Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Very Fiber-y Christmas

I am very late posting this, but I did have a wonderful, fiber-y Christmas full of family and love. Just the kind I like!

I've already posted the picture of The Boy opening his blanket. He LOVES it and has been using it every night to snuggle with. Note that he and the blanket are still HERE, and he claims he is not going to take it to his dad's. Oh well, at least I get to look at all my lovely knitting!

I'm still waiting for my spinning wheel to arrive. I have high hopes for today, so that I can spin for the New Year, but Friday is OK, too, since then I'll have the weekend (and a bit more time to do the schoolwork I've been planning on catching up with!). I also haven't quite finished my Snow White, or the spinning project I was doing on the spindle yet, so it's no big deal if it doesn't come in. Kinda.

I did do some stash cleaning/rearranging and deciding what will be first on the wheel. A while back I attended a meeting of the Baltimore Spinners, and spun a bit of a bright roving from a fiber club. I plan to adjust to my new wheel by spinning the rest of that up. It's probably about 2 ounces or so by now, and should allow me to get used to how things go with this new wheel. Since I have the mechanics down, somewhat from the spindle, I'm hoping for a short adjustment period so that I can get to this:

This is a superwash merino "bump" of roving from Crown Mountain Farms (LOVE their stuff!). It's for a spinning study I'm doing with a bunch of Ravelry friends. We are all spinning the same roving (this one is called Sunshine of Your Love), then knitting the same pattern (we've chosen to do the Morning Surf Scarf - great for handspun!) I'm excited to get started!!!!

Okay, on to the gifties I was so blessed to receive:

Some Potters Covers came home to roost, from my sister.

My sister also is responsible for my first, ever Copperpot Woolies!!!! This stuff is amazing! Navy (!) blue, natural white, and burgundy for a combo called "Cowboy Up." Hilarious and gorgeous!

I started spinning some on my Bosworth Middi, a gift from my mother. This little guy spins very nicely, and I love the long, pointy hook on this one. Of course, the gorgeous wood doesn't hurt a bit!!!

Santa came through with some help for my wheel. Yay! Thanks, Santa!

Mom snuck some sock yarn in for me from Creatively Dyed at Stitches this Fall. She knew I wasn't buying sock yarn this year (I've got one metric ton of it in my stash). Since this is technically going to be for a shawl, it doesn't count. Have I said that before, somewhere???


Friday, December 26, 2008

For My Sister

The Boy liked his blanket!!!!

OK - before I am disowned, here's the pictures and info I've been promising!!! Sorry - there's so much to do - it's Christmas Break, after all!!!

For anyone who doesn't know, my sister is currently living in another country, far, far away. We miss her here on Christmas, and I'm trying to stage a family uprising to hold Christmas wherever she and her husband may be next year. Sounds like a good plan to me.

My sister is the undisputed QUEEN of online shopping. One mention of The Boy liking Leggos very, very much these days, brought us a Leggo Advent Calendar.

Who knew there even was such a thing? My sister, that's who!!!

The Boy was immensely pleased!!! He liked the days when he got "people" best of all.

Here he is, riding the bike that Santa gave him.

She also wanted to see pictures of Molly, our standard poodle. She's a mess. The name on her papers (from the breeder) is something like "La Vie en Rose." My mother wants to register her as Molly Malone (very Irish, no?) I jokingly call her "Molly Fru-fru" because I think poodles are just the most far-out dog. She WILL answer if you call out "Fru-fru." I think this means she knows it, too! Here she is walking on the leash with my mother on Christmas Day while The Boy rode his bike. She could hardly be contained (The Boy was loose, after all!), but looked very poddle-ish!!

She also is being cut, pretty much in the traditional, fru-fru (and you wonder why I call her that???) style. Which means that, in-between cuts, she can barely see. Last time she was due for a cut, we pinned her hair back with one of my clips. She left it in place all day, and I think she really enjoyed seeing what was above her in the world!!!

She also has a favorite bone. A marrow bone. Poodles have skinny snouts. She walks around, and even takes naps with the bone AROUND HER CHIN. You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried!!!

