Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas gifts were well accepted

These three little vests took most of a year. I started the black one during hockey season. The two patterns are easy to knit, so they didn't distract from the action. Hockey ended and the vest was put aside. Midsummer, I realized I needed a more active plan.

By mid July, I had the back finished and was up to the armpits on the front. Disaster strikes! I ran out of the Ivory sprinkles I was using for contrast. This was Wool-Ease bought about ten years ago when Woolworth's was going out of business. With the vest back to the ball of yarn stage, I started again with white for contrast. I had lots of that! I finished the front and back and all the bands. That's when I discovered that the sides were different lengths. Grumble, grumble, retreat back to the armpits. So I knit that vest twice!

If the vests look long, they are. The kids all have long torsos and there is growing room. Knit, knit some more and the red vest was finished. Time is getting short and I still have the blue vest to do. Black and red yarn are Wool-Ease sprinkles. The ivory sprinkles went into the blue vest. The solid on that one is blue heather. The little guy put his on backwards, so he's getting help here. I checked with my daughter before starting the project. No sense knitting something that won't be worn. I was happy to see the boys in vests the day of the Sunday School Christmas program.

Family Christmas was celebrated at my son's house on Saturday, brunch and gifts were the plan. Good thing, since I finally finished the blue vest about 9:00pm Christmas day. I was knitting a pair of felted clogs, which needed their run through the washer in time to dry. Past history of clog making said that they dry quickly if placed on top of the boiler. So far I have always done this in cold weather, when the heat was on. We have steam heat in our house. They were dry by Friday afternoon and were wrapped up.

It is pajama day at son's house on the day after Christmas, so all the kids and some of the adults came dressed for bed. One daughter and family went to the grocery store on the way to the party, in their pjs and slippers. All gifts were received happily. It's a mixed blessing for the whole family to like what I knit. Socks were knit for birthdays and I ended up doing 19 pairs. I didn't even knit any for my husband.

We do have a crafty family, with most everyone hand crafting gifts. I addition to knitting, I sewed 6 pairs of flannel pajama pants for grandkids and DH. At least those went quickly. Other hand crafted gifts given were: carving boards made from 3 different woods, Christmas balls decorated with plastic clay and crocheted dish cloths. The family quilter has been moving across the country, so her sewing machine was quiet this holiday.

Finally, I can really relax. I'm trying to turn this pile of yarn into a pair of socks from left over yarn. It's one of the December challenge options for the Ravelry Sock Knitters Anonymous group. I need to cast on in December and finish by Jan. 31.

I'm off work until January, so I have more knitting time. This is a poor picture of my progress. There are eight different sock yarns involved, all left over from other projects. I didn't know whether the sock would be ugly or interesting. Interesting seems to have won. The stitch pattern is a slip stitch pattern from the first Barbara Walker treasury. Once I had the pattern set up, it was easy to follow. I'm weaving ends in as I go, so no clean up later.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Peaceful Christmas Day

The Sewing is Done!

I made 6 pairs of flannel pj pants. DH got one pari this morning and the rest go to the teen-age grandkids tomorrow at the family hoopla and pajamas all day party. Three pieces are from my fabric stash. Once upon a time long ago, I was going to make flannel shirts for DH. I don't remember him wearing flannel shirts, but whatever. This is a good use for the flannel. Both mothers thought it was a great idea. I like that there is only ONE main pattern piece, so the sewing went quickly. I needed that this year.

Knitting is still not done

Yesterday I finished a pair of slippers and felted them last night. They are a little odd looking, because I used a different yarn for the top than I used for the soles. This is an in progress picture. The whole project only took a couple of days, and the soles used up some odd balls of Lopi that I inherited from my mother 20 years ago.

I'm still working on the last vest for the littlest grandson. Last Sunday both boys were wearing vests, and I checked with their mom before starting the project. Just have one armhole band to knit and sew up the sides. I need to get a picture of all three vests before I wrap them. It's raining outside, but I hope to spread a sheet on the porch and lay all three on that for the photo. Indoor photos won't work! I can do indoor photos of small things by putting them on a good background and using natural light from a window. Both of the above photos were done that way.

