These are the cookies I have finished.
This is a cowl that is not finished.
This is a sweater that is… not finished.
I am undaunted. A little sweaty maybe, but undaunted. I’ve got 24 hours.
My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Eight indoor hobbies to get you through the winter. Of course knitting is one of them. The holidays can be a tough time, but any time you are having a rough day, here are 4 questions to ask yourself that can turn your day around. How meditation makes you
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Last night was perfect. I try not to get to invested in counting on things being perfect, since so much of the universe remains out of my control and it turns out that matchlessly ironed napkins guarantees no happiness (although I admit, it feels like it should) but it all came together beautifully.
The traditional Solstice peppermint bark was finished on time, and the candles were lit,
and the soup steamed on the stove and the ice lanterns glowed outside, and it even snowed, in a perfect, dark, and quiet solstice way. It was amazing, and the best part was that as I set the last of the lanterns on the edge of the porch, and surrendered my fate to the universe, gave up entirely on ever being finished anything on time..
The post truck pulled up, and a very nice man handed me my yarn.
Now, it turns out that this may or may not be as good a thing as I had hoped. I almost thought – as I looked at the calendar and looked at the pile of yarn, that it might have been better if it hadn’t come until after Christmas. I’d have had to go to the store and buy a few presents, but it would have been okay. I could have finished things after the holidays, and avoided the whole mad knitting dash, but the package arriving on the evening of the 21st? I held it in my hands, and I felt something, and it felt like hope. Could I? That’s what I was thinking. Could I pull off a modified plan, now that it was here? I mean, there’s no way I can make all the things I thought were doable, but…. doesn’t it seem now like it’s worth a shot? I started knitting a little faster.
I finished the first little sweater that was on the needles, and wound the yarn for the second, and at some point I texted Joe a picture of the finished sweater, and he cheered and said it looked good, and I replied that the yarn had come, and that I could start the second one. “You’re knitting another sweater before Christmas?” he wrote.
“And a cowl.” I replied.
“Honey, you might be screwed.” he typed.
We’ll see about that, I thought, but I just typed “Good night.” Hold onto your needles knitters, let’s just see.
They are done!! And Lila loves them. Pattern: Mini Christmas Stocking Ornaments Yarn: Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering Mini Skein set Needles: 2.75 mm (US 2) Ravelry Project Page can be found here. This is my big year-long project, and the smartest thing I did was develop a clear plan with obvious results.
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I am, dear ones, still yarn-less. The package hasn’t arrived, and I keep thinking about throwing some sort of a fit about that, but I find myself unable to work up a good head of steam about it. Maybe it’s that so much has gone right so far, or maybe it’s that I’ve spent part of the day texting with my sister. There is a perspective in being able to do that this year, the gifts I’ve yet to make don’t seem so important when I think about the gifts we’ve already been given. Erin is reasonable well, Megan is expecting a baby, my friends and family are safe and warm. Today is one of my favourite days of the year, and I’ve spent most of it getting ready for our gathering tonight, when so many of my favourite women will arrive here, and I’ll light the candles, and the ice lanterns, and bring light to the darkest day of the year. It’s 3:40 as I write this, and just becoming twilight – a short day indeed. Tomorrow there will be a fraction more light, as this hemisphere moves back towards long days… when the sun reaches far into the evening.
Our Lady Rams of the Comments made a gift of posting this poem one Solstice, and I’m reposting it again today, because it’s just the loveliest thing. Read it over, light a candle, bring your loved ones close, and hold fast against the longest night. Peace out, knitters.
And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Friday morning there was still no yarn, and I snapped. Jen lives near a nice yarn shop (The Purple Purl, if you’re in the hood) and she needed to stop in there for some some emergency yarn, and I thought that if she was going anyway and the yarn wasn’t here anyway, and given that Jen was coming over here that evening to do gingerbread with her kids, that the smart thing to do was to have her trot a little replacement yarn over here. There was no way I was starting the knitting rumpus of a weekend I had planned with no yarn… and besides I figured that the best way to make the yarn arrive was to replace part of it. It stands to reason that some law of the universe would mean that the box of yarn and Jen would arrive at the same time. I called over to the shop, made a few quick decisions, and got yarn for a hat, and yarn for a little sweater. That would hold me, I thought, and I kept prepping for the party. When Jen arrived, I looked past her for the mail truck, but it wasn’t there.
Never mind, I thought to myself. I had enough yarn now to get me through until Tuesday, and surely the yarn would be here by then.
I knit with the yarn I had, and worked on the other tasks that I had the stuff for – and by the time that Saturday night rolled around, and Joe got on a plane after his parents Christmas party, I was ready. I spent Sunday in my pajamas, gloriously alone, and knitting. I worked on the hat and the sweater, and I only checked the porch for the yarn about 8746 times.
Monday I was back at work, and I knit a little when I thought I could get away with it, and I made a few other non-knitting presents (I know, who knew there was such a thing around here?) and I checked the porch 847365 times. Evey time I left the house for something, I was convinced the box would be here when I came back – and every time my hopes were dashed. The yarn didn’t come.