She does many, many more entertaining things. I will try to get a video of her catching a ball in the living room - a trick my ex taught her the other night. It took her 3 whole tries, and then she didn't leave him alone for two days! In between opening presents, she expected him to throw the ball for her.

She, of course, was the recipient of the latest edition of the family stockings in this house. She loved it!

She's really funny and a great dog. I'll also get a video of her searching the house up and down for The Boy when he's away at his dad's. She cannot accept that he isn't here, and sniffs around the whole house, checking in his room over and over again.

That Molly Fru-Fru, she's a keeper!!!

Here she is watching TV with The Boy.

I promise to post all the fiber-y goodness from Christmas tomorrow, and tell you of my plans and resolutions now that I am about to be a WHEEL OWNER!!!!


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve!

Sometimes little boys grow like weeds. I swear, I SAW him do this during this past month! You could just TELL things were happening. If you can't quite make it out - the top line says 12/22/08, and the one before it/underneath it says 11/20/08. Less than one month! Maybe that's why he had to have that last tooth pulled because it just wouldn't fall out on it's own??? The Tooth Fairy brought him 4 golden dollars for that one since it was so traumatic. Isn't that nice of her (him??)!

Things here have been very festive, very holiday, very cold, and very exciting! I LOVE this time of year. Nothing to do but spend time with the family, and I love it!!! Yes, I still think about my classroom in the shower (don't ask - horrible habit of an overworked teacher), but mostly, it's just me and The Boy against the world, trying to do as much family stuff as we can. Yesterday we ran to see Santa, ate lunch out, had desert at Cold Stone, saw the movie "Bolt", came home for home-made pizza dinner, then played with our cousins the whole evening long. What a great day. If it weren't for the horrible holiday attitudes we had to deal with while we were out (two on the highway, one trying to get into the movies), it would have been PERFECT!!!

We are finished with our shopping - hallelujah! I am considering running to the 7-Elleven to get some scratch-offs for my dad's stocking. Might do that when I run to grab what Santa has stashed at my mother's office, but I am DONE.

I have wrapped up the Lizard Ridge (smiled the whole time!) and it's now underneath the tree. I actually went back to working on my Snow White this afternoon. I'm almost finished with the first sleeve (I think I need to increase once more at the top, even though I'm supposed to be finished increasing. If I do, however, and it buckles, I'm thinking I'll be disappointed. My arms do, however, get slightly bigger after the point where I am now, so I'm also thinking it's a good bet to hedge. I am still baffled by how, exactly, the neckline of this sweater will be going together. . . we shall see. I'll be sure to give detailed photos!! Here's the progress so far:

The beautiful sleeve detail. I love this garter stitch ribbing - so beautiful and functional!

This is the body so far - long and tubular for a good fit. The increases in the ribbing pattern are (hopefully) strategically planned to be functional and flattering. Let's hope my parts match up in the final fitted piece!!

The yarn - Patons "Country" - is nice to work with. I'm not sure how warm it will be, but since my school is a sauna this year thanks to a new heating/ac unit for the building - who cares!!!

Well, I'm off to listen to more Harry Connick, Jr. Christmas stuff (I used my first Christmas present today - an iTunes card from a co-worker) and knit some more while The Boy is distracted by the neighbor. Merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Big Time Catch-Up

This is what I've been working on, in between sleeping and working (and not much else) for the last two weeks. And, thanks to books-on-tape (Pride and Prejudice at the moment - hilarious!) and a bit of insomnia Thursday night, I think I just may make it!!! I plan to finish the knitting tonight, and begin the sewing/crochet work tomorrow. I have chosen a teal colored Wool of the Andes (KP yarn) to do the dirty work. Some of my least favorite things in the crafting world? Sewing and crochet. Sometimes I hate the finishing. Good thing I like the knitting so much!

All laid out like that on the couch, I've decided that the three panels (plus a bit of extra on the side edges for safe-keeping) will be fine for a throw. Hope The Boy likes his gift. I really liked knitting it!!!

