Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Knitting update

Christmas gifts can now be shown. There was a pair of leg warmers. I had told DD that they were "a nose warmer for an elephant". She had to ask!!

There were dishcloths/facecloths.

And more dishcloths/facecloths.

And a new hat for running in cold weather, made at the last minute.

I also have finished those crazy socks, but they won't be gifted until some time in January.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Empty is what I was feeling on Christmas Eve. I had plenty to do. I went to a %:00 church service where grand children played Christmas carols as part of the service. I went to my son's house for a gathering of his wife's family. I came home and walked the dog. She was very enthusiastic and made me smile. I ended the day/started the new day by going to Midnight Mass at our church, something I haven't done for years. At 2:00 I fell into bed. I missed having a certain special someone to share it with. Together we wouldn't have done so much, but we had each other. I relish the new freedom, but it's lonely sometimes.

Christmas morning I opened the stocking Santa left me. I hadn't hung stockings because my living room was full of boxes of books that belonged in my bedroom. This was the view earlier in the week while the ceiling was being textured and painted.

Saturday night while I was out, the family moving crew came and dug out the living room and moved many boxes upstairs to the room the contents belonged in. My bedroom is finished for now, and all furniture is in place. The blinds are back on the windows. The TV is back on the wall. The bed is against the wall where it belongs. I've started emptying boxes and putting books away. Many books will be donated to our library book sale.There is much work still to be done, but the remodeling part is finished.

Later in the day I went to daughter Jen's house for Christmas dinner and associated festivities with her husband's relatives. Today all my available children gather at son John's house for our family Christmas. Holding  the family get together on a separate day lets everyone see each other. It's also pajama day at that house, so there will be some of those in evidence.

It was a fairly subdued gathering. with fewer gifts than some years. Part of that was due to fewer available people. I got a number of odd food things like carrot and spinach chips, and chocolate covered pretzels. All this can be saved and eaten over time. Even the dog got a gift of a toy, which was made with the help of the grandkids, It is a tennis ball with poly fleece handles for tugging and chewing on. She seems to like it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Construction Zone

That's my bedroom at the moment. Usually, my DD Jan puts everything back together at the end of each work day. Today started a little late and continued until completion, after dinner. She was priming walls and ceilings. The walls in the closet area had been wall papered and soaked up the primer.Everything took longer than she had figured on.

I was having a blah day. I suggested grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, with bacon and tomato. I'd pick up the tomato on my way home from the gym. I got off to a slow start, slow getting out of bed, slow getting breakfast made. And so it went. I couldn't decide what I wanted for breakfast, so i kept knitting on the sock. The heel got finished, which was good. Finally I went off to the gym, my usual Tuesday morning activity.

Most days, I have meals planned ahead. I know today what I'm eating tomorrow. Today I finally decided to make a pancake. With  a just add water mix, I can get the batter quantity down so there are no leftovers. Dinner was Tuna Helper, and we ate enough so that what is left will be part of tomorrows lunch. We'll have Scotch Broth soup from Kristin Nicholas's recipe. It comes out of the freezer tonight.

My Holiday break from work begins at 5:00 tomorrow. There is a Mass being said for my husband at 5:30 pm. We'll both go, come home to a quick dinner, and she'll be off to spend the night with a friend.

There are a couple of small gifts still to be knit, and a pair of felted slippers, which may not be delivered until February. If I get them done quickly, I'll mail the gifts to that family, but they'll be here in February.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

'Tis the Season

I've finished all the gifts for next weekend. Out of town people are coming in later. I still need to wrap gifts and mail a package to Illinois. They'll open it as soon as it comes, so I don't send it too early.

Festivities started today with grandchildren in a children's service at their church. Dad is a tuba player, usually playing unseen in the balcony behind us. He has a snowflake on the tuba bell that lights up (battery maybe?)

Then the children came in and sang carols.

Then came the explanation of the history and meaning of Christmas. My favorite letters were:

M is for Manger, and

A is for Angels. At the end, the letters spelled out CHRISTMAS.

I've knit some dishcloths for a gift.

And more dishcloths for another gift. Each one is a different stitch pattern, so they're really like large swatches. I think I'll do some more of them for future gifts.

I do have socks on the needles. The entrelac socks are proceeding apace. They'll be a January birthday gift. The blue socks are a little bigger, but they mostly sit unknit. Their turn will come.

We have snow on the ground, so it looks like it will be a white Christmas. I wish everyone Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Family Cookie Fest

I forgot to say that I also had a birthday party, thrown by my knitting friends at our regular Thursday night get together. They bought cupcakes and candles and sang Happy Birthday to me. A very nice surprise!

Saturday night my neighbor held a Christmas party for the neighborhood. It was scheduled for 4-6 pm, so I left work a little early to give me more time at the party. I usually work until 5:00. I met a few new people. One was the fiancee of a woman down the street. I just hadn't met him yet. The other was a newcomer to the street. She's single, retired, and new to the area. She's looking for women to do things with when she gets back from Florida. Her children now live here, so she moved from Atlanta. We exchanged phone numbers, I'll hear from her when she comes back.

