Friday, December 28, 2007
Oh, were you coming here for the contest results? Did I distract you with the icy cedar? Sorry about that.
For those keeping count: there were 35 bracelets knitted and given away (this was easy, as I had mentioned it in a prior post) There were actually more bracelets knitted, but they didn't get given away, so I'm not counting them.
there were 29 other knitted gifts - lace scarves, socks, a couple of beaded chokers, handwarmers galore and assorted other things.
that totals out to 64 total knitted gifts. I know - I'm having trouble wrapping my head around that number. I've got to start knitting less or culling the list a bit.
which makes the winner:
Katrynka, email me at curlerchikATyahooDOTca and give me your mailing address, and I'll send off the Wellington Fibres skein.
Christine was actually closest at 65, but I did say without going over... I feel bad about that, so I'm going to send another Wellington Fibres skein to Christine - email me your mailing address.
I know Jennifer is going to want to know how some of the gifts were received - and I have to say, it was positive all around! (I'm so pleased!) The bracelets were particularly well received, and my notoriously hard-to-gift niece saw the one I made my Mom, and shyly asked if I could make her one as well. She even offered to pay for the beads! She's growing up. (And yes, she's getting a bracelet, and no, I'm not taking any money from her.)
Hubby loved his alpaca hat and handwarmers, and most importantly, my son LOVED his socks. These are the first socks I've made for him that he likes. He even put them on right away. THe chokers were a huge hit, as were the socks (some new recipients of knitted socks this year, and they were happy to be added to the list. My 27 year old nephew was wearing his socks that I made him 2 years ago, and hinted rather broadly that he would take more. He loved his legwarmers (he's a dancer) and the slippers, and had all of them on! He stays high on the list.
The only issue was one SIL who loved her lace leaf cravat scarf, but REALLY loved the beaded chokers that other SILs got. There was an aside remark about the difference, until it was pointed out to her (not by me) that she got a lace shawl last year. (Yes Jen, THAT Sister in law...)
But everyone seemed very happy with the results - I love it when something I give of my heart is so well received.
Now I'm off on a hunt for next years gift - I'm not sure I can do the bracelets again...
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Christmas chez Curlerchik was wonderful - everything I could want. We spent Christmas Eve with good friends, eating fondue, talking non stop and watching kids and dog run around. The next morning was just me, Hubby and Son - just the way we like it. Hubby went against our "no big gift rule" and presented me with this:
He knew I was rekindling my interest in sewing, and that my old machine was hurting, so he bought me the cream of the crop - a computerized machine that does everything I need it to do, and then some.
I also blew the no big thing by getting him Guitar Hero III, but that wasn't nearly as big. It's just a lot more family fun! I suck at it, by the way. I see lots of practice in my future before we take on the rest of the family. However, we more than made up for the discrepancy by going out and getting the 42" flat screen TV that Hubby has been coveting. We're a happy family. Son did pretty good - Santa cleared off a lot of his list, and then some. What impressed me the most was Son's selflessness when it came to the gifts. He was as interested in what we were unwrapping, and he opened things one at a time, and appreciated them, and thanked us.
After breakfast - off to my brother's place for more family and friends, and more Guitar Hero! Watching my husband and my brother competing on "Barracuda" was priceless. Especially since right after, my 14 year old niece blew them both out of the water.
The final stop of the day was the in-laws for another family of 17 gathering, and dinner. Once we ate and cleaned up, we all pretty much headed home - the energy levels were flagging all around.
Today, Hubby and Son are at home - I'm hoping son gets some thank you's written, and dinner will be waiting for me. Tomorrow, both Hubby and I are working, so some semblance of reality will return. I did get some knitting done - the Selbu mitts are coming along nicely:
I'm still loving this colour mix. I also worked on Hubby's Black Watch socks - straight stockinette for car knitting is the way to go.
There's one more day to get your comments in from my December 24th post - guess the number of knitted Christmas gifts I gave away and you could win this:
Wellington Fibres, 3 ply 50% mohair, 50% wool, 140 grams, 200 yards of light worsted weight - colourway SPRING BREAK TWEED - it's a beautiful steely blue with tweedy bits of mauve and pink and purple...
