Friday, December 31, 2010

Dear Santa, I can explain...

My last post focused on the hand knit gifts I gave my family for Christmas.

This one focuses on what I received for Christmas, and let me just say, Santa apparently accepted my explanation!

I received everything I needed to transform this:

To This:

 ... vision of DellaQ organizational excellence.

And when you combine That with a set of KnitPicks Options interchangable needles and THESE:

... Oh yeah, I'm thinking 2011 is going to be a very good year. 

And I'm thinking my goal of "11 in 2011"  may not be overly optimistic after all. :D

A Christmas Cowl

Legal Disclaimer:  this song should in no way imply that my true love is actually knitting and not Bob.  Anyone attempting to determine this by, say, counting the number of times in a day I mention knitting vs the number of times a day I mention Bob, for example, is purely wasting their time that would better be spent elsewhere doing almost anything else.  Besides, it proves nothing and I wasn't even there when I did it, so there!

<clears throat>

On the first day of Christmas, my true love made for me:  One doll's ice skating outfit!

On the second day of Christmas, my true love made for me:  Two Jacques Cousteau Hats!

On the third day of Christmas, my true love made for me: Three right hand fingerless mitts for Bob!
(don't ask. Yes, of course there is a perfectly good explanation, I can't believe you asked.  And yes, I did make him a left mitt on Christmas, I can't believe you asked that either.)

(Thanks, Mom, you have a great career ahead of you as a hand model.)

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love made for me:  Four cowls, one with beads!

This year's hot knitting item was the cowl.  There are many styles and types of these nifty little neckwarmer, but they mostly share two things in common:  (1) they are super fast to knit, and (2) they use very little yarn so they are a great use of really good yarn.  And who doesn't need a warm neck?

FYI, for those of you (like me) who failed the complementary vision test, the bottom one actually does have beads.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love made for me:  Five amazing dinners at Mom's!*

(and thank heavens for that, who has time to cook when there is all this knitting to be done?)

* photos sold separately

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love made for me:  Six dragons flaming around a hat!

(See, I told you I knit him a left mitt!  And it was finished on Christmas, so it doesn't count as late.  Really, you can look it up, it's in the rules).

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave me to:  A day off from knitting!

(no, not really.  You should know me better than that, I mean really, a day without knitting is like ... okay, it's just too horrible to contemplate)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Night Before Christmas

Christmas came and went in a blur of relatives and merriment and I think it was one of the best I can remember. 

The weather cooperated astonishingly well, allowing for clear weather drives from and back to NYC and New Orleans, the only hiccup being a 4.5 hour delay in O'Hare for my sister and her kids.  We all enjoyed the irony of Dad coming all the way to Wisconsin for a white Christmas, only to have a blizzard hit NYC while he was here.

One of the neighborhoods near here lines the streets with luminaries (lit candles in white paper bags) on Christmas Eve, and Bob and I always look forward to driving slowly up and down the streets admiring the glow of the luminaries and the christmas lights.  This has been our tradition for about the last 8 years and always seemed the perfect way to start the holiday. 

Unfortunately, we have noticed less and less houses putting out luminaries in recent years and this year they were scarce indeed, with only a few streets upholding the tradition.

I hope it was just a sign of the bad economy and next year will see the return of the luminaries.  I am thinking of suggesting to our neighborhood association that we start something similar.  We'll see.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Solstice Solace

The winter solstice has always been one of my favorite days of the year.  In the middle of the holiday craziness, the solstice, to me, is about peace on earth.   For weeks now, the days have been so short and cold and dark.  By 4:15, it is fully dark; and in our badly lit neighborhood, that really is fully dark.

But gradually as December progresses, Christmas lights go on many of the houses and snow starts to fall and stay, reflecting what little light there is and working to make the dark less oppressive.  Then the full moon comes, so bright it casts shadows of the house onto the snow and drives me out of bed to turn off the light that I'm sure someone left on in the living room, but it is only the moon in all her glory enjoying the snow as much as I am.

