Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Merry Valentine's Day

I'm trying to get my Christmas 2009 knitting finished before Valentine's Day this year. Not sure if it can be done but I'm going to give it my best shot. Think of it as a qualifier for the Ravelympics.

I did get a lot finished on time this year.

This was done for Joan. It's called Smiling Drops (ravelry link) and I loved knitting it. And--can we talk--it blocked beautifully. Remember the Warehouse Wednesdays sales at Flying Fingers. Well the yarn is from the ridiculous amount of stash that I acquired on those lovely days. It's Southwest Trading Company Optimum. It's been discontinued which is a damn shame because it is just delicious.

And I finished my sister's wrist warmers. I've already complained about the curse on the things I knit for my Sissy so I'll just leave it at that. You can check out the post about them at your own risk.

And I finished Blueberry's sweater. It's Irish Bells from the Winter Interweave Knits. So cute on her!!! And it's almost the exact same color as her eyes. It's a little greener than the photo. I can't believe I finished it on time but it seems that when Dillon from Flying Fingers is on your side, you can accomplish anything.

And I got a lot of my lovely Bro-In-Law's scarf done in time. I had to try it on him. He's very tall yet very deceptive. If you buy him clothes in what you think is the perfect size, it will always be too small for him. I really thought I had about another 6 or 8 inches to do on his scarf but I wanted to wrap it around him before I cast off. Hello Reality! What are you doing here at Sissy's house on Christmas morning? Really Reality? You don't say. I have to knit another two feet (at least) on this scarf. Wow. Thanks for dropping by. The pattern is from the Yarn Harlot and the yarn is my basic go-to Lamb's Pride Worsted in Charcoal. I had a bunch in the stash but had to pick up a little (okay a lot) more to make it long enough. It's all done now and keeping him toasty warm.

And I got one of Bratty Girl's knee socks done but they had to be tried on because I couldn't find a pattern for knee socks with the right gauge for the yarn she picked so I was totally winging it. The shaping came out great but the size needed some tweaking so they got frogged and reknit. I'll post those, with the pattern, when they're both done. Probably by this weekend.

The only two things that didn't make it onto the needles were Granny's scarf and Pop's socks. They're both started now but still have some work to be done.

Oh yeah--all the book club gifts were done too but I'll do those in another post because I had some fun with them.

And maybe someday I'll finish the Christmas knitting from 2008.

P.S. Does anyone else keep tying 20010. I'm having a hard time losing the extra zero.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I Really Need to Count My Blessings More Often

I am a lucky dog. I truly am.

I visited a friend's local yarn shop and it was a much needed reminder of how fabulous my local yarn shop is. Don't get me wrong. The place was fine. It just wasn't anything special. The yarn wasn't displayed very well and I kept bumping my head on needlepoint canvases that were strung on clotheslines around the place (I'm tall but not that tall).

Driving home, I was thinking about what made my place so special and there are oh so many reasons.

1. The yarn is gorgeous but not precious. Yes they carry pashmina for a boat load of money. But they also have a huge assortment of what I consider their house yarn. I've been a Brown Sheep fan for a long time. Great quality. Great colors. Great price. What more can I ask for when I'm looking at everyday knitting.

2. They have some really precious yarn. I mentioned the pashmina but they carry so much more truly inspired and lovely yarn. And they encourage you to stroke it and love it even if you can't afford it. I'm generally a house chardonnay kind of girl but on occasion, I'll treat myself to the $22 glass of vino at X20. My lys appreciates that.

3. They know me. They know my taste in both fiber and color but they also use that knowledge to get me to step out of my comfort zone pretty regularly. A friend wanted a burnt orange scarf. Not a color that I would normally go for but, hey, you do things for your friends. Off I went to Lamb's Pride Worsted (my go-to yarn) and find a color that, although, it wasn't perfect, was okay. Then someone (I'm not naming names here) metaphorically took me by the hand and guided me to the exact (and I do mean exact) shade I was looking for in Berrocco Peruvia. Great yarn, great color, same price range. The result--I am still in love with Lamb's Pride but I made a new yarn friend in the Peruvia.

4. They encourage me to be fearless (and often reckless) in my knitting. I started a sweater less than two weeks before Christmas and only owned a third of the yarn. Of course, it was a Monday and they're closed on Mondays so I was truly throwing caution to the wind. I shot them an email and got back a quick quick quick response that, not only did they have the yarn I needed, but they thought that jumping into a project like that was good for our creative souls. I was so inspired that I finished the sweater with time to spare. Clearly, this was not a gift for my sister as those tend to try to kill me.

5. Their enthusiasm spills over onto their customers. I've only once met an unpleasant person there and have never seen her again. The other customers are fun and nice and chit chat with each other and let each other pet their yarn. And it's such a diverse group of people that it reminds me every time how lucky I am to live in such a splendid world.

I could go on and on but I think you get my point. Go visit them, either in person or online.

I love them long time.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hello Bandwagon!

Yes I know that every blogger is doing it but the season (and the year that has passed) has set me in the mindset to join them.

For those of you who were here last year, you may remember the motherless whore of a mood that I was in at the beginning of 2009. 2008 had been a very tough year and there was no end in sight.

And in many ways, 2009 was no better than 2008. But in other ways it was oh so very different. Maybe it was because I let myself be vulnerable which I'm not often good at. Maybe it was because I opened my eyes to see the good things surrounding me. Maybe the moon was in the 7th house and Jupiter aligned with Mars. It doesn't matter to me why it was different I am just delighted that it was.

I discovered this year that I can have a helluva lot of fun with my family even though they bullied me into wearing a sleeveless dress. Props to Mrs. Obama for her fabulous arms. I, on the other hand, don't wave at the beach. But I wore the stupid dress and still had a grand old time.

I discovered this year that my friends still like me even though I sort of dropped off the radar for a while. And if they are truly your friends, you can have a knock down drag out fight on Friday and still be friends on Saturday.

I discovered that although dating in my 40s still sucks, that I still have my sense of humor about it. Remind me to tell you about the guy that I googled. Oh, and there was the one that, after a night out with him that led to just about the worst hang over I've ever had, I was buying buttons at Hartsdale Fabric, opened my knitting bag and found a beautifully cleaned and bleached deer femur. That's a good story! Although I may have shocked the ladies in the store.

I discovered that if you ask for help, people will happily give it to you.

I discovered that you can make really great meals with really cheap food. Buy what is abundant at the time and look to the people and cultures who prepare it the best for guidance. Not only will you be healthier and happier but you will make new friends and learn new things.

I've learned that other people will have drama and issues in their lives and it is up to me to decide which of those are worth helping and which of those are not. If your wounds are self inflicted, please stay away from me. There's enough trouble in the world without creating problems for ourselves and I would rather spend my time holding the hand and stroking the forehead of someone who wants to heal.

I've discovered that it's okay to say that I am a really good knitter and that, as a whole, knitters are really fun. Even Cunard thought it was a good idea to put the knitting group on our cruise in the Veuve Clicot (sp?) champagne lounge. I think that says a lot about how we are currently perceived--as joyful people who know how to celebrate. Or maybe just as tipsy spinsters. Either is fine with me.

And, last but not least, I've discovered that even if someone teases and taunts you for knitting in public (okay--at a bar during a football game), they will be delighted and touched by a hand knit gift.

Thank you 2009 for all of this (and so much more). And welcome 2010. It's a pleasure to meet you and I'm looking forward to seeing where we go together!