Sunday, October 29, 2006

The state of the holiday knitting...

Big Vinny's big socks are done. And I'm happy about it. I like how they came out, but I was really starting to get a little tired of all the gray stockinette...

Then I have a large dishcloth on the needles, almost finished, I'll probably get this off the needles during The Amazing Race tonight.

It's another Sugar and Cream cotton dishcloth. This is one of the larger tea-towel sized ones I like. It looks really big because they do shrink when washed but they still stay really nice. I know I sound like a broken record but I cannot convey what nice gifts these knit towels make. If I think of all the people I have to give to this holiday that would probably like them I know there's no way I could ever do it. A couple of weeks ago my mother said she'd like a few more (as in-in addition to the ones she already has) for Christmas. When I asked her if she wanted large or small she definitively answered"One large and two small." Hmm, talk about being specific! There's a lot of possibilities with these cloths too. Think about it, you could make a couple of small washcloth sized ones and put them with some fancy soaps or bath salts. Or make a large cloth and put it in a basket with fresh baked goods or homemade candy, wouldn't that look so nice?

I also started another gift this weekend

It's a little brown teddy bear butt that hopefully will eventually be the Baby Bobbi Bear from Blue Sky Alpacas

Pray for me people, you know I'll need it. I have a bad history of knitted toy experiences, no one does know what ever became of that poor rabbit... But so far so good with this one, it seems to be more shaping than seaming so far so we'll see.

So I'm making progress, feeling good about the holiday knitting so far. Although I am now conscious of the fact that Christmas is less than 2 months away. My strategy? Prioritization. Some projects may have to be cut from the team. So I have my list, and I'm doing pretty good on the absolutely must make gifts. I have to finish the cloths for my mom, the bear (which is for my niece of course) and then I want to make a pair of socks for my dad. But once those things are done there's a whole other round of possibilities. Gifts that if I have time I will make. We'll see though, I'm not one for knitting under pressure. I'm sure the closer I get the better that rack of gift cards at my grocery store is going to start to look...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

It's hard to photograph black...

But that won't stop me from sharing the joy with you that this hat is finally finished!

It's Vinny's black stockinette hat!

Yarn: Black Encore worsted I had left over from a sweater I knit pre-blog. Yep, it's that old!

Pattern: A variation of this pattern which I have knit before. I understand this is also a variation of an Elizabeth Zimmerman Pattern. I changed it a lot though, first of all to be the 120 stitches to fit around Vinny's large pumpkin-sized noggin. Then I also modified the tops of the hat.

There are 2 tops because all in all the hat is really shaped like this

which would now that I think of it make a pretty decent pillow if you stuffed it with something. But it is not a pillow it is a hat you can wear one of 2 ways, punch one side in the other and get the starfish shaped smooth side

or punch the other in the other side for the gathered top

which when on a head really does not look as ruffled and girly as it might here. It stretches fairly smooth and I actually like it better than the other side. So there's versatility too. I think he'll like it. It's black, it's warm. Those are usually his major fashion criteria. But not until Christmas though, it's one more thing to put under the tree of course!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

What I did last week when I wasn't knitting

The main reason I visited Orlando? Well to visit the cutest niece in the world of course!

Oh yeah, and to also visit her mom- my sister. Baby is getting so big and is walking and is a total wiggle worm! She does not sit still for 2 seconds!

That's a little baby walker she's leaning on, she pushes it all over the place more than she uses it to help her walk. Walker or toy fish? Walker or toy fish? Oh they're both so fun, you can't put either of them down!

Of course you know other than the relatives, Disneyworld is also in Orlando. And we are a Disney family. And even more than just being a Disney family, we are a food family too. So how lucky are we that we got to attend da-da-da-da-

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival!!! Oooh... Aahhh... Ohhhh... So, so, so wonderful, if you are ever in a 100 mile radius of Epcot during the month of October you must must must go. All over the international showcase there there are little booths representing all different countries selling food. For $2-$4 you can either purchase a small food or wine tasting.

One example would be Greece

where you can get lovely greek salad with feta cheese and pita and spanakopita which is a wonderful flaky pastry filled with spinach. Yum!

Another big hit was Poland

Pierogies, kielbasa and sauerkraut and a sweet, thick honey wine which was delicious. There were also empanadas in Argentina, dumplings in China, Guinness and lamb stew in Ireland, sushi in Japan, curry in India and escargot and champagne in France. And honestly the quality of the food was also so excellent. Everything we ate was good. And it was such a treat just tasting everything, and tasting all the wines too:) We thought we had died and gone to food heaven.

The other Disney thing I got to do during my visit? I met up with a friend from high school and we walked the entire length of Downtown Disney. Going in all the stores. Ok, we mainly went through all the toy stores. You know when you shop on vacation, that charge card comes out of your wallet so much more easily....

