December 30, 2008

I don't just receive gifts

Sometimes I make them, too.

Witness, Mom's Christmas mitts, delivered a mere two days after Christmas. Which, given how late last year's Christmas gift was, was mighty impressive.


Crystal Palace Panda Cotton in the Fall Herbs colorway, about 1.5 balls. Size 2.5 needles. 52 stitch cast-on, 2x2 rib, with a 10 stitch afterthought thumb.


I think the next time I make mitts like these I'll do a gussetted thumb. The afterthought thumb pulls the ribbing out of alignment - not ugly or unwearable or anything, but a gussetted thumb would be a bit prettier.


These cottony mitts are now pulling light duty in Arizona, so I'm glad they got a chance to experience cold weather at least once in their lives.

I have one more Christmas gift in the works (it's not late, it's just making the magic of Christmas last longer). Then we can move onto my latest sock obsessions.

Can't. Stop. Knitting. Socks.

December 28, 2008

This is why I give him handknits

From the Department of Yet More Awesome Gifts, I bring you the TRIP TO WEBS gift certificate that I, carless and 90 miles away from WEBS, received from my friend Bryan* for Christmas.

Click to view full size. Seriously, it's worth it. e.g., it contains the disclaimer that the gift giver is not responsible for...

PYDS (Post Yarnal Depression Syndrome): This is when a knitter is (for a brief period of time) in a heaven like place, surrounded by a veritable cornucopia of yarn but then has to go back to the real world where limited amounts of yarn are sold only in small shops with limited hours.

Bryan receives handknits, not because he's thoughtful and gives such excellent presents (which he is, and does). But because dude totally understands this knitting thing. Which is all the more amazing because he does not knit, nor was he raised by a knitter or otherwise trained in knitting appreciation in his early life.

So he got a Christmas hat. Cascade 220 superwash, roll-brim, basic stockinette. Details Raveled.


This plain black hat will replace the original plain black hat (also pictured) I made him a few years ago, right after I started knitting. The original hat was knit in Cascade 128 and looked kind of like butt, being about an inch too long for him, with an ugly puckery K2TOG around decrease at the top. However, he has been nice enough to wear this craptacular early knitting effort for several years and was long overdue for an upgrade. (As a bonus, now that he has a replacement hat, he's finally allowing me to fix the original hat, which will do wonders for my knitterly pride).

Though I think he probably deserves some socks, too...

* Thanks are also due to Bryan's uncle Alan, whose mad Photoshop skillz were employed in producing the gift certificate. Thanks, guys!

December 26, 2008

What I did on my winter vacation

Or eight really fabulous things about my trip to the Bay Area. In no particular order...

1. Wine. And cheese. "Vino con Queso" at Artesa, part of a fabulous Napa itinerary masterminded by my friends Kelley and Mike.



If it tells you anything about our priorities for the day, Mike finished all his wine at the tasting, Kelley finished all her cheese, and I finished all of both. Then I ate the rest of Mike's cheese.

2. It's green. And things are flowering. In December. This is obviously less exciting if you live somewhere warm, but coming from Boston, the greenery was startling. I kept stopping to exclaim over exciting things in people's yards (e.g., "Holy crap! A jade plant, growing! In the ground!").


3. They sell liquor everywhere. Again, less exciting depending on where you live. But liquor! In a grocery store! California is like an exotic foreign land whose customs I do not understand.


4. Geek trivia.


Barely visible on the horizon are the loading cranes at the Oakland docks, supposedly the design inspiration for the Star Wars Walkers.

5. Schnitzel, prepared by BFF Quinn's husband Brian and consumed enthusiastically (and to the point of pain) by me. That man can fry.


6. BFF Quinn! BFF Quinn!


7. Mike and Kelley, who deserted me, I mean, moved to the North Bay in September. As you can see, they have an uncanny ability to find dive bars wherever they live.


This is their local bar in Novato. Where I discovered that drunk old men find me hot. H-O-T-T. Hot. We all have our special talents.

8. New yarn.

Fiber Confections hand-dyed superwash merino from Quinn, who (unsurprisingly given her overall awesomeness) picked out supremely awesome sock yarn for me.


Knitpicks superwash fingering weight, Koolaid dyed by Kelley and gifted to me. It makes me happy every time I look at it.


Dream in Color Smooshy, in the Chinatown Apple colorway, scored at Llama Llama Knit in Novato. I'd never seen Dream in Color yarn in real life, and it is just as smooshy and lovely as I had always heard.


There were a million other wonderful things about the trip, so thank you Kelley and Mike and Quinn and Brian for host(ess)ing so brilliantly.

It was a perfect way to celebrate, and I can't wait to see you all again soon!

December 23, 2008

Season's Greetings from the Passive Aggressive Gifts Department

I joined Paperback Swap a few months ago, in an attempt to get rid of some of the many, many books I own that I don't plan to re-read. Those of you who are smarter than I am might point out that *swapping* books won't reduce the total quantity of books I own, but I would ignore you.

Anyway, I recently got a copy of Nancy Farmer's teen novel The House of the Scorpion via Paperback Swap. Imagine my surprise when I opened it up to find this inscription on the title page:

For XXXX -

This looks great! Maybe this will be the book to turn you on to literature - but you'll have to read it to find out!


Nonna, I'm guessing your efforts were in vain. But I'm sure your condescending tone and the recipient's clear lack of interest in reading had absolutely nothing to do with it.

If I thought forcing books on the uninterested would work, I'd be manacling them to chairs with their eyes jammed open and a book in front of them, like something out of A Clockwork Orange. But some people just don't like reading. As a book lover and trained librarian, this is painful to acknowledge, but it's true.

So for all you fellow bibliophiles out there, if someone you know and love doesn't like reading, buy them a goddamned video game or a basketball or a Bob Marley wall hanging or something, anything, that they will actually enjoy.

I'm off to do some Christmas shopping. Happy holidays, all!

December 22, 2008

And now for the gratitude

First, thank you to everyone that commented on my quitting smoking post. I really appreciate the support, encouragement and advice! I will be revisiting those comments come January.

As evidenced by the lack of blogging and, uh, any other form of communication, I've been a little busy since that last post. But I did finish the semester. My last semester of library school. Ever.

Which means I am officially a master's degree-holding librarian! Or will be in January, when the degree is actually conferred. In the interim, addressing me as Master is optional, but encouraged.

I didn't knit much at the end of the semester, but I did finish a pair of socks last month.


Basic stockinette, the usual recipe, details Raveled. Pretty, pretty, pretty.

I've got some double secret gift knitting to show off, too. And some pretty new yarn. Coming soon...

December 21, 2008

We interrupt the planned expression of gratitude

For cheese. Lots and lots of cheese: Valencay, Stichelton, Calcagno, Cappucetto Rosso and Captein Gouda.


My friend Bryan just gave me this for my birthday. With the most excellent advice of BFF Quinn's friend Siri (cheese pusher extraordinaire), he picked out some of the best damn cheese I've ever tasted. And I've tasted a LOT of cheese.

I can't even begin to say how awesome this is. Thank you!

Edited to add - This is the same Bryan I had this conversation with on Friday:

Me (extraordinarily excited about the arrival of X-Files Season 1 at my apartment): Guess what I got today!?!?

Him: A vampire movie? A zombie movie?

Me: Better.

Him: Yarn? No, yarn, DELIVERED by a zombie?

He knows me so well...