What I did over Christmas Vacation

I suspect you could guess that I did lots and lots of knitting.  We are between semesters in my Bible seminar, EFM, so I don’t have volumes to read these two weeks.  I feel like a kid playing hooky!

Christmas day I finally bound off Mara It’s my own fault:  once again, I insisted on making it a proper, large shawl instead of the “shawlette” that seems to be in vogue. Those final rows were unending!  I used three full skeins of Cascade Heather 220 for the body, and a fourth skein for the border.  The instructions would have you knit the K2 P2 border for four inches, but I only made it to three.  I would have had to give up “wing span” of the shawl to have enough yarn left for that. After bind off I had less than a yard of yarn left.  Well, it was enough.

We enjoyed an afternoon of cards with DD and her husband, so it was late Christmas day when I cast on Cite by Anne Hanson.  The large size only requires 200 yards of fingering weight yarn.  A bit of stash diving found a loner skein of Knit Picks Essential in fog.  It was cast on that evening, and knit just far enough to establish my stitch markers at each repeat.

The next day, when my wits were more rested, I began knitting in earnest (alright, I was in the living room.  I heard that!)  Thanks to several exciting football games  I got a lot done, and was able to finish it this morning.  The lower edging is knit-on lace, which I tremendously enjoy knitting.  No pictures yet because it is drying, but soon we’ll do that, too.

Off to finish a second sock.  It’s not that I’m that virtuous about the second sock thing…but they are on my favorite Knit Picks #1 circs.  I’m spoiled, and don’t want to use other needles now.

Christmas Public Service Announcement

We interrupt your frantic efforts to finish your knitting to pose this important question:  Have you remembered all the presents that were hidden away?  Is there anything still in hiding you haven’t wrapped?

There was almost a sad story here.  I assured DH that I had wrapped everything, and yes, would he please put the wrapping paper back in storage. Then, late this evening, as I was cross stitching and listening to podcasts on my MP3 player I remembered one more hidden gift!  That was too close!

There was nothing to do but go out to the garage and retrieve a roll of wrapping paper.  No one would have known, except that I have sacrificed my dignity to write this cautionary tale.

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

My Santas

I collect Santas – but not little statues.  Mine are cross stitch charts, the Prairie Schooler Santa series.   The link will show you this year’s Santa, and if you click on the red years available at the bottom of the page you can see previous Santas.

I believe I have them all.  The first two charts were purchased from a cross stitch shop near my home and stitched as a Christmas gift for Mother.  (I was hooked!)  The shop moved a few miles away, and there I purchased the next two years.  That shop closed its doors, and for a number of years we made a pilgrimage to Accents in Stitches in Kenner, LA (near the New Orleans Airport) for the Prairie Schooler fix.  We generally made a day of it, and I typically purchased a year’s worth of cross stitch supplies.  Finally, we have a cross stitch shop in Baton Rouge once more, and the pilgrimage is no longer an all-day outing.

DH and I mused as we flipped through the collection this morning that the early charts were $1.  One year doubled the cost to (gasp!) $2, then the price hovered at $3 for many years.  This newest one is $4.  DH, as Patron of the Arts, says he’s good for the cost.

Dear Patron has made another valuable contribution to my collection.  Each year I present him with the current chart on a 5 x 7 card.  In due time he will scan it for me (after all, he knows I have many to choose from should I be overcome with an urgent need to cross stitch Santa).  Then I’ll discover on my desk, like an early Christmas present, the original chart and the scanned copy enlarged to full-page size.  They go together in a page protector and then the collection notebook.

It’s a great life!

Anniversary today!

Today is our youngest daughter’s wedding anniversary.  They’ve been married 11 years, and in that short time the “in sickness and health” clause has been put to the test by lupus.   Our son-in-law has been great through all the hospitalizations, and he’s a keeper!

Happy anniversary, Robyn and Pat!  May you celebrate many more years.

Mrs. Sue’s copy

Yesterday I introduced you to “Mrs. Sue”.  There is more to her story that you should know.  At her advanced age Mrs. Sue has great difficulty in hearing speech.  She certainly has no idea what is said in the sermon.

Our priest (Episcopal), Fr. Chad, has begun a tradition of always leaving a typed, large-print copy of his sermon with the ushers.  You can tell Fr. Chad has young children at home – on the outside of the folded pages is written “Mrs. Sue” in crayon.

It makes me smile every Sunday.

Gifting a (former) knitter

There is a dear elderly lady who sits behind me in church.  She is wistfully a former knitter, who finds it too difficult to knit at this stage of life.  (Let’s call her Mrs. Sue so I don’t have to keep calling her “this lady”.)

Mrs. Sue always remarks on whatever knit garment I might wear, and enjoys handling the  knitting. Last Sunday, inspired by Alison’s many gifts,  I took this scarf to Mrs. Sue.  I had worn it only to take pictures for Ravelry, and there it was in my closet waiting for the right person.  Mrs. Sue was thrilled, showing it off to each lady who came down the aisle.

This Sunday she tapped me on the shoulder to tell me how much she had enjoyed the scarf in the week’s cold weather.  What a smile – the perfect Christmas gift for me.

Just for me!

I have a finished object to report, and this one was knit just for me.  It’s the “Woods in the Fall” Scarf I knit using the Noro Striped Scarf pattern.  Its name was inspired by the fall colors that appeared here in early November.   When I wrote about its beginning here I thought it would take creme rinse to make the Noro a tolerable softness.  Much to my surprise and delight, Soak was adequate to make this scarf a pleasant experience.

Here’s a picture of it simply “hanging around”, to show you its length. Today is a damp, chilly day, the sort the Irish call a “fine, soft day”, so I am very grateful to DH for playing photographer.  I stood under the roof of our porch, while he backed up into the mist.

In the tradition of “Where’s Waldo”, did you see the rabbit?  He lives by my front door to greet all comers.  Consider yourself greeted, friend.

A mirage at the post office

First, mark this date:  Christmas knitting has been shipped, and on a new early date for me!

Second,   I’m a cat that has changed her stripes to adapt to the new environment.  You see, the post office now offers these lovely flat-rate boxes.  My previous habit would be to place everything in gift boxes, and the gift boxes went into a large box.  This year all the knitwear was wrapped the old-fashioned way, as soft packages.  Thus everything fit in a medium flat-rate box, and shipped for about $10, or half the amount I have spent with UPS in the past.

Third, and most importantly, it was a lovely experience at the post office.  They had their shipping supplies organized and nicely displayed.  There was a roll of clear shipping tape (with post-office logo, but who cares) for my use.  By the time I had secured all the goodies in the box and addressed it there was no line.  The clerk was happy to see me, and very pleasant.   Did you know they now take credit and debit cards?  No more worry about having the right amount of cash.  As I left, all I could think was “It must be a mirage!”

The postal service has  taken a page from McDonald’s’, and changed one word:  “Would you like stamps with that?”