Sunday, December 31, 2006

Knitting System 2.0

If we're in the age of Internet 2.0, I figure the year 2007 can be my own personal year of Knitting System 2.0. Better. Faster. Smarter. More organized. If nothing else, maybe a little neater.

Knitting System 2.0 is directly related to Christmas Present #3: the Knitpicks KIPer knitting bag set. Can I tell you how much I l-o-v-e love these bags? No more schlepping around both a shoulder bag and a knitting tote. No more leaving the knitting tote behind and then finding myself with time on my hands and no knitting to occupy them. The knitting stays in one bag, all the purse-stuff stays in matching purse-sized bag which then attaches very securely to the knitting bag. Voila, they both go everywhere together neat as you please, and I'll never be stuck without my knitting again. The best part: there are, count 'em, three bags for the knitting, each in a different size. Here is where Knitting System 2.0 figures in.

Three bags; three projects going at once. I'm a fan of juggling multiple projects. As a kid, I wasn't happy unless I was reading more than one book at a time. I never lost track of a plot (maybe because I devoured stories so quickly that I never put down a book long enough for that to happen) and I always had something "on deck" to match my reading mood of the moment. It makes perfect sense for me to employ the same logic with my knitting.

BUT... With adulthood comes those persnickety adult responsibilities, like getting to work on time, making dinner for my family and making at least a token effort towards cleaning and doing laundry. All while making time to actually have fun with said family. While I could sit and read for hours on end as a child, as an adult though I would dearly love to sit and knit for hours on end, the reality is I usually squeeze my knitting in while waiting on line at the bank, riding the subway to work or late at night after Baby M is asleep and everything else has been either finished or put off for another day. This means that I need to limit the number of projects I have going at once or I risk never finishing another one. Ever.

My former system, Knitting System 1.0, involved keeping my projects in canvas tote bags. While there was a certain environmentally-responsible attractiveness to that system, the reality was the tote bags always got dirty (why are most tote bags made in "natural" colors -- aka "please, filth, come cling to me where everyone can see you"?), I was constantly worried that stuff would pop out the open top while I wasn't looking (when knitters rule the world, you will see a complete revision in tote-bag design, mark my words), and worst of all, the number of projects I could juggle at once was limited only by my number of tote bags.

I have a lot of tote bags.

Which is why Knitting System 2.0 relies so heavily on the KIPer bags. Not only do I now only have to grab a single bag...not only do I not have to worry about subway-grey tote bag bottoms or runaway balls of yarn...but I will be limited to three projects on the needles at once. I've even decided on an equitable division of labor within the three projects. At any given time, I will have one project on the needles for myself, one for the house, and one for a loved one. That way, each of my three main knitting areas gets a fair shot at project completion, and once a project in that particular category is completed, I'm free to start another. Neat, huh?

The caveats:
Knitting System 2.0 will only be applied to projects moving forward into 2007 and projects currently residing in the KIPer bags. This means the two outstanding projects from 2006 -- the silk stole for my mother and the mixed-fiber ruana for me -- are safe in their canvas totes, and I am free to work on them whenever I choose. If I do decide to move one of those projects into a KIPer bag, however, it then becomes part of Knitting System 2.0 and must remain there until it is finished.

So, here's my knitting project wish list for 2007. (Some people make resolutions; I make lists of all the things I hope I'll get a chance to knit in the coming year. We'll see at this time next year how far I've made it through the list and what else has wiggled its way in during the intervening months.) Items marked with an asterisk are already in progress.

For myself...
  • an Elizabeth Zimmermann Fitted Bog Jacket in splendiferous Manos del Uruguay*
  • a pair of felted clogs
  • another sweater or jacket or shawl, design to be decided later

For the house...

