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November 2007
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December 2007

oh! canada

Am I the only one, or is everyone having a hard time figuring out what day of the week it is?  With so many people having a long weekend last week and now more holiday this week, Wednesday felt like Monday, Sunday like  a work day, and well.... this morning does not feel like a Monday to me.  Nine inches of snow was forecast to fall during the night.  C and I went out for a walk around 7pm. to see the Christmas lights before they are gone for the year.  It was snowing lightly.   Made for a really pretty walk, snow falling in front of all the lights and felt rather well... Christmasy.  A bit late to start to get into the mood, I know.  My season is delayed.  I work up to and through the season, not really getting much of a slow down until the poinsettias are ready to be given the heave ho or disappear from workplace to homes.  Then, along comes New Year's Eve...ooops!  Here we are!  Another year has sped on by and this time tomorrow we will be on the other side. 

I spent some time this weekend plying from full bobbins, checking the status on projects and yep, starting something new.  If it were anything else I might have waited for the New Year.   That plan was dashed when Anne emailed me a copy of the Oh! Canada pattern she'd just finished up.  Go check it out.  She did it again with a soft, warm wrap, a shawl to keep shoulders warm or be scrunched for a cozy scarf.  And, though I haven't seen one finished, the pattern includes a scarf version.  We had talked about doing a kit.  I thought it over and decided that although kits seem to be very popular, NOT with this yarn.  I have such a limited supply spun for me that I couldn't see dyeing the same color over and over with it.  Besides, it felt right for everyone to put their personal taste on this special project by at least choosing the color that they'd prefer.  Instead, what I decided to do is this, Ball and Skein will give a 10% discount for the yarn if you buy the Oh! Canada pattern from Knitspot.  There is a code on the pattern that you can use when you check out for your discount.  This is for a limited time only or until I run out of this run of yarn.  You have to buy from the website, and from the yarn available.  No special orders unless you check with me first.  It is sort of a make your own kit, fair enough?

pictures??? next post.  Have a Happy and Safe New Year's Eve!   See you on the other side.

by the fire

After one of the most hectic seasons I can remember, Christmas day found us at home.  I can only think of a few years in my adult life that I have not made my way to visit family.  It is a long trek, 10 1/2 hrs if we make good time, in good weather, on dry roads.  Hard to predict this time of year.  Flying, it has its own set of problems.  So we stayed home, and lit the fire and ate, and walked, taking in the better part of two cold sunny days.   


I started working on my Ember socks.  I swatched and ripped back pattern after pattern.   I wanted a not too complicated texture.  One that wouldn't compete or be knocked too far into the background by the darkly variegated yarn.  I was thinking about the name of the yarn colorway, Ember, finally settling on a pattern stitch that I'd used years ago in Sandy Turner's  Blueberry Waffle Socks.  This great free sock pattern was originally written for dk yarn and size 5 needles.  I think it works great with the #2's and sock yarn.  The reduction in the pattern size combined with the striped fabric, creates a bit of a vibration, not unlike the flickering light and color of the hot embers warming my feet.

This skein of "Ember" is a second. What a strange thing to call something that is perfect, just unlike the others, even more unique.  It has a bit more of the grey and a less vibrant red, than the rest of the run.  When I find a skein unlike the rest, I will put it aside,  frequently using them for my own projects.


One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong,

Words and Music by Joe Raposo and Jon Stone
Sesame Street

hump day

The shortest day of the year.. that means, for all you daylight deprived, it is all up hill from here.  The solstice is officially tonight, December 22nd at 1:08 am.  I don't plan on staying awake to mark the occasion.  Tomorrow is soon enough.  All the snow this year has kept the landscape bright enough with reflected light that the dark days didn't feel quite so dark.  For me, anyway.  Tonight, it will be enough for me to light a candle and contemplate the new.  *  The all night fire can wait for the New Year. 

I've lit another kind of fire.  Out of the Ball and Skein stash, came the last skein of Ember sock yarn. 


* Cate says all of this so beautifully, go over and read her post.

into the season


Princess Mitts designed by Jennifer Hagan
Yarn:  Handspun 2 ply in  a dk wt.
Needles: Knitpicks Harmony, sizes 7 & 3.  I love these needles!
Note: I started with 350 yds. of handspun.  I made the Gretel Slouch Hat and these mitts and have loads leftover.  I did modify the pattern slightly but nothing to change the looks of them.

I finished the mitts last night.  Good thing, too.  I have so many things to do in the next few days. 