As a hint - so far, everyone is guessing low! There's still time to revise your guess!
Monday, December 24, 2007
I realized that I never did a final tally of the knitted Christmas gifts - lets do a quickie contest - comments on this post only, with your guess as to how many total gifts were knitted. You have until 9am (EST) on Friday the 28th, and the person who's closest without going over wins a yarny prize. I haven't picked it yet, but it will be yummy.
Hints - lots of socks, the beaded bracelets, handwarmers and scarves...
To you and yours - if you celebrate the next few days, have a wonderful time. If you don't, have a wonderful time anyway. I will be surrounded by family and friends, right where I want to be.
Friday, December 21, 2007
I know I said I wouldn't touch my Selbuvotter book until after the holidays, since I had so much to do. Yeah, well, it's me we're talking about, remember? (no, my hands are not this pink! I had to do some colour correcting to get the colour of the Shelridge yarn close to reality.)
I only have about an inch left on my son's socks, so they should be finished up soon, so I decided to treat myself to some colourwork. Traditional Selbuvotter mittens are black (or dark brown) and white (or cream). Nothing against tradition, but I wanted a little pizzazz. Hence the handpainted green blend from Shelridge, in place of the white. (The black is SISU - the best plain superwash sock yarn around - comes in every colour you need.)
I love how the green colour changes are broken up by the starkness of the black. I can see many more of these in my future, especially now, that knitting time for the next little while is dedicated mostly to me! Gifts are done, and (mostly) wrapped. I wish I had taken a picture of my dining room table with 35 little bags all lined up, holes punched,, ribbon looped through, a bracelet in each one. So far - three given, and all three warmly received. Warms the cockles of a knitter's heart...
And a note to Deirdre - you made me laugh out loud! thanks for the comment!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I'm talking about some of the "youngsters" I work with. You know, the ones, who found out I was turning 45 and say things like "That's how old my Mom is!" Shut up. But the winner is "How stupid can I sound" Sweepstakes is one of our designers. When I came in the other day wearing my Lopi Sweater (Sigridur from the Best of Lopi book) she commented how nice it was, and asked if my GRANDMOTHER knit it for me.
Now, I don't know if my Grandmothers ever knit - my maternal GM died before I was born, and my Nanny died when I was 6. I remember certain things about her - her love of wrestling (the real stuff from the 60's and 70's - think Gorgeous George and Killer Kowalski at the Montreal Forum), her homemade maple spread, and her Scottish accent, but I don't know if she knit. (I'll have to ask.)
I was willing to leave it at "No, I knit it myself", but she kept pressing - did my Grandmother teach me how to do it? (I'm actually mostly self taught, with a little guidance from Mrs. Soucie (a neighbour and friend)). I explained that I didn't have my Grandmothers any more, and besides, people other than Grannies knit. She looked at me in disbelief, and asked "Why? You can get a great sweater at Old Navy!"
I agreed, but she couldn't get THIS sweater at Old Navy. And before she could open her mouth again, I said "No, I will not make you one. Ever." She stopped, because, yes, that is exactly what she was going to ask.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Like Stephanie, my scheduling has taken a hit. We've had a loss - technically not family, but if we could choose our family, they would have been part of it. It's a phone call no one wants to make or get, but K made it, and we got it. I feel so bad for her - losing a father is tough, and when you're the only daughter, it's really hard. She knows I've gone through it, and has asked if we could spend time with them. Of course we can - other stuff will get done when it gets done. Helping friends is the most important thing, and we do it gladly, albeit with a heavy heart.
Monday, December 17, 2007
We spent much of Sunday shoveling out, only to have to repeat every few hours. At least Hubby got the snowblower working, so it made for a much easier ordeal. Of course, we waited and waited for the snow plow to come, and of course, it hadn't by midnight. So, there was the mountain at the base of the driveway this morning that needed to be cleared. That's way more work than I want to do first thing in the morning...
