Sunday, November 30, 2008

Don't over-think it . . .

Sometimes we get so caught up in gifting that we make things harder than they have to be.  We search endlessly for the most unique gift.  For the gift to top all gifts.  We lose the spirit of giving and the spirit of the season.

Don't put all that pressure on yourself.  Don't over-think it.  Don't overlook hats, scarves, gloves and mitts as quick and inexpensive gifts.  Boring?  Never!  I say they are classics.  Little treasures you've knit up to keep your loved ones warm.

Why not whip up a pair of Porphyria like Spincerely?
How about a Hat For a Boyfriend like Vicki?
Jenn suggests Fetchings and Calorimetrys.
And Julie points us to the Helping Hats pattern.
I might be working on a scarf myself, although I do need to update the picture.

Looks like I've got plenty of skeins in the stash that would keep the people I love warm on a cold day.  How about you?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fun with cotton . . .

Okay, so I failed my "post every day this week" goal by missing yesterday. Blame it on a Turkey Hangover. But to make amends, today's post has two quick and inexpensive gift ideas in one! Bring on the cotton.

Melissa suggested making washrags for some spa-themed gifts. What a great idea. There are tons and tons of washcloth / dishcloth patterns on Ravelry. Pair them up with some fancy soaps and you've got a nice little gift. Or tuck them into a basket of home baked goodies for a kitchen inspired gift.

Peanut suggested tawashi. Okay, I didn't know what a tawashi was, so Wikipedia to the rescue. Ah ha, little Japanese inspired scrubbies. Perfect for the kitchen or the bath too. She recommends the Wishy Washy Fishy Tawashi as a fun knit. Tee hee, I want to knit it just so I can say the project name over and over.

Need more cotton inspiration? How about these adorable holiday themed balls of Sugar n' Cream?

I found them in the craft store the other day, and snapped them up as part of the Crafty Gift Idea Contest prize. If you've submitted a suggestion, these may be on their way to you soon!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful . . .

As we work our way toward the end of 2008, I've been reflecting back over the year. And I'll admit that for the most part, it's been a pretty crappy one. I've had lots of things go wrong this year, and so have many of the people I care about. So when we ring in 2009 in just 34 days, I'll be glad to bid farewell to 2008.

But today is not about dwelling on the things that have gone wrong. And I'm glad, because I have so much in my life that I am thankful for.

My wonderful husband.
My family.
My friends, both in real life and on-line. And especially those who now fall into both categories.
My cute little house, filled with warmth and love and plenty healthy foods.  (And sometimes some not so healthy foods too!)
The four months I got to spend owning the best kitty in the world.
Having the supplies I need to manage my diabetes the very best that I can.
My yarn. I am so thankful for all my pretty yarn.

On this Thanksgiving, be sure to take special notice of all the things in your life that make you thankful. Never, ever take anything for granted.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

In the round, around town, with one foot on the ground . . .

Can you knit in the round? Can you knit around town? Can you knit with only one foot on the ground? If so, my entertaining friend Kathy suggests cowls as the perfect quick Christmas knit.

Coincidentally, I've just finished up a cowl myself.  This one isn't a Christmas gift, but I may make a few more for Christmas gifting.

Cast On: 12 November 2008
Completed: 20 November 2008
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted - Intenso
Needles:  Addi Natura US8 (5mm)

So yes, I can knit in the round. I can (and did) knit this cowl around town.  I'm sure I could even knit with one foot on the ground.  But Kathy, here's what I want to know.  Can you knit while hanging upside-down???

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Quick Socks

The first comment on my post yesterday was from Julie, with a few wonderful quick gift suggestions. My favorite was the Log Cabin Socks from Handknit Holidays.  Julie makes hers into slippers by adding slipper bottoms to the soles.

I can attest to the fact that this pattern is quick, since I used some Cascade 220 Superwash to knit one up for myself during our trip to Louisiana.

I've also given it a name inspired by my trip - Le Petit Sockon Rouge. Once the services for  my uncle were over, we spent some time visiting with my aunt and cousins.  One day they took us on the Tabasco Factory tour.  We learned about a little red stick called Le Petit Baton Rouge.  The pepper pickers use it to make sure the peppers are just the right shade of red before they are picked.  Leave it to me and Pea to get silly and dub my red sock Le Petit Sockon Rouge.

The second sock probably won't be finished until after my Christmas knitting is done, but you never know.  However, I do have plans to knit a pair for someone else on my Christmas list.  I bet someone you love would be thrilled with a thick, warm pair of cabled socks this Christmas too!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Kicking it into high gear . . .

While other bloggers are posting daily as part of Nablopomo, I seem to be posting less often in November!  That sounds just like me.  So for my own small personal challenge, I'm going to post every day this week.  To both of my blogs.  It's time to kick my blogging into high gear.

With Christmas just 30 days away, it's also time to kick my Christmas knitting into high gear.

That's right.  A whole pile of barely knit stuff,  most of which I can't even blog about lest I spoil the surprise.  That should make for some great posting, huh?

Well, here's where you can help.  Melissa asked for some suggestions of quick and inexpensive knits for holiday gifting - and I'd like to ask the same.  Leave me your suggestions in the comments, and I'll share them in posts all week long.  And since I think I've finally gotten the hang of crochet, I'd love some easy crochet gift suggestions too.  Heck, any hand-made gift ideas at all would be great, regardless of the craft.

