Sunday, December 31, 2006

Got Gauge?

I am rollin' on my Heavenly sweater. I've got 5" done on the front or the back (both are the same) already. And I've got gauge. Wee Haa! Since this is my first sweater since I stopped working on my cable sweater back in October of 2003 I'm a little excited. I've already spread it out between the needles & kind held it next to me to see if it went halfway around me & it does.

I'm glad I've already decided not to wear this next to my skin. I forgot how scratchy mohair can be. Oh, & yes, the big cranberry there is my Heavenly sweater. Doesn't look like much & you can't really see the pattern, but trust me, it's there.

I figured out the p3tog. It's not so bad with large needles. I'm just going slow & counting. I cast on 61 stitches but with the k1, p1, k1 into 1 stitch it ends up with 120 stitches on the needles for a row or two (almost typed in round there). And I forgot how quickly you get progress with size 11 needles! So I'm having fun with my sweater.

In fact, Sweetie & I went out today to spend some more of our Borders gift cards. I haven't found any knitting books for awhile that speak to me but with this sweater thing that opens up a whole new line. I'm trying to be objective when I look at these books. As with socks, there are a lot out there. I bought Modern Classics by Louisa Harding. It's all sweaters & different takes on the same sweater body. Such as the same body with a turtleneck & a v neck with long sleeves & a scoop neck with short sleeves. I figured that would give me a lot of options.

I'm also going to go back & revisit Maggie Righetti's book Sweater Design in Plain English. I bought this book a couple of years ago but now that I'm back into sweaters, it's going to get another look.

I've not finished going through my magazines for sweater patterns. I'm going to make a list (& check it twice, maybe even thrice) of patterns I have on hand that I want to knit. I've scoured the web for free sock patterns & I'll start on sweater patterns, too. There's a lot out there I don't like.

Up there is also the Redux in Blue sock. I haven't done anything to it since I cast on for Heavenly. The sweater requires more concentration so the sock will remain my blog reading/computer sock.

Tomorrow I'm going to have Sweetie help me & I'm going to try on the-pinned-together- at-the-top cable sweater. That way I can measure for the gussets I need to knit. Might as well cast on for those, too.

Provided tomorrow goes as planned, on the needles for 2007 (so far) will be
Redux in Blue ~ socks for SIL's principal
Castle ~ fair isle socks for me
Heavenly ~ sweater for me
Cabled sweater ~ for me

Beyond these, I don't have any particular projects for 2007. I'm not going to stop knitting socks but will try to expand my sweater repertoire & wardrobe. Sweetie has several nice cotton sweaters he's received as gifts over the years so he's set for awhile. I however, don't have very many. So I get to be first.

Also as I've mentioned previously, I want to polish my finishing skills. There's not much finishing on a pair of socks; no seaming & no collar details. Most of the knitting is hidden most of the time anyway what with your shoes on & long pants. Even if you're wearing shorts & sandals most folks don't pay that much attention to your socks/feet anyway. But your neckline & sleeves are right up there at eye level.

Good thing sweaters take a bit to knit as you have to buy so much yarn at one time. This is going to take some getting used to. I'm used to getting 1 or 2 hanks at a time for a pair of socks. Nine balls for the Heavenly sweater at $14.30 ea + the pattern at $5 makes this a $133 sweater. And that's just sitting in the bag. I already had the needles & I've got all the "notions" I need. Well, an interesting journey for me.

Sweetie & I don't have anything planned for New Year's Eve. We're staying home & being comfy together. Our favorite "night out" is a "night in".

reading: Walking Shadow by Robert B Parker

Parting Shot: "A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other." ~ Author Unknown
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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Flat Warrior Knitter

There's the Flat Stanley Project & then I have the Flat Warrior Knitter Project. What's that?, you ask. It's me knitting flat for the first time in . . . . well, . . . . a long time. Yeah, there were a couple of false-start-scarves, but THIS is going to be a sweater. Knit flat. Yes, it will eventually become a tube, as will each sleeve, through the miracle of the mattress stitch or some such wondrous invention by smart knitters.

In case you haven't been keeping up, I'm knitting Heavenly from Artful Yarns The details are on my Dec 28 post.

I must say that it IS a challenge knitting with size US11 needles when the largest needle that has been in my hands for months has been a 3mm dpn. And that's only used to cast on socks that I knit on my 2.5mm dpns.

I was amazed to find that I not only have size 11 straight needles (Lantern Moon rosewood) but I also unearthed size 11 (very short) circs (Crystal Palace bamboo). I think these are left over from the Noro felted purse kit project that SIL gave me a few years ago. I decided to stick with the straight needles for now. This will probably not be a traveling knit-on-the-go-project.

