So this was Christmas…

Whoosh. Another Christmas has come and gone – it was a whirlwind (as always) and went by way to fast (as always) but was a good time & a success! This year we were low key on the side of decorations due to the Little Nutmeg being rather full of grabby hands. We had a pink plastic pre-lit Christmas tree (really) – it was a work prize for DH back in the summer when they moved locations. We had some garland and lights, a few printed signs, and this year we brought in an Elf on the Shelf. There are a zillion ideas on Pinterest, and I made a note of a few, but our elf was less into mischief and more into a daily game of hide-and-seek. The Lorax loved it. Elfie, our elf, is a bit creepy looking, but it makes for fun photos – here’s the round up of my instagram shots of where he hid. Elf on the shelf antics 2012Elf on the shelf antics 2012 (2)Elf on the shelf antics 2012 (3)
My favorite was when the Disney Princesses captured Elfie in a bug box!
Though I did have a last minute flare-up of thinking that I must knit ALL.THE.THINGS. for Christmas gifts, in the end I knit 4 things. My mom had pinned several times cowls on pinterest as a not-so-subtle hint to me. I worked up a Fiona Button Scarf very quickly! Crochet cowl
I still consider myself a beginner crocheter and this was a piece-of-cake pattern.
DIY gold toe socks
I’m calling these my DIY-gold-toe socks, even though the gold toe stripe is really not in the right spot. I started these Cauchy socks for Dan back in March. He had forgotten about them! They were very well received – he has worn them every day after work! I would indulge in the Spud & Chloe Fine yarn again and trying these on for the photo made me realize that I need to make myself some new socks!! I also made Dan a basic guy beanie with Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair that he loved – the hat is ready to go and in his car, so no photos yet. It’s snowing / raining now, so maybe tomorrow or the weekend? It seems that winter weather has truly settled in!
Oatmeal the snowman
One family Christmas party involved a Yankee Swap this year. I made Oatmeal the Snowman to go with a gift card. I love this little snowman and will be making myself another one! Unfortunately we had to duck out right after we picked out our gifts because it was getting late with the kids – so I have no idea who ended up with the snowman, or if he was loved. I hope!
In my little nutmeg, we had a nice Christmas. There were yarnie gifts which are great & I am very excited for 2013. I am working on my “resolutions” and what I want to accomplish / try, but for today (and probably the rest of the week), we’re recovering – I think we all have a touch of Holiday Hangover and both kids are sick with sniffles / coughs / temps. How was your holiday?

Christmas Knits

I have to say, I am quite pleased with myself and the gifts I knit for Christmas. There was no frantic weaving in of ends, and for the most part everything work as I intended it to. I found these great handmade gift labels to attach to each gift and include some care instructions on the backside. Each was received in the proper way, so I know I made good choices in knitting for the right people!

I made my first pair of thrummed mittens for my cousin. I found a kit at Rhinebeck this year that came with the yarn and fiber all together – I even went back to the Good Karma Farm booth to purchase a second kit and I do plan on making myself something thrummed because whoo-boy, they are warm and cozy!
Fleece Stuffed Mittens
I had to wing it a bit on the size, as my cousin told me she had small hands – but upon receipt she said they fit and really liked them, so that’s a win!

I am so proud of crocheting my first wearable, the Cardiff Cowl, in Malabrigo Silky for my Godmother.
This was lovely right off the hook, and after a quick blocking it opened up even more. Win!

I also knit a cowl, Ptarmigan, a BrooklynTweed-Jared Flood design, for my sister-in-law.
Ptarmigan Cowl
The yarn is Delly’s Delight – “Oh So Soft” 100% alpaca – that we actually both bought our first time at Rhinebeck together back in 2009. I have plenty left over and am seriously considering making this again, for myself. I really enjoyed knitting this and it was hard to wrap it up and give it away.

Keeping with my own tradition, I knit another Koolhaas this season. This one is for my Dad.
2011 Koolhaas
I obviously had some trouble getting a good picture of this one – the yarn is Cascade 220 superwash in a really nice chocolate brown.