In fact, since the holidays are about giving, why don't we make this into a little contest.  At the end of the week, I'll randomly draw a suggestion for a little hand-made prize!  So get those suggestions rolling!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

WIP Wednesday - Seeing Red

Don't worry, I'm not seeing red because I'm angry.  The red I'm seeing actually more of a rosy pink.  It's on the tip of my nose, and on Pea's cheeks after his walk home from the train station each evening.  We're red because it's cold!

What can help?  Why, more red, perhaps?

My red Malabrigo Birthday Cowl should be done by tonight or tomorrow.  That should keep my cold nose nice and warm.  And as for Pea's cheeks?  Maybe I should cast on a warm red scarf for him next.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sugar Free Socks for World Diabetes Day

Today is World Diabetes Day, meant to raise awareness of diabetes.  In support of this, I'm dressed in blue, the official Diabetes Day color, and I have some things to share with you.  First up are some socks I knit for a dear Diabetes BlogPal to wear last month in a walk-a-thon.

Cast on: 3 October, 2008
Completed: 19 October, 2008

Yarn: Artyarns Supermerino
Needles: US3 (3.25mm) DPNs

Needless to say, this pattern is near and dear to my heart.  And so is Crystal, so when she told me she wished she had a pair of these socks to wear on her walk, I didn't hesitate to knit them up for her.  It's a really fun and quick pattern, and a portion of all pattern sales is donated to the ADA.

Up next I wanted to raise you awareness a little.  I think my blog pals know more about diabetes than your average person, just from reading my posts.  But last week, my cousins alerted me to a misconception that I'm sure many people have.

As I pulled out my meter to test my blood sugar, someone said "It's really great that they have those new machines out.  You don't have to prick your finger anymore".  Yes, that is true . . . but there is a catch.  These "new machines" still need blood to run the test.  No, you don't necessarily have to prick your finger.  You can prick your arm.  You can prick your palm.  You can prick your thigh.  My family was surprised by this.  Watching the commercials on TV, which simply say you don't have to prick your finger, led them to believe your blood sugar could be read without drawing blood.  Maybe someday . . . but not yet.  As for me, I still prick my fingers, because the blood from your finger will give you the most accurate reading.

So, I hope I helped raise your awareness a bit more today. If you'd like to hear a little more, hop over to my diabetes blog and read today's post, A Day in my Diabetes Life. And if you see someone wearing blue today, ask them to tell you a little more about diabetes (and send them my regards!). 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Witch In A Blender

Okay, okay, I know it's been almost two weeks since Halloween.  But if you'll indulge me in this last catch-up post, I promise there will be no more Halloween talk until next October.

Trick or Treat Feet, which I posted about yesterday, was a swap.  That means, of course, I also put together a package for a secret buddy.  When the swap partners were passed out, I was delighted to find that I'd be spoiling Carole.  Pretty cool, since I've met her at various fiber fests.

After looking at her blog and peeking in her Ravelry notebook, I noticed she had already knit several pairs of socks in earthy fall colors.  So I knew I wanted  to send her something a little different.  After perusing Etsy, I found the perfect Halloween colorway and the socks were on the needles.

Unfortunately, when Uncle Jack took a turn for the worse, my knitting time and energies were funneled elsewhere.  I finished the socks late, took a quick picture, and sent them off with my apologies and some extra goodies.

Cast On: 9 October 2008
Completed: 2 November 2008
Yarn: RazzyTazzyKnits - Witch in a Blender
Needles: Clover Bamboo DPNs US2 (2.75 mm)

I didn't take a shot of the treats I packed up.  But don't worry, you can still have a peek.  Carole posted it all, and she's a much better photographer than I am!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A week behind . . .

I can't believe it's almost mid-November already.  I feel like I lost a whole week while we were in Louisiana for Uncle Jack's funeral.  Halloween was pretty much a wash . . . but it wasn't all bad.  I did receive the greatest package in a Trick Or Treat Feet sock swap.  Never to late to share a swap package, right?

Oooohhh, spooky spider tissue paper. 

Let's see what's inside, shall we?

Oh my!  Jam packed with Halloweenie Goodness.  What's in there???

Wow, someone sure got spoiled!!  A Frankenstein dish, a skull candle, chocolate, Peeps and Pez, a Jack O Lantern mug, Halloween tissues (so cute!!), gummy worms and candy corn, a skeleton hand candle holder, wax fangs (fun!!) , floating pumpkin candles, ghost cookie cutter, Halloween votives, Pop Rocks (remember them?), a Halloween pad . . . and the socks.  Oh the socks!  The crowning glory!!

Vesper Sock Yarn in the Trick or Treat colorway!  Knit two at a time, toe up, by my talented and fabulous spoiler, ElizBeans.  They fit perfectly and I've already worn them more than once.  Thank you so much, ElizBeans!!!  I love everything.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Fly High and Say Bye

First, indulge me in a little figure skating talk. Brasseur and Eisler, a Canadian pair team, had a daring move called "Fly High and Say Bye". It always brought the crowd to their feet. Wanna see it? Look for it around the 1:10 mark in this video.

Fun, huh? But why take a walk down figure skating memory lane with the "Fly High and Say Bye"? Well, that's not so fun. My family is flying high on a trip to say bye to my Uncle, whose long battle with cancer ended early Saturday morning.

Uncle J, Mom and Aunt M. April 1949.

Bye, Uncle J. I'll miss you teasing me about my knitting. I'll miss "fixing" your coffee just the way you like it. (Black, no sugar) I'll miss comparing medical devices with you. But I'm glad you are in a better place, whole and free from pain.