I had a very good meal at my mother's home (watch out, there was cayenne powder on those sweet potato sticks). Yesterday, we went back for left-overs and fried asparagus with some sort of creamy, sour cream-based dip that had creole seasoning in it. I usually loathe and can't tolerate fried foods but these were so crispy and non-greasy, I quickly realized I could eat the entire platter and not realize what I'd done until it was too late. Back away from the asparagus....(hmm, can you tell I'm somewhere in the South?)
Every single photo I took at my mom's is totally blurred. Some worse than others. First, we have Jaylee practicing her Miss America wave:
She did this a lot, enjoys doing it, and will add in blowing kisses on request.
Then we have this shot of what will be the next new baby for next year's Christmas:
Any minute now, can't you tell? She's in such a good mood, it's unbelievable. Has been the entire pregnancy. If we could bottle whatever is doing that, there would be peace, love and harmony throughout the world. Take my word, it isn't a normal state for her, she'll tell you herself.
All the knitted gifts I did manage to finish up were very happily received.
The Hannah hat from Magknits. It has a ponytail opening knit in the back of the hat that secures with buttons so you can take it on and off without causing the Fuzzyhead so common from other hats. I used 2 white flower-shaped buttons. Note: the buttons on the Magknits site photo look really large. I found that with my knitting tension and resulting gauge, I ended up using what I would consider "regular" sized buttons.
This went to Tara, the mommy-to-be. I used Cascade 220, obtained from Fiber4Ewe in Wytheville. The pattern is very straight-forward and easy to knit, would be great for beginning knitters wanting to try out knitting in the round, decreasing, and getting over the fear of doing a button-hole, and the Cascade 220 was a very cheery color. True, it's not superwash but even in my humid, prone-to-mold icky part of the world, it dried in 24 hours after a wash in Soak. It knitted up in around 4 hours total, most of you could probably do it in less time. Bear in mind when I mention total knitting times that I have to severely restrict how long I knit using larger than size 8 needles due to the RA in my hands. If I try to do extended sessions on large needles, I put myself out of knitting entirely due to pain and inflammation. So if you are trying to figure out how quickly you could knock one of these out in, do keep that in mind.
The Sister-in-Law socks. I gave my one of my best friends, Bev, socks for her birthday this past year. Which immediately set off a chain reaction that resulted in her mom wanting a pair. I'm not complaining, I consider those who grab my handknit socks, fondle them and hint repeatedly for their own pair(s) to be very intelligent creatures. As opposed to the ones who remark something about going to Wally World and picking up the Chinese-knit socks in the hunting aisle. She was very specific in her hinting: need to match denim jeans and blue and/or grey pants plus be longer length, at least top of calf. Add to this that she has the skinniest size 8 foot I've ever seen in my life. To be price-practical, I chose Regia so I could get the top-of-the-calf length, and threw in Brown Sheep Wildfoote in a matching grey for the toes. The challenge to these was simply in getting the proper skinny-ness in the foot. I used the Elizabeth Zimmerman/Meg Swanson arch-shaping method described in Meg Swanson's Knitting, page 137, and had to do 15 rows of the shaping. I've never had to go past 9 rows before. I still had to add in judicious ribbing placement and decreases to pull the sock in at the right places to give it a proper fit but not cause any problems with rubbing or bunching when she puts on her shoes. They fit her perfectly. She was happy. I was happy. :-)
Now for the Not Christmas but other knitting category:
My Red Sox Sock. I have one sock entirely designed and finished up. The other is now on the needles (my present to myself, go ahead and start my other sock) and I'm halfway done the pennant pattern on the cuff. It's a neat pattern, looks like little triangular flags when it's stretched out because they won the pennant, yes? I do love this yarn, it's squishy, smooshy and downright plush. Way too bad I lost both ball bands and now have no idea what it is. I suspect I bought it at Mosaic when I picked up the Soak wash. (Oh, lookee, they're having a coupon sale. And I can't think of any way or good reason to get to Blacksburg. Bummer.)
This little sock is one of a completed pair, made with a plain vanilla pattern. I threw in solid heels and toes due to the small amount of Lorna's Lace sock yarn I had left over to use for them. I know they'll fit one of the babies in the family.
I also seem to be on a contrasting heels and toes kick. :-)
And look! That's spinning I spy! This is 100% South African wool goodness, obtained from my wool crack dealer, er, make that one of my favorite handdyed wool vendors, Carol, at Black Bunny Fibers on Etsy. I've been spinning it on my Louet and it's now all spun up and ready to ply. I'm going to do the plying on the Lendrum. The Louet is going out on loan to a friend for a couple of months after the first of the year so she can learn to wheel spin. And see if she likes Louets before she decides what to invest in. Several of us have Louets and I love my S75. There are also Ashfords well represented in the guild and I know one girl who has 2 Kromskis. I found the Kromskis hard to treadle but I had never spun before that day so I can't count that as a valid opinion because I now know that it may simply have been due to the tension settings on it. The only thing I knew about tension that day was that I was really tense. I've now shown up with the first Lendrum infiltration and everyone seems to like her very well. The main thing I note is that the Lendrum allows you to spin much finer and faster, even on the top of the whorl, as opposed to the Louet. It's much harder to get that level of fineness and you have to treadle harder to do so on the Louet. But I love the lofty soft yarn I get from the Louet. So I can see using both. Which is really bad because I justified the "grab that Lendrum and load it in the car" down at SAFF by swearing I was going to sell the Louet. Now I feel really short of breath and sweaty and kind of faint and dizzy when I even think about. Whew, bad feeling. Give me a moment here. Must go pat the Louet.....
Okay. See what a dilemma? I just know Linda is going to have to pry it out of my arms to borrow it next month. And that's just for a visit. How can you love 2 spinning wheels to death? Even worse, I spin on both. There's some mystery brown grease wool on the Lendrum as I speak.
Well, I guess I could go cast on another sock while I think about it. And in the next update, I'm going to get a full modeling of the finished (yay! wild cheering, clapping, hooting! yay!) Rogue hoodie ON it's intended new owner, Tech Gal herself. Maybe she'll even help me choose a new photo-editing program and do some housekeeping here. Heaven knows, every Christmas photo I took was totally blurred.
Happy New Year, y'all!