I've cast on & have done 3 rows . . . in purl. I'm about half way through the first "interesting" row. (WoW! Row instead of Round!). You k1, p1 k1 all into 1 stitch all the way across (alternating with a k1 to make sure you're paying attention). A couple of rows or so later, you p3tog. That should be a load of laughs. Hopefully, by then I will be more used to these telephone poles I am knitting with.

And no, I haven't technically done a gague swatch. It's done in pattern stitch & I figure the back/front that I am knitting (they are knit the same way) will serve as my gague swatch. When I get far enough I'll check it. If I'm good, I'm already x rows into the sweater. If I have to frog, so be it.

I'm on round (WoW! Rounds not Rows!) 14 on the leg of the Redux in Blue sock. I am loving the way this denim-y yarn looks. And now I've got a handle on the pattern, too.

I haven't scanned in the sock yet. Tomorrow I'm hoping to have enough done on the sweater to make it where you can actually see some pattern. The sock, is just barely there. Maybe another inch or so & it'll show up better.

I've been thinking seriously about getting a digital camera, for blog photos. I should keep track of all the things I would photograph & put in the blog to see if it would be worth getting.

It's raining softly & we've got a fire going in the fireplace. We're burning red oak & periodically, we toss in a couple of chunks of piñon or cherry wood. It smells heavenly, inside & outside. I'm back to knitting in front of the fire.

reading: Past Tense by William G Tapply

Parting Shot: "The more you love what you are doing, the more successful it will be for you." ~ Jerry Gillies
taken from The Best of Success complied by Wynn Davis, page 93

Friday, December 29, 2006

One by One

Unless I somehow become magically gifted with The Yarn Harlot's one sock a day mojo here's my sock output for 2006 ~ 21 individual socks or 10½ pair:

sock #1 This is the ½ pair. This mate to this one was finished in February. I know the link is for December, but I didn't scan the finished pair. This is the Gentleman's Sock with Lozenge Pattern for Sweetie. It's from Nancy Bush's book Knitting Vintage Socks. This was the 2nd sock I'd knit for Sweetie. The yarn is Cascade Fixation in white & laips. I actually did fairly well & didn't mess up any of the diamonds.

socks #2 & 3 This blue one is a scan of the Conway sock from Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road. This one is my sock. The pair was finished in March. They feel the best on my feet because I think they fit the best. The yarn is Rowan wool cotton in a slate blue (50% wool & 50% cotton). Not actually "sock yarn" but made a good sock.

socks #4 & 5 The green one is Sweetie's Asparagus sock, my own pattern. They were finished in May. The yarn is again Rowan wool cotton in a dusky mint green. I called them Asparagus because the row of purl stitches every 10 knit rows reminded me of stalks of asparagus stood up & tied with raffia.

socks #6 & 7 The blue one is SIL's Conway sock from Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road. This is my 3rd Nancy Bush sock. It was also finished in May. It's also my 3rd Rowan wool cotton sock.

socks #8 & 9 The bottom scanned socks are my MayDay socks because they were started on May 1st. I did a mirror image thing with the striping. They were finished in May. The red & white socks got frogged. the top scan is the beginning of socks 10 & 11. The yarn is Fortissima cotton in a light mint green & a dark green. The design is my own. My favorite summer socks.

socks #10 & 11 These were knit in my very first Internet Yarn Purchase ever. These are (of course) Grumpernia's JayWalker socks in Claudia's Hand Painted yarn. The colorway is twilight & it truly is. These were finished in June. My favorite yarn to knit but the socks are a little big. I want to knit another sock with this colorway.

socks #12 & 13 These are the first Socks That Rock (STR) socks I ever made. The colorway is Seal Rock. Love the feel of the yarn but I wasn't wild about how much yellow there was until I got the yarn to pool just right. The pattern is my own & they are for me. These sock are also a little big. They were finished in July.

socks #14 & 15 These are socks for SIL. Her 4th pair overall, her 2nd pair this year. I called them The Pastoral socks because of the colors. Again no scan of the pair. The yarn is Socketta & the pattern is my own. I made the feet too long so I had to unkitchner the toes & frog part of the foot to shorten them. They were finished in August but re-done in September.

socks #16 & 17 These (the mostly white stripy ones) are my Yoga Daughter socks. The 1st sock pictured there is one of the Mother socks (the purply/aqua stripes in Cascade Fixation). Sock #1 (see above) is one of the Father socks (the white in Cascade Fixation). The design is my own & they are my 2nd favorite cotton socks to wear. The heel's a big & slips down when I'm wearing my house shoes or socks only. They were finished in September.

socks #18 & 19 These are SIL's JayWalker Socks in Socks That Rock Mesa colorway. These were my least favorite socks to knit. I know it doesn't look like a lot but I blogged a couple of times on the BROWN in these socks. Between that & running out of yarn. Oh, yes. I finished sock #18 & got (I think) to the heel flap of the 2nd sock & that's when I REALLY knew I was going to run out of yarn. I frogged the leg on sock #19 back to where it would have to be & discussed it with her. She said OK so I finished sock #19 with the shortened leg, frogged back the completed sock #18 to the same leg height & reknit the heel, foot & toe. I have about 50' of this yarn left. They were finished in September.

