Holidays


I’m back from the whirlwind Christmas trip up to my parents’ house. We drove up very early on Christmas Eve morning and came back yesterday, and it was a busy trip. It was raining like mad on the drive up, but we made pretty good time. There was a truck stop breakfast (yay horribly greasy food) and good music.

Ron so nicely drove the whole way so I was able to cast on a pair of Hunca Munca socks for the baby nephew. This is probably my favorite baby sock pattern. It’s quick, it’s cute, it’s easy, and they seem to totally stay on the tiny feet. I used the leftover yarn from his sweater, so he could be matching and cute. I finished one sock on the drive up (I didn’t knit the whole time–it was dark when we started, so I had to wait about an hour and a half to cast on and I took a little nap too).

When we got to my parents’ house (after we showered and stuff at the hotel), I decided that I really wanted to make cookies. I hadn’t done any Christmas baking this whole year. So I made Spritz Cookies with my grandmother’s vintage cookie press. (That isn’t my grandmother’s actual cookie press because I didn’t think to take a picture, but ours is exactly like that. Sorry siblings, I call dibs on it since I’m the only one who’ll use it.)

We watched a horrible Doctor Who movie starring Peter Cushing and I spent a little time knitting on the second baby sock. We had Chinese food for dinner (it’s sort of a tradition around my house), and then, tragedy struck.

Sad sock with a broken needle

My parents, Ron, one of my brothers, Ron, and I decided to go for a drink at this karaoke lounge a few blocks away from my parents’ house. I packed my knitting bag in the car, and somehow the sock fell out and was shut in the door. It was dragged behind the car, down the rain-soaked street all the way to the bar. The sock was all muddy and one of my needles broke. Tragedy. Lesson learned: Don’t drag your knitting behind your car.

Honestly, a washing will probably fix the sock and it’ll be fine. I’m ordering new needles, so that will be fine. It’s just such a sad waste. I was so sad I couldn’t look at them to finish on Christmas. But I have to suck it up and finish them though, because tiny feet grow quickly.

The next morning was Christmas. I was quite pleased with my gifts. I think all of us were. I got quite spoiled with knitting-related stuff. And all of my Christmas knitting got done! My sister-in-law loved the sweater for my nephew, and I finished the secret project.

Borough Mittens

It’s a pair of Borough Mittens from Knitty for my friend Jara. (Seriously, go read his blog. He doesn’t update much, but when he does, it’s pretty awesome. And he posts his songs.) He lives in New York, so he has use for mittens. Now that he has them on his hot little hands, I get to post about them. I really like the pattern. It’s really clever and I love the element of the buttons to keep the mittens closed or open. It’s a lovely detail.

I made them out of Twist Yarns Fluff, a worsted weight superwash. If you live near Manhattan Beach, I can’t emphasize enough how great Twist: Yarns of Intrigue is. Cathy, the owner, is really nice and personable; it’s a totally welcoming shop; and in addition to a great selection of commercial and indie yarns, she dyes her own stuff and it’s gorgeous.

I spent most of Christmas night with a tiny baby on my lap. My nephew is getting so big. At six weeks, he’s actually smiling and starting to do more than lie there staring at you. He’s absolutely adorable. It’s the cure for all sadness. And, you know, eating the really freaking delicious dinner my mom made. And I watched the Doctor Who Christmas Special (which I’ll review in a later post).

And yesterday we drove back home. I spent most of the drive working on my Wispy Cardi, which is actually starting to look like a sweater!

Wispy Cardi

I’m so close to done with it. I’m (finally) getting to see The Hobbit tonight, so I plan to get a lot more work done on it tonight. This is one thing that will definitely be done by Stitches West, so I won’t have to be a sad knitter with no handknits to wear.

I hope you all had holidays as good as mine were. Let me know what awesome stuff you did. Did you give knitted gifts? Did you get knitted gifts? Did you get knitting tools? Or other crafty tools? Or totally geeky stuff? Talk about it in the comments!

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Presents are wrapped, travel is arranged, and everything Christmassy is done. Except for the secret project. This photo is my bar knitting last night. Note that I am not knitting on the secret project. It’s like I’m trying to sabotage myself. I still maintain that I will finish the secret project in time to give it to its recipient. It’s just that the place I am in the pattern is really fiddly. It is not appropriate bar knitting. Miles of 1×1 rib, which is what I had to do on the Wispy Cardi, is appropriate bar knitting. I took it to watch the always awesome Whatever Band last night and got a fair amount of knitting done.

Until I got too tipsy to knit.

That doesn’t happen often, but boy did it happen last night. I had my fair share of Christmas cheer. Luckily I had the wherewithal to not try to knit in that state. (Okay, really what happened is that Ron told me to put my knitting away. I had forgotten my tape measure and was trying to see if could figure out what I had that was three inches long, so I could measure my knitting. I may have made some inappropriate jokes. When I make those kinds of jokes, it’s a good sign that I am quite sloshed. Ron convinced me to put away my knitting. He’s a good partner, because friends don’t let friends drink and knit. I have him to thank for the fact that I didn’t have to pull out tons of knitting today.)

Ron and I are driving up to my parents’ house for Christmas tomorrow. I will likely not be blogging until after the holiday. I wish you all a wonderful next couple of days, whatever you are celebrating or not celebrating. Peace and joy to all.

I’ve worked on three projects tonight, two knitting related and one Christmas related. One of them is making me frustrated and sad, but two of them are making me so very happy. I guess that balances out. I guess that more than balances out.

Ugh.

When I got home today, I finally bit the bullet and seamed up the sleeves on my Wispy Cardi. I really, really want to get past this step so I can move on and get a sweater. But I’m not terribly happy with the seaming. This is the second time I’ve done it. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. I’m taking a class in finishing techniques at Stitches West, which I’m hoping will help my finishing skills. I’m okay doing mattress stitch on straight seams. Where I have trouble is when I have increases and decreases so the edges are angled. I don’t know if I’m just not going into the stitches the right way.

I’m debating ripping it out and redoing it again. Or maybe ripping out the whole thing and re-knitting them in the round so I don’t have to deal with seaming at all. I can’t decide if I can live with the job I did or not. I want to love this sweater, because the Malabrigo is so nice and soft and it will feel amazing to wear. I don’t want to be ashamed of it.

So pretty.

After I put that aside in indecisive disgust, we decorated the tree. I’m so happy with it. It’s really, really, really beautiful. Ron found the little houses at a hardware store, so we have a little Christmas village underneath, which makes me even happier. They’re really, really cute. You can see little people inside them, having tea and baking cookies. And with that, it finally feels like Christmas.

Celestarium Shawl

Also so pretty.

Tonight (even though I should be working on the secret project, since the tree is undeniable proof that Christmas is indeed in a week) all I want to do is sit, look at my tree, and work on my Celestarium. This pattern makes me so happy. It’s beautiful. And the Madelinetosh merino light I’m knitting it in knits up like butter. I love the random placement of the beads (which isn’t really random, since it’s making constellations). The lack of repetition means I don’t get bored. And the fact that I’m starting to recognize the constellations formed, because it truly feeds my inner geek. I’m loving this shawl more than I can say.

I swear, I’ll be good and work on the secret project tomorrow. Tonight I want stars.