Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Little Christmas for Me.

We don't give gifts to each other here, Mr. Wonderful and I. This year we can say it's because we're taking a vacation in January which sort of "counts" for Christmas and our anniversary, which was last week or something. Maybe the week before, I've lost track of time lately. And why, one might ask, have I lost track of time?

Since my mother's stroke-or-whatever on the night of that delightful Brad Paisley concert my life has been a total chaos of doctor's visits, writing a second book, worrying over Girl ('The Baby') away at college, and a few other not so public but nonetheless distracting issues. Then I found out I do NOT have breast cancer. I did, however, find The Lump which I ignored for months, but it failed to retreat, and I gave up. The nurse in me made a decision, and we went in for a visit. Apparently I was not alone in feeling the little bugger, so I was treated to my first mammogram, my first ultrasound, and a visit to the first radiologist I've ever wanted to hug. (Which is to say "fluid filled cyst" rather than "of concern and needs a biopsy"). Oh, and the mammogram? I've given birth, twice, without drugs. The mammogram was a walk in the park, really, honestly, and therefore there is NO excuse for you, gentle reader, to not be on the phone making an appointment for one. I am going to have another one in six months. Given my family's history with various cancers, all in women, any lump makes me a little edgy. Clean slate. Deep breath, back to writing the book. There were other, less interesting events which in a normal year I would have scoffed at and quickly forgotten. But this year everything felt like more bricks on my head. There were no small moments. Even the simple act of going grocery shopping took on immense proportions. My house is not clean. But I did cut the dogs nails pretty regularly, and emptied the cat box often, which is important. Things like breathing, exercise and relaxation all took a pretty way-back seat. Think 1970's station wagon. Way, way back.

Where was I going with this? Yes, Gifts. OK, so Gene (oops. I mean Mr. Wonderful) and I do not give each other gifts. This is not a new tradition, although some years we cheat a little. But I do get a gift this year, although it's one of my own making.

It's done. Or, well, not really done - done, but as done as it can be for the moment, and after a couple of additional tweaks to three patterns this morning my portion will be, for the moment, done. There are some samples in need of knitting, but given the holiday deadline that's quite minor. And those socks are not a critical piece to more forward right now.

My gift to me is not really the completion of yet another delightful little labor of literary love. My gift to me is peace, joy and a sense of accomplishment in the face of not insignificant challenge. And also? A big glass of wine and a bubble bath. Because I am worth it.

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

(and an end to Dazee's lap-envy!)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

May I Have the Envelope Please?

Or, rather, check this out - randomness from the random number generator!And pretty wild and ironic randomness it is too!
If the following individuals will please email me ( with your snail mail address, I will get your yarn and book out ASAP. Now, I am trusting the anonymous folk to remember what they wrote and only email me if that's your comment you see below! The winners are:

13)Anonymous said...
Would love some yarn and your book!! I love to knit socks and the more patterns, the merrier! thanks for your great blog.
10:35 AM

36) Tipper said...
Pick me. Have pity on a poor, sick mama, Mr. Random Number Generator!

50) tina said...
You are sweet and generous, among your other quite notable wonderful assets.

***UPDATED*** - Tina, has very graciously decided to forgo her winnings, as she's already got a signed book, and has named:

Gloria said...

WOW! I was just going to attempt socks this coming year. This would be a great way to get started!

as her successor. (Gloria, you're officially on this list, so make sure you send me an email!) All Hail the generosity of the Contessa!!

101) Karen said...
What great holiday spirit indeed! I love your book and was inspired this seasons to knit all my knitting gifts 2-at-a-time (mittens).
Best of luck to me (and everyone)!
2:23 PM

106)Anonymous said...
I would love to learn socks your way! Thanks for being so generous!
5:52 PM

YAY!!!! Drumroll, confetti...maybe a parade!!! Congratulations winners, and thank you all for playing. I would love to send you all a book, but Mr. Wonderful only allows my altruism so much of a leash. Silly man.
In the meantime, we're under a foot with another one or two coming today. So I leave you with this - Boo loves snow, and Dazee does too, even though it's bigger than her!
Boo assaulting innocent flakes
Dazee "running", which is hysterical and leaves a tunnel-like trail.
Squashable mug of a face, this is.
Resting after trying to run.
I got one of them playing together, but he's so huge and it's so deep that you couldn't see her. Glad someone is loving this!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

'Tis the Season!