I didn't realize until now that I didn't have an FO in October or November. I did however work on my Mermaid socks (on round 47) & did 152 rounds on the ill-fated Principal Socks. (see yesterday's blog entry)

socks #20 & 21 These are my final socks for 2006. They are CIL's STRIPES!!! To my knowledge she hasn't tried them on yet so I have no idea if they fit or not. She is allergic to wool so they are done in Cascade Fixation. A dark blue with variegated denim & purple stripes. The cast on edge is wine. They are tube socks with a star toe.

So that's it. 10½ pair ~ 21 socks
January ~ none
February ~ 1 sock
March ~ 3 socks
April ~ 1 sock
May ~ 4 socks
June ~ 2 socks
July ~ 3 socks
August ~ 3 socks
September ~ 2 socks
October ~ none
November ~ none
December ~ 2 socks

Left on the needles for 2007:
my Cascade Fixation yellow & white fair isle Castle socks
my Mermaid socks
Redux in Blue ~ SIL's Principal socks (see below)

In yesterday's blog post I was trying to decide between the Classy Sip-Up from the sock-shaped book Knit It! & Country Socks from Nancy Bush's Folk Socks. I like both socks equally well. But I think I want the Country Socks for Sweetie & I want the give-away socks to have more texture. The pattern choice could change as I get into the actual leg pattern. I've cast on with the denim-y yarn & am currently doing 1x1 ribbing for the cuff. I haven't done 1x1 ribbing in, well, I can't remember when. I'm on round 5 so it's getting there. When I have enough to "show" I'll scan in a picture.

reading: You Have The Right To Remain Puzzled by Parnell Hall

Parting Shot: " If Dracula can't see his reflection in a mirror, how come his hair is always so neatly combed?" ~ Steven Wright
Quote Source

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Heaven. I'm in Heaven

The Principal sock in it's candy floss format is no more. When I frogged & re-wound the skein I found no more knots. I suppose I COULD start again with a different rib pattern (as I am utterly sick of k4, p2). I think not. SIL likes this colorway so I think it'll end up as a pair of socks for her, sometime.

I drove into the "city" today to meet with SIL for lunch. Lunch was fantastic as usual. After lunch we drove to the LYS where I had a gift cert. SIL is thrilled that I am now getting back into sweaters. I think she wants me to knit her a sweater, but that'll be along down the line. I want to perfect some larger garment skills first with my own & Sweetie's stuff.

However, she's not above giving me a push when I'm ready (or not). I've been lackadaisically looking at sweater patterns for me because I will finish my cable sweater. I've marked a few but none have leaped off the page & proclaimed, "KNIT! ME!" While at the LYS there was a sample sweater knit in the pattern above. She wanted to get the yarn & pattern so I could knit it for me. OK, a bit of backstory.

A few weeks ago, SIL went off for a needlepoint camp. She took 1 of each sock (that are still surviving) I've knit her. She took 4 socks.
  • A Conway in slate blue Rowan wool cotton
  • A Jaywalker in STR in the Mesa colorway
  • A spiral tube sock I knit our of Schaeffer yarn in maybe a spring colorway
  • One of the Pastoral socks
Somewhere, sometime after she showed off the socks to the needlepointers she lost them. Has no idea where they are. First off I am absurdly flattered that she would do this!! They're just socks! Anyone could knit them! But evidently she traveled around with them routinely. WoW!

Anyway she told me this Christmas Eve & she feels badly about it. I told her no problem. Other than the yarn from the spiral tube sock I can get or have extra yarn in my stash to knit a replacement sock for each of them. She wants to buy the replacement yarn. I told her that we'd fling ourselves off that bridge when we came to it. Let me see what I can find. I took her bag of 1 socks home with me so I have the socks.

THAT'S why she ended up buying me the sweater pattern above & all the skeins of Artful Yarns Heavenly (also the name of the pattern) in the Trumpets colorway (#1477 ~ a cranberry). It's kind of like Trendsetter's Dune yarn. They had 9 skeins in stock & I took them all. The sample sweater was knit in the Angel Wings Purple colorway. I like the purple but the cranberry's in my winter "color palette" as well. Oh, & when SIL's back was turned I gave the clerk the gift cert so SIL DID technically buy everything.

