Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Piiiiiiig!

I mentioned in my last post that there was a mug. With a pig. Deserving of its very own post.

Check out this pig.

The Coffeecorn Pig

He's trying to get to the corn at the bottom! I love him so much it's hard to not squeal and use exclamation points!

Yeah, yeah, like that...

In other news, in a far-off distant universe of Knitting After The Blanket, I've got some great yarn that a friend gave me - enough for a garment. I've been thinking of a vest, a little lacy, maybe with a vertical rib with some openness. And I was at a post-Christmas sale and found this sweater, which is almost great but not quite big enough. (ahem - too many cookies) Anyway, I picked it up anyway for further consideration at my own home (does it really fit with the things under that I would wear...). Before I return it, I had the presence of mind to trace the outline and take a picture. I always tell myself "oh, sure, yeah, like that..." but then I find it a little difficult to remember exactly what "like that" was, much less draft the thing up. A tiny step towards making this actually happen. Even better, this is something I would wear over a tank top, so it would be a spring/summer/fall garment. Meaning there's some sort of chance I could make it in time to wear it, as there's no way I'm getting this done while it's still cold enough for a vest.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What I said I wouldn't do and evidently shouldn't have.

Oh, man. So, like I said, I wasn't making nothing for nobody for Christmas. I mean, I didn't even WRAP the cookies for my mom, and I LOVE wrapping stuff.

But then, there was going to be this last-minute addition to our Christmas day, that person who just moved to town but ain't got nobody in town to celebrate with. Ya know - just moved to the big bad city, two friends in town, one of them is our roommate - he was gonna come to our place for Christmas and I wanted him to feel welcome and have a real Christmas a little bit. So I did a real race-to-the-finish little Odd Fellow from Jess Hutch's book so he'd have a real, handmade present made for him under the tree, and I knew he would really like it. And a big fat chocolate bar (a really big one) and I took the paper off and made it a silly quickie customized label with his name on it. I was really pushing it to get them done, so I wrapped them before I took a picture - figured I'd get the Odd Fellow in the daylight.

And then, for Christmas, he didn't come. There was a 3 PM phone call indicating that he might meander our direction maybe later, maybe who knows, maybe whatever.

Which starts me thinking I'm developing a trend here of the unwilling & uninterested on whom I'm foisting my Christmas crap. Last year I knitted scarves for my father's mail-order Ukrainian widow and her daughter. We really wanted to have them and my dad for Christmas, to be welcoming and family-like. Then he went and died, and then I thought we should really have them for Christmas. They really didn't want to be there. Didn't come out of their bedroom until after noon, then couldn't be bothered to look at their (also handmade) stockings until after they'd made a few phone calls.

So, yes, we can all admit that we give gifts partly to feel good about having made someone else feel good. By "we" I mean, "you all" because me, I'm giving gifts to make myself feel like crap.

If The Blanket turns out this way, watch this site for a big giveaway of every craft implement and supply I own.

Oh, sigh... I did squeak out a tiny stocking that was well received:

Tiny Stocking

And I got this mug? With a little tiny pig on it? Which sounds so dumb, but I LOVE it. A lot. And this bookmark that someone made for ME. It has the letter of my name on it. For ME. And I'm already using it, because who doesn't need a bookmark?

For Me!

Oh, yes, and of course there was good food. Another non-daylight picture because before the sun was up, my husband made me breakfast with some of the leftovers. More here.

This Was For Me, Too!

So, yes, my Christmas was fine, thanks for asking.

But I swear I'm not making anyone anything next year, for real.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Brief Post in Celebration of the Well-Woven End

I love stripes.

It's good I don't mind weaving in the ends.


I always love it when people tell me how they do what they do, so here's what I do: Weave on the subway. By which I mean to say, do some duplicate-stitch with the leftover ends, because you can, and it's so much better than having this fat old incongrous line through your knitting because you just went straight through a few stitches and came straight back. Duplicate stitch on seed stitch is wacky, but still fun and doable. Also, as with all things, fake it - if you've got too many in one line, too close to a corner, whatever - just kind make it in-and-out-y, more than straight-line-back-and-forth-y.

