Monday, December 10, 2012

elving and etc

December is the time for stilted and secretive blog posts, for pictures showing the tiniest slivers of finished objects, and hinting at kitchens full of gingerbread spices but never actually SAYING it. That's what's happening in most of the crafting world, at least.

I, however, can be reasonably sure that no one I'm making anything for this year has even the slightest knowledge of or interest in this blog. Ah the comforts of obscurity...

One of my New Years' resolutions last year was to try out fair isle knitting, or stranded colorwork, which I've always found pretty intimidating. Well, I finally tried it, with 3 weeks left of the year to go (I always work better under pressure) and other than a few problems figuring out how two strands of yarn can sort of cause some sizing issues...

I feel pretty happy with it. What started as a gift for an adult woman is now a gift for a tween... and after thinking about it, the tween is probably a lot more likely to actually WEAR a slouchy multicolored hat full of hearts. So.... hurray?

Honestly most of my crafting isn't even Christmas crafting. It's oh shit it's 20 degrees this morning and no one has a winter hat type crafting. Hence Ben's nome hat, and Chase's updated, non-moth-holey watchman's cap. Those black watchman's caps are great, the pattern is simple and they fly off the needles. The problem is that I bought about 5 pounds of that black yarn on sale many years ago, and it was on sale because there's maybe about 5 strands of fiber that came from something organic in the whole damn thing. The rest of it is a vaguely wool-like acrylic that actually leaves BLISTERS on my fingers when I knit it too much. So yeah. Only one more watchmans' cap to go and then I'm retiring that yarn for the season. 

Here's some non-knitting crafting for once. If my mom happens to be walking behind you while you read this, please distract her until she moves along, because these little embroidered napkins are for her. I sketched little Christmassy type things, and have been embroidering them whenever the mood strikes. Other than the fact that I can't seem to make tiny gingerbread men not look like tubular globs of poop, the project seems to be moving along pretty well...

And here's Jane's Christmas sweater -- I'm honestly really proud of this one. It's from the 3 lines pattern (just search for that if you have a ravelry account). It was such a fun pattern to follow, the yarn is swish from knitpicks, which is so soft and squishy (especially after knitting from those plastic sheep for so long) and the only thing left to do is pick 3 buttons. I think I'll go with Millie's fly-delta-jets buttons, because 1- we've got a drawerful of them and 2- why not? it certainly differentiates this from a store bought sweater.  

The thing about knitting anything for people under 30 as Christmas presents is that there's going to be that moment. When they open it, and they look at you... and they're waiting for permission to put it down and go open another more promising package... you have to ask yourself if you'll still have a great Christmas after that.... If you'll be able to suck it up like Mrs. Weasley (surely one of the most wonderful knitters of recent fiction) and not only smile delightedly through it, but actually knit them something again next year.... I'm ready for it. All the lost hats of the last 7 years of parenting, the dog-chewed merino scarf, even the thrummed mittens I found in the chicken coop, all have prepared me for this moment. Knitting in a household with small children can feel less like crafting heirlooms and more like building sandcastles. I'm ready. 

You know what doesn't suck? Knitting for people who are genuinely happy to receive (even if maybe they're not particularly hat people). My dad is modeling a fair isle hat I started for my sister (the second Anne related Christmas knitting failure). It ended up fitting him a lot better than it would have fit Anne, and it certainly gives him a festive glow, doesn't it? He's never anything but full of gratitude and whatever the descriptive noun for "being a good sport" is. Of course he wore it while I was there, sitting right next to him, but unless my dad is on a sailboat and it's raining and also maybe freezing? He's not really a fan of hats, most particularly warm, itchy wool hats. So my money's on that hat sitting at the foot of his couch, ready to pull out and pop on should I unexpectedly knock on the back door, but largely unworn otherwise.  Still better than finding it in the chicken coop, though. 

And here's a palette cleanser of completely not-related-to-Christmas-crafting pictures. Bear and his cone of shame, otherwise known as Ben's favorite new way to torment the puppy. They are really a super team. 

And another super team --- these are my carpool line companions. Jane never met a seatbelt she didn't immediately incite into a battle and eventually swear vengeance against. When you slow down going around a corner, you have to keep in mind that she's probably planning which direction she's going to tuck-and-roll in.  Keeping her in a seatbelt when we're actually technically stopped  in a carpool line is like giving a 2 year old a piece of ham and having him walk back and forth in front of a chocolate lab puppy. Foolhardy and predictable. So I pick my battles, and this is what the carpool line looks like most days. At least for the next week. Then we're going to load them all up and head home to Beaumont for Christmas. 

That's four extra knitting hours in the car... if you were counting.