The sweater is maybe not what I would have chosen for my next sweater. I'm not too thrilled about the neck & the sweater would NOT keep you warm. However, SIL mentioned that I could wear a silk turtleneck under it & it would look great! That would solve the neckline problem. I think I'm also going to make the sleeves full length. I'm not a ¾ length sleeve person. They always look like they shrunk on me.

Akso, I needed to get sock yarn for SIL's principal's sock. I decided to stay with the Socketta & got a denim colorway. It's got denim, lilac, a bluey-white, turquoise & the whole thing is splotched with dark blue denim. That's the other yarn up there. Looks pretty cool. I got a skein for me & a skein for the principal. I already have a name (maybe!) for my socks with this yarn. Forever in Blue Jeans. I've always liked the song sung by Neil Diamond. I AM going to re-wind both skeins BEFORE I begin each sock. Maybe I'll call the other one, The Principal Sock ReDux. Or maybe just ReDux in Blue. HA!

Now, what pattern??? I've been browsing sock books & pattern books this evening. I'm debating between the Classy Slip-Up sock from the sock shaped Knit Socks! book & a Nancy Bush sock! Surprise! A Nancy Bush sock! Anyway, the other contender is Country Socks from her book Folk Socks. I've not knit anything from either book, yet. Both are easy patterns but with enough going on to keep my interest. I'll look a little harder at each pattern then decide.

Meanwhile, I COULD put a few rounds in on my much neglected Mermaid Sock.

reading: You Have The Right To Remain Puzzled by Parnell Hall

Parting Shot: "A man is not finished when he's defeated; he's finished when he quits." ~ Richard Nixon
Quote Source

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Do not adjust your monitor

That sock there. The Principal Sock in Socketta by Plymouth. It's going to be frogged. Completely. If you look closely at it (click for big ~ which I have done . . . . . . . . repeatedly) you can see the same yarn & the same colors but 3 subtle pattern variations. At the cuff, (top of the photo) you have these nice little round 'd round repeats.

About the time that goes all wonky with the large amounts flashing (note long runs of the same 2 colors on the k4) there was a knot in the skein. OK. No problem. Cut out & keep going. I noticed the color pattern changed but well, maybe I tightened up or loosened up or whatever. Keep on knitting.

Then it changes again. And not just the color but the COLOR! Notice how not only does the stripe patten go back to kinda what it was on the cuff but how BRIGHT the colors are compared to the rest of the sock. I laid the cuff next to the stuff on the needles & there is a marked difference. And yes, there was another knot I cut out right where it changed again.

It's like they took a strand from a completely different dye lot each time & tied it on. If these socks were for me, I'd say fine. I'd just keep on a knittin' 'em because most folks will only see the socks at a glance, anyway. The brighter stuff will be in my shoe or on my foot. If my shoe would happen to be off showing the socks, my foot would not be still. It would be flashing' & movin & groovin' to the feel of the oh-so-lovely handknit sock upon itself.

I would know & well, you would know because I'd blog about & we'd commiserate & by the end of it all it would be OK & life as we know it would, in fact, go on. BUT I cannot give these to a stranger or anyone I know. ESPECIALLY a muggle (aka non-knitter). Their whole hand knit experience could be tied up in this one pair of well knit but not very well skeined by the manufacturer sock yarn. And that could put them off knitting. Maybe forever. I do not want to be responsible for that.

So off to the frog pond they will go. Not tonight. But someday. . . . . all 151, 60 stitch k4, p2 rounds ~ all 9,060 (not counting the cast on edge) stitches. GONE!

But, the dawn is coming. Tomorrow is another day. (wanna take a stab at what the Parting Shot will be? . . . .) SIL & I are meeting at her house & we're going to lunch. After lunch, there just happens to be a . . . uh . . . . LYS that I just happen to have a gift cert for. If she wants to come along fine, if not, I'll go on the way out of town.

Now I just need to decided what pattern. Yes, this next Principal Sock will have a heel. I am sick sick sick sick sick of k4, p2 & tube socks & cotton yarn. But I think if I change 2 of the 3 things I'll be OK. I'm going to take the sock & yarn in to show them. The LYS we're going to is where I got this yarn. I don't want a refund, just want to let them know. If they've had other complaints, maybe they can let their distributor know.

And yes, I think I will get Socketta again. But a different color completely. SIL's Pastoral socks were just fine. I don't even remember any knots. I'm going to keep this yarn & knit myself a pair of socks. Since I knit SIL's Pastoral socks, I've wondered how it felt & how it wore & now I'll know!

And in the meantime, I can knit some, maybe, on my poor neglected Mermaid socks. Not a thing since before we left for Suwanee, GA.