Watch the news much? It's normally background noise as I unwind from work and get settled. So, Friday after work, I was watching the ABC evening news, and Charles Gibson (anyone else remember calling him "Charlie" for years and years?????) started in on his "Persons of the Year" bit. The interview started, and I looked up from knitting (the blanket above, in fact!) and thought - hey, that guy looks really familiar. Well, come to find out, there's a good reason. Apparently, some old, old, old (and I'm talking like 20-some years ago now) classmates of mine, Drs. Vince and Vance Moss, have been doing wonderful things with their lives. No surprise, really - they always had their acts together, came from a great family, etc, etc. I always did have a little bit of a crush on Vince. **sigh** I wonder if Vance would still hate it if I called him "Vancent"????

Here's the video clip (I hope): Enjoy.


Sunday, December 14, 2008


The Boy and I made our first gingerbread house together.

Clearly, we will be needing a lifetime of practice to get this right!

We also put the Christmas tree up on Friday evening. Here they are, just after my dad put the angel on top.

And here's what The Boy thinks of decorating the tree (finally)!

In knitting news, I have just about finished the charity scarf that I promised (I'm trying to get it finished for Monday, so I can drop it off and concentrate on the LR gift knit). This means I'll have about 10 full days (well, as "full" as the knitting portion of my day can go seeing as how I still have a job, a kid, and would like to see the floor in my bedroom sometime before 2009!) to knit on the blanket for The Boy.

I discovered on Friday evening that I'm pretty much finished with the 2nd panel. I laid the two out side by side, along with the start of the 3rd panel (it's actually the first 'square' I did before I began knitting long panels instead) and decided that it will most likely need to be 4 panels long. Hence, the charity scarf has GOT TO GO!!! Just when I was feeling like I had control of the blanket, here comes another weekend's worth of knitting to squeeze in!!! Here's where the 'convenience' of being divorced comes in. The weekends he's away, I get to do "my" stuff, in which case this particular weekend coming up? It'll be spent knitting and listening to knit blogs or books on tape!!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dear Santa,

Hi, hope things are going well for you at the North Pole this year. I know it has been a long time, but I am writing to give you my Christmas list (after a 30 year hiatus).

I have been a very good girl this past year. I continue to use patience when dealing with my mother. I haven’t sworn at her once (out loud). There was that whole entire school year last year when I throttled not one kid (unless you count in my dreams) – even though I was provoked. And, I went to church. Just last week. I was very proud of myself. Hope you are, too.

In return, I’m asking for just one thing this Christmas. Here she is:

An Ashford Joy spinning wheel. I don’t ask for much. Just this one little thing. I have everything else I need in life. All that's missing is The Joy.


And Peace on Earth.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Another Holidailies

In answer to the Holidailies prompt for today (oops, it's actually for TOMORROW - see what happens when I read my sister's blog??): "Do you still live in town where you grew up?" I give you:

No. While I DO live in the town where I grew up, "still" doesn't quite describe it! I keep trying to leave here (it's actually not a bad place to live, overall), but somehow, I keep coming back!

Here's how it happened. In 1991, I moved to the next town over (Bowie, MD), asserting my independence and all that! That lasted for about 6 months. Then I left the area completely and went into the Air Force. While there, I lived in Shreveport, Louisiana. (Let's stop here to note that, at the time I left for the military, DC was the murder capital of the nation. Also note that, during the time I lived in Shreveport, IT was the murder capital of the nation. I swear I am not a serial killer.)

After the military, I moved "back home" while I attended the University of Maryland. My town is close enough to commute, so I did, while saving a bundle on room and board! While attending UMD, I met my future (now ex-) husband, and moved to Catonsville, Maryland with him (This was 1999? - I think?). 6 years later, I moved back here in the midst of our divorce, got my son settled into a school, and wound up staying.

Somehow, I have the feeling I'll just wind up staying here, although I do have dreams of running off and discovering some great new place to live! I always thought it would be nice to live in South Hero or Burlington, Vermont - where my Grandmother was from (and a dear cousin or two still live). One day. You know - when I rule the world!


Monday, December 08, 2008

Happy Meme-ing!

Here's a cute little holiday meme for ya:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper, unless it’s an object that just won’t be wrapped neatly. Then it’s okay to shove it in a bag!