For my loved ones...
  • a pair of fingerless mittens for DH
  • a skull cap for DH
  • a sweater for Baby M

Happy New Year 2007, everyone. Knit on!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

What I Did Over My Winter Vacation
  1. Paint the bathroom.
  2. Enjoy some quality time with Baby M and DH.
  3. Paint the bathroom.
  4. Start the Mason-Dixon Knitting "Bubbly" curtain in Euroflax.
  5. Paint the bathroom.
  6. Kvetch loudly as I wash wet paint off my clothing, hair, hands and baby.
  7. Paint the @#$%! bathroom.
  8. Complete all the calculations for my EZ fitted bog jacket, which was anything but EZ.
  9. Buy more paint for the @#$%! bathroom.
  10. Paint the bathroom.
Splindarella's New Year's Resolutions for 2007
  1. Get a life.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Happy Boxing Day!

From Wikipedia:

There are disparate theories as to the origins of the term. The more common stories include:

  • It was the day when people would give a present or Christmas 'box' to those who have worked for them throughout the year. This is still done in Britain for postmen and paper-boys - though now the 'box' is usually given before Christmas, not after.
  • In feudal times, Christmas was a reason for a gathering of extended families. All the serfs would gather their families in the manor of their lord, which made it easier for the lord of the estate to hand out annual stipends to the serfs. After all the Christmas parties on 26 December, the lord of the estate would give practical goods such as cloth, grains, and tools to the serfs who lived on his land. Each family would get a box full of such goods the day after Christmas. Under this explanation, there was nothing voluntary about this transaction; the lord of the manor was obliged to supply these goods. Because of the boxes being given out, the day was called Boxing Day.
  • In England many years ago, it was common practice for the servants to carry boxes to their employers when they arrived for their day's work on the day after Christmas. Their employers would then put coins in the boxes as special end-of-year gifts. This can be compared with the modern day concept of Christmas bonuses. The servants carried boxes for the coins, hence the name Boxing Day.
  • In churches, it was traditional to open the church's donation box on Christmas Day, and the money in the donation box was to be distributed to the poorer or lower class citizens on the next day. In this case, the "box" in "Boxing Day" comes from that lockbox in which the donations were left.
  • Boxing Day was the day when the wren, the king of birds,[3] was captured and put in a box and introduced to each household in the village when he would be asked for a successful year and a good harvest. See Frazer's Golden Bough.

While I won't be catching any wrens in boxes or distributing parcels to serfs, I will use a bit of my Boxing Day to write about our Christmas.

Keep in mind, this was only Baby M's second Christmas. Last year at not even 9 months old, Baby M was a pretty passive participant in the holiday festivities. She had presents (which we opened) and took lots of photos

...but for the most part, Christmas was just another day to her.

This year, however, Baby M quickly grasped the idea of Santa Claus (after our somewhat rocky photo-op visit, that is) and presents and just how tasty candy canes can be (especially when you're cute and everyone who has candy canes wants to give them to you), and well...the rest, as they say, is herstory.

I must admit, in my completely unbiased opinion, Baby M is a very sweet girl. Still too innocent to be caught up in how much stuff was waiting for her under the tree, she opened her presents slowly and over a period of days: some on Christmas Eve at my in-laws' house; others on Christmas day at our house, then my mom's house, and finally my aunt's house; and even a few stragglers today at home. She still has a stocking to look through, too. I decided that I didn't want to rush her. It made me indescribably happy to see her open a present and get so caught up in playing with it that she forgot everything else, including the rest of the presents waiting for her. See? Such a sweetie!

So, Santa was good to Baby M and brought her an old-school red metal tricycle (which she can't quite pedal yet but which she loves to sit on while ringing the bell), a Playskool Little People farm (kind of like a doll house but instead of a house it's a barn with all the farm animals plus a couple of human "farmers" -- one of them a little Chinese girl, which is partly why I wanted this toy for her to begin with), a little electronic keyboard shaped like an alligator, a bunch of Mickey and Minnie Mouse dolls (knowing how she likes them, her godparents, grandparents and parents all wound up buying them for her) and a stack of books a foot high. So far, her favorite of all seems to be the three-dollar plastic Slinky from Toys R Us. Not that I'm complaining, mind you; I'd rather have her fling a Slinky around than sit slack-jawed in front of a television or a video game any day. And best of all, she got to have fun with her cousins on Christmas Day. Since they are teenagers and all gaga over their cute little cuz, they spent the day indulging her in games of hide-and-seek, slide-down-the-stairs and let's-eat-all-the-pretzels-in-the-bowl-before-mommy-can-stop-you. All in all, I think she had a good Christmas.