I love giving. So I am going to! I am celebrating Knitting Contessa's Knitting Contrissmas, my appearance in the 2009 Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club (and would you LOOK at who else is in there??),and the near-completion of the second book, and I want to share the love. So, I'll give away:
Five signed copies of 2-at-a-Time Socks, and five yarns; Tofutsies, Lorna's Laces, Socks that Rock, Plymouth Rockin' Sock and K1C2 TyDy. Five lucky people will be chosen at random from all comments posted to this entry by midnight EST Saturday December 20, 2008. Each will receive a copy of the book and a pair's worth of yarn. Merry Christmas, and good luck!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Free Pattern for A Toque for a Canadian Roommate Who's Allergic to Wool and Only Just Learned to Knit, Which I Personally Think is Odd For a Canadian

US 6 needles, 40" circular (OR 5 DPN OR one 16" circular needle)
Seaming/darning needle
1 skein Berroco Comfort color 9755
1 skein Berroco Comfort color 9700

Gauge: 20 stitches equals 4 inches in stockinette stitch.

With red, cast on 80 stitches and divide stitches in half, then join for working in the round (as for, say, 2-at-a-Time Socks, only one-at-a-time hats. Or cast on for two hats if you know two Canadians), and work in K2P2 rib for 2 inches. (Alternatively, divide on 4 DPN, 20 stitches per needle, or use a 16" circular needle) Change to stockinette stitch and work for 2 inches. Change to white and knit for 23 rounds. Change to red and work for 1 inch. On next round, place markers after every 10th stitch. Begin decreases as follows:

Round 1: *Knit 2 together, knit to next marker. Repeat from * to beginning of round.

Rounds 2-4: Knit all stitches.

Repeat rounds 1-4 until 8 stitches remain. Cut yarn leaving a 6-inch tail. Thread yarn on a sewing needle and pull tightly through 8 stitches remaining on needle. Run in all ends. Create maple leaf image on white part of hat using red yarn and duplicate stitch.Make a pom-pom out of remaining yarn using a pom-pom tool or two pieces of cardboard. Attach pom-pom, run in yarn ends, and find a Canadian who's allergic to wool and does not know how to knit. Or just wear it!

Monday, December 15, 2008


More pictures. Few words.The tree, up, dressed and lit. I put it on the grand kids tea-table, bungee-d it down, stuck it behind the futon and made it look two feet taller than it is, so it fits the room. Things you may do at Omie's but probably not at home.Would you look at my amazing sushi plates by Malea, covered with amazing sushi from New Fortune that Girl and Gerbil brought up. They are PERFECT, beautiful, and I adore them!
Donations for Warm Woolies from my Thursday night drop-in knitters, much of the yarn donated by Webs. There is a LOT of stuff here. Eight sweaters, a lot of socks and hats and such. I am pleased and proud that my knitters got into this and knitted as much as they did.
More Malea! A sheep ornament, one of three on my tree. I think next year I need a back one. I am going to keep on growing the flock. I've also got two Malea shooting stars.
The tree again, featuring Gloria, who was on the creche from my childhood. It just would not be the same without Gloria on the tree.
Damaged Goods stemless wine goblet by Malea. This is a Malea heavy post. I LOVE these, I have six and I adore them.
The only snowman in my house. I have a deep hatred of snowmen, long story, involving my mother's house and about a million of the things. This one, who turns bright red and scary/creepy, is allowed to live here. He also turns nice colors. But when his little fiber optic self is bright red, I love him best.
Oh, look! More pottery!! This is my teapot, by...what's her name? That woman in Northampton with the pottery studio...darn, why can't I remember her name....
and more. A bowl by the same artist. I adore this bowl. The outside has leaves etched in it, the inside this awesome blues and browns glaze.
AKKK!! How can you not just want to scoop this person up and snuggle her forever and ever?? April bouncing, Meg watching.

They were serious. Christmas is coming. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

One Short Year.

