The Holidays Can HURT!!

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Or at least running into your brother’s forehead on Christmas Eve can hurt! Still, I think they recovered well:

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These toy sets (picked out by my husband) were probably the biggest hit. Star Wars sets of “dudes” that are made for ages…3+, I believe? Anyhow, it’s been a week and the starship…errr, excuse me the X-Wing is still in one piece with it’s few moving parts still movable! The baby’s even had a go at it a few times; amazing.

I know it’s a bit late, but I had to post a few pics of our tree(s). Usually I am a huge believer in having “real” trees; I love the sharp, fresh scent, the challenge the imperfection of the branches bring, and I don’t even mind cleaning up the inevitable mess of pine needles (okay…I don’t mind much). However, after the craziness I posted about before, I broke down & bought artificial trees this year — little ones that can be indoors or outdoors. As a bonus for waiting til the week before Christmas, they were 40% off! First I let the boys “practice” decorating a tree:

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Later I redecorated it (and gave them an itty bitty one to play with — I’m no ogre!) and the other one. So we have 3 trees. One they can look at but not touch (due to breakable & one of a kind ornaments, as well as a slightly wimpy card table:

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(yes, you do see Darth Vader front & center…R2D2 is further down & C3PO is ’round back). Then there was the tree they could touch gently, but not play with:

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And lastly their little tree, that they have dragged all over the house. I believe it is currently gracing the dresser in their room.

I promise not to rant about toys & gifts, but let me say that even if my darling children look like this when they open a gift:

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It isn’t going to last when they open the package & the toy falls into pieces. Literally. I’m probably preachin’ to the choir here, but please, please, don’t buy rip-off Transformers from the dollar store. My kids end up so sad when they fall apart & I feel guilty when I have to hide them until they forget about them so I can throw them away. If you want to shop at the dollar store, buy them a ball. Or a coloring book. Shoot — give them a dollar — at their ages, that would be a fortune! /rant

Seriously though, I just hate seeing them so excited only to have their hopes smashed to bits (and for the record, the person who bought these gifts doesn’t own a computer, so I’m not being really mean or passive aggressive or anything, here — I promise!!).

All right…enough of this family talk — is this a knitting blog, or not?! 😉

I received a kickin’ MBOY package last week (MBOY: magic ball of yarn). It was a “from your stash” exchange so no one would feel they were too broke to participate. My swap buddy really went above & beyond, though. She did a great job stalking me around the internet — here’s what she sent:

December MBOY swap

That would be 3 balls of recycled sari silk, 4 skeins of knitpicks alpaca cloud (in color iris), with coordinating beads, & size 2 Brittany dpns. I’m hoping to make a funky purse with some of the sari silk, or maybe a dream swatch, although it’s awfully thick yarn for that. I’m also seeing a really funky teddy bear (for me, not the kids, lol). I would love to see the laceweight become a Swallowtail — ever since I saw the yarn harlot’s pink one last month I’ve been drooling…not that I have time for lace knitting atm, but maybe in a few months I’ll be able to indulge! I’ve also been trying to put my hands on some size 2 dpns for quite a while. I’ll be making my sister’s lacecap next month, so I really did need them!

On the Vintage Sock Swap front, I was making good time until last night when I fell asleep at 10:30 with the baby. I have finished the leg & half of the heel flap on the first sock. It’s the Child’s Silk Sock from the Nancy Bush book Vintage Socks. I’m knitting it with Fortissima Socka in a nice violet-blue with green color. It looks great (if I do say so myself ;)), but I’m not real pleased with the feel of the yarn. Anyone else have experience with this particular brand? It’s 75/25 superwash/polyamide. I really hope it softens up when I soak & block it. Anywho, here’s a pic (pardon the kids toy — I needed something to give it shape!):

fancy silk sock 2

I picked this up on the same shopping trip as the fortissima. It’s more Trekking XXL (same stuff as my attempted HSS Firestarter). It looks like it will stripe in the same graduated way that I love. It isn’t as dark as the picture, I couldn’t get a good shot of it, for some reason.