DH and I had a good Christmas as well. I surprised him with a telescope (something he's wanted for years) and he was so excited that he dropped everything and set it up as soon as he unwrapped it. Like father like daughter! I also gave him some seed money for his smithy and a subscription to Blacksmith's Journal. Hey, he supports me in my fiber "habit," so turn about is fair play. And he loved the knitted balaclava. He calls it his "ninja mask" and experimented with different ways of wearing it all yesterday.

DH was very generous to me, as always. He gave me some fibery stuff that I'd asked for (a set of the new Knitpicks Options knitting needles; the KIPer knitting bag set, which I love love LOVE and heartily recommend; a lace blocking kit) and the really big gift: an 80 gig iPod. Now I can listen to audiobooks while I knit -- woo-hoo!!!

Mom gave me some beautiful handmade things: a crocheted angel tree-topper, a hand-embroidered tablecloth (a true labor of love since her arthritis has left her nearly unable to use a needle and thread), a crocheted tree ornament. Things between us are still somewhat "stiff," but I think that with some more time things should (hopefully) get back to normal.

And now I'm just finishing up Baby M's Toddle scarf and dreaming of all the other things I want to knit over my vacation...when I'm not busy painting our bedroom and master bath alongside DH, that is. Next year I think I'm going to ask Santa for some hired help for Christmas. Where are all the good serfs when you need them???

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Yet another wonderful surprise arrived in the mail today from my SP9 Pal, and I'm simply overwhelmed at her kindness. (Note that I'm committing to a "her" here, finally, instead of my former "his/her" designation. It suddenly hit me that quite awhile back, before my second SP9 package arrived, my pal mentioned that her husband had a Godiva chocolate shop near his office. While I'm as open-minded as the next gal and fully realize that not only women have husbands these days, I've decided to go out on a limb and assume that my pal is a female. Of course, it only took me a month and a half to realize this. I blame Baby M. Placenta is made of brain cells, as a friend of mine likes to say, and my powers of cognition truly haven't been the same since giving birth.)

Anyway, take a look at what arrived: patterns for these two gorgeous afghans from Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer over at Wooly Thoughts.

This first pattern is for Curve of Pursuit, an afghan/wall hanging that represents four dogs chasing each other's tails around a field. I first saw this afghan featured in Mason Dixon Knitting under their log cabin knitting section. I then saw a completed Curve of Pursuit over at Bente's Blog and decided I had to make one myself one day.

Of course, once I got over to Wooly Thoughts and got a look at all their other amazing afghan patterns (many, like the two above, based on mathematical principles -- how cool is that?), it was a safe bet that I'd find more to fall in love with. This pattern is called The Best of both Whirls, and while it looks for all the world to be a series of interlocking spirals along the lines of an Escher drawing, it's really formed by a series of triangles that build one upon the other. Brilliant.

I must admit, I'm still fairly stunned that my pal has been so wonderful to me. I've participated in a variety of swaps before and for the most part have had very good luck in the partners I've drawn, but never to this extent. My partner has been both generous and truly considerate; she even offered to spin up the fiber she sent me because she read about my injured finger and thought I might not be able to do it myself. I'm really looking forward to our reveal in January so I can thank her by name. For now, though, this will have to do:

  • MIL's hat and scarf set (finished months ago, thankfully) are all wrapped.
  • FIL's second mitten is finished! The pair just needs to be boxed up and wrapped. Woo-hoo!
  • I've picked the yarn for Baby M's scarf -- neither the green Nature Spun nor the grey alpaca, but three colors of Knitpicks Palette to hold together to form what I hope will be a subtle shading of browns to go with the *sigh* leopard-print lining of her winter coat. Can you tell that I didn't pick out her winter coat? MIL has all the good intentions in the world, and it really is a cute (not to mention WARM) coat, but leopard print isn't usually in my fashion repertoire. What goes with leopard print except more leopard print?
  • Mom's felted bowl is felted and drying over its form as I type. Tomorrow I'll fill it with truffles and wrap. Sweeeet!
  • All other felted bowls are filled and wrapped, and most of the Christmas gifts have been organized into large bags according to when we will be seeing the recipients. One bag goes to MIL and that side of the family; another bag goes to Mom; a third goes to my extended family. That just leaves a pile of presents under the tree for us, though I'm keeping them away from the tree until Christmas Eve to avoid any "accidental" openings by Baby M. While she's too young to really understand about presents, she's definitely old enough to rip up pretty colored paper.
And now I really need to go to sleep. Staying up till 3am thrumming mittens with company coming tomorrow probably isn't the smartest thing I've ever done, but at least the freakin' Christmas presents will be finished in time for Christmas.

And to all a good night!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Which One of Santa's Reindeer Are YOU?

You Are Dancer

Carefree and fun, you always find reasons to do a happy dance.

Why You're Naughty: That dark stint you had as Santa's private dancer.

Why You're Nice: You're friendly. Very friendly.
Daddy's Gonna Kill Ralphie!

God, I love this movie. How many great lines are there?

  • "Oh...fudge. But I didn't say fudge."
  • "Fra-GEE-le. It must be Italian." "I think it says fragile."
  • "It's a major award!"
  • "Fa-ra-ra-ra-raaaaa, Ra-ra-ra-raaaaaa."
  • And of course, who could forget..."YOU'LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT!"
Next on deck for the Christmas movie-thon: How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

  • DH's balaclava: FINISHED! It took me till nearly 2am but it's D-O-N-E done.
  • FIL's second glitten: still to be thrummed. I'll tackle that tomorrow.
  • Mom's felted bowl: still to be cast on. I'll also tackle that tomorrow. With a little luck, I can finish both tomorrow and then do the actual felting on Friday.
  • Baby M's scarf: still to be cast on. I don't know if I'll finish this one in time, but I don't think she'll notice or care. I still need to decide if I'm going to use the alpaca or the Nature Spun; today I'm leaning more towards the alpaca, but that could still change.
And in a "fighting with mom" update...after a long phone conversation during which I (surprisingly) remained un-hostile while my mother accused me of being oversensitive, jealous and having my "brains twisted," following which she hung up on me (ah, the holidays...), she then phoned the next day, offered a very sincere apology, promised to change her behavior and asked if we could put the past behind us and start over in the new year. I'm still reeling just a bit from the turn of events, but overall I'm (tentatively) happy with how things seem to have turned out. Could I be even more noncommittal? I guess that's the part of me that's still somewhat shellshocked talking; still, I hope things really will work out. Life's too short, ya know?

Monday, December 18, 2006

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

So don't hurt yourself.

This is a photo of what the house looked like as I first began pulling up buckets and boxes of holiday decorations from the garage last week. Please note that the Christmas lights, assorted boxed items and another whole TUB of stuff are not represented in the photo. They are, however, now most definitely represented all over my living room as I slowly work on trimming the house. Note, too, that in order to have room for the holiday niceties like a Christmas tree and at least some free furniture to sit on, I've had to move much of my fiber paraphernalia upstairs, where it forms an obstacle course to rival anything the U.S. Army ever dreamed up. Want to get from one room to the next? Just skirt the spinning wheel, sidle between the floor loom and the dressers full of fiber and squeeze past the Beka RH through the door. Reverse the process to come back downstairs, and don't forget to dodge the three-foot-high stack of empty ornament boxes at the head of the stairs or you could find yourself having a happy holiday in the emergency room.

Here's what my dining room table looked like as I started to decorate. I must admit, much of the clutter has since been cleared (read: relocated upstairs -- be careful not to plow into the packages as you squeeze past the looms), but for awhile we were close to eating all our meals hovering over the kitchen sink.