After the shoveling part, we got our tree up, I baked and I knit. My kind of day. I finished up my nephew's legwarmers, the last (I hope!) of the handwarmers, and have almost finished my son's socks. This week should be pretty calm - 1 last gift to get that I had forgotten about (or blocked out - it's a generic gift for Hubby's family get-together, and I don't really want to go. But that's another story...) Knitting, once I finish the socks for my son, will be for me. I've got my Selbuvotter book (and the errata from the website - thanks, Lucky!) and I plan on some mitts for me.
We also got the perfect (I think) gift for the inlaws - a digital picture frame. They have been complaining about the lack of pictures since we all went digital. Now they can get them all!
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both and any other type of wrapping - I love wrapping. Some cough*husband*cough people have thrown the word "obsessed" out when it comes to wrapping. I now travel with small scissors to help people unwrap my gifts. I loves the ribbons!
2. Real or artificial tree? Growing up - it was always artificial. Dad always talked about his allergy to pine trees. Turns out he was allergic to the needles on the carpet, not the trees themselves. Since marriage, it has always been real, because Hubby recoiled in horror at the thought of a fake tree. Now the debate is Scotch Pine (him), or Balsam (me).
3. When do you put up the tree? Whenever we can carve out the time to go and get it. Usually mid December.
4. When do you take the tree down? January 2nd. I usually have this day off - Hubby goes to work, Son is out with friends, I get it done.
5. Do you like eggnog? Not a chance. Hubby on the other hand, loves it.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Barbie's Country Camper. This thing is a 70's nightmare - all orange and pink pyschedelic swirls, and I loved it! My friend Jennifer got it as well (Our Mom's shopped together), and our Barbies camped together for years.
We also got Pong (the original video game) as well, which was very cool.
7. Do you have a nativity scene? Nope. But my Mom does, and is hoping I may want it in the future. Unfortunately, I don't.
8. Hardest person to buy for? When my Dad was alive - no question it was him. He was easy enough to pick gifts out for, ans we did. However, he also went on a shopping spree for himself around mid-December, and bought everything we already had. We then had to go on a returning spree, and then find something else. Every fricken year! I think he enjoyed this...
Now? Probably my brother's family - their tastes run way more expensive than my budget. So now, we adults don't exchange anything, and the kids get cash or gift cards.
9. Easiest person to buy for? Husband. I can knit him socks, buy him shirts, he loves it. But I always try to get the one frivolous thing he would love. Last year it was a fishing trip. This year - Guitar Hero 3 for the Playstation.
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I have to narrow it down to one? I hate to say it but it would probably be something from my MIL. She;s a lovely lady, but she has a habit of buying us girls clothes that she thinks we should be wearing. And none of us do. Plus, she buys us all the same thing, in different colours. A little too matchy-matchy for me. Oh, then there was the daytimer organizer. I use a small 3"x6" daytimer that fits in my purse - I love it, still use it, and carry my life in it. MIL and FIL gave me a 81/2" x 11" BINDER organizer. This thing weighed about 10 pounds. I didn't know what to do with it. It also came with a year's worth of inserts - another 20 pounds of paper. Ack.
11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Neither. I don't have time to devote to them. My MIL whines every year about doing them and every year I tell her to bag it. She looks at me like I have three heads. "But I HAVE to send them! What would people think?" (As an aside, I hate the comment, "What would people think?" For the most part, I don't really care what people think about things like this)
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Charlie Brown Christmas, The Grinch (animated, of course - I love Boris Karloff!)
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I start knitting right away and spread it out all year, but the buying doesn't happen until December-ish.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Ummm, yeah, probably. I've gotten some doozies that I know are much better appreciated in their new homes... I always re-wrap completely, though. (See question #1)
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Food. My Dad's stuffing recipe - basic bread stuffing, but a stuffed turkey just smells right.
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Both. I'm a white light fan, hubby likes the riot of colour - secretly, I'm getting into the colours...