Oh! Oh! Oh! My other news. I've been researching sweater patterns. YES! After I'm done with my heathered gray cable sweater, I'm going to cast on for another sweater. I'm leaning towards cables. I LOVE to knit cables. My Conway's feel the best on my feet & I love how the cables look. If I do a short sleeved cotton blend sweater with subtle cables I can wear it this summer. If I do a long sleeved sweater, I'm thinking next winter. But then I'd have 2 to wear! I want a V-neck. If not a V-neck maybe a turtleneck for the long sleeved one. I dunno. I'm going thru my copied & downloaded patterns & my magazines & the few non-sock knitting books.

We were at Borders yesterday evening & the knitting section was crowded so I didn't even try to look. Maybe this weekend, I can park myself on the low stool & page thru pattern books. Next time Sweetie gets a call, I'll hie my self over to the LYS closest to me & paw thru their sweater patterns. But, the search is on.

reading: You Have The Right To Remain Puzzled by Parnell Hall

Parting Shot: "Tomorrow. Tomorrow. I love ya, tomorrow . . ." from Annie
Quote Source

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

363 more shopping days until Christmas

This is a bit of a whine. I'm glad that Christmas is all about the giving for us. I really think about each item I purchase for someone as a gift. Especially if I know that person well. The color, the fit, the feel (gotta be soft), how they'll use it, when they'll use it. All of that goes into each gift.

For my SIL & BIL, I work hard to find things that they will really enjoy. I usually go a bit overboard with them, because they host all the holidays; Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, BIL's birthday, my birthday & sometimes Sweetie's birthday. I only do SIL's birthday. Most of that is BIL. He doesn't like to go anywhere on holidays. So in the end it works out for everyone. SIL likes to entertain & we in Hermitville, don't. But I like to compensate a bit at Christmas & their birthdays.

Some of the stuff we received from SIL & BIL for Christmas went right into the trash, such as the overpoweringly fragrant handmade goats milk soap that was patchouli & rose scented along with the fake rose scented bath salts that SIL found at a craft fair. The bag of coffee beans we got, is a flavor we've tried & don't like. Every year they give Sweetie some kind of mechanical toy dog that we deal with for about 10 minutes when we get home & then it gathers dust as it sits on a shelf the rest of the time.

I want to give SIL the same speech that BIL gave us via SIL a few years back. Instead of buying crap, by gift cards. But I won't. Because SIL sees this stuff, she wants to buy it because it feeds something in her but she can't get it for herself. BIL would have a fit. So she buys it anyway, feeds that hole & gives it as gifts. She's happy. That's what counts. I just hope that by seeing the stuff we've given that she picks up a hint. If she does, fine, if not, that's OK, too. It makes her happy. And by the way, she has NO IDEA we feel this way. I'm not angry or upset. Really! Just a little disappointed.

Am I going to change how I shop for them or anyone. No. I get so much joy & pleasure in choosing the gifts I d & knowing that they will really like them. Maybe, SIL gets the same feeling. I hope so!

Yea, anonymous blogging. Sweetie is the only one who knows I have a blog.

Christmas Day we drove over to CIL's new place She recently downsized & moved into a seniors apartment complex. She has a very small place now compared to where she's lived in the past. One bedroom, small living room, small eat-in (on a card table) kitchen, decent sized-bathroom, shower only & a small utility area where she has the apartment-sized stacking washer & dryer. It's a little tiny place. She kept as much of her old furniture as she could fit in there. She had a buffet dinner for 7 people. Cheek by cheek & jowl. After dinner as we tidied away the the extra table the door bell rang & 2 more folks (longtime friends of CIL) came by for dessert.

About 15 minutes later the phone rang & it was new neighbors down the hall asking her to come visit. She invited them up instead. Keep in mind, this is a small living room. With 7 of us we're already crowded. So add 2 more THEN add 2 more, 1 with a walker & 1 with a cane. Musical chairs ensues so everyone could have a seat; the proper seat. So now we have 11 people & it's very warm & now a very jam-packed living room. The patio door WAS open a crack because it was so stuffy, but someone evidently felt a draft & so it was closed. Then we have desert. More shuffling around. Thank God, she kept this part simple. Angle food cake &/or ice cream.

We lived to tell the tale. Most of the gifts we received from the Christmas Day crowd is going to Goodwill. The box of snowman cheese spreaders, the hang-on-the-wall saying, the cheapie but cute coin purse, a teddy bear, another dog that takes batteries to do something, etc. All in a bag for Goodwill. Someone will get more use out of these items than we will.

Makes me glad that when I found something that I knew WE would like while I was shopping, I bought it. I refilled my spices at Penzey's, Sweetie got a Nautica T-shirt with a sailboat on it, 2 new good bath brushes for us & a couple of big candles from our favorite local candle place.

