A few months back, I joined an online book club called Knit the Classics. I have enoyed reading the books, but the best part so far (for me) has been the Holiday Book Swap that we recently had. I got a great swappy partner! She gave me a copy of Winnie the Pooh (who doesn't LOVE Winnie the Pooh?!!?!?) I have never read it, though I know many of the stories from the book, and I'm completely in love with classic children's books. So this was a WONDERFUL treat. But... that wasn't all I got. I also received a B&N Classic copy of Wuthering Heights. Another book I've never read. And this is one that I've always wanted to read. Paula, my swappy parter, also included a few bookmarks that she made from leftover ribbon from sewing projects. All in all, a very nice, very fitting gift to receive.
FYI, I sent her a copy of Anne of Green Gables (a favorite from my youth - and even today) and a few beaded bookmarks. Funny how we both had the same ideas.
The Knitty Holiday Party I hosted went well. We enjoyed a few classic movies of the season - A Christmas Story (set in Cleveland... which does, in fact, rock) and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. It was nice to have everyone over, and just so the participants know... movie night at my house any time! I loved it!
Pictured are Sarah, Lara, and Chelsea. Paula was also present, just not for the picture. During the party, I got some work done on my niece's slippers. Too Cute!!!
The past two days have brought S-P-A-M to the blog - and not the good kind, like in S-P-A-M-ALOT or out of a can. But true S-P-A-M. I'm trying to remedy that situation, but doggoneit. I'm not sure at all what to do. It has only been two comments, so it isn't that bad, but still... how rude of S-P-A-M-MY people to be attacking my blog! I'm also trying to figure out how and why my blog sometimes separates lines with a whole line break, and sometimes not. Any thoughts?
For the past few years, the holidays have just rushed past me. I'm not sure if it's the fact that I live so far away from my family (it's only six hours... but STILL) or if it's the fact that I'm pressured at the end of the year with deadlines and classes during the months of November and December. I'm trying not to let that happen this year, but so far, I haven't been doing a good job. I promised myself early on that I would put up *some* of my decorations this year. Now, you have to understand about me and Christmas decorations before you can fully appreciate my dilemma. Since my teenage years, I've been "collecting" Christmas decorations. My middle name is Joy, and I've snatched up almost every Christmassy thing that says JOY on it. I have LOTS of JOY in my storage unit. On top of that, for about five years, I would go to every day-after-Christmas sale at Target or (GASP) Wal-Mart and buy every conceivably pretty ornament they had. When I finally bought myself a Christmas tree (again, at a day-after-Christmas sale... ask me about that trip to the store some time) I had enough ornaments to cover it and then some. On top of that, I love love love craft shows around the holidays. And I have made some significant holiday crafty-purchases at said shows in the past. Plus, not to be outdone by crafters who sell their stuff, I've made my own Christmas decorations, too. So imagine the storage unit that I have at my apartment building. It is approximate five feet wide, five feet back, and eight feet tall. And it is stuffed to the BRIM with bins of Christmas crap. I'm scared to get in there and drag out decorations.On Thursday, we had our work Christmas "party". Really, it was just a few (maybe twenty-five out 100) of my co-workers, eating catered food (from Boston Market) and playing the White Elephant game. If you don't know about the White Elephant game, you should! It's FUN! Or... it can be...
Everybody who brought a gift draws a number.
The person who drew number one (#1) picks a gift and opens it.
The person who drew number two (#2) can now "exchange" gifts with #1, causing #1 to return and pick another gift OR pick a gift from the pile.
Repeat this process until you get to the last person. NOTE: #x can "exchange" gifts with any player, not just #1.
Once all the gifts have been chosen, #1 can choose any gift he/she prefers.
Basically, you want to either pick #1 or a HIGH number when playing the White Elephant game. The point of my story (and just so you know, I was number THREE)... when I opened my gift, it was vodka, which in it's own right was a great gift. My boss was out of town, and I live within walking distance of work. I figured I'd have a good time. But of course, my friend Josh "exchanged" (i.e. STOLE) the vodka. But I ended up picking a nice holiday decoration.
So now I have a holiday decoration out, and I'm starting feel a bit Christmas-y. Plus, I'm having some of the knitty girls over for a holiday party Nothing puts you in the spirit like a Knitty Holiday Party!!
On my way to NYC last Sunday, I hunkered myself into my seat on the plane, and willed myself to learn how to turn a short row heel. For the most part, I did ok, but... SSSP is not my friend. First off, I took a gander as to how to do it. Secondly, my gander was wrong. My heel has a few weird spots on it, but it looks ok, and seriously, its going to be in my shoe. There will be no ripping for me. Since I was able to get that completely done on the hour long flight to LaGuardia, I set my knitting aside while I was there. Last night, I picked the sock back up.
I promised myself that I was going to knit Christmas presents last night. I really did. But my sock looked so lonely sitting in the yarn basket. It needed company. Plus, I didn't want to have to think about what I was doing. I figured I could handle stockinette stitch in the round last night. Anything else would have surely drove me batty. While I knit, I watched Lords of Dogtown. Good movie, but strange. Seriously didn't have a whole lot of punch to it. And the more I found out about these skater kids, the less I wanted to know. I found it odd that the one who was depicted as "good" was the one who wrote the movie. It just made me chuckle. In short, it was a great movie to knit by. Both required NO thinking whatsoever. Tonight, I'm really going to start on the holiday knitting. This requires a trip to the LYS because I don't think I have the right needles for what I want to accomplish.
Don't look at me like that... that wasn't an excuse... I swear..
My crazy, fun-filled week is over, leaving me a bit worn out. I'm happy to report, however, that I'm still alive.It all started last Wednesday, with the Calexico/Iron & Wine concert, which I attended with Chelsea.