17. Favorite Christmas song? Barenaked Ladies Version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Bruce Springsteen's Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and John Mellencamp's I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus. I like the traditionals done more currently.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? We three stay home until noon, then hit my family for the afternoon, and Hubby's family for dinner. Thankfully, we are all within an hour's drive.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? D'uh! You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Blitzen, Comet and Cupid and Donner (or Donder for the purists...) and Vixen, but do you recall...the most famous reindeer of all... any Christmas-phile worth her salt knows this
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? - Angel - given to us by dear friends on our first married Christmas - we spend every Christmas Eve with them, and have a blast.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? Christmas morning - no exceptions, unless it is gifted by friends - then we open with them.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Family drama. It's not worth the hassle, yet I deal with it every year, since I got married. Hubby hates it too, but he silently puts up with it, because most of it originates with his Mom and sister. He is becoming a bit more vocal about it, lately, but we still deal with it, and it usually lands on me. I hate it.
23. Do you decorate your tree in any specific theme or color? I used to, then we had a child - now it's a riot of everything and I love it!
24. What do/did you leave for Santa? Cookies, milk (for Santa), chocolate (for Mrs. Claus) and carrots for the reindeer. The carrots are always nibbled on, the reindeer leave poop on the front lawn, and Santa leaves snowy footprints from the fireplace to the tree. But it's magical North Pole snow that doesn't melt, and is easily swept up. (the poop is magical too - it resembles chestnuts...)
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I've put an adjustable chain on this so it will fit anyone. This is for one SIL who will love it. I know her so well - we met when we dated then married brothers, and have become great friends beyond that. We have kids the same age who are the best of friends. She appreciates the hand made stuff even though she doesn't do it herself.
For another SIL, I went brighter. She loves blue and green and bright colours.I didn't follow any colour pattern with this - it's just multicoloured glass seed and bugle beads in a random colourway. I'm enamoured of this pattern. It's another Brenda Franklin, not from her book, but bought as a separate pattern at the Kitchener Fair. I've got seed and bugle beads in a copper, bronze, pewter and gold mix, and I'm definitely making this again. For me.And to show how easy this is - here's the back. Simple garter stitch. The front just has loops of beads. Seriously, it's that easy.The clasp couldn't be easier. (But taking a picture of it was obviously hard, as I didn't...) I was in Walmart and checked the bead section. They had silver chain link bracelets with a lobster claw clasp. Hmmm, snip a chain link in the middle, and sew the ends to each end of the knitted piece. Voila! finished chain link closure. Sometimes I amaze myself...
Monday, December 10, 2007
At first, I puffed with pride - not only does my son love my knitting, he's PROUD of me! I'm not an embarrassment (yet) to him! How cool is that?
Wait... if he keeps this up, I could end up knitting a menagerie of hats for the entire third grade. No! My knitting time is precious, and while I can be a bitch towards co-workers and sundry other adults about selfish knitting, how can I disappoint 8 year olds? I've got to head this off... Damn! he wore his Spider sweater to school! How many of them saw it, and how many did he offer that I would knit for them? What if the girls requested princess sweaters?? Oh Man! that's INTARSIA! I can't do it, I have no time! I'm too selfish!
Wait! What did the friend say?
"No thanks. My gramma knits me hats. They itch, but I'm not allowed to tell her".
Charging the camera batteries - pictures to come...
Friday, December 07, 2007
My Aurora lurker asked:
"Where do you get your thread? I started with a kit from earthfaire, but would like to buy locally if I could. "
I also started with earthfaire (they are responsible for setting me off on this path...) Now I buy my beads wherever I find them - Michael's usually, but I have been know to find some in Wal-Mart. Threads are another issue - I havent yet been able ot find good threads at either of these places. There are bead stores near me, but their hours and mine never seem to mesh. (They are often closed on Sundays, which seems to be the easiest day for me to get out.)
However, I need to get to one soon, because I want to stock up on some silk threads. Right now I usually use Cotton Perle #8, which works just fine. I had a stash of this (I have NO IDEA why), but I have also bought some at a yarn store near me. However, they are discontinuing it, and have very little left. Any place that sells embroidery supplies should be able to help.
And even though you didn't ask, someone at my Guild did - needles may be tougher to find locally. I'm very lucky - my husband owns a manufacturing business, and works with a lot of stainless steel. He even has it in lengths of 1.0mm and 1.5mm rods. Cut down to size, sharpened at one end and beads glued on to the other - voila! bead knitting needles. He's so pleased with them, he got a little annoyed when he saw my sock needles. "You bought thouse? Why? I can make them!" Yes dear you can. And don't worry - you will be...