I was going to make a Koolhaas for my brother as well, but after talking with his wife she told me he would be happier with a plain plain plain hat. After some back and forth for ideas she suggested the Regular Guy Beanie
I chose a slightly nicer yarn, Mountain Mohair from Green Mountain Spinnery, and enjoy the boringness of this hat pattern. My brother really liked it, so that’s all that matters. Especially if it means he will wear it.

Now I am feeling the itch to cast on *ALL THE THINGS*! I do have a sample knit that I am working on and is my current #1 priority, but I’ve got a mental list going – earflap hat for me, earflap hat for Lorelai, new socks for Dan, next hat for Nate, hexipuffs (which I’m thinking I may switch gears and go hexi-flat and not stuff them). I was generously gifted several knitting books and a set of blocking wires so that only fuels the fire to knit more and knit faster!

Christmas Tree

I am making good progress on some items to go under the tree for others so I thought I would share our tree this year. I was playing around with my camera settings according to several tutorials I found on pinterest.

This shot looked better on the camera screen. Oh well. It does accurately show our lights. We have had big bulbs of color, all white, and this year we have green. It is different and is growing on me quite a bit.

One of the newest ornaments for the tree.

Our tree is “topped” with a crystal star that we received as a wedding gift.

I like this photo, but the quality of it could be better. Just a branch or two down from the star are these two angels. The angel on the left is a souvenir from our trip to Ireland and the angel on the right was a gift many years ago. I am not sure if it was from my parents (I think it was) or my grandparents.

One of the oldest ornaments on the tree, Woodstock, was a gift to me when I was a year old or so from one of my aunts. I really need to sort through my ornament box or get a better storage system going so it doesn’t have any more chips!

Snoopy is there too!

And then this is a familiar ornament on my couch. The Lorax loves playing on the ipad, lucky kid. She’s quite good at “Fruit Ninja” and “Snoopy’s Street Fair”.

We haven’t yet gotten a family photo in front of the tree, I need to take out the tripod. At least I am in a picture with the kids, as usually I am the one to take all the photos!

Holiday Hangover

Ahh. December 26. A day I look forward to especially since we have had the Lorax and have a Christmas marathon starting on Christmas Eve through Christmas night for the last 4 years. We travel to see family – and there is a lot of family to see. This year was probably the best yet – the Lorax is excited to see everyone, is social too (as she puts it “I’m going to go talk to some people”) and is independent enough that we can let her roam about our location without too much worry. It was a very nice Christmas and we are so blessed to have such a generous family.

And I can finally post about some things that I made for gifts!
A Koolhaas hat for my youngest brother – I love this pattern though it took me several attempts to find my rhythm with the cables. Eventually I will make myself a hat like this. It is so cozy!

A lump of coal (pattern is on the knitpicks website) for my older younger brother, who one year as a kid actually did get coal in his stocking!

A pair of “Bella’s Mittens” for my cousin. I had made this pattern earlier in the year as a sample for a class and loved them. I wish I could wear these – they are warm and snug just they way you would like them to be – however, with the lorax I find I do often need use of my fingers, so I don’t do mittens too often. My cousin seemed to like them – she’s a college kid – so I hope that she does get a lot of use out of them on campus.

Ok, so this isn’t knit, it’s sewn felt, and it’s BACON! 🙂 This was made for Dan and is just so cute and silly I had to make it as soon as I saw it online. I tend to take photos involving Jackson when he’s been asleep because then he is quite compliant – seems like many photos lately have all caught him yawning!