Today – well, today I went to the dentist, and I picked up a few odds and ends for a gathering this evening, and I looked at that little sweater, it’s almost done, and I know I’ll finish it tonight, and … there’s no yarn. (I just checked the porch again, in case the postie left it there and I didn’t hear him. It’s still not there.)
So, here I sit. There’s still a snowflake’s chance in hell that it will turn up today, so I’m not going to panic just yet, but I think that if I wake up tomorrow morning without it, I’ll have no choice but to come briefly undone. It was such a good plan, and to have it thwarted by the mail service is driving me wild. I’ve never had a package take this long. (It will be two weeks as of tomorrow.) I can feel in my bones that if I give up entirely and go to the yarn shop in the morning it will be sitting there smugly when I come back, frozen and not at all contrite, satisfied with the havoc it’s wreaked on my spreadsheet. (It has occurred to me that someone might have nicked it off the porch. You hear tell of stolen packages this time of year, people making off with boxes full of gifts. It’s never happened in my neighbourhood, but imagining the look on the felons face when they discover that their plunder is a box full of yarn does have a certain entertainment value.)
Gifts for Knitters, Days 16, 17 and 18.
May I suggest a shawl pin? This will only work if your knitter wears shawls. This can be tricky because there is a weird subset of knitters who knit lots of shawls, but don’t wear them. It is not enough to know your knitter has made some, you need to have seen them try to wrap one around themselves. If you have a pin may be good. These ones at JUL are gorgeous, and I’ve always loved the ones that Romi Hill makes. They’re like gauges and other knitting stuff though, if you hunt around, you should be able to get one that reflects your knitters style. There’s fox ones, and owl ones, leaf ones, octopus ones, Outlander ones, and yes, Tall Allison. There’s a Tardis one too.
How about knit themed linens? Dancing Sheep has this tea towel? Not that one? Maybe this one? Tilly Flop has a great one, and if you’re thinking bigger? I love this duvet cover, and I’m pretty wild about this one too.
Finally, how about a little love for your knitters hands? You could get them a manicure, or a hand massage, or at least a nice lotion or balm. Don’t just get anything though, the knitter specific ones are designed not to stick to the yarn, or stain it. There’s lots of different companies, like Happy Hands, and Tender Shepherd, Lo-lo Bars, and Everything Balm from Goodies Unlimited. (Actually, everybody needs that stuff.)
Original Pattern: Lightweight Pullover Knitter Extraordinaire: Ida (Ravelry ID) Mods: Turned the funnel neck long sleeved pullover into a short sleeved, crew neck sweater dress. Details can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: It’s been a real wave of awesome sweater dresses, hasn’t it? ‘Tis the season! We have seen
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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week An anonymous artist/guerrilla crafter has been putting up these fabulous mice-sized shops and cafes all over Malmo Sweden. I’m so smitten with them. This is 101 ways to cheers yourself up. The entire list is so brilliant, everyone should read it. How to be a good listener. Choose
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I’d put off writing, hoping that that this post would be a triumphant declaration of Canada’s Postal system, and in a way it is, because four (4) packages just arrived on the porch, and my heart leapt for a moment, only to realize that they all contain things that are not yarn. I actually don’t know what they contain, since they’re addressed to Joe. I wondered if they were things that take us another step closer to finished, so I texted him with “Open or don’t” and he said “DON’T” so I can presume that they’re boxes he’ll check off on his spreadsheet, rather than things I’ll tick off on mine. I’ve finished another thing or two today, a little sweater is done, and a hat to go with, and I’ve spent today doing all the things that I can do without the box of yarn.
Gingerbread dough is mixed up and chilling – and decisions have been made about what this year’s “shapes” will be. (Pato voted for ducks, an unconventional but unsurprising choice, if you speak a little Spanish, and Sam requested stars and dinosaurs, snowflakes, a hedgehog or two, and sharks. I’m still trying to figure out the festive nature of sharks, but mine is not to question why. Mine is to bake the cookies and let the rest of it sweep on by me. ) I’ve started to cook for tomorrow night’s gathering, and to do the bit of cleaning and organizing left. (If you’re curious, that’s a black beak and espresso chili.)
I’ve got a some wrapping to do this evening, but when that’s done… well, so am I, box of yarn and knitting, notwithstanding. (That’s a lie. I have a few other bits tomorrow, but the back of it is broken.) If there’s any time left to me this evening I’ll go deep (and I mean deep) into the stash and see if anything in there can be pressed into service. I suspect not, since I’m well acquainted with the contents thereof, and wouldn’t have ordered a thing unless I needed it, so unless Canada Post really comes through for me tomorrow, I suspect I’ll be making time to go to a yarn store and… you know what? I don’t want to think about it. It’s snowing pretty hard right now, and the only thing worse than heading downtown this close to Christmas is heading downtown this close to Christmas after a big snow is that you can’t ride your bike to make it all civilized, so I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. I’m going to pour myself a wee dram of whiskey, cross my fingers, and bake some cookies. Gifts for Knitters?