I'm baking Nut roll and Poppy seed roll

I didn't realize it, but I have never done this before, but it became my job to carry on the family tradition. My mother-in-law always baked them for holidays. Her job was taken over by my oldest daughter. Oldest daughter is now living in Florida. She'll be up for the holidays, but without time to bake. Today is quiet and I have the time.

I solved an on-going problem - where to buy ground poppy seed. I asked in the produce department of my favorite store and was sent to the bakery. Success!! The dough is made and probably has risen by now. The fillings are made. I should go upstairs and see about putting it together.

Christmas Dinner

This year we have been invited to follow a tradition of a boyfriend/almost family member. We are going to a Chinese restaurant tonight with said man and our daughter and her boys. Just like in A Christmas Story.

Tomorrow's mayhem is a brunch affair. Potluck pancakes etc. and nut roll and poppy seed roll, and lots of gifts.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas is coming

Of course, I'm knitting like a crazy person. Ill also be sewing some quick gifts. I have been working on knit vests for the younger grandkids. I should finish the last one in time.

Knitting - I still have to make a pair of Fiber Trends clogs.
Sewing - I have 6 pairs of flannel pj pants to make.

For my birthday, DH gave me tickets to see "The Christmas Story" at The Cleveland Play House. It was a fun night. The narrator was grown up Ralphie. We'd seen the movie, so knew what was coming, but it was a little different on the stage. This is the last time it will be seen at this venue, since the Playhouse is closing their huge complex and downsizing to another location. They will be sharing theater space with other groups, which makes sense, but sure breaks tradition. Cleveland Clinic has bought the present site.

Grandkids church program
The youngest ones take part in a Sunday School Christmas program. This year they told a story of how the star over Bethlehem was picked. All the children were stars. These are my favorites, taken at the reception following. They're standing in the pot for the tree, silly kids. You could see the faces this year! Last year the littler one was a cow with a hood. I had trouble even later, recognizing her. That was a more traditional story with shepherds, animals and wise men. I think there were more kids too.

Two more days of work and then my shop closes for the rest of the year. I may be in there sewing gifts, but I can spend a lot of time with DH and doing house stuff.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Popping up for air.

The blue socks from last post are now in Illinois, along with the Christmas stocking. The socks were a belated birthday gift.

I'm working on vest #3 for the little grandkids. This is the littlest vest. These are Christmas presents.

Another pair of socks was finished and delivered in time for a December birthday. Someone's favorite colors are orange and green.

I've been busy at work. Not enough work to have hired help come in, but a little too much for me to handle some days. It has to do with what needs doing and what problems crop up. There are a number of projects that need doing before Christmas. A coat lining is at the top of the list, followed by a needlepoint rug repair, and two denim skirts to make.

Things were slow a couple of weeks ago and I was able to make a pair of pants for myself. I've been trying to spend 30 minutes a day sewing for myself or family. Some days it works and some days it doesn't. The pants are nothing special, no pickets, no waistband. Fit is pretty good and I'm working on improving it. I'm tired of wearing pants that don't quite fit. I'm between sizes in RTW and they aren't made for a mature figure anyway.

I was also able to make a jacket from the same fabric as the pants. I don't expect to wear them at the same time. This is the pattern I'm using. Picture taken in a mirror, so everything is reversed.

The jacket is unlined. I may line it if I make it again, so it doesn't hang up on the shirt underneath. The neckline is a problem. I either need a turtleneck or a wide neckline under it. The fabric is a poly/wool inherited from my mother-in-law.

I fancied it up with top-stitching thread and a bound buttonhole. I have red velveteen left over from the minister robe. If there is enough of it, I'll do a lined version of the jacket. This time, I can buy more fabric if I want to. Old stash doesn't give you that option.

It's finally wooly weather here in Cleveland. Temps in the 20's and windy. This fall, my shop varied between chilly when the heat was off and hot when it was on. Outdoor temps in the 50's and 60's. Now that it's cold outside, sweaters are in order. I'm in office space and the building boiler was repaired over the summer. I'm glad it works better, but knowing how to dress is a challenge. I'm looking at more jackets and cardigans for the in between weather. I need a loose jacket to work in for comfort.