And now I can look forward to non-gift knitting. I have several personal projects ready to go, two different samples that I hope to tell you about soon, and I’m considering a create-my-own-sock-club-thing, but that is still uncertain / in the works. Still need to deal with the Christmas aftermath. And I was lucky to receive a few knitting related gifts that I look forward to sharing here on the blog and putting to good use asap. Along with my new snow boots – apparently there is a big storm coming our way today / Monday! We will probably postpone picking Jackson up from his vacation until Tuesday or so due to the storm. He is so missed! The Lorax has been talking up building a snowman for a long time so some snow would be quite nice!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Christmas Wishes

The hustle and bustle are in full swing – I think it is going to be a very exciting Christmas – one that certainly will go by all too fast. If you can, try and slow down and enjoy the good stuff. Things like:
Enjoying a good viewing of The Yule Log (while it lasts – apparently our “Free On Demand” subscription to the Comcast Yule Log has run out?! Makes no sense to me, but we got to see a little bit of it!Anyway.)

Have a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows. Homemade if possible. Need a recipe? I mixed up the hot chocolate mix from Under the Table and Dreaming for gifts along with marshmallows from Our Best Bites. Of course I had to sample to make sure it would work for gifts – delish!

Thank an elf! Isn’t this great? My local apple orchard / farm market, Bishop’s, posted on Facebook yesterday that “Buddy the Elf” was working there! On a whim, we stopped in this morning and asked one of the people working if they had seen Buddy. They said he was around and went into the back to find him. He came out and was adorable. I think Lorelai didn’t know what to make of him – she was quite shy, but she did give him a high five. When we got home she found our DVD of “Elf” and said “This is who was saw at Bishop’s”. Gotta love local businesses!!

Looking forward to posting after Christmas when I can finally blog about things I’ve been knitting – the recipients do sometimes come across my blog and I didn’t want to risk any spoilers! Merry Christmas!!

"Best" and Best Christmas Presents

I was just talking about the Best Christmas presents ever with my MIL the other night at dinner – and then today I read WifeMomKnitter‘s post about her “Best” presents (cringe worthy!). It got me thinking – Great blog fodder!!

Starting with the Best. The true best gifts ever – two immediately stand out in my memory – the year Santa brought my Cabbage Patch Kid, Garnett Lenore (oy. What a name. Side story – maybe I’ve shared this before? My uncle used to tease me as a kid that “Garnett Lenore would so become Coleslaw” and I was totally clueless until high school when I finally realized that coleslaw is made from cabbage.) And the year Santa brought a Care Bear – Cheer Bear. Each year those were the specific items I really really hoped Santa would bring and they were left under the tree – unwrapped! so they were the first things I spotted on Christmas morning. I have been pretty lucky with the gifts overall – one year my husband bought me cashmere yarn! What a guy!

The “Best” present that stands out? One year there was an aunt who glued a picture of my face onto a little wooden doll – the sort of thing you would find at a craft-sale / church bazaar. I don’t know what she was thinking. I was in my late teens, so it just seemed odd. Certainly there are other gifts that were swiftly donated / regifted / swapped away as Bad Santas… clothes that aren’t me, knick-knacks that seem so odd, the random items that make it obvious that the gift giver doesn’t know you. And now that I’m a grown-up I can pretty much get the things I want and I don’t need more things (though I do like my stuff. no question there. De-cluttering is going to be huge again in 2011.)

Speaking of gifts I should get on wrapping the items that are piling up around the house. And weave in the ends on some projects (and photograph said projects!). I always think there is more knitting time for all the things I want to do – or that I knit faster than I really do. Something needs to be done about that!!

Christmas Chaos

Really, it would not be Christmas for me if it weren’t full of traveling to and from the Islands (Rhode and Long), houses full of relatives, lots of food, and luckily everyone gets along so it’s all good. I hope everyone had a Christmas like this:
Wide eyed, eating, looking cute. This is what Lorelai’s Christmas was full of. Oh, and those sunglasses. They have been off her face for 5 minutes? Maybe?

I can show two more gifts that I made for this Christmas – I knit up Braided for a cousin-in-law. It worked up quickly enough and was fun to knit, but oh those ends!! I stopped several times to weave in ends.
IMG_9231 IMG_9230

Virginia emailed me a few weeks back looking for a pattern to knit up re-useable makeup removers (like what you can find on etsy and the like, but she does knit, so why not make your own?). Totally ran with that idea and I practiced my crochet again –
Sugar’N Cream stash busting (so, 100% cotton, washable). Very cute, I may have to make some for me!