Now that you've seen the Christmas Clutter, here's the Christmas Cheer: a boxload of hats, earwarmers and bunnies for the Soaring Eagles Project. As of today, they've amassed over 560 hats, nearly double the original goal of 300. This means that every child in the school (408 total) will get a hat or earwarmer and there will still be leftovers for those children's siblings and/or other needy kids in the community. I am just amazed at the generosity of everyone involved in this project, and I'm so very happy to have taken part.

And last but certainly not least, here's Christmas Cheer photo #2: stuff from my Secret Pal! Today I was surprised with not one but two awesome packages shipped straight from the sellers. First was a book off my wish list: the third Barbara Walker Treasury. I can hardly wait to start planning projects with these designs! Second is a braid of the most beautiful merino/silk blend roving...I wanted to dive right in and start spinning as soon as I saw it! Pal, if you're reading this, you are truly amazing. Thank you!!!!
Merry Christmas, Movie House!

And here we are, exactly one week to Christmas and I'm in "holiday tradition" mode. As a kid, I always fantasized about having an Osmond-family Christmas: popping popcorn over an open fire, singing carols in 7-part harmony around the piano...all the things that my family didn't do. Our longest-running Christmas tradition was watching the yule log burn on TV (all you city kids growing up in the 70's know what I'm talking about).

So, in an attempt to start developing my own set of Christmas traditions (and in the absence of six other carolers to make up the 7-part harmony), I've decided that every evening during the week before Christmas Eve, my family and I will watch a different Christmas movie. Tonight was It's a Wonderful Life.

Corny as it is, I do love this movie. I've easily seen it more than a dozen times, and I still cry when all the townspeople come crowding into the Bailey house to pour money into that old wicker laundry basket because "George is in trouble." It makes me wish our tiny town had a main street like that of Bedford Falls just so I could go running down it yelling Merry Christmas to everyone and everything in sight. DH, on the other hand, fell asleep on the couch before George Bailey made it out of elementary school and actually up and went to bed right when Mary was hiding naked in the hydrangia bush. I suppose I'll just have to persevere; a treasured family tradition isn't born in a night, right?

On deck for tomorrow: A Christmas Story. And if DH falls asleep on this one, I may just have to shoot his eye out.


- FIL's second glitten is all knitted up and just needs to be thrummed. Woo-hoo!
- DH's balaclava is almost halfway knitted, but I made a stupid mistake that will involve my dropping 40-odd stitches down a dozen or so rows to correct it. I briefly considered just leaving it ("the yarn is black, DH will never notice"), but ultimately my desire to do a good job overcame my desire to not drop back all those stitches and rows. I got started as the end credits of Wonderful Life rolled: three stitches down, thirty-nine to go. Grrrrr....
- Cousin J's scarf is all finished, right down to trimming the fringe ends. Now all I have to do is fold it up nicely and wrap. YIPPEE!!
- Baby M's scarf is not yet on the needles, but it will be as soon as DH's balaclava is finished. I'm now debating between using the green Nature Spun wool and the grey alpaca. I like the color of the Nature Spun better for a child, but I just love how soft the alpaca is. Will have to rummage through the stash some more to see if anything else jumps out at me.
- Mom's stole isn't even on my radar at this point. She'll get a felted candy bowl like everyone else next week. In case you couldn't tell, she hasn't called, and neither have I. I'm seriously starting to wonder if she has a brain tumor. What else could explain all this?
- Soaring Eagles hats are all finished and mailed. The final tally was 24 hats, 4 earwarmers, 5 stuffed bunnies, a dozen Disney pencil cases and a dozen Disney school supplies sets, plus a few other odds and ends. Everything is set to be distributed in the school this week; I can't wait to hear how it goes!

Despite all the crap going on between mom and me, it still is a pretty wonderful life.

"Teacher says every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings."

Saturday, December 16, 2006

At Least I'm Not Completely Crazy...

Though DH might disagree at times.

Y'know how sometimes you just need a reality check? Someone to hold the mirror up and show you whether your lipstick's on straight or whether you have Revlon schmeared all the way up to your eyebrows? Well, today my cousin G held up the mirror, and though I'm not all together sure I'm happy about it, at least I know my lipstick's on straight.