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial.

3. When do you put up the tree? As soon as possible – the first reasonable weekend that The Boy is here with me/us after Thanksgiving. When I rule the world, it will be the day after Thanksgiving!

4. When do you take the tree down? After New Year’s Eve.

5. Do you like eggnog? Only in my coffee!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I am always excited every year by Christmas, so this is a tough one. Gotta love getting a bike for Christmas! I so clearly remember sneaking downstairs to peek at what Santa brought when I was 8, I think, and my sister and I nearly killing ourselves, tripping over the bikes in the dark! Then, I remember being outside all that day with the thing (yes, it was COLD!), so I’ll have to go with the bike!

7. Hardest person to buy for? My dad. I always feel bad that he doesn’t get a whole lot of gadgets and things to play with, but I’ve TOTALLY got him covered this year!! A close second is my Brother-in-law!

8. Easiest person to buy for? My mom. There’s usually a pile of gifts ready to go in my stash upstairs for her!! She’s too much like me, so she’s easy!

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes – a ‘crèche” as my grandmother calls it. One of my new favorite holiday memories is my grandmother, a few years ago (I think she was 97 at the time), insisting on telling the story of the baby Jesus to my son. Thank GOD he had his manners on that day, and was too polite to tell her that the “baby Jesus” she was holding was really a lamb!

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Oh, shoot! Cards!!! (This happens every year!)

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Is there such a thing?

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? While You Were Sleeping (Sandra Bullock)

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? usually? When I can, here and there. I usually do the bulk of The Boy’s stuff in the traditional holiday season.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I might have used a not-so-favorite gift for that good old office party game a time or two . . .

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Ham

16. Favorite Christmas songs? Ave Maria, Barbara Streisand’s version of ‘Jingle Bells.’

17. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay at home. I hated traveling when I was married. Too much traffic and it always felt rushed!

18. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? One present Christmas Eve and the rest Christmas Day.

19. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Crowds. Used to be getting report card grades done before going on vacation, but NOT THIS YEAR!!!!

20. Favorite ornament theme or color? I like red all year long, and especially at Christmas! Red ornaments on a tree lit with white lights is my favorite!

21. What do you want for Christmas this year? An Ashford Joy spinning wheel, or the cash to help me buy one!

22. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, what holiday do you celebrate. I’m a Christian, celebrating Christmas!


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sale or Trade

I am forgoing the Holidailies writing prompt to show Nerdynunchucks my stash that's about to go into my Ravelry stash as "for sale or trade." She won a contest a couple posts back, and I promised her the pick of the litter, so to say.

So, without further ado, here is the stuff that's in my stash that I just have a feeling I won't be knitting up:

Tahki Cotton Classic (mercerized, i.e. non-stretchy) in color 3416, a salmon-y pink. 3 full 108 yard skeins, and one half-skein, wound into a ball.

Valley Yarns "Rainbow" yarn - 4 full skeins, although one has lost the tag. This is color 09, lot 4. 140 yards per skein. 85% wool, 11% acrylic, 4% poly.

One full, one 3/4 skein Giglio novelty yarn. This is great for those who are patient enough to knit those pretty scarves, but I am not one of those people, hence, I started one scarf, and quickly gave up after about 10 rows. 100% nylon tape yarn there's probably 150 yards left here total.

Three full cones of Brilloso - a 21%cotton, 64% rayon, 15% acrylic blend that I was going to knit a summer tank out of. That was about 3 Stitches ago. Since I haven't knit it yet, I don't think it'll get done EVER! I opened one cone, but never even swatched with it, so three full cones remain (There's about 450 yards per cone, so 1200 at least)

Here's a kit from JoAnn's, I believe. It's all 100% wool yarn put together in a kit for a felted bag. I just don't happen to need a pink felted bag. Nor does anyone I know. There's about 375 yards total, plus the pattern for the felted bag if you are so inclined. I nabbed the crochet hook that came with the kit. Sorry.