And then it happens.  The solstice.  The period between sunrise and sunset today was 2 seconds shorter than yesterday.  Tomorrow, it will be 1 second longer.  My logical rational mind tells me I can't distinguish that 1 second of daylight.  But my heart knows and rejoices that spring is coming again, as it always has before.  I like winter.  I enjoy the snow and don't mind the cold (once I get used to it).  I also know that for all practical purposes, winter is only starting today with January and February looming large and colder ahead of us.  But there is something very old and primitive buried deep inside me that recognizes that the world's rebirth in spring begins tomorrow with just 1 more second of daylight. 

This solstice was made even more remarkable by the full moon eclipse early this morning.  I missed seeing it because of the snow, but knew it was there above the clouds.  I got up very early this morning and spent several wonderful hours knitting (a super secret project that I'll show after Christmas) and watching the snow fall.  Then I went out to shovel and found another solstice treat, the softest, lightest, fluffiest snow possible.  The neighborhood was completely silent from the snow and I felt as though the morning was a present just for me; a truly perfect solstice.

Which started me thinking about the similarities between the words "solstice" and "solace".   Different word origins, similar destinations.  

So today, be sure to set some time aside to be good to yourself and nurture your spirit and let yourself feel the light.  It's there and getting stronger every day.

Happy Solstice.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mustaches For Everyone!

Last week I decided I needed 2 things.  One, a gift for a very cool 8 year old boy with a great sense of humor, and two, less stress around the holidays!

I searched and searched the pattern database but have you ever noticed how hard it is to find something if you have no idea what you are looking for? 

So I stopped to think about what an 8 year old boy wants.  Legos.  Almost impossible to knit.  Star Wars figurines. Less impossible but highly unlikely to knit.  To be a grown up and do what grown up men can do.  Hmm, interesting.  but what .... And then I found exactly what I was looking for --  a mustache --  Perfect.

I thought it was a hoot.  Mom and Bob just sorta looked at me with that funny scunched up look that said they totally didn't get it.  But that's okay!  I had the courage of my conviction that this was funny.

So I took it to work to show anyone who I thought would be a kindred spirit.  Okay, mostly it was because I needed to see if people could figure out what it was.  They did (that was a relief).  Sarah liked them so much she begged me to make 2 for her granddaughters for Christmas.  I love her granddaughters, two young ladies with very well developed senses of humor, so of course I agreed.

It was only when he saw this picture that Bob finally got it.

Bob took one look at this picture and said to me, "you know, I had no idea how much you looked like your Dad, huh".

Without further ado, I present to you my Christmas cheer, Mustaches for Everyone!

Now aren't you glad I learned how to paste pictures? 

And for those of you who have an hour to kill and yearn for a mustache of your own, here's where you can get the pattern:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Twas a Week Before Christmas ...

Yes, one week from today is Christmas.  The tree is up (for less than 12 hours) but undecorated, the presents are "mostly" knit (it is like "mostly dead" only no one gives you chocolate for it) but none are wrapped.  The house is ... well, in its normal condition of controlled horror. I may be a lousy housekeeper, but at least I'm also honest!

So why am I here at the keys and not cleaning, decorating, or wrapping (or even knitting, seeing as the knitting is only "mostly" done)?  Okay, that was really a silly question and not at all worth answering.  I think the more pressing question is this: honestly, does the world really need another knitting blog?

That is the question that has plagued me for the last few months while the voices in my head have argued away.  Yes, I sometimes hear voices.  Okay, frequently.  But they don't tell me to kill people; in fact, they usually just tell me to knit more, so they are fine, really.  In fact, I usually can identify the voices, like now.  

"Blogging is stupid!  Why would you want to do that?"  um, yup, that would be Mom's voice.

"Go for it, hun, if you want to.  I'm sure you'd be great"  yup, that would be my dear husband (isn't he great?)

"Yes, you know you want to, but would your blog be any good?  Frankly, would anyone want to read anything you have to say about anything, including knitting?"  yeah, that would be mine, supportive, huh?

So today I finally answered the question, and my answer is this.  No.  The world probably doesn't need another knitting blog.  But that is irrelevant, because I do.  And if some day someone else reads this blog and it makes sense to them and touches their life in some good way, then I'll be thrilled to death.  But until then, typing to myself as a way to explore and understand my life more clearly isn't a bad thing either.  

And I promise one thing:  tomorrow I will learn how to post pictures :D