Today was my uncle's interment. The poor man died a week ago this past Thursday; his wake was last Saturday and Sunday; his funeral was Monday. BUT...his mausoleum was brand-spankin' new, and the doors weren't even open until Friday. Four days after his funeral. So, he's just been hanging around, waiting on line to be buried. Geez. At least he got the pick of all the spots in the place.

So, today we drove a long way to say goodbye to Baby M's Kindermusik teacher, who was leaving the world of baby play to pursue her career as an opera singer, then drove an even longer way and arrived in the middle of the ceremonial color guard handing the flag over to my aunt -- my uncle was a war veteran -- and then drove a much shorter way to my aunt's house where, in true Italian-American fashion, we comforted ourselves with food.

Midway between soothing a fussy, teething baby (his) and placating a hyper, overstimulated toddler (mine), Cousin G and I talked about my mom. And after I told him about the things that have happened in the past year that upset me so, and after I told him how my mom reacted when I told her, calmly and without hysterics, that I was upset and why, his response, and I quote, was, "Oh, shit."

Lipstick? Check.

I'm trying to just let this go. We don't talk in my family; we repress our emotions. If an unpleasant feeling arises, we ignore it until it goes away or gives us an ulcer. While I've managed to overcome this tendency in many other of my life's relationships, I don't think I'll ever get past this with my mom, primarily because no matter how much I open up with her, she would rather stick her fingers in her ears and hum until I give up and go away.

Cousin G mentioned something very interesting today during our talk. He said that when my aunt -- my mom's only living sister and the sibling she's been closest to throughout my living memory -- phoned my mother to tell her that the interment would be on Saturday, my mom's response was, "I won't be coming. I'm baking." That's right, ladies and gentlemen: my mother had a date with her Christmas cookies and she wasn't about to be deterred by the pesky death of her sister's husband. What pod-person has arrived from outer space and replaced my mother with this?

Mom eventually came to the interment. She came to my aunt's house afterwards and ate cold-cut sandwiches and apple crisp and left without saying much to me. I don't expect she'll call, but maybe she'll surprise me. Stranger things have happened at Christmas, I suppose.

But I wouldn't bet the stable on it.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I Don't Even Know What to Write

I thought my first post after that last one would be upbeat, all things considering. I'd been looking on the bright side and despite everything, life looked good.


A problem that's been building between my mother and me for the last year came to a head tonight. When I phoned her and tried to talk about it, she just didn't hear me. How do you resolve a problem when the person you're trying to talk to can't slow down, take a breath and just listen? Listen and really hear?

So that conversation was definitely not satisfying and, in mom's own words, "not productive," either. What a surprise. De-Nial ain't just a river in Egypt.

Anyway... I suppose I don't really want to write about all that. I did manage to figure out that the reason I hate working on that lace stole so much has less to do with the yarn or the pattern or the needles and more (most; all) to do with my being angry at my mom right now. The last thing I want to do is knit a fiddly, complicated gift for her; not to mention that even if I did knit it, I'd definitely be knitting in all sorts of negative feelings, which -- much as I am angry with her -- I just don't want to do.

So I'm giving myself permission to not finish that stole in time for Christmas. If I start feeling better about mom then the door's still open for me to finish it, but if I don't...well, as I said, I'm giving myself permission to not finish the thing. And that feels very, very good.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Under a Cloud

That's the message my mom left on my answering machine today -- "this family must be under a cloud" -- right before she went on to tell me that she'd been robbed by a scam artist she'd foolishly let into her home, ostensibly so the person could write a note for Mom's next-door neighbor. This, not 24 hours after we found out that my uncle died during what was supposed to be routine outpatient surgery; my cousin (his son) contracted walking pneumonia; and my in-laws' dog suddenly and without warning developed a life-threatening blockage.

I don't know whether to look on the bright side -- Mom wasn't hurt in the robbery, the dog's blockage has successfully been removed, my cousin is being treated and will recover with no lasting effects, and my uncle is no longer in pain from the cancer he'd been struggling with for over a year -- or whether to just be very, very sad.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Committments

So, here I am, not posting regularly for weeks and now posting twice in one day. What can I say? DH is asleep and I just can't make myself do the last pompom for the last Soaring Eagles hat. Maybe I just don't want to see that knitting end...?