Nope. It's not knitting. It's better.A year ago I got the best early Christmas present ever. And in one short year, some changes have taken place. Now, I am sure you all know babies that you think are just delicious.
But you will have to bear with me, and excuse me if I say that this baby, this particular baby?Well, this is the best baby since 1988 (when 'Auntie Girl' followed 'Daddy' into the MMO Amazingly Beautiful Baby Hall of Fame). Hands down. If you think mothering is wonderful? You just wait. If you've got kids, and you're waiting for the day they announce that you're going to be a grandmother? Oh. It is so, so worth it. This is the most beautiful baby on earth.
Reach, April. The world is yours. Omie said so.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I've said it before

And I am pretty sure I will say it again. I adore living here (when it's not snowing, and even sometimes when it is), and a lot of that has to do with this:These hills above me and the valley I live in are such a part of who I am. Both of my parents families lived and farmed here; my mother's on the mountain and my father's in the valley. Over time farming became a liability and gave way to the modern era of the "day job", but my soul really yearns for the labor of a farm. It's been that way since I was a child, making these long and detailed lists of what I'd need to get started in my farming endeavor. The biggest item, "land", I never thought to add to the list. Somehow I think I just assumed it would come, and maybe someday it will. I have not given up the dream. Then you'll find me chasing goats and wrangling chickens and planting and weeding and hauling hay. But for now, I live vicariously by visiting other people's farms!
This weekend we were privileged to attend Foxfire Fiber and Design Open Farm in Shelburne, Massachusetts. I got to rub sheep chins and bury my fingers deep in wooly necks, which is among my favorite activities. I got to buy a bit of yarn, some Cormo Silk in a lovely mauve color. And I got to introduce Mr. Wonderful and Mary and Ed to Guido "It's a Purl, Man" Stein, and have an impromptu interview, at which I am pretty sure I stank - although you'll all find out eventually when it goes live! If I did suck, we're going to blame it on the cold wind. It's worth a listen, anyway. There's a great discussion of condoms. No, really. There is. And also some talk about yarn and wool and sheep. It was kind of funny to watch Mary, Ed and Mr. W. start backing up as soon as the words "Would you like to do one now..." tripped out of Guido's mouth, followed by my "Sure!" By the time he had his mic out of the car, they were a good 30 feet away and beginning to back away faster. (BAAWWKKK!! BUK,BUK, BUK, BukAwwwk!)Guido is awesome. Guido has got a huge guild out there in the Boston area, which I would love to visit, although it might involve public transportation. I can probably figure it out, thought, right? I mean, it's just a train. In short, Guido rocks, and I'd do an interview with him any old time, even if I turn brain-dead in front of a mic. Which I suppose means he'd probably be more likely to find a rational person to interview, or maybe he's a glutton for punishment? We'll see if he ever asks me back, or politely requests that I stand well away from him in the future when he's recording.
We saw a lot of peaceful sheep, which is always a highlight of a visit to any farm, though you'll go a lot further and not find such a happy flock.Barb's sheep are the most contented and comfortable I've ever met. They're friendly, and a few positively seek human interaction. They have a lot of ego integrity for sheep.
I have a particular fondness for non-white sheep, but there's always a few up there that make me question my loyalty.
I probably spent ten minutes with my fingers buried in Calvin's neck while he positively purred at me to continue. Made me want sheep. I've always said I was a llama person, or a goat person, but not so much an alpaca or sheep person. Barb's sheep make me change my mind. It's not just their personality, it's their desire to interact, their comfort level with people. They're loved, and they know it, and they're willing to share the love.
Then last evening the moon rose in this perfect crescent over the house, flanked by two planets, Venus and Jupiter. The picture does not even come close. it was unbelievably beautiful out there. And I know why!! It was welcoming the beginning of Knitting Contrissmas, of which I am VERY excited to be a part. Yesterday was the first installment of this really awesome glimpse into the lives and thoughts of various knitting/quilting/cooking folk. Cirilia Rose, was the kick-off artist. Today continues with Knitterella, Jill Zielinski, an artist with some really lovely note cards and tags available. I don't know about anyone else, but I can't wait to see who's next. I'll be checking in daily. I loved this last year, like an advent calender all for me, and I was so excited to be asked to be a part of it. What day will I appear? Well, that would be no fun for Tina, now would it, if I told you? Or you either, really!! It's CHRISTMAS! It'll be a surprise!

About the Canadian hat. Yes, I will post a pattern, but not for a little bit. I need to finish up a few things, and then scribble it down. This won't be a hard and fast and full of details sort of a pattern. It'll be written the same way it was knitted. So if you think you can handle that, yes, I will surely put it up for you!