This morning I finally started my baking.  Sort of.  I've got these nice little packages of cookie dough ready to slice and bake, two each Cashew Butter Cookies and Dark Chocolate Chip Shortbread.  The Apricot Macadamia Nut Snow Balls are chilling.  Before I finished last night I got a batch of candied pecans ready for mailing out today. 


C has asked for the little rolled tea balls.  I'll have to pick up another pound of butter.  Whew... this is really the only time of year that I go through this much flour and butter.  All the cookies I bake use very little sugar.  In everything so far, including the candied nuts, I've used only one cup of sugar, 3/4 of it dark brown.  It is hard to keep the low carb thing going during holidays.  Keeps me big on nut based treats.  I can always tell when I've cheated too much.

The snow and cold have given me the opportunity to start wearing my new toasty Danskos.   These were instantly comfortable, rare for me.  I feel like a kid with new boots, these are clogs, but I want to kick at the snow, and look at my feet.


old is not tradition

Yesterday, I finally made it up the ladder to the attic to retrieve one box of Christmas decorations.  Passing house after house on my way home from wherever, after dark, I can see that I am late, very late, in getting my own holiday cheer set up.  I wanted my Christmas cups.  Funny the little triggers, huh?  At home we call the little things that we use year after year to decorate, tradition.  At work, putting the same old display up in the same restaurant or office, the same old drudge, has no spirit at all.  I thought about this as I went from place to place this year.  Hang the balls from this ceiling just so, put poinsettias on the right corner of each desk, unpack the same dusty gold balls that the 16th floor has used for the last 15 years on each of the last three trees.  Strange that the artificial trees don't last as long as the balls.  That part is work.  But unpacking and holding a hot cup of coffee in my Christmas cup, well.... I love it.  Makes me want to get lights on the wreaths, cookies in the oven.  And so I have, the wreath part, that is.


The mitts are nearly finished.  I love them.  They'll be done this evening.  I have a date with the television at 3pm this afternoon.  I never watch daytime TV.  Maybe a bit of Oprah while I'm working on dinner if I start early enough, but never in the middle of the afternoon.  Today, is special.  We got a call last night.  Ellen, (you know Ellen, right?) will display a picture on her show today of our very grown up daughter taken when she was three, screaming on Santa's lap.  That's at the beginning, during the first scene (or is it act).  Later, in Act 5, a costume our E designed will be worn by... well... we'll see who is wearing it today, another surprise. 


I hadn't thought about it until I saw this photo, but it would have been nice to reverse the cables.  Oh well, I'll keep my hands moving when I wear them.  No one will notice. 


Time to put on water for tea, thee o'clock is coming up quick. 

a hat named Gretel


Just in time for winter, I've got a new hat.  Gretel is a fun knit.  The changing twists and cables kept things interesting, the smallish sized project kept it a quick knit.  I went for the slouchy version.   

Gretel, by Isolde Teague

Needles: Knitpicks Harmony circs, #5, #7 with a 16" and 32" cord.  I love these needles.  Nothing else I have even comes close.  They are so smooth and the points, lovely and sharp.  I used them "magic loop".
Yarn:  my own 2 ply handspun from roving bought at last year's Gathering from Spinner's Hill.  I'm guessing that I used about 225yds.  Maybe less, the ball still looks pretty big.

Sizing.... I have a very small head.  I may have to put a bit of elastic thread into the ribbing to snug it up.  It tends to slip over one eye while I shovel, every now and then.

before the storm, I got one shot


tonight she looks like this..


Maybe tomorrow I'll get some glam shots.  For now, she's a working girl.

Now, for the mitts.


almost back

Even after years of posting, it is surprisingly hard to pick up and post after weeks away.   Not "away", I was here, but away from blogging.  You know.. Where to start.  Tomorrow is the last early morning  poinsettia delivery here.   I am SO happy.  After weeks of nonstop holiday decorating, bows, poinsettias, trees and deliveries, it'll be good to have a normal schedule again.  My hands barely work.  I want to weight them down, pressed flat against the bedsheets while I sleep to keep them from curling into tight claws during the night.  It has impacted my knitting time.  As my reward each night, I spent time with Clapotis.  She's finished.  I wore her last weekend, unwashed and not blocked.  It was cold enough.  Finally soaked, I hung her over a curtain rod in the furnace room to dry. 


As soon as I finished with Clapotis, I measured and wound into a ball, a skein of handspun.  There were 450 yds., more than enough for Gretel and a pair of mitts. 


Gretel keeps my attention.