So what did we get that we DID like? A couple of Borders gift cards, a couple of Target gift cards, a gift cert to a LYS, a hoodie for Sweetie, some History of Aviation DVDs for Sweetie, a T-shirt for each of us from the school where SIL teaches, chocolate & 2 flower pots. Merry Christmas.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Only 363 more shopping days until next Christmas. So glad I don't do any Christmas knitting.

I THINK CIL liked her socks. She didn't try them on but she did show them to everyone. She could have the same attitude about the socks as I do about, well . . . see above. If so, that's fine. They're her socks to do with as she pleases. She can wear them, re-gift them, or give them away. If they don't fit I'll make her another pair, this time with heels, a different, more pliable yarn, maybe Socketta, & there will be fittings. They just may not be in a color she likes. In fact, if that's the case, CIL, SIL & I will meet up & we'll go to a LYS & CIL can pick out the non-wool sock yarn she wants.

Some progress on the Principal socks. I took them but I didn't break them out to show anyone. Took a socknitting break Christmas Eve, Christmas Day & today. I'll start back tomorrow or maybe later this evening reading blogs.

reading: Hello Stranger by Virginia Swift

Parting Shot: "In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive." ~ The Bible, Acts 20:35
Quote Source

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Wishing you comfort & joy

All the bowing & taping & tagging & wrapping is absolutely DONE! Tomorrow mid-afternoon, we journey an hour to the east to celebrate Christmas eve with SIL & BIL & our nephew, the dog. Our traditional Christmas Eve dinner is Sauerbraten. Yum! I am so glad SIL is a terrific cook!

There is an angle food cake cooling on the coffee table for us (because the dining room table was full of tagging supplies). We're listening to our favorite radio program in our home office. We are set for the evening.

In knitting news, today's Google had a knitting theme. How cool is that!

I don't know if I'll be blogging until after Christmas. If not, have a

M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S !

reading: Killer Deal by Sheryl J Anderson

Parting Shot: Maybe the last of ~ The Mental Health Christmas Carols: GENERAL ANXIETY DISORDER: The Twelve Days of Christmas!?!? 12 days! How am I supposed to get all these things in 12 days! I’ll never get it all done. And who wants a pear tree anyway? Can you get them at the store? A partridge? WTF? Would they settle for a Partridge Family DVD? Where do you even find French Hens? How can you tell the difference between French Hens and regular hens? Do the French ones surrender their eggs??? Gahhh!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve

Whew! The wrapping & taping part is done (THANK YOU, SWEETIE) & the bowing is about half done. All but one of the boxes have been bowed. I just have to bow the gift bags now. I have everything set up on the dining room table & almost every time I go by I stop a few minutes & bow something.

I make those curly bows from the thin, ridged curling ribbon. I plunk a couple of tape loops on the the box & cut lots of lengths of whatever color(s) of ribbon I want, curl them, then kind of smoosh all the ribbon together so it gets all intertwined then slap the mess of curls & ringlets on the tape. I've always liked & done these kind of bows. Festive & overflowing. I want it to look like happiness, joy & love exploded all over the box!

Back when we had a color ink jet printer I would do individual to: / from: tags on fancy stationery & use whimsical fonts. Each label would be in a different font & printed in a different color. I would cut them out with some wavy cut scissors, punch a hole in the tag with a whimsical punch & use some curling ribbon to attach the tag to the gift. Now we have a black & white laser printer. Tomorrow I'm going to go to Hobby Lobby or Michael's & get a few sheets of their fancy scrapbook paper & print my fancy font tags on those.

OK, remember yesterday or whenever I was whining about how I wanted to be done with STRIPES!!! & couldn't wait until I had a simple knit, no colors to change, just mindless knitting. Round & round, *knit knit knit knit, purl purl*. Well, now I am bored with The Principal Sock. At least STRIPES!!! was somewhat challenging — what with the changing of the yarn & the untangling & all. I guess I need to find some challenging reading so that I will be so taken up with the words either on the page or on my monitor that I won't need to concentrate on my knitting.

And it seems that no matter how long or how far I unwind the Socketta yarn, it still wants to twist up. Sigh. Oh, well, I have 105 rounds on this tube sock done. I haven't yet figured out how far/long I'm going to make these but something in me will shout ENOUGH! when they're long enough. I can tell you right now, tho, they will NOT be 248 rounds. Yep, remember this, 2 weeks from now when I'll be proclaiming that, "These Principal Socks are the longest (& more boring) tube socks I have ever knit at 258 rounds!" So NOT going to happen!