Lorelai was gifted several handmade items – a fantastic “Lorelai Goes to a Wedding” photo-story book from Uncle Dan & Aunt VA, handmade animal magnets from Sara, and a handmade rocking horse! Stunning.

Today, we are being very lazy. We put things together, organized thank you note lists, photos are uploading…. We are so very lucky and it has been a great Christmas!

Set to trek!
Happy in the car!

Christmas Earworms

If you happen to come across a lull in your conversations at whatever you do today, a good topic is “What’s the WORST Christmas Song?” – At SnB “Snowfall” has come up a few times (we own that Tony Bennett Christmas Album – it’s on there and it snuck up on me and I have to agree, not his best work.) Dan’s not a huge fan of “Jingle Bell Rock” – I would love it if I never had to hear again “Dominic the Donkey” or “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”.
Shudder. And I apologize for the earworms.
As a peace offering my favorite Christmas Song is “The Chrismtas Song”, you know… “Chestnuts Roasting on an open fire…” but only the version done by Nat King Cole. Best. Version. Ever.

When you run through all the Christmas songs, start in on Christmas movies. I can’t stand “A Christmas Story” – and I always cause a stir when I mention that one. And yes, I gave it a good try – I sat down to watch it, with an open mind, and it was still terrible. “A Christmas Carol” is probably top of the list – Patrick Stewart version of course, “Love, Actually” is up there along with “Miracle on 34th Street” (the original one).

May you have a classy Christmas and I hope you all get what you hope for (especially PeacefulKnitter! I’m thinking of you!)


On Tuesday I whipped up another gift for another cousin – a Darkside Cowl that is not very dark at all.
The yarn I used came from a bag of yarn that my mom came across at their house – it was mostly acrylic but there were a few finds in there, including a Berroco “Watercolor” yarn –
It’s not in Ravelry. It’s not listed on the Berroco Discontinued Yarn list. I emailed Berroco and they told me that they don’t have info on it (!!?!) so it’s from before 1995 or so. It’s quite pretty – it’s a silver-ish with an additional ply of pink / yellow / green in there. I originally wanted to knit incognito but decided to keep it simple.

The pattern works well for this yarn – I did 3 repeats of the pattern, for a length of about 6 inches – this is for a 12 year old so that seemed big enough.
Hand for reference again – apparently I’m getting lazy and not bothering to get a ruler.

It is a stretchy but snug item – I figure my cousin can wear it as a headband / ear cover / or cowl as she wishes. I like how it fit and will make myself one in the future (I’ve got some Malabrigo Silky in Rupestre and Cloud Sky – either would be gorgeous!)

It’s Coming on Christmas

I’m one of those people that can not stand anything Christmas related before Thanksgiving – Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! Sure, it’s a pain to prepare to host or to pack up and travel but all you have to do is eat! That I can do.

I will shop for Christmas gifts throughout the year because I have learned my lesson that if you wait the item you want will not be there when you go back to find it. But to go into Sprawl-mart or Tar-ghay and see decorations / hear carols drives me mad! I did spot some Christmas lights up last week at houses and I just grit my teeth and drove on. (Random side note, talking about gritting one’s teeth – I now wear a nightguard to protect my own teeth from further grinding damage. I think I’m clenching harder now that I have something to actually chew on. Weird. Anyway.)

We pulled out the garland and light for our stairway this afternoon. I had some fun playing around with the camera settings and was hoping I might luck out with a Christmas card photo. Didn’t quite work out, but I got some neat shots.
I’m really pleased with this one:
Black and White garland

This might be my new favorite picture of Lorelai:

I swear, she does smile, but she was serious about the lights:
Garland 1

And then, bored:
Garland 2

Possibilities for the card:

Gentle glow
I like this last one the best, but she’s still out of focus.