December 18, 2007

Peace, Love & Snuffy

Yesterday I saw a woman in her pajamas at the grocery store. Yes, it was before 9am. Yes, they were those flannel pants that in my family we refer to as "house pants" or even "lounge pants," but she had clearly slept in them. I remember my grandfather wouldn't have been caught dead without his hat in public. He put on a tie to go to the bank. I can only imagine his response to the pajamas.

This seems to me the height of holiday stress. Was this poor woman made so insane by all her Christmas preparations that she was too busy to get dressed? She stood up from her bed, and blind with purpose went directly to the grocery store? She must have taken at least the time to pee. I don't know. It was also just kinda gross, to see someone in slept-in pajamas in the produce section, so close to the tomatoes that might end up on your Christmas salad.

Anyway, I'm sorry for her. Christmas does tend to make us all crazy, but let's not go into that right now. Right about now, everyone's thinking of presents, given and gotten.

So here he is, our Christmas present to ourselves, Snuffy. Formerly of the junkyard, then the humane society, and currently residing in our kitchen. We were so taken with his enormous head, five o'clock shadow and wimpy demeanor we had to have him. Is he a Christmas Puppy? Technically, but he won't be jumping out of a box on Christmas morning with big red bow tied around his neck.

The thing is, we love him and he loves us. When I bend down to hug him, he frequently nips at my ear. What middle-aged woman could resist that? He will curl himself into anyone's lap at a moment's notice. Timmy has taken to calling him Junior. Love, love and more love.

So, whether you do or don't celebrate Christmas, peace and joy to you.

December 13, 2007

Scarf It Up

There are lots of questions that come with knitting. What yarn? What gauge? Will it fit? Will it itch? And the bigger questions, the ones that come with the merest whiff of existential malaise -- what the hell am I sitting here knitting for? What am I doing with my life? Why does my obsession/compulsion/addiction manifest itself in just this particular way? Why do I continue to knit, when I have sprained my thumb, and now have what I suspect is Knitter's Elbow?

Anyway, my question is this: Why, at this stage in the knitting game, have I become consumed with scarves? Because I really never knit any scarves at all -- except for a red and black striped one for my stepson (because he asked) and one for my daughter -- straight garter stitch (because she asked). All last year it was sweaters, blankets, lace patterns, even socks, which really aren't my thing. The best answer I can come up with is this: Holiday Knitting.

It all started with the Huckleberry Ascot, which was really a love at first sight thing -- I HAD to have the yarn, and I HAD to knit it immediately. It went fast. I learned how to make bobbles. I learned that I love alpaca. Specifically, 2 hanks Blue Sky Alpacas Melange in colorway 812 - Blue Cheese.

I finished and began the Child's Rainbow Scarf from LMKG. I bought the Kureyon for that, what, like five years ago? Now, I'm busily finishing the Rustic Scarf, also from LMKG, thriftily knit with Cascade 220, from stash. All Christmas gifts. So.

I had high hopes this year for a Christmas Cobblestone, a Wicked for my daughter, but it's not to be. I could do what my mother did one year: she wrapped up the sweater kit and gave it to my bemused father Christmas morning. Bemused, because he probably knew that 30 years later, the kit would still be a kit. And it is.

So, this year, scarves it is.

November 2, 2007

Ni hao!! (or, Trick or Treat!)

Well, Casty is officially dead and gone. I now have a brace for the next three or so weeks. It's not so bad, and I get to hang out with a chatty, friendly physical therapist, who massages my hand and uses this nifty little ultrasound thingy to relieve inflammation and pain. Heaven! I can knit with brace, and will attempt a little swatch later this afternoon.

Halloween came and went, and came again. Here in our little borough, for reasons still not clear to me, the kids trick-or-treat the week before Halloween. So Halloween itself is something of an anti-climax because it's just another day, except it is Halloween, except there aren't trick or treaters here, just everywhere else. This year I was really on top of the candy situation, actually shopped a day early!! I went to Sam's and got dum-dum lollipops, and also some super-cute Halloween gummies. No chocolate, so we adults wouldn't have the opportunity for late night gorging. Perfect, right?

As I emptied them into the big bowl, I looked at the back of the package only to discover that the candy is made in China! Normally, I wouldn't think twice, but I couldn't help but wonder about certain additives that might have fallen into the gummy soup. Anti-freeze came to mind. As my husband would say "Is this a problem or an inconvenience?" Hmmm. We did a taste test with the kids (Ninja and Fanta Girl), agreed that they were a little funky, but all in all pretty good. And wouldn't you know those gummies went like hotcakes!

So, happy belated Halloween and there will be actual knitting content in the very near future.

October 10, 2007

Us and Them

Here is it, Friday again. My knitting room/office/3rd floor bathroom (very old house) is neat and tidy in anticipation of my parents' upcoming visit. The weather has finally turned colder -- most welcome in mid-October. Tonight, I'll roast a chicken for dinner and warm up the house.

Casty and I, having come to a kind of detente, co-exist more or less peacefully. I do have projects on my needles, a Clapotis, (right down there) a February Baby Sweater -- also waiting for the next two weeks or so. I have great plans - for a Tree Jacket, a Cobblestone, hats and mittens, you name it. Even so, at different times in the day, I long to knit.

This past winter, chatting with a group of women at my brother-in-law's annual Superbowl party, I realized that there are people for whom knitting means nothing. These women were perfectly nice, all of them with interesting lives and a lot to say. But they do not knit. Their friends don't knit. They are not interested in your knitting, and they don't want to learn to knit. They nod politely and move the conversation forward. They do not spend an inordinate amount of time or money thinking about projects, swatching, buying yarn, discussing the merits of various needles, etc. They are not glued to Ravelry for hours on end, or worse, waiting for their invite. In short, they are not obsessed, or addicted, or whatever it is we are.

My question is this: What do they do? What would you do if you didn't knit?

October 1, 2007

Adding Insult to Injury

Thanks so much to all who sent get-well wishes to me and get-lost wishes to Casty. I did break down over the weekend and tried to do a little knitting. I did two rows on the Clapotis. Not only was it slow and laborious, but I felt like I was knitting with my shoe. At the end of row two I realized that my right thumb was also starting to hurt. Enough said. 28 more days and I can resume my knitting life.

In the meantime, I've been fretting about all the Christmas knitting that won't get done, cleaning and de-crumbing the toaster, and looking for other ways to use the yarn around the house.

Here you see some lovely fragrant rosemary from a friend's amazing kitchen garden -- all tied up to dry with Cherry Tree Hill Supersock. Tomorrow I'll tie up the rest -- thyme, oregano, sage and tarragon. All is not lost!

September 27, 2007

Cast On

It seems ironic, doesn't it, to start a knitting blog when there is no knitting going on. For the next four weeks. Instead, I've got Casty, stylishly purple, yes, but not at all knitter-friendly.

Casty is healing an ulnar sprain in my thumb, an injury common to skiers (which I'm not). It's a repetitive stress injury to the ligament, and mine comes from knitting. I had one last summer, in my index finger, which didn't require casting, only a small brace. It made knitting a little tricky, but not impossible.

So I've been spening my time on ravelry, queuing up project after project, organizing my stash, winding yarn and counting the days until I say goodbye and good luck to Casty.