day 10

As much as I’d like today’s gift to be a couple of hours of housekeeping service (and really, that would be an outstanding gift) today, let’s go with Jewelry for knitters.  There’s a ton out there, and as much as I’m not really a jewelry wearer myself, I love most of this stuff. (The same might be true of your knitter. Knitting themed stuff can almost always shift a knitter.)  First up? These cool kits from Laura Nelkin, so your knitter could make their own. (Double points, extra fun.) If that doesn’t suit, how about a cute needle gauge pendant? Still not your knitters style? Check in with our lovely Jennie the Potter. While her stuff is notoriously hard to get (she’s only one woman, for crying out loud) she has some fantastic knitting themed earrings in her shop right now.  This knitted jewelry is gorgeous, and Sassafras Creations always has cool stuff made out of knitting needles, including this necklace that’s really pretty understated. (It doesn’t scream KNITTER, but yours will get it.) Schoolhouse Press has two especially lovely things this year, the sterling silver ball of yarn pendant, I love that one… and for the right knitter, the Elizabeth Zimmermann signature necklace (also made by Jennie the Potter, hard to go wrong) is beyond charming.

… and with that, I’m off. I’m going to unearth the table.


48 thoughts on “Maybe little nails would work

  1. Pingback: Maybe little nails would work | Yarn Buyer

  2. I’m finding my stash – which I thought was carefully collected – to be terribly useless. I think it was part of my past-self’s master plan to keep me buying yarn.

  3. I am totally entertained by your posts at this time of year. They alternately make me feel wistful and then glad that I don’t celebrate Christmas (Chanukah in my house is a minor holiday). Am loving the love for your nephew and the daily report. Of course, I also check out the knitters’ gifts. I might find the thing I never knew I needed and would be bereft without.

  4. Ahhhh! I got the “click or touch the CAT” today (finally! I’ve been waiting). Also, very apropos considering the cat fur in the house. It does seem to multiply. I can tell you that it can take 9+ months to get rid of all cat hair in clothing with absolutely NO cat exposure.

    I love the Jennie the Potter jewelry! Going on my wishlist…!!

    Also, super cute tree decoration…

    And, lastly (and least importantly), you’ve reminded me that I need to get some cleaning done, too. I guess I know what I’m doing Saturday. *sigh* At least it fits within the Japanese tradition of cleaning house before New Year’s?? And it will feel better!

    Have fun!

    Katie =^..^=

  5. I use 3M Command Hooks to hang absolutely everything in my house. They make small ones that I use to hold up the lights around my doorways. They don’t come undone early and they don’t leave marks when you take them down. I like your timer method. I am going to use that to help me get moving on some things I need to do around here. Thanks!

  6. I have to say, in the 2yrs I’ve been reading your blog daily, my favorites are all of the Christmas entries over the years. Not because of your “down to the 11th hour” life with projects, because we all have that. It’s the pictures of your trees, candles, food/baking and just the simplicity of it all that makes it look warm, almost like I’m a guest there. Last year, I did pretty much the same, a lot LESS shopping, a lot MORE knitting & baking, and actually just enjoyed it.

  7. I like to clean in spurts (not quite fast enough for a sprint, I think), but I never thought of setting a timer. That seems like nagging, but a good idea. Therefore, of all your gift suggestions, I find the house cleaning service to be the very best. We are going through a remodel right now so house cleaning is pretty useless. I’ll keep that idea for Valentine’s Day or maybe Mother’s Day.

  8. I’ve come to realize there is no way to avoid the stash being a curated collection of pretties. To wit:

    1) I want to make a sweater.
    2) I buy enough yarn to make a sweater, but buy too much just in case.
    3) I make the sweater. I now have three and one-third skeins of yarn left over — not enough to really make anything of a decent size, but enough to take up room in my yarn dresser.
    3a) Yes, I have a yarn dresser. Shut up.
    4) I want to make another sweater.
    5) I need to buy enough yarn, because I don’t have enough of the previous yarn.
    6) I buy yarn, but buy a little over just to make sure.
    7) I now have leftovers of two kinds in my dresser, neither of which are enough to make anything by themselves.
    8) Repeat as required.
    9) Disappear under a mountain of yarn leftovers, otherwise known as a curated collection of pretties.

    It’s like entropy and taxes — it’s always gonna happen. The most you can do is occasionally beat it back, but you can never win.

  9. I’m definitely going to start referring to my stash as “a curated collection of pretties.” Curated makes it sound a bit more deliberate than it really is (OMG I LOVE THAT COLOR is the motivating force behind most choices) but I love the sound of it. Thanks. And it is amazing that no matter how much is in there, what you need is not in there.