See, now I have fulfilled my vision. I now own a Star Wars lego X-Wing fighter and more importantly 6 mini-figurines including Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewie, Luke and Wedge. Yay! And let me tell you, every 7 year old boy watched breathlessly as I made my way around the lego store, debating just which Star Wars lego set to get. In addition to the set I also got these

Aren't they cute? The young Obi-Wan keychain is mine. Harry Potter and Dumbledore are for the husband. I want to enter him in the Guiness Book of Worlds records as the biggest (physically) Harry Potter fan around. I really wonder sometimes...

So not much knitting stuff to mention. I'm plugging away on those big projects and am hoping to maybe finish one this weekend and be able to share. Yep, finishing up one of those would be a good thing.

Oh and PRGE participants- Saturday night I'm dragging this old butt out out to ye olde punk rock show. We're going to lovely Asbury Park, NJ to see Ignite, Pennywise and the Circle Jerks. Woo hoo!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Thank you secret pal!

Look what I received today from my terrific pal in the Punk Rock Gift Exchange! The yarn is the perfect colors for me. Purples and reds with tinges of brown and mauve. So pretty, my crappy camera really isn't doing it justice. I didnt' find a tag with any details but the yarn is very soft, I'm thinking it might be merino or have some silk blended in maybe? And it looks like it would be a good weight for socks, but really the colors are so pretty, I'm thinking if I knit it up as another lace scarf that could also be very nice. Along with the yarn was a pretty card with a sweet note saying hi! Some great Australia postcards to add to my postcard collection (it's a collection at this point, it really is, I've finally admitted that and I love it. I love the idea of a postcard collection, but I digress...) A big ol' bar of Cadbury milk chocolate which is coming into work with me tomorrow to aid me in my Monday survival-such a necessary comfort, thank you, thank you. Also there is some wonderful Madura tea and Quince Paste. I really like these two items especially because I love trying new things and these come from where you are and I would never, never come across them in my daily life here. And of course how sweet my pal also sent the purple fish toy for Allister which he's dragged up and down the stairs like 3 times already! And did you notice everything was color-coordinated with the purple too? Even the box it came in is blue and purple striped. How thoughtful! Thanks again secret pal!

On another note- I just got home today from a 5 day trip to Orlando to visit my sister and do some Disney stuff:) I know I never even mentioned I was going away (bad blogger bad!) But there will be a follow-up post since there's some kind of interesting stuff to share. Later in the week-first I'm going to try to dig out from the pile of laundry I brought back with me and have a cup of this lovely tea...

Monday, October 09, 2006

The purse is done!

This was a kit from a company called Pussycat2 (the 2 should be raised, like 'Pussycat squared'). I purchased it at Stitches East last year and like I had mentioned before there were a few bumps in the road. Maybe other people have had better experiences with this company but I just happen to think that at $45 (plus $10 for additional yarn + shipping I had to order on my own) I just expected things to go a little more smoothly than they did. Even though I was not able to located Pussycat2 on the internet they are listed as a vendor for the upcoming Stitches East this November. And even though the finished product is very cute and I'm pretty happy with the bag itself I doubt I will be getting another kit this year. In addition to the problems I had along the way (running out of yarn, the embroidery was so poorly charted) the fact that there really was not that much knitting involved in this at all is probably what would be the end dealbreaker for me. It was a good intarsia session, and it was good to be challenged a little, but in the end I spent more time weaving in ends, seaming the pieces together and sewing the lining in than I did actually knitting. I'm glad I did it, I now know the basics of sewing in a lining and I have a cute bag to take out here and there. But unfortunately I doubt I'll be making any further purchases at their booth this year. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to spread my yarn money around elsewhere!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Who's a lucky girl? I'm a lucky girl!

Look what I got from my super cool knitters tea swap gifter Anne! A beautiful red tea mug from the Republic of Tea which I seriously think may be my new most favorite thing. It's so pretty and it has a lid which is fabulous as sometimes I do get pulled away from my cup and then come back and it's cold and that's a bummer. I also got some lovely Taos yarn in gorgeous fall colors. You know the first thing I thought of when I saw those colors-maybe another Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf? I'm thinking maybe... the yarn keeps talking to me... I also got a very cute kitty calendar just in time-for some reason I keep having to look up dates in 2007 this week and haven't had a new calendar yet, an adorable kitty bookmark and a pretty little bead stitchmarker, which I think will be just perfect for keeping track of the beginning of the round when I knit socks. What neat stuff! It was also really neat meeting Anne as part of this swap, she has a great sense of humor, her emails really made me laugh a few times and I look foward to reading her blog and seeing her around blogland!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Purse Assembly- Take 2

After much cursing and stitching, and probably not as much knitting as I would like, the little purse is finally complete. No final pictures though, I finished after dark and the lighting was crappy! I promise next weekend there will be a proper photo shoot and full look at the final outcome. Then maybe I'll have some resolution to the debate in my head over whether or not this was all worth it. Til then...