But it's time for me to finish my family and friends holiday knitting, so here's my list of Committments: the items I am absolutely, positively committed to finishing before December 25.

  1. My mother's freakin' silk stole. God, I hate that thing. I don't even know why...I like knitting lace, it's an easy enough pattern...and, of course, the last thing I want to do is knit "I hate you" vibes into the stole I'm making for my mother of all people. So in addition to committing to knitting this freakin' thing, I'm also committing to knitting it with a smile on my lips and a song in my heart. Even if the smile looks a bit more like a grimace and the song is "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot."
  2. The second of FIL's A Pox Upon Thee glittens, complete with show-through thrums. The name comes from DH, who took one look at the brown thrum spots and instead of saying, as I'd hoped, "Ah, novelty yarn!" he said, "Pox! The mitten has the pox!" Since FIL is no fashion plate and has preternaturally cold hands, I'm betting he wears the things no matter what they look like. Which is why I'm committing to making the second of the pair (or I could simply hope for an unfortunate accident involving some sort of farm machinery, but that's not quite in the holiday spirit -- plus, where do you find farm machinery in the Bronx?).
  3. DH's fingerless mitts, balaclava and skullcap. I'm giving myself some leeway here to do 2 out of 3 and leave DH an IOU for the last of the bunch. But that man will find a knitted gift under the tree if it kills me (and it might very well).
  4. What with all this knitting for other loved ones, I can't forget to knit something for my very favorite Baby M. Just today I was thinking, as I tried to bundle her up against the gathering cold, about why she doesn't have a scarf. She has a box full of hats, mittens that she insists on pulling off as soon as they're on, a hand-me-down snowsuit (slightly on the small side), not one but two winter coats -- but scarves she has none. I will rectify that with this pattern from, done in the green Nature Spun from The Sheep Shed:
  5. More felted bowls. Especially one with that last skein of SWS.
  6. And last but not least, finish the scarf for Cousin J that's been on the loom for over a month. Just a few more rows is all it will take; it's just a matter of sitting down and doing it.
OK, now, looking at that list it's not so bad. Six items, give or take. I can do this. I will do this.

And I will freakin' smile.
Things Are Looking Up

Yesterday was a bad day. I spent about 12 hours (let me stress that this is NOT the FIRST 12 hours) breaking my head over a paper for the class I'm taking this semester...had a pounding was pouring rain and lashing wind outside...and when DH got home, he brought in with him a package from my SP9 Pal! And just like that, my day became so much better! :)

I truly think my pal is psychic. Remember how I said it was pouring rain? Well, my package sat, unbeknownst to me, half in and half out of the mailbox all through the storm. As soon as I saw the soaking wet end, I thought "Oh-oh." But I needn't have worried. My pal had wrapped everything up in plastic bags so nothing at all got wet. Whew!

Check out all the fun stuff that s/he sent me:

Handknitted fingerless mitts! They're the perfect size and soooo comfortable! They also happen to match a scarf I already own (my pal is clearly psychic!), and I've been delightedly wearing them all day.

Two skeins of Paton's SWS in my favorite colorway...and an absolutely gorgeous unmarked skein that feels like merino (mmmmmm...merinoooooo) and that I'll have to knit up into something extra special (maybe a shawl...?). And it didn't show up too clearly in the photo, but the bag with the mini sock pattern actually contains a sock blocker keychain. How cute is that?? You knit a teeny tiny sock and put it on the sock blocker so you have a little handknitted sock keychain that you can change the look of any time. I love it!

Of course, I'm saving the sweets for last. See that Godiva bag? It's full of, dark chocolate, absolutely scrumptions Godiva truffles. I've been very good and eaten only one myself, and I even shared one with DH, but much as I love him he's not getting any more...the rest are mine! :)

Now I feel ready to face this last miserable week before the end of the semester with a smile on my face...and truffles in my tummy.