Well, if I want to get these done before SIL's Winter break is over, I'd better get back to knitting & finding some fascinating knit blogs to read! I can always read The Yarn Harlot's archives. I'm slowly working my way through them to when I started reading her.

reading: Killer Deal by Sheryl J Anderson

Parting Shot: even more Mental Health Christmas Carols: OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER:
Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock............(better start again)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Holy FO! Batman

I always feel conflicted during that final race down to the very. last. stitch. of something that I've been working on. Typically, I'm a bit sad to be parting from something that has been such a constant in my life, even tho it's only been there for a month or so. Kind of like finishing a really good book.

On the other hand, I usually have something else, (A sock! What a surprise!) waiting in the wings to start or work on. So I am excited to begin a new project or in this case work on a Sock in Progress.

Sometimes, like with my first JayWalker with the Claudia handpainted yarn in the Twilight colorway, I was loathe for that knit to end. I loved the colorway & I loved how the yarn felt as it slid through my fingers. I would knit with that exact same yarn & colorway in a different pattern, something that would pool, perhaps.

Other times, as with my second JayWalker sock (is this a coincidence?) with the STR in the Mesa colorway I could not WAIT for that knit to end. I loved the yarn, how it felt, how it knit, but I hated the color. Too much brown, although there wasn't that much brown in it. The fact that I had to rip a completed sock back to the leg then shorten then leg & reknit it may have something to do with it, but it's the BROWN. I'm telling ya. (And it was just this color, BROWN, too!) Thank God! they were for my SIL, who likes BROWN!

I worked on STRIPES!!! for a month & a half. It was a LONG knit. CIL likes statistics so I sent her a bunch. I copied these from my e-mail to her this evening.

- The yarn is Cascade Fixation. (I'm sending you one of the ball bands) ~ 98.3% cotton & 1.7% elastic
- I started them on 11/3/06 & finished them on 12/20/06. Most days I knit some on them but they didn't get knit on every day.
- There are 248 rounds from the cast on edge to the toe decreases (where the ribbing stops).
- There are 26 toe decrease rounds.
- I used a star toe.
- The rib pattern is k2, p2.
- I cast on 61 stitches onto 3mm bamboo dpns & used the extra stitch join.
The socks were knit with a 5 needle set of 2.5mm rosewood dpns.
- The socks weigh 117 grams or 4.1 oz.
- They are 20" long & 4¾" around.
- They are a tube sock with no heel so any way you put them on is the right way.
- They are cotton & can be machine washed & dried. However, I would machine wash them & let them "drip" dry.
- The stripe pattern is random.
- It took 1½ balls of the dark blue, ¾ of a ball of the variegated denim, about 1/8 of a ball of the purple & a tiny amount of the wine (the cast on edge).
- Not counting the 61 stitch cast on edge, there are approximately 15,842 stitches in each sock for a total of 31,684 stitches.

Now I can devote all my time (after wrapping ~ no, I never ever got started today) to finishing The Principal Sock for SIL's principal. Then I can finish MY Mermaid socks, which I haven't touched in weeks. THEN I can work in finishing MY Cabled Sweater! I'll probably cast on for another pair of sock after the Mermaid socks, just to, ya know, keep my hand in. :)

As STRIPES!!! (pattern & yarn) had it's quicks & foibles so does The Principal Sock. With STRIPES!!! it was constantly untwisting the 3 balls of yarn. CONSTANTLY! Every time I changed colors I untangled. Anal Knitter. At least I kept them in those small zip top bags with a hole cut in the color for the yarn to snake out. That kept things more organized. For some reason, Cascade Fixation doesn't twist. With The Principal Sock every several rounds I have to stop & untwist the sock. Oh, well. As Rosanne Rosanna Danna says, "It's always something!"

Each knit & purl I put into The Principal Sock puts me one stitch closer to not only finishing (& putting an END to this kind of thing) but beginning to finish my Cabled Sweater which has languished since I took up knitting again over 3 years ago. Not long, from what I've read on other folks blogs. The one UFO I had from my previous knitting experience, I unraveled & wound the yarn & put it in my stash.

Well, I DO have ONE really, really, really old UFO, probably over 20 years old. Good thing the yarn is acrylic, huh! It's not even technically knitting. It's a broomstick lace afghan. Some day. But not this day.

reading: Killer Deal by Sheryl J Anderson

Parting Shot: Even More Mental Health Christmas Carols: PERSONALITY DISORDER: You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll tell you Why.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Let the Wrapping & Taping & Bowing & Tagging Commence

YES! Except for a present for "the dog" the Christmas Shopping is done for 2006! Everything is piled around the base of the Christmas tree in piles for each person. Except for one tiny thing I found for SIL a few weeks ago, I did it ALL today. Let's see, I went hither & then I went thither & even yon! Rinse. Repeat. But, it's DONE! Yea Me!