I have to say that we both looked pretty good that night (albeit, I'm a bit shiny in this picture). Look at the pretty knitty things around our necks!!!
The concert was amazing!! I'd never heard anything by Calexico before, but their music wowed me completely. Their sound is a little bit folk, a little bit southwest, a little bit big band. Their music has earned a special place in my heart. And Iron & Wine was everything I thought it would wanted it to be. I was nearly brought to tears by Trapeze Swinger. I had heard this song during the credits of In Good Company, and remembered loving it. Listening to Sam Beam sing it live was breathtaking. As was the rest of the performance. Calexico, Iron & Wine, and Salvador Duran (an amazing, passionate flamenco singer) performed together to end the show. Well worth being up until 2:30 in the morning... on a WORK NIGHT... when I HAD TO TEACH!!! NPR has a web cast of the concert, and I highly recommend checking it out.
The next night was the Bettye Lavette concert. Another amazing experience.
This woman is near 60 years old, and she's rockin' a body suit! And singin' her heart out. How she can be on stage, with as much emotion as she displays, and not fall to pieces after a show is beyond me. As a matter of fact, she not only didn't fall to pieces, she came out and signed autographs and let Chelsea and I get a picture with her.
At this point in the concert marathon, I was beat! I think you can see it in my eyes. However, the next night, I hung out at Chez Small Hands and met her new litter loverskittens (see the post for December 2, 2005).
On Sunday, I flew to NYC in order to teach a class (one that I absolutely HATE teaching). But it offered me the opportunity to
a) be in New York City during the holiday season
b) hang out with my friend Rob (he won't let me post a picture of him... Scrooge)
c) shop in NYC.
I saw the cutest darn ornament while at the Holiday Market in Bryant Park. Every Christmas-celebrating knitter should have one of these. I didn't pick one up, however, when Rob took me to The Strand* down on 12th and Broadway, there was a Holiday Market at Union Square. I stopped at the Our Name is Mud booth there and got the business card. I think I'll have to convince someone (MOM) that I need this for Christmas. I mean, seriously, "Fleece Navidad". Does a Christmas ornament get any cuter than that?!??! While at The Strand, I discovered very (and I mean VERY) few knitting books. My justification of this was not that knitterly books aren't popular. The reason behind the absence of knitting books in a used bookstore is two fold. First reason, knitters are pretty connected to their books. Once they have a book or pattern they like, they are loyal to it. Why get rid of it, when it can come in handy some other day? Second reason, knitting books are so very popular that anything coming into a used bookstore gets snatched up quicker than you can say "supercalifragilisticexpealidocious". I was fortunate enough to find a few books on my favorite subject. Most were extremely old. "Patterns for big sweaters with shoulder pads" old. "Big hair and blue eyeshadow" old. But there was one, lone book that I bought. Ever since I saw this, I have coveted this book. It seemed kind of ridiculous, though, to pay upwards of $26.00 for a (softcover) book for one pattern. But, at The Strand, I found the hardcover for $15.00!!!!
I didn't make it to any yarn stores, even though Rob told me he'd go with me. It just didn't seem right to take him, a cynical non-knitter, to someplace that I consider sacred (well, not sacred, but close enough). I didn't want him to ruin it for me. I'll be back in NYC soon enough, so I can yarn shop while I'm there the next time. This time was for hanging with him. We saw Syriana on Monday, and I can't even express how good this movie was... if you like to think after a movie. If you don't, don't see it. It will haunt you for days. We also saw Dan Aykroyd signing autographs t Barnes and Noble. However, we just got to see him... we were late for the movie Next time... it'll happen.
I'm home now, and ready to stop neglecting the holiday knitting. I have two little pairs of something to make for two little people that I know (and love more than anything and NO, I'm not talking about the cats). I feel like I haven't knit in weeks (though its really only been two days since I had the needles in my hand. I finished turning the heel on my new socks) and its really starting to feel a bit weird. Tonight is for knitting and watching a movie. And maybe going to bed early...
Using the drop-stitch pattern with Noro Silk Garden, Colorway 201, was one of the best ideas I've had in a while. I L-O-V-E this scarf. Problem with the scarf? I didn't knit it. My roommate did.*** As a matter of fact, I haven't knit anything this week (oh, ok, I finished my first sock of the pair. See?)
But still... what is wrong with me?!?! I've come home from work, and haven't even felt like picking up needles. I think I'm feeling kind of guilty because I'm not making anything for anyone for the hoildays. Yea... that's right. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. I was planning on making things. I even bought yarn for said projects. But when it came down to it, I just didn't feel like a homemade holiday would do the recipients justice. So I've given up. I still WANT to make for other people. So I have knitting anxiety when I start messing with my personal sock project. Or else this is the apartment rule. Only one of us can knit at a time. And, apparently, my roommate is in charge of the knitty vibes this week.
When I came home this evening, however, I picked up the needles to knit a few rounds on the second sock. I still felt a little... guilty... so I pulled out the yarn that I had purchased for a project for my nieces, and started away. It took me so long to start this project for a few reasons, but the main reason was that I didn't have the "correct" pattern. I wanted to knit these for both of them.
However, after calling several yarn stores and making a visit to AC Moore, I was having no luck finding the pattern. With a stroke of, dare I say it, GENIUS, I decided to make felted slippers using the baby bootie pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I'm using Cascade 220 for the foot and heel, and for the cuff, I'm holding in some Lion Brand Fun Fur. These should be fun, fun, FUN for the girls. And, I've taken back the knit in my apartment.
*** EDIT: Whoops! The first time I posted this, I forgot to say who did knit the scarf. Silly Amy.