Sunday, December 30, 2007

holly jolly knitting gifts

Functioning under the cloud of the post-Christmas grumps, I neglected to mention in my last post the fantastic knitting gifts Santa left for me this year!

Let's see . . . I got Son of Stitch 'N Bitch, which has some great patterns, but unfortunately the sweater I love most is a crochet pattern. I don't crochet. So boo. Also, I can't for the life of me figure out why the title of this book isn't Son of a Stitch. I mean, isn't that the obvious name for this particular sequel? I find it to be such a glaringly perfect name that I keep instinctively calling the book Son of a Stitch anyway. I'll probably be using this one to make next year's gifts for hubby and Dad (unless Brooklyn Tweed publishes a pattern for Big Blue before then--gorgeous sweater, I can already see my Dad wearing it!).

I also got this cute project bag.

I think "Santa" is tired of me leaving my knitting projects all over the house for people to sit on. . . . This bag is nice and roomy, with lots of pockets, and most importantly, handles, so I can tote it all over the house, car, subway, whatever.

My stocking was stuffed with a few goodies too:

And I got myself a post-Christmas gift--a set of drawers to store my stash!

Prior to this, I was just keeping my yarn in the cardboard boxes Knit Picks shipped it in. This is certainly neater, though not perhaps the most fashionable, decorating-wise.

And, last but not least, just before Christmas I got this beautiful gift from Gary, my Knit It Forward swapper and author of the Knitta' Pleez blog:

I love the yarn, it's almost like tissue paper, and it's pretty cozy too! I know a good blogger would take a picture of herself wearing the scarf, but I am not currently appropriately groomed for photos, so this is all you get for now. ;o)

Still undecided on the cardigan . . .

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

'twas the day after Christmas . . .

Sigh. I can already feel myself sinking into my post-holiday depression. It won't reach its peak until early January, but the first twinges are already surfacing. The holidays are over. :o( Christmas is my favorite time of year; and, frankly, there's no part of the year I can stand less than January - March. It's cold, it's dark, there are no fun holidays (not a big V-Day fan), and many months remain until baseball season starts. At least this year hubby and I have planned a trip to COSTA RICA in February--hopefully that will help stave off these winter blues.
OK, enough whining. I know you're all waiting with bated breath to learn the fate of Cobblestone. Well, wait no longer. Ta da!!!!

Yes, I finished it in time--although just barely. It was blocking on Christmas Eve and, sadly, not dry in time to wrap and put under the tree. :o( But hubby did wear it on Christmas Day, and I got lots of compliments (which I'll chose to believe were sincere and not just polite). It has its flaws. First, the sleeves are a bit long for him, and the neck became a bit stretched out after wearing it all day. My short rows, frankly, don't look great--I can spot the little holes easily, though I doubt a non-knitter could point them out. I also wound up with large holes on the sides of the sleeves after I grafted the stitches together under the arms, but I think I covered them up fairly well. Overall, I dub it a success, especially for my first sweater. (p.s. Hubby does not have Elvis hair, that's just a weird shadow over his head.)
Sadly, Pop Pop's socks did not make it to Christmas. In adapting the pattern for knitting on DPNs, I made an unspeakably stupid mistake and placed the decreases in the wrong spot. So sock #1 needs to be frogged back to the gusset, and I simply didn't have the time or the energy to do that before Christmas. Maybe he'll get Easter socks.
It's hard to believe that this time last year, I couldn't knit at all. I had just received my almost totally useless "learn-to-knit" kit and was occupied with tangling up a ball of pink novelty yarn. One important knitting lesson I've learned over the last few months is to plan ahead. I didn't get all the knitting done that I hoped to for Christmas, and I spent a lot of hours in the run up to the big day knitting feverishly and missing out on holiday fun. So this year I hope to do one project per month for Christmas 2008.
For now, though, with the holidays over and no major gift giving events coming up, I want to actually knit something for myself. Crazy idea! I want to do a cardigan, but I'm having a hard time deciding which one. I love the Rowena Cardigan from Knit 2 Together, but it looks pretty complicated, as does the Tangled Yoke Cardigan. Maybe the famous Tilted Duster? Please help me out! Vote for one of these, or suggest a cardigan for me!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Knit unto others . . .

Hurrah! The lovely Sheryl received her knitting goodie package, so now I can show off what I knit for her:

I sent her something of a theme package: a book I loved that was set in Peru (Marie Arana's Cellophane), and so to go with it, a Peruvian Chullo, decorated with alpacas and knit in alpaca (I would've sent along some coca tea, but God knows you can't import that into the U.S. because someone might process cocaine out of it . . . ). As I said in my last post, this was my first attempt at colorwork, and I think it turned out fairly well.
Last weekend hubby and I took a weekend getaway to our favorite little inn in Ocean City, MD, and went to their Christmas parade. And look what they had:

Too cute. But I feel bad for the alpacas, it's too warm here for them (not to mention, I don't think they have any innate desire to participate in parades). Interesting fact: at Machu Picchu, there are llamas and alpacas wandering about the ruins--but (according to my tour guide, Puma) they're not native to that altitude, they actually bring them down from the mountains for the tourists. :o(
**Edit. A commenter indicated that you can buy coca tea on Amazon. I have no idea if it's authentic, but I do know it's super expensive--when I was in Peru, it was practically free! But if you want to try it, there's an option. Perhaps rules have changed, but when I left Peru, you were not allowed to bring any coca products (tea, candy, etc.) with you, either in your luggage or your carry on.**