Friday, December 26, 2008


It’s amazing how much effort we put into preparing for Christmas when all of a sudden the day is spent. Everything is over. You collapse in a heap of fatigue and satisfaction and wonder… is really over?

This past month has been a flurry of shopping, decorating, cooking, and knitting feverishly to finish those last minute gifts. It was nice to have a few days off before Christmas to prepare at my leisure. The results were quite nice….

Our tree….

My table….
My mother made this beautiful flower arrangement at her class.

The stockings were hung by the chimney…..

The day was glorious, filled with people and good conversation. The weather also cooperated by holding off the rain while we went of a photo scavenger hunt around town.

The weather being cold and rainy has inspired me to make simple knitwear again. I’ve been thinking about my stash and how I can use it up. Hats have been on my needles. They are quick and can be as simple or elaborate as you want them. I trade off between the two. One is complicated and the other is simple. This gives me the quick gratification of finishing something as well as the challenge of working towards a great looking cap for someone. One of the hats I made was Coronet Hat, a simple cable hat. It turned out great except that I had to graft the ends together in kitchener stitich, which is not my favorite stitch. The hat looks great.

This is a Koolhaas hat in progress...

I’ve also acquired an obsession in making the Calorimetry head bands. I’ve wore my red one all week. I’ve given some for Christmas Presents. They knit up in about an hour, depending on whether you are using bulky or thinner yarn and needles. If using wool, they are warm and smooth back your hair without hiding it in a full hat.

As the year winds down I’m feeling the need to clear out things I don’t use. Perhaps another New Year’s resolution in the making……..

Monday, December 8, 2008

Blessings of Family

There are moments in life when sudden unexpected events in life causes one to stop and reorganize priorities in life to Thank God for his blessings of Family.

Upon arriving home from work, I received a call from my son’s partner the weekend before Thanksgiving. She was taking her mother to the hospital and asked if I could help my son take care of his 3-month old son and 2-year old daughter. He had not taken care of both alone. I immediately went to their home but in the back of my mind, I was thinking whether I should cancel all the Thanksgiving plans I had made. This year, my work was given the delightful surprise of being allowed to take the full Thanksgiving week off. I had planned a full week of cooking and decorating to celebrate this Thanksgiving at my house with my family.

It was beginning to look like I would be spending my preparation days, babysitting as the other grandmother continued to be hospitalized and then convalesced at home, unable to take care of the grandchildren, which was her usual arrangement. As I contemplated how I would prepare for Thanksgiving, arriving home exhausted from 12 hr days with my active grandchildren, I started receiving calls. I was getting offers from the invitees to bring the turkey and all the fixings. My husband and son pitched in to help clean the house while I was gone. Little by little it all came together so that we all celebrated a wonderful Thanksgiving together. It really brought the true meaning of being in a “family” home to us all.

On those exhausting days, I didn’t have the energy to even pick up the knitting needles. However, I found that spinning helped me relax and think about the days activities. I loved being with my grandchildren. It brought back precious memories of raising my boys. My two oldest were about the same age difference. I remember the days of exhaustion juggling feedings, diaperings and entertaining an active two-yr-old.

As I was spinning, it gave me time to think and my thoughts wandered to how best to use my spun yarn. With so many projects started, I strayed away from starting another involved project and toward making simple Charity hats from my handspun yarn. As Christmas is near, I picked a soft red and green Romney wool yarn I dyed two summers ago. I decided to experiment with a basket stitch but gave it up when I saw how this yarn was a nice self-striping yarn. These are some of the results…..

Another hat I started was Jared Flood’s Koohaas Hat. I found a skein of handspun grey merino and decided to figure this pattern out. Lo and behold, I realized that he wrote this pattern for my style of knitting (Eastern Uncrossed), which is “through the back loop”. The single cables make it go slow, but once the pattern is established, the knitting progressed at a steady pace. I think I’ll offer it to my son, who is traveling to The White House to sing for the Holidays with his choral group. The weather will be chilly and the warm hat may help.