And lastly, 5.85 skeins of Patons "Brilliant" that I was going to knit an out-on-the-town tank top from. I snuck into the stash to knit wings for a play prop, and discovered that the yarn is way too scratchy for me to ever be comfortable in a tank made of this. So, it's up for grabs, too. Each skein is 166 yards, this is color 3232, lot 104487.

So, Nerdy - you have your choice. Let me know which you want. If you could leave your e-mail addy or Ravelry ID in the comments, I'd appreciate it!


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Most Vivid

Before I actually begin this post, let me apologize for the picture-less post of yesterday (egads!!!)

In case you were wondering exactly how far I've gotten on The Boy's Lizard Ridge blanket, here's the progress as of right now - after about 3 hours total knitting time today (spread over this morning's viewing of "American Gangster" and this evening's Harry Potter-on-the-Family-Channel viewing.

That's about one and a third panels. The completed panel is folded in half. I plan to make this one three panels wide, since it's for a little boy and not a full grown adult. I'm hoping blocking will make it much much wider than it appears here. Any thoughts? Remember, blocking is supposed to iron out all those lovely ridges! I almost wish they'd stay, though - they are a very entertaining part of this knit!!

The writing prompt for Holidalies 2008 is to remember (and blog about) your most vivid holiday memory from last season.

I'm not sure I have one most vivid. I remember knitting lots (habit/routine now??). And, I remember it being very quiet around this house.

It was the first Christmas without my beloved grandmother. It was also the first Christmas that my sister lived overseas, so we didn't have her and my brother-in-law visiting or even close-by (relatively). So it was very, very quiet here.

I also remember the love I put into the knitting I did - an on-my-0wn sweater for The Boy that he seemed to really like (but hasn't put on yet this year), and a cute little scarf for my secret pal from work (who I get to knit baby stuff for as soon as Christmas knitting is over!).

Other than that, nothing really stands out as a vivid, jaw-stopping memory. Last year was just a nice, homey Christmas. This year may prove to be busier since the boy is into more stuff, and this year's break seems to be plenty long enough - two weeks and two days for him, two weeks even for me. I'm coming up with an activity plan, because we pretty much just took it easy over Thanksgiving. I want to play tourist (i.e. visit the museums in DC) and get in some good, cultural activities while we are off together this time.

So far, the plans include:
1. Seeing the trees on the National Mall (this is on the plan each year, and my cold-hating self wimps out every year - NOT this one!!!)
2. Seeing Polar Express in 3-D at the IMAX downtown
3. Visiting the new "oceans" exhibit at the Museum of Natural History
4. Watching the Washington Wizards play (I know, not very cultural, but we love sitting in the cheap seats and spying on everyone - you can see everything from up there!!)

What do YOU plan to do this holiday season???


Friday, December 05, 2008

The Rush Is On

I have only one knit this year (left) for Christmas. Should be no problem, right?

Heh. Yeah right - not when it's an entire Lizard Ridge blanket that I want to knit!

I am knitting it for my son, for him to take to his dad's house, to snuggle on the couch (dad keeps his house a tad cooler than ours, and, well, he misses his mom when he's away!). I originally started the blanket for myself, back in the Spring. The Boy saw all the wonderful colors, and decided he'd like one too! I decided the one square I'd already made would be a great place to start with his. So, I'm knitting a version of the LR blanket for him. (Later, I'll do one in Silk Garden for myself.)

His version is being knit with the following alterations: I'm knitting three panels nonstop. When I switch colors (every 12th row, not every 6th), I just keep going and going and going. The first panel is about 20 sets of 12 rows long. Plenty long enough (and three panels wide will be wide enough) for a cuddle on the couch blanket.

I'm only slightly worried about finishing in time. The colors keep me interested, the short row pattern makes me concentrate once in a while, and the stockinette between is soothing and familiar. The wool, however, is giving my pointer finger on my "throwing" hand the fits! The joint where my finger and hand connect is very sore, and doesn't like it much at all!

Is it bad to need Alleve to get your Christmas knitting done?

So, what do YOU plan to knit for Christmas? What have you finished? What do you still have planned? I'd love to hear about it! I love how productive this time of the year is! If only I didn't have that pesky job taking up most of my waking hours!