Monday, January 18, 2010


Some of my favorite gifts this year were the ones the girls made for each other.

Jane was a little bit too little this year to be let in on the secret of Wren's big present (BIKE) but with her dad's help she made a complimentary gift. She and Chase picked out some pink polka dot ribbon, and he held and tied while she cut the ends off.

Janey was pretty overjoyed on Christmas morning to give Wren a set of streamers for her handlebars.

And Wren actually came up with the idea for Jane's gift independently. Jane spends a good part of her life being "Jane Puppy" and Wren thought Jane might like to have a little Jane Puppy friend to go with her. Wren drew a picture of Jane Puppy, which we traced to felt and cut out.

Wren's initial vision had Jane Puppy covered entirely in hearts, but after she arduously drew and traced and cut one heart out, she decided one was probably enough. As the chief seamstress on this project, I encouraged this decision. Jane loves her Jane Puppy and even in the avalanche of new toys from Christmas, JP still gets a good bit of play.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Side Hugs All Around

Hey Blog, will you be my accountability partner? Something about January knocks me down every damn time. I never have understood New Years resolutions and how anyone can feel ENERGIZED or productive after the last few months is completely beyond me.

I went to the Kindergarten open house at Wren's school last night. KINDERGARTEN. WTF. So much for applying to the Seiffert Family "travel around the world and learn stuff" School. Reading and writing and math and Spanish and sign language and parents asking questions about the curriculum and first grade preparedness. Ugh. So I need to get on that. Turn in paperwork and whatnot.

And my potential employment. I have an opportunity to use my library degree in a fun and exciting way, and although the project is contingent on funding (of course) that may or may not be secured, I should still be acting like they've got it, and doing my best to get this job. Networking and researching and blah blah blah. But I don't want to! There's knitting to do! And also have you seen my new tile floor? I like to spend a few minutes talking to it every day, encouraging it to take root, and deflect dog hair, and continue to shine so beautifully. I don't have time to CALL PEOPLE AND TALK TO THEM ugh how awkward right?

Also we joined the Y. Yea! for healthy families. The girls went to a gymnastics class that they LOVED and the nursery is fantastic and we know people there but also it's kind of far away. And annoying to get to. And Jane tends to take her shoes off in the car. And it's hard to get them to school, much less out of the house to go somewhere optional. My burrow is warm and full of books and sometimes cheetos. Ugh. So I need to actually do that, accountability blog. Even though I do not want to go to there.

AND FINALLY. I finished the eternal scarf, and immediately cast on for Eternal Scarf II The Scarfening. What you don't realize from that picture is that it's not a top down knit- it's a cast on 200 stitches, knit for a while, increase to 600 (SIX HUNDRED) and knit for a little while more. I am somewhere in the middle of that 600, and God save me if I lose count or something. I don't have pictures because it's red, and all blown out, and there's no sunshine in Texas this month.

Once I figured out how the pattern maker's brain was thinking, things got easier, but still, this is quite a slog. With 600 stitches on the needle it feels like it should end with a sweater, not a dainty little ruffle scarf. And the best news is, this isn't even a late Christmas present. This was a birthday present for someone BEFORE CHRISTMAS. I haven't even started the Christmas ruffle scarf. UGH. So I need to work on that. I MUST NOT be trolling Ravelry for adorable new patterns or buying yarn (oops) or planning a slouchy hat or anything like that. I MUST FINISH these scarves before I move on to recreational knitting. Hold me to this, blog. As iron sharpens iron. Or something. I don't know. I never actually did that stuff, you know, not having a porn addiction...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sisyphean Knitting

I drew my Uncle Bill's name in the family Christmas draw. I don't know my Uncle Bill very well. I know he's a lawyer. He lives in Colorado, or sometimes Wyoming? He loves dogs, and his mom (not in that order). He skis and rides horses and hunts things with antlers, and that's about my entire working knowledge of the man.

So Son of Stitch and Bitch to the rescue, with the awesome pattern for the antler scarf.

I really like this pattern, and I love the fisherman's yarn I found at Joanne, and all of this should have added up to a completed scarf sometime back in early December, in time to mail to Colorado (or Wyoming?). Sadly, obviously, that didn't happen. Instead I've been slogging along, cable after cable, at an inexplicable snail's pace. I have NO IDEA why this is taking so long. I wasn't under the impression that I was the faster knitter in the land, but I am also not the slowest. This is completely ridiculous. I have knit my way through hours of trash TV, and what should be yards is inches. This one ridiculous scarf, that I used to find appealing and now want to dunk in kerosene and light on fire, is holding up ALL of the Christmas knitting, that I can't even START on until I've cast the eff off.