Sunday afternoon was our family cookie baking party. It was at my daughter Jen's house. It's a good thing that her house absorbs people well. It was pretty full! She invited extended family and friends. There were about 12 children under the age of 10. They were too busy to cookie bake, or the kitchen was too full of adults! Extended family included my sister with her husband and adult daughter, my husband's cousin with three of his daughters and a granddaughter. Jen's sister-in-law with 3 daughters and assorted friends, my son with wife and two children, my daughter Jan and her SO.

Supplies were stacked on the counter one foot high. The table was covered. There was a spare table in the living room for processing things like no-bake cookies, which need to be formed before they cool and harden. The area to the right is the stove, where many of the no-bake cookies were put together. The oven and microwave out out of the picture to the right.

She had loads of food to eat. As college teachers with many grad students, they know how to feed a crowd and buy much of what they need from the local grocery store catered sandwiches section.

Cookies are shared with all present and I came home with some frozen lasagna and some chili.I still have to make a pot of chili for Jan's lunch tomorrow, so I will have lots in the freezer when I'm done.

Knitting progresses. I'm making dishcloths for gifts and am working on the third one. The entrelac sock has a heel and the foot is growing. The blue sock is a little bigger. My sister brought her knitting because she had a problem with her sock. I helped her turn the heel. The heel flap was already knit. Her daughter wants to knit a hat like one she owns. I'll send her info about Ravelry and Knitty. She lives a couple of hours from me, so in person help is hard to do. Grandchild knitting will happen on a quieter day. DGD Erin stopped while getting dressed one day to inspect a sweater I had knit her and try to figure out how I had done the stitches. I think we will have a real knitter in a few years.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A very nice birthday

Wednesday was my birthday, the first that I have celebrated alone in my life. By alone, I mean no mother or husband to orchestrate a celebration. DH always remembered, but never did a big celebration, so quiet was to be expected. Actually, this one was more festive than many. I worked all day, then was taken out for dinner. Some of my children decided that I needed to experience Ethiopian cooking. DH was a meat and potatoes guy, but I'm more adventurous. We had a great meal, a meat and veggie sampler, eaten with what someone called rubber bread, tasty rubber bread. I got some phone calls and even had a gift to open. One of my Florida daughters sent me a gorilla tripod for my camera.

I have finished the socks for DGS and will deliver them tomorrow. It is family cookie day and his parents will be there, even if he has to work. The family gets together and does lots of cookies and them divides up the results. The sock pattern is from an old Stahl Socka book. It's fairly simple, but the dark yarn and user brain cramps made for some mistakes and ripping. All is well now!

I have started two more pairs of socks. The blue ones are for me. They fulfill a requirement for the Socktopia group on Ravelry and are my own design. I'll write up the pattern soon. I've called them Techtonic because they look like an earthquake has hit them.

The other pair is for Sock Knitters Anonymous on Ravelry and will be a gift. They fulfill both the entrelac technique category and the left over yarn category. I'm using six different yarns left over from other socks.

I have decided to knit dishcloths for Christmas presents  and have finished two of them. No pictures yet.

We have had snow, but today, we actually have a little left on the ground at the end of the day. You almost can see it on the grass. The wool socks, hat, and mittens come in handy. I made new mittens last year and really love them. They replaced a worn out pair and coordinate with my hat and scarf.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Yes, There Has Been Knitting Recently

A few posts ago, I showed the start of a pair of socks. they will be a Christmas present for DD#1. The yarn is Crystal Palace Panda Cotton, a bamboo/cotton/elastic blend. The pattern is called Hypnosis by Janel Laidman from her Eclectic Sole book. I made them longer than she made hers. I do like a longer leg and ether was plenty of yarn.

I'm almost finished with  a birthday pair of socks for a grandson. The pattern is from an old Socka book. I was looking for something simple. The dark yarn offers enough challenges. It's Knit Picks Stroll, and I don't like the yarn. It's very splitty. I've used their yarn before, but the last couple of times have not been fun.I won't be buying it again.

I finished the front of my tree bark sweater and started the collar. It's in time out right now, while I finish the sleeves. A large collar is called for, and will be smaller if I run short on yarn. I should be all right, but I inherited this batch from my other, who died in 1988. She probably got it on sale as discontinued. It's a nice sport weight wool called Pomfret from Brunswick.

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I had a field trip with my daughter and her kids to our Natural History Museum. They showed me how woefully inadequate is my dinosaur knowledge. This is the newest exhibit, an Allosaurus from the Jurassic period. We looked at the bones to see which ones were real, and which were replacements for missing bones. To the right of this one is a Haplocanthosaurus, which is twice as tall.

The kids showed off their knowledge of astronomy at the planetarium show. We were lucky to be there when they feed the wild animals they have rescued, so we learned about the bobcats, foxes and otters. As museum members, they had seen the animals, but had missed the feeding and talks about different behaviors.We had to see the beetle display and find the anomaly. One of these things is not like the others.

The trip ended with climbing on the Stegasaurus, a real favorite activity.