Monday, December 24, 2007

'Twas the Day Before Christmas

And the blogger realized she had not posted in, oh, forever, so she sat down and started typing randomness as it flowed from her brain.
Oldest Stepson is due sometime today. Girl and Mr. W are at work. I have had a sauna and a shower and am prepared for MIL's gathering this evening. The gifts are wrapped, the cookies are baked. Hell, this is, baking the cookies of my childhood and not being able to touch them. Truly hell. It's almost painful, watching Girl and Mr Wonderful lap up batter and nibble on delicate spritz cookies while I stand by, sighing, and despising my gluten free lifestyle. I could, given time, approximate the cookies using "alternative" flour. But please, let's be real. Will a rice and garbanzo based spritz cookie even be CLOSE to the real thing? I think not. Meringues for me, thanks. Girl reminisced about her childhood and the thousands of cookies we've baked over the years. I limited it to four varieties this time for my sanity. We did Vanilla Spritz, Almond Spritz (both shown here) then Ginger Creams and Meringues for me. Well, and other people, but me really.
In other exciting news, I got to BABYSIT!! This blog could become nothing more than a repository for images and experiences of grand motherhood. I will resist the urge, but will say that we had, during our four hour visit, a prolonged conversation about knitting. April enjoys watching Omie knit. She's amazingly alert when awake, loves to hold her head up and look about her. She was fascinated by my knitting the way Aidan was fascinated by bright lights (earning him the title "Bug Boy" - as in moth to a flame?). Stared and made lovely O's with her tiny mouth, and was very intent on learning the difference between knit and purl. I took, of course, pictures. I wanted pictures of her with needles, but must wait until I have an assistant to hold the camera. OK, look at he picture, and give a collective "AWWWwww!!!" because she is, is she not, the most adorable thing ever?? She looks less like her father now, and a bit more like her mom although she retains bits of my son. I love her. She smiled at me. Gas, sure, but melts me anyway.
In all of the excitement of the book launch I forgot about this - for quite some time my knitting books had been gathering in piles in front of the bookcase intended to hold them. It was a disaster. We researched new bookcases and were quickly put off by the cost ($800?? For unfinished pine shelves?? I don't think so). We needed them to fit perfectly in one space, so just running out and buying something was not going to work. Thanks to Katy and her Ikea catalog we found something we thought might work. One drive to New Haven and we returned with this - a semi-custom library area using the Billy shelving system that cost us a whopping $190 - not, i suppose, including the drive, or the lunch out, but still a far cry from $800 for unfinished pine. We also snagged the wood and kindling boxes and the rug they sit on. The dog we already owned. Practically an Ikea catalog shot, isn't it? I LOVE it now. Everything is more or less organized, although I have not settled on the categories, so the little labels for the bookends are not in yet. I must consider more, ponder a while. Try to think like Dena. Katy tried to find the little bookends at Ikea and couldn't. I don't even know how Mr W. found them - I wasn't with him. They are perfect though, with a slot to put a label in for ultimate library organization.
Speaking of Katy, as a reward for her stellar brilliance in creating my postcards and posters, and the template for my patterns, and for dreaming up the idea of having people knit me chickens, I got her a small token. You will all be shocked, as I know I was, to hear that Young Katy was deprived of that American institution known as the Easy Bake Oven. Every year she asked and every year was disappointed. I can relate, sort of. I always wanted a horse and never got one. And I had my hand-me-down Easy Bake Oven taken from me and really never recovered. So what, I was trying to bake a little pan of house paint. No harm, no foul, right? My parents did not agree and my oven was confiscated. I blame my mother. If she'd just given me the leftover cake batter there would have been no issue. I managed to find, on eBay (love eBay!!) not just any Easy Bake Oven, but a classic vintage one, nearly mint in it's original box with a popcorn popper accessory. I have told her that I expect to be fed a gluten-free easy bake feast sometime very soon. At the least I need to see the popcorn popper accessory in action. Popcorn in an Easy Bake? Modern kids so miss out on life.
Knitwise, I finished April's Hermine although it is huge, or looks it when I look at her. I love the colors, love the way it knit up. And I didn't even change the pattern. Much. Well, maybe just a tiny and unnoticeable bit. Now I have to decide what to do with it. Do I put it up till she grows? Do I find a baby it will fit now? Decisions, decisions. April has a lot of little duds already. Technically, I suppose, she does not need another sweater.
I also submitted this scarf to The Smart Knitter newsletter and it was accepted. It will appear in the January issue. It is called the Auracauna Scarf because the color reminds me of the eggs we get from our blue egg laying hens, which are technically Americaunas, but who's counting? And the shape of the cable is ovid, egg-like. The yarn is Valley Yarns Sheffield, which is just a really really yummy blend of merino (70%), silk and angora (15% each). It feels like it costs a lot more than $18.00 to knit this scarf, which is why I love Valley Yarns so very much. Value. Bang for my buck. The ability to churn out a whole vest for $18 or a sweater for $35, or a luxury feel scarf for $18. What's not to love?
I also forgot to tell you all about our amazing anniversary evening which occurred the day before the launch. For those of you who are local, there's a little spot just north of here in Brattleboro, Vermont where this amazing group of people create the most delicious and decadent food in the valley. The place is TJ Buckley's, and they are open by reservation on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. To celebrate the launch and the anniversary we took Girl and Miss Tray Tray and Number One and his wife. Number One and I voted for a return trip in February for our birthdays. The place only holds about 18 people. In my dreams, we'd take the whole sample knitter crew up and take over. It's just unreal. Mr. Wonderful had scallops. I had bass. Everyone else had beef. The meal was, as always, exceptional. Everyone left happy and desperate to return. Mr Wonderful also gave me a pair of diamond earrings that will have me eating out of his hand for years. Or at least months. What a man. Diamonds, and all on his own. Brilliant. I am now neurotic about them, but assume this will fade in time.
Everything has been kinda weird and off-center in Melissa's world for a few weeks. I suspect it'll get weirder. I don't feel drawn to wax poetic about anything. Actually I have been very into swatching, and suspect that when I return I will have something to show for it. I've got three garments in my head itching to get out. I feel obligated to release them. And there's always TNNA which I am sure will inspire at least a post or two, right? Or so they warn me.
Until next time, Merry Christmas!!