Okay, so I should be knitting, instead of venting. I just hope that someday my beloved Uncle Bill enjoys the HELL out of his antler scarf.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Handmade Recap

This is the point in the year when I would traditionally be doing a rundown of some of the gifts we'd given this year. Sadly, I am about 30% finished with making the damn things, not counting packing and shipping time. Fall really kicked my ass this year, and I vastly overestimated the amount of time I would be able to devote to sitting down and knitting.

Somehow, I thought that two days of driving, in the week before Christmas, would equal two days of solid knitting. Someone hit me in the face please, the next time I start thinking like this. Driving = fetching toys, setting up shows, unwrapping string cheese, calming tears, basically being a one person entertainment troupe, while also struggling to keep my very sleepy husband awake on twisty dark country roads. I think one night I talked for 45 minutes straight about beekeeping- just a monologue, on the last thing I'd happened to be reading about before we got in the car.

Anyway, I did finish a few things, and manage to wrap and gift them.

CAT SHIRT! That's Lyle, my nieces' beloved old kitty. The project is from Bend the Rules of course, and Chase actually did the work of printing it. I just did the transfer onto pajamas. Apparently I am very close to coveted "crazy aunt" status, and this may throw me over the top. My sister-in-law said her older daughter would love it in theory, but might hesitate to wear it outside the house. In the end though, we actually had to insist that she put a coat on over it, before she froze. Hurray! Cat Win!

Grandad got a quick knit tweed scarf, and also membership in the "Pie (or other dessert) of the Month Club. The ladies of the family are pooling our resources, to keep Grandad in pie for 2010. I didn't come up with that, the credit goes to Sarah, but I love it.

I don't have any finished pictures of this finished project. The kids picked leaves from the garden, and we made leaf prints on linen (from old curtains) and I sewed these up into little drawstring produce bags for my dad's garden, a la Betz White. These were fun to do and pretty quick and the kids loved helping Grandad Owl open them up and tell him all about them. I know they'll get a lot of use- my dad is pretty excited about his garden this year.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Last Minute Gift (from last week)

So my schedule right now, when it's not marked off for working on the house, is full of handmade presents I did not finish this year in time to give away. Sad times...

There were a few successes though. I bookmarked this really cute idea a few months ago and last week, when I was counting heads and coming up three presents short, I remembered it! Hurray for remembering!

I have three college aged cousins, all beautiful smart ladies, who probably occasionally lose buttons or need to hem something. These are little sewing kits, complete with tiny hot pink cutters, buttons, thread and little felt needle books.

Wren helped me glue the fabric to the inside of the jar, and also of course she helped with the stuffing. This was a good reconciliation project for us, during Jane's naptime. Wren, after having cut off a good chunk of her sister's hair, from the front of course, did not have scissor privileges for this project. In fact, she got to watch me throw her pair of safety scissors into the trash. Today's vocabulary word was 'regret'.

But hey these little sewing kits are adorable, right? My cousins undoubtedly thought I was lame for getting them what is basically an airport hotel accessory, but whatevs. I think they're cute.

My other favorite Christmas project was from Bend the Rules with Fabric, one of my favorite craft books from last year. Due to my friend Kelly's INSANE preference for reasonable housing costs and commuting time, she and my favorite godson live in PEARLAND, and I do not get to see him as much as I'd like. Obviously this impinges on my abilities to fulfill my duties as godparent, having promised to "take heed that he learn the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, and all other things which a Christian ought to know and believe, to his soul’s health."

How am I supposed to do that stuff three hours away? Renounce the vain pomp of the world, Rush! Learn the Creed! For your soul's health! Rush needed something more tangible, a reminder he could hold (and possible chew on) while he wrestles these spiritual dilemmas.

Hurray for Amy Karol! Me and my fellow godparent have been immortalized in beautiful cloth teething dolls. For your continual spiritual growth, when I can't be there in person. Merry Christmas!

And to those still expecting presents... don't hold your breath. Chuck is starting again in January, so that should be good to knit to...