Tracy mentioned that she's baffled by the beaded necklaces. No worries, a lot of people are, especially when I say they are knitted. Even knitters looke at them and can't really see the "knitting" part. But they are. Really. And easy. Really. If they interest you go to Brenda Franklin's site and get one of her patterns or kits. The instructions are really well written, and if you follow them, you will be amazed. Really. I was. I never thought I'd be making these. And look at me now!
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Another SIL likes a little more colour, so she is getting the bugle bead choker using some multicolour seed and bugle beads I had hanging around. (Knit from stash! I love it!)
I got to do a little knitting on our vacation. The toe of the first sock was done before we left, and I got the foot knitted while sitting at the airport from 4:30am to 6:00am when we boarded - the heel and leg were knitted on the plane from Toronto to Orlando, and the ribbing is the sum of 4 nights of knitting at Disney World. (an indication of just how tired I was!) The second sock toe was cast on and done at my Mom's, and the I got to the heel at her place and on the plane. Not as much knitting time, as I spent a lot of time cajoling Son into doing his homework that he was studiously ignoring. (Yarn is Austermann Step with aloe and jojoba - picked from the stash by Son himself).
I also got most of another handwarmer done - just need a thumb and another for the pair - destined for a Christmas gift for one niece or another. Fleece Artist Kid/silk blend, also from stash.
I took stock of what I have done, and what I have left to do, and surprisingly, I'm not in bad shape. I got a lot of holiday knitting done ahead of time, I guess. I thought I had more to do, but I have severely cut back this year - it was getting ridiculous. The kids (nieces and and nephews) were getting a little presumptuous with their requests - there's no way I'm buying my 13 year old nephew a laptop - nice try. and the girls! Very specific in their demands. And you know what? That's what they are - demands. No more nice little lists, once they hit the teen years. So each is getting one gift, and one gift card. The girls are getting something handknit (hand warmers, maybe a bracelet), and the guys - something small they want (I've been told posters of "hot girls" will work. Now I have to find out if he wants Jessica Alba hot, or Jessica Simpson hot. I'm hoping for Alba.) And then it's I-tunes gift cards for all!
So once I finish the above, I have one more (maybe two) pairs of handwarmers, and some bracelets to finish. (and these already have the beads strung). I think I can do this. I hope.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
(that's as close as I was getting...)
I also did some knitting. I finished one sock for my son in the airport and on the plane flying down, and got half of the second one done on the way back. I didn't have as much time on the way back to knit as I was helping Son with his homework that had been basically ignored all week! I also got some handwarmers done, but realy, for a week off, knitting time was sorely lacking.
I'm starting to surface again - I've dug my way out of most of the paper at work, Son has been to swimming lessons and basketball practice, I've been to a Guild meeting, Hubby has been to poker... Now I have time to get some groceries in the house and face the Mount Everest of laundry. Oh Joy. I've also started to realize that we are in December - I'm not sure how that snuck up on me - and now I have to face the fact that I am woefully behind. I need some time to shop for a few things, knit a few things, wrap a few things... I won't even get into the family issues that are arising right now - I've already made my stance pretty clear within the family, and I'm not going to take the crap that is potentially going to be dished out. Not going to happen. I don't have time for drama. I think I need a Lene...
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
How many parents get to watch their kid defeat Darth Vader?
Son was chosen out of the audience to be one of 16 Jedi-in-Training, and have a chance to fight Darth Vader. They learned proper light saber techniques and well, it was so cool! It pays to dress your kid in bright orange! Even at the parades, the characters seemed to find him and high-five him. And the bright colour was so that I could find him in a crowd - who knew it would also help the Jedi Master pick him?
Monday, December 03, 2007
Let me find the camera cord and well, actually, find myself amidst the paper and I'll be back. Give me a day or two, ok, Nancy?
And yes, the trip was wonderful, fabulous and everything we wanted it to be!