Kristi said...

Merry Christmas Melissa!

Yarnhog said...

Busy, busy times! Your new grandbaby is a doll. You should put the sweater up until she is bigger. Everyone gives new babies tiny clothes, which they immediately outgrow, and then no one gives any more clothes. Which is why I always give clothes in a larger size to new babies--that way, after the first two months, when the baby now has nothing to wear, there is something new from me. Merry Christmas!

mikenpetra said...

Merry Christmas Melissa! I love the scarf you are designing! I can't wait to see the pattern. That resteraunt in Brattleboro sounds FABOO! And diamond earrings? OH YEAH!!!! Good hubby!

PurlingPirate said...

Yummy cookies!!! Sorry you can't enjoy all of them!
That grandbaby is adorable! So precious!!!
I've ordered your book!!! And when it comes in I will take it to knit night and everyone will want to buy one too, I'm sure of it!

maryalice said...

Lovely, lovely egg blue scarf!!

marcy said...

Merry and Happy Melissa! what will 2008 bring?? you got your book, granddoll and diamonds. yahoo!!

tina said...

You are a lucky gramma indeed!

Sorry about the spritz----- bummer.
I'm sure you survived quite nicely with other goodies!

LOVE the scarf, very beautiful!

Jackie said...

Hi Melissa. I came to your launch and am delighted by your book. I really like how you specify the 'yarn ball gauge' and the pattern gauges are different! Such an important distinction. I have a buddy knitting the superwash striped socks as her first sock project. Confession: one at a time for her. But, I am planning on making Belle Epoch for my teen daughter real soon. Right after I knit this Froggie sweater for my sweet nephew; lopi pullover for my 7 year old and.... Your grand daughter is lovely and if my opinion matters I say, knit to your heart's content whatever and however much you want. Let her parents worry about what is too much. Grandmothers get to have fun! The Sheffield scarf is very pretty too.

Persnickety Knitter said...

The Auracauna Scarf is lovely. I've never heard of that Smart Knitter thing. Do you subscribe to that?

I like the new bookshelves. I wish Ikea were closer.