Monday, November 30, 2009

24 days left...

Thanksgiving was very nice, and quite relaxed. I made green bean casserole:

Green Bean Casserole

there was an abundance of gravy (so much that we used a french press as a pitcher):

French Press Gravy

and the ground was covered in crunchy leaves.

Fall Leaves 2

After a few days to digest, I emerged from the turkey coma ready to plan for the gift-giving season. As I said in the last post, I simply can't afford to purchase presents for everyone this year (thank you state education budget), so it's stash diving for me. Instead of freaking out about the prospect of so much knitting I am trying to embrace my craftiness (isn't this the hobby I love?), choose projects wisely (the fair isle ear flap hat in fingering-weight yarn might be too involved), and stay on task (except when baking). My list is 16 people long, and thanks to a rash of small-item knitting in August and September, I have half that list taken care of already. Nevertheless, I still have at least 6 items to knit between now and Christmas (yes there are a few people who are not getting knits this year), so I am putting the beaded project on hold and I cleared the socks off my needles.

Zer0 Jaywalkers

This is my fourth pair of jaywalkers, and I still say this is one of the best patterns for making socks out of variegated yarn. I went out of my way to make the legs on this pair a little loose by going up a needle size, so they won't be too constricting during a long day. They're soaking now, while I get the gift list yarn together. It was difficult being away from the stash while planning my holiday knitting over the weekend, so I did a pretty thorough sweep this morning. Here's the stuff that will shortly be made into gifts:

Yarn for Gifts

I was pleasantly surprised at the color harmony in all these skeins! Incidentally, all the yarn there is either sporting its natural color, or is naturally dyed (thanks, Kristine!). I will try to keep up with pictures of knitted items, but they will only be teasers until after the recipients open their gifts, since quite a few of them read the blog regularly. (Who am I kidding? I will be lucky to finish knitting everything in time, forget about pictures...) Note to family members: bonus points if you can guess which skein of yarn is intended for your gift!

It was so easy to get caught up in the plan-a-thon while digging through the stash, but I did find a few skeins of yarn that would make nice small gifts, fabulous ornaments, or decoration for presents. But I'm not allowed to knit any of this until the official gift list is done.

Holiday Yarn?

A couple of these skeins have just enough yarn to make a pair of Fetchings. According to Ravelry, I am apparently the last 13,110th knitter on Earth to think about knitting this pattern. The required yardage seems too good to be true! My strategy to keep myself from knitting this stuff is to hide it all in a bag in the closet, while the official gift list yarn sits out in plain view, in a lovely pile in the living room.

What about all of you: are you knitting gifts this year? How much? Care to share any strategies for maintaining your sanity?

P.S. While composing this post, 3 more people on Ravelry have cast on Fetchings. Wow.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Easing into the holidays

First of all, thanks to everyone who voted for my mittens! I didn't think my design was so awesome, but you all seem to. Makes me happy. :) I don't know what exactly I've won yet, but there were hints of fiber, fiber tools, and pattern distribution. We'll just have to wait and see together. In the meantime, a few friends are test-knitting the pattern in delicious Malabrigo Chunky, and one of them is finished (Rav link). The color on these is amazing! Apparently, the shop attendant was very helpful in this regard. He said something along these lines: If you pick the red, whoever gets these mittens will say "Wow, you made me mittens!" But if you pick the yellow, whoever gets these mittens will say "Wow, you made me YELLOW mittens!"

I love them either way... one task for this week is to add the pattern into Ravelry. I have the entire week off work for the Thanksgiving holidays, so it's also the perfect time to plan more gift knitting. I think this year is going to be 180 degrees from last year: nearly everyone is going to get a fiber-related gift, if only because finances are tighter this year. I don't think most folks will mind, though. I have some pretty awesome projects lined up. And it's not going to be the stress-fest it could be, because I already have a bunch of items saved up.

Also, the new Twist Collective is up, and they have a few mitten and hat patterns I am very excited about. My plan is to sit down this afternoon, make some potato soup with leeks and carrots, and read through the whole issue.

Those socks I started two weekends ago have been going through some revisions in size. Turns out if you ignore gauge on a sock for four days and just knit straight through, you run a very big risk of getting a sock that's way too big. Oh well. This yarn is lovely, and goes very well with the pattern. Then again, I've knit the jaywalker pattern three times before and I think it's perfect for any variegated yarn.

Handspun Jaywalkers

The one in back is the nearly-finished-but-too-large sock, and the one in front is the correct size. I just haven't had the heart to frog the old one yet. Check out the color of the yarn, though!

Handspun Jaywalkers

Isn't that just awesome? Like a chocolate cherry cheesecake.

I've been fairly good about being project monogamous for the past few weeks, but something arrived in the mail yesterday that may break my streak. It's okay though, because this is a project in the works for at least a year. A teaser:

Wedding Shawl Materials

I think this will keep me busy at least until the New Year.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I am so scatterbrained right now, I am going to do something I normally do not do: blog in list format.

1. We attended the wedding of some very near and dear friends this weekend. We stayed here. The food was amazing, the weather gorgeous, the lung capacity severely diminished due to tight-fitting bridesmaids dress and altitude. It was gorgeous, woodsy, and a heckuva lot of fun.

2. I might be going through a career transition. If I seem reluctant and/or absent-minded when speaking about my job, know that I am trying to work through some things about what I really want to be when I grow up and how to best accomplish that while still providing for my personal needs.

3. My mittens are up for voting, and the pattern has been proofread and proofknit. I am going to decide how to distribute the pattern after the contest is over. If you think the design from four posts down was nice and have access to the Ravelries, feel free to go here and cast your vote by tomorrow. For the record, here's another shot of the mittens to which I am referring.

Snow Chains Mittens

4. I started a pair of jaywalker socks on the airplane. There will be photos forthcoming, but they are being knit out of this handspun:

Zero Handspun SW Merino

5. I am excited about holiday knitting this year. I may have already begun a box full of items for gifting. I may have purchased this for the plane ride home. This is very strange to me, given my feelings on gift knitting last year. More on that later.

6. I totally thought I had more than 5 things to tell you all. Huh.