Gifts for Knitters Day 14
The knitterly wallpaper was a hit yesterday, so today, let’s stick with the paper theme, and assume you have less space to devote to your knitter’s whims? I love these cards from Tilly Flop, especially this one. (Seems appropriate.) Lots of pretty sheepy cards here at Worldknit, and if a card won’t do, maybe a notebook? Chickenboots has knitter themed tape (no, that’s not taking it too far) and I think these tags are sweet as pie.
Gifts for Knitters Day 15
Consider something to keep your knitters works of art looking beautiful. You might not know about “pills” but they’re a bane of your knitter’s existence, and away to remove them will always be good. There’s the old school sweater stone (removes pills, but can leave behind bits of the “stone”. Still, I’ve used it and liked it.) There’s electric solutions – or there’s a nifty tool that I just love, the Gleener. I can’t imagine a knitter not finding it useful – I use mine a lot, on handknits and storebought clothes alike. Go forth and shop.
I need your help! I have a couple hats in progress, one for me and one for Lila. I also have 3 faux fur pom poms, because I couldn’t decide which colour would work best. Not that having 3 to choose from is helping much, mind you. So will you help me play matchmaker with
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Friday. That’s the day we’re supposed to be ready (except for the knitting) and though I suppose progress is being made, I’m starting to feel the pressure of the little details. You know, small things like needing a huge number of cookies baked or a mammoth amount of groceries even though the car broke down, and things are getting tight. I’ve responded to this in several inappropriate ways, like considering cocktails at three in the afternoon, repeatedly looking over the spreadsheet while sighing deeply, or setting calendar alerts that remind me to worry about all of this in July of next year.
I think the strain is starting to interfere with clear thinking. This morning I consulted the spreadsheet, saw that today is the day I’m to start the ice lanterns for Solstice, and then spent 25 minutes hopelessly cleaning out the fridge freezer to make room for the molds, dejectedly realized it isn’t remotely possible unless I throw away all our food, declared defeat and reconciled myself to a holiday without lanterns, and then walked to the post office to mail a few last minute far-away things. I was stomping along, wishing I could feel my feet, shivering and wondering why I hadn’t worn my long underwear, when it occurred to me that Canada *IS* a freezer at present, and I returned home to fill the molds and set them outside. I’m pretty sure that the backyard is much colder than the freezer – and suddenly I find myself hoping it stays that way.
Another pair of socks is done, perfectly matching and ideal for the recipient, who really likes things that way – and a little sweater is just a few rows away from finished, and that means I’ve spent the day watching for the post truck, and opening the front door and checking the porch to see if I missed it coming, despite my constant vigilance. It has not. The yarn I need for the next round is still out in the world somewhere, though I know it’s in the country – it can’t be long now, and I’m starting to get nervous. I can start more socks, but…. slippers, a cowl, and a sweater are on in the wind as I type this, and tomorrow I might snap and go to a yarn store to see if I can buy something to be a stopgap. I’ll bake some cookies, vacuum half a cat off of the carpet, wrap a few things and see what happens next. I know patience is supposed to be a virtue, but the solid week of knitting is supposed to start on Saturday when Joe leaves town, and I’m starting to get sweaty. (Hold on. I’m just going to check the porch again…. Nope.) Let’s do gifts for knitters. Maybe it will be here after that.
Gifts for Knitters: Day 11
There are not many generalizations that we can make about knitters, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say this: Knitters love bags. Few and far between are the knitter’s who don’t have a bunch of them, and don’t want another. The odds are pretty good that a bag will be well received, especially if it’s knitter-specific. Tom Bihn’s Swift was designed by knitters, for knitters, and is tried and true. New to me, but admired by a quilter friend who spotted them in person, My Stow-n-tow look good, and are machine washable and have no zippers or velcro. (These are two of knitting’s natural enemies.) Della Q has quite a few to choose from, and I’ve been carrying a Lexi Barnes for (literally) years and years. If you’re thinking a little more upscale, I’m wild about these from Jul Designs, one that says Make, and the other (appropriately) Knit.
Gifts for Knitters: Day 12
You got a bag last year? That’s cool, you can still stay with that theme, because knitters like bags that go in bags. Project bags are fun, knitters need tons of them (they keep yarn from (theoriticaly) tangling with your knitter’s keys or headphones) and they’re super fun to shop for, because I promise, no matter what your knitter is into – there’s totally a project bag for them. There’s fabulous box bags from Splityarn (I can’t get enough of them) I think Binkwaffle dumpling bags are sweet, wedge bags are nifty, Tom Bihn stuff sacks are classic (I like the ones with clear bottoms so I can see what’s in them) or, hunt up one that suits your knitter. Get one with yarn on it, or cats, or dragons, or hedgehogs or (here it comes Tall Allison) get a Doctor Who themed one.
Gifts for Knitters: Day 13
I know there’s only a small chance this could work for your house and your knitter, but if it’s even remotely possible… you should buy knitting wallpaper.
(PS. the yarn still isn’t here.)
I’ve barely begun my Christmas shopping, so if you are anything like me and have some kids to buy for, why not help get the love of knitting started early and get them a knitting themed kid’s book? Knitting Books for Toddlers: Ages 2-4 Clockwise from top Left: Knitty Kitty: This is a great book
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