trekking xxl

Since Leah found my blog, I figured I’d better get started on the soaker for her adorable baby. She & I did some stash trading after she found one of her daughters to be allergic to the mohair in Peace Fleece, but in the end I still get to knit up this gorgeous yarn before relinquishing it. I received it in another mboy swap and the sender thought it might be 100PureWool or HandPaintedYarn. I searched all over both sites, though & I really think it’s Malabrigo. It’s too buttery soft for HPY and to evenly spun for 100PW. In any case, I’m enjoying every stitch:

malabrigo?  or 100purewool

Okay…I really need to get back to knitting on these things, so I’ll leave you with one last picture. It’s the yarn the Tiennie so graciously sent! She received a wonderful prize that contained an Advent of yarn (i.e. a skein of yarn for every day on the Advent calendar, I believe), and decided to pay it forward a bit (ha — more like a BUNCH!) and send twenty-five gifts on to others! I was lucky enough to win & today I received this bit of soft yumminess:

Sereknity Sock Options

The color is called Triple Scoop — makes you want a big bowl of Neapolitan ice cream, huh (which I’m proud to say I wouldn’t eat — day FOUR of no dairy!!)

Playing Catch-up

Wow…what a crazy month, huh? I won’t even tell you how many “in my head” blog posts I made this month…you’d think I was the crazy one! Really I just bit off more than I could chew, and instead of admitting it, I kept avoiding the situation, so I got even less done than I could have.

Here’s the completed back of my sister’s Starsky:

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I have the first of the two front panels finished too. I’m happy with it, just bummed I couldn’t finish it by Christmas. Reality (in the form of a teething, learning to walk, dairy-allergic so momma better stop caving and eating it all the time! almost 10 month old) intervened…again…and again…

When I started feeling guilty for wanting to take time to put up a Christmas tree, I knew the insanity had to stop. I quit feeling guilty & faced the fact that I wasn’t going to finish in time. If anyone could understand the constraints of motherhood, it would be my just-became-a-mother-herself sister who is the intended recipient. Sure enough, she was a bit bummed, but understood completely. She did inform me that she expected to receive it before it was too warm to wear, though. Of course since we live in Michigan, I figure I have until June, right? lol 😉

I believe I also promised pics of my Harvest Sock Swaps — both sent & received:

The one I received:

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The pattern has vanished, but I believe it’s called falling leaves (update, it’s called Yukon Leaves – thanks, Penny!)? The yarn is filaturea di crosa & is super soft & cozy! If you look between the sock & yarn you will see an awesome bar of felted soap! I haven’t tried it out yet (I don’t have anything suitable in the shower to put it on after use — it needs a tray so it doesn’t just sit in a bit of water afterwards), but I read all about making them the week/day before receiving this, so it was pretty cool. If I was to give them to non-knitters I think I’d use dyed roving, though — my dh was making “back hair” comments when I showed him, lol!

Here is the package I sent:

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I themed the package after all the book titles in the Diana Gabaldon Outlander series.

An autographed copy of Outlander, stitchmarkers with amber beads & dragonflies for “Dragonfly in Amber,” A roll up needle case made of oriental inspired fabric for “Voyager” (to commemorate one of the characters), an amulet pouch — or notions holder 😉 for “Drums of Autumn” (to commemorate a native american character), the sock done in the firestarter pattern for “The Fiery Cross” (I’m still a little bummed it didn’t work out to have these in the red Trekking XXL yarn), and lastly some bulky white/gray/silver yarn, shortbread & a Starbucks coffee package for “A Breath of Snow and Ashes” (everybody needs a warm hat & a yummy treat when it’s cold out, right?).

I was pathetically proud of myself for coming up with this idea…I hope she loves it; I haven’t heard back, yet. She’s in Canada, so I know shipping can be s-l-o-w.

Gratuitous picture of sleeping baby:

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I now have a manageable list of things to do, although still way too full. I’m definitely going to be getting better at saying no (especially to myself!) in the future. The last thing I want is to be stressed by something that is supposed to be relaxing & enjoyable! In the interests of not hiding my head in the sand, here’s my present to-do list:

*finish Starsky (30% done)

*finish/start Vintage Sock Swap socks (I have the ribbing of the first one almost done –pics coming soon)

*Lacecap for (a different) sister’s birthday in March

*knit my 2nd HSS sock

*diaper soaker for a friend/customer; this needs to be done within the next few weeks — before I see her at the next LLL meeting, at least!

*fix the Scar/Sock Wars socks so they’re wearable (I need to pull out the toes & knit another inch or so to each…and maybe pull out one entirely — the difference in gauge between the 2 people who knit them is insane — like 3 different needle sizes insane!).

*knit my own firestarters (ready to turn heel on first one)

*finish the longies for my friend out of peace fleece (these are 70% done)

*frog & reknit my baby’s winter hat — I made it too small & it slides right up & off his head!