Ends! In So Nice!

Do NOT get out the scissors on the subway.

When you are sitting in the stability of a chair in your home, your office, or someone elses home, get your scissors out, cut off the ends of the ends you've woven in, and beam with pride at all that work you've done.

Quiet evidence of Lots of Work

Marvel at the way you can't even see where they were.

Ends! So Many! So Nice!

Marvel at how many stripes you've made.

The Big Layout, Take 2


Now there are design decisions to be made...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What I'm not up to.

For one thing, despite delusions of potential grandeur, I'm not making any holiday gifts. Ok, I will bake some cookies. But that's all you're getting, gang. Cookies and a heartfelt smile. A select few will also recieve a precious jar of homemade rhubarb-lemon marmelade.

There are so many things I would love to sew, but my sewing machine is officially impossible. I thought I would write "toast" there, but as it turns out, I can't bear to say that. I love that machine and I really really want it to work well, because if it did, we would be unstoppable, the machine and I. But there's something wrong with the tension knob and you think you've got it fixed and a minute or two later, it's doing the bad thing again. Which is exactly the kind of thing you can never get them to really fix at the shop, isn't it? Because I've tried to have them fix it better before, and it didn't work. Which means there will be no aprons, though I've got a great template and great fabric and everyone in my household wants one. And no stuffies, even though I'm dying to make some up from the Wee-Wonderfuls Put-Together Book. And no bonnets or ear-flap hats from Mailorder, though man-oh-man, would I love to make some of those. I've also been dying to make needlebooks and pincushions. And wouldn't those be great gifts? Yeah, those or a million other things.

So, I'm allowing time and tools and prior priorities hold sway over me this year. No one I know is going to go cold if I don't knit them a hat for Christmas. No one I know will cry because I didn't make them elf stitchettes on a homemade stocking. I am mourning the lack of space in my life to make beautiful things for people I love BUT I would certainly end up in tears if I started all these things I want to make but cannot possibly finish. In the commuting time and the watching dvds time, I'm working on The Blanket, a project not related to holiday deadlines or rampant commericial pressures to present people with OBJECTS on schedule.

I'm also resisting the urges to shop shop shop and buy beautiful things for the people I love. There are SO MANY wonderful things available at this time of year, and I really am a generous person and I love to give nice things to the people I love. But enough with the Objects On Schedule. The holidays are not about gifts, they are about being with people and celebrating whatever you celebrate - light, rebirth, friends, family, getting through another year, having a new year as a blank slate in front of you. Part of the reason I don't have time for this silliness is that I'm busy DOING THINGS with all these people. We've had loads of visitors for weeks now, and this last weekend when we didn't, we went out of town and threw a party for someone else and then went and visited someone else. I was out last night with friends (dance performance) and will be out tonight with friends (craft circle) and will be out on Thursday night with friends (a cousin performing with his band) and Friday night a friend is making us dinner...

I do want our place to be decorated, I love the atmosphere of the holidays. So I want to make Stephanie's trees and I want to make stockings and I want to make a new tree skirt, and a nice cloth/set-up for our advent candles, and I want to make an advent calendar. But we have a tree, a real tree that smells lovely and will be great mulch in a few weeks. And we will decorate it with things we already have, with the help of a couple of borrowed little girls, and that will be more fun than getting it done RightNowRightAway. And we have some decorations already and just getting them up will be Enough.

And so I'm very busy here, very busy resisting the urge to Make Stuff for this invented need to Give Stuff at Christmastime, very busy being with people I love, very busy with Events but not Things. I have to remind myself every day not to worry about it, not to figure out the special gift for so-and-so, because I'm not doing that, I'm not buying that pressure about Stuff.

As Calvin Trillin says, Enough is Enough. We have plenty of decor, and plenty of stuff, and so do our friends. I have plenty of projects, and plenty of materials, and plenty of plans and plenty of time to give objects to people. This does not need to all happen right now.

Two things there are never enough of are hand-written cards and home-baked cookies, and these are the only voids I will be working to fill.

As for the rest, Enough is Enough.