    I’m loving Luis’s updates. Thanks. And good luck with the dash to the finish.

  10. Karat Stix makes a dandy little Kitchener Stitch reminder on a split ring. Much easier than digging out my books or trying to find my crib notes!

  11. Good luck with the party prep. I’m enjoying the daily holiday posts so very much. Perhaps you should consider a writing a book like “A knitter’s guide to the holidays”. You know we would all totally buy it. 🙂

  12. I can so picture it – the stash and the cleaning. Long ago I followed the flylady at, and she advocated the use of the timer – “you can do anything for 15 minutes” and when things get bad, I still use it. I also find that you can do a lot when reheating a cup of coffe in the microwave – in a minute, you can load the dishwasher, fold some laundry, or sweep the floor. the chores are not as immense as they seem at first.

  13. I think your cat is sending messages to my cats. Also wondering–candles in a house with cat? I haven’t dared, except on the dining room table when two-foots are sitting there.
    Love the gift ideas. and, as we all do, Luis’ tree and its decorations. thank you.

  14. With 3 cats in my house, I use the battery operated flickering tea lights (after an incident with a tail waving back and forth over a candle until we began to smell burning hair!)….and my stash is the same as yours, Steph. No matter how much I pare it down to what I think will be a useful collection, I’m always running to the yarn store. I’ve begun “kitting” my yarn with an intended pattern in plastic bags. But I have also made many stripey infant and toddler sweaters with single balls of yarn – Mom’s love them! I suspect we’re all addicted to the trip to the yarn store 🙂

  15. It’s your “I practically have a yarn shop here” comment that catches me today. I seem to never have the right amount in my (small) stash for whatever it is that I want to make. How much of any yarn do you (any of you) buy at once? I tend to buy one or two skeins of fingering weight at a time, perhaps more of heavier weights, but I am always, always wrong. I buy something pretty just because I can’t pass it up, but it limits what I can make later on. Any good tips for avoiding these regular pitfalls?

    • What if you looked up yarn yardage for various articles – an adult sweater, a kid’s sweater, socks, a scarf, hat, or shawl in the appropriate weights, and then if the yarn makes you want to knit one of these, you could buy enough for that kind of project. Of course, you’d have to carry the various yardages with you in case a yarn shop grabbed you.
      And made you buy some yarn.

    • There’s a great app (If you’re that kind of person) called “Knit Handy.” You can look up all the requirements you need in it.

  16. If 3 people live in your house, how come it always seems to be you cleaning?

    We opted for a maid once a week.

    And I love Christmas ornament in Spanish!

  17. When I read your post title, I thought you might be contemplating knitting wee ornaments with nails. It was only after I ran around doing my own 15 minutes of cleaning that I figure out how the title fit the post.

  18. Dear YH: Yes, your stash should be a force against a yarn emergency, but I would have thought YOUR stash would be a force against natural disasters! However, I’ve yet to see a disaster movie based on not having the right color. . . !

    Yes, cats can and do shed at will. They can do this with up to one quarter of the total number of hairs in their coat. The shed hairs are replaced amazingly quickly, with some short-haired cats able to do so within one week. Remember this the next time you have to tell your little purr machine that she can’t sleep with her butt in your soup bowl, Joe’s underwear drawer, the bottom of the dishwasher, or whatever.

    • I have, but I don’t like it much. The dangling ends really bug me. You’re welcome to like it though, lots of people do.

  19. I so enjoy reading your blog, and books. Do you think that in January when we, are hungered in for a Canadian winter, that you could write about your spreadsheet and how it helps you with Christmas organization. I desperately need help and want to be ready for a knitted Christmas 2015. thanks

  20. Removable adhesive hooks, like 3M Command, is great for hanging Christmas lights and decorations. I’ve used them to hang my Christmas lights above the windows, my big pom poms on the ceiling and small pictures on the wall. They’re still there after 3 years without falling off!

  21. the stash as a force against yarn emergencies….Priceless!

    that’s my favorite line of yours,….at least today. I’m re-reading your books right now (helps to get me through the winter doldrums). thanks so much. ME (Mary Ellen)

  22. I love all the tips for Luis’ advent calendar. Would you consider putting them all in a little book for us?? From start to finish…..??

  23. So it took a Canadian to get a New Yorker to buy from a New Yorker who lives about 60 minutes away!

    Thanks for the suggestion, I love the Nelkin Designs earring kit.

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