*knit myself hat, mittens & gloves; okay, somehow I don’t think I’m going to get here until spring…but I can look at the yarn to make myself feel better, right? Here, you look, too:

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The two skeins are Mountain Colors — the mohair will be the scarf & the boucle the hat. The two balls are Kathmandu DK from the Queensland Collection — wool, silk & cashmere — yum! They will be gloves for me — maybe fingerless with a flap? We’ll see.

I also have to finish sewing a messenger bag for my sister — actually I have to attach a bunch of patches — 15, I think? They’re iron on, but I have a feeling I’m going to want to tack them on by hand as well, then just sew on a some decorative ribbon & sew in the lining & the strap.

Of course the baby is wearing through all his diapers, so I need to sew more of those (plus some for my sister’s baby in the coming months), and sew at least one of the blankets I wanted to give as Christmas presents — they’re now going to be birthday presents this year & the first birthday is in January. Of course that’s one of the blankets I haven’t cut squares for yet… lol

All right…I’m getting a bit panicky, now. Gratuitous baby in cool shirt picture:

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It’s a Da*n good think he’s so cute, or I think I’d have a total mental breakdown! lol Did I tell you he had 8 teeth now? And that he’s walking?! Not even 10 months old yet & he walks! And climbs stairs, eek!

And now…he wakes… good night, all! Have a great New Year!

Okay…I’m back — I forgot my list of links I’ve come upon recently… here is a hilarious blog post where a presidential candidate gets in on the sock-holding-for-pictures game, a la the Yarn Harlot. And then there’s the amusing to read & easy to knit kitty cat pattern (warning, strong language ;)). An argyle sock class/tutorial — I have a thing for argyle socks…I think I may just bite the bullet & knit a pair that has to be -gasp- seamed. And lastly…I finally found the stocking I wanted to use as a jumping point for the family stockings that I will be knitting before next Christmas! It’s from a back issue of Interweave Knits; you’ll have to scroll down a bit, it’s called a Rustic Holiday Stocking, isn’t it awesome? Of course I will need to buy the issue, as I didn’t start collecting them until Spring ’06. Okay…back to the vintage socks — I need to have them in the mail by January 7th! Eek; wish me luck!

The HSS sock

is done!  It’s great!  Tomorrow morning it should be winging it’s way to it’s new owner!  Pics soon (no really, I promise!  For real this time!).  I’m ridiculously busy & have to go to my sis’s house (over 3 hour round trip — plus the joy of 3 boys under 5 to ride with me… lol) tomorrow to help out, so I probably won’t post til late tomorrow or on Friday.

Tell me…do I have any hope of finishing Starsky in 2 weeks?  Along with a bunch of sewing & the knitting of some squares for the charity knit blanket (and finding someone to sew them together & mail it in time for Christmas).

Oy…I’m going to bed!

*yawn*

Boy, I have a feeling I’m going to be starting all my posts til Christmas with “I’m still here, just really busy.” The toy giveaway went swimmingly, I have 3 smallest boxes left that are destined for Goodwill, and the boys haven’t noticed anything. Aiden, my beautiful 2nd child, turns 3 this month & had his “Transpormer” birthday party this weekend. He was so sweet opening his presents and yelling “thank you!” in such a heartfelt & happy voice. He even decided he was done with his cake when I told him & his cousins & brother that they could play with his new toys once they were done eating. lol

My knitting is going, but sloooowwly. Probably if I would stop signing up for more swaps (not to knit things, but sometimes sewing, etc.), I could get more done. My HSS sock is overdue — I have everything ready, except the sock. *sigh* I had to pull it out once, then the second time I realized the yarn was too thin — it was making about an inch smaller sock (circumference wise), and hardly fit MY foot, which is 1/2 inch smaller than my pals. It’s knitting up beautifully in STR Metamorphic now, but it took me a bit to figure out the heel. These are my first toe-ups, and it doesn’t help that some of the instructions are written strange & almost in a redundant fashion. I think I figured it out, though, so I’m going to be back to it if I can get to my knitting bag without the baby seeing me & remembering that he can’t possibly be happy for a millisecond without me. lol

The camera’s batteries are back & charged, so as soon as that HSS sock is done, you can expect a picture post. I have lots to show! 🙂  Oh, I can’t believe I forgot to tell you all!  La Digitessa has finally been released…be still my heart!  Knitty and Magknits are both up as well; more on that later.  🙂