I love seeing the look on the recipient's face when I've managed to choose a gift that they WANTED ~ especially if they never said anything about it. Sometimes you strike gold! I pretty much stuck to my plan, but I altered the time-table a bit. I decided to go to the "city" first then do the local stuff last. It worked out beautifully. I even managed to find some great stuff for my picky, very difficult to buy for BIL. Not all gift cards either! Some of the best finds?? for BIL a gift cert to a local fly fishing place. He loves to fly fish & goes several times a year ~ for SIL a gift cert to her favorite restaurant. I stopped at a local candle making shop & the whole house now smells like those great candles! I wish SIL & BIL still had a "real' fireplace instead of gas logs. I found a local place that sells fragrant wood chunks. We'd already bought a bag of piñon chunks somewhere else. This new place sells cedar (I got a 25 lb box for us), cherry, apple & some others I can't remember. Can't wait until this weekend to have a fire in the fireplace.

And news on the STRIPES!!! (CIL's sock) front ~ I'm ready to start the toe decrease rounds!!! But I'm laying the sock aside until I finish the wrapping & taping & bowing. Why does that part seem to take longer than running around to collect all the stuff?? Hopefully, I'll have it done by tomorrow evening. I usually make myself a place in front of the TV, have all my "stuff" to hand & wrap & tape & bow & tag. I've got boxes for almost everything so the oddly shaped package, which I LOVE, to wrap & receive will be kept to a minimum.

Sweetie had a great meeting today with his immediate supervisor. Glad that went well. He's off again tomorrow to visit another client.

As this is a short post, maybe I can sneak in a few toe decrease rounds before I get tired this evening!!

Reading: Gaits of Heaven by Susan Conant

Parting Shot: even more Mental Health Christmas Carols: PARANOID: Santa Claus is Coming to Get Me

Monday, December 18, 2006

6 more knitting days until . . . .

Tuesday's going to be my Christmas shopping day. Sweetie's meeting with his immediate supervisor with the company he just started with. They're going to visit a couple of accounts that are to come on-line with the company after the first of the year. That should keep Sweetie busy for a while tomorrow.

Still don't have any "official" lists from anyone, but I already have a good idea from past lists. I'll be at our downtown between 9:30 & 10 when the stores open. I don't plan to stop until it's done. There are a couple of specialty stores I need to hit in the "city" so that part will take longer. I plan to be home mid-afternoon. I'll let you know how I do.

And that will include a stop at Penzey's to stock up on spices.

Almost done with STRIPES!!! I'm on round 234 of 248 foot rounds. How could I stop NOW & BLOG when I only have 13 more rounds until the toe decreases??? Because I need a break. It's going to be awhile before I pick up & want to knit a striped sock again ~ well, maybe if it's for me ~ because I have short feet & don't want them to come up to my knees. Well, at least CIL has thin legs. There are only 60 stitches on each round so not so bad.

Then there are 27 star toe decrease rounds. Once I get down to the k3tog rounds & below it really flies. Here's the way I do my star toes:

Warrior Knitter's Star Toe Recipe
round 1: *knit 6, k2tog*
knit 6 rounds even
round 8: *knit 5, k2tog*
knit 5 rounds even
round 13: *knit 4, k2tog*
knit 4 rounds even
round 19: *knit 3, k2tog*
knit 3 rounds even
round 23: *knit 2, k2tog*
knit 2 rounds even
round 26: *knit 1, k2tog*
round 27: *k2tog*

Then I can concentrate on The Principal Sock. It's in the same pattern, k4, 92 but in a self-patterning yarn, Socketta in wonderful Christmas Candy colors. I just may change the name of this sock to Christmas Candy.

I've been working (when I get tired of knitting ~ off & on) on my recipe file. I have all the Appetizers (76 recipes), Beef (361 recipes) & Cold Beverages (131 recipes) done. That still leaves around 3,000 or so!

Back to knitting on STRIPES!!!

reading: Gaits of Heaven by Susan Conant

Parting Shot: even more Mental Health Christmas Carols: MANIC: Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Busses and Trucks and Trees and Fire Hydrants and . . . .

Saturday, December 16, 2006

. . . baby, Right round like a record, baby . . .

Round & round STRIPES!!! goes. It's no longer just a sit & the computer & knit sock. It travels around the house now. Wherever I pause to sit, here comes the sock, it's 3 bags of yarn, small clipboard of notes & my cup o'tools. I. Want. The. Sock. DONE. On the average SIL's STR Mesa sock was 153 rounds. Sweetie's Asparagus socks were just over 200 rounds. At least they had heels to turn.

Sweetie's Trekking tube sock was 180 rounds & 26 toe decrease rounds. This tube sock is by far the longest sock I've ever knit. CIL has a long foot. I think I've mentioned before that she wears a size 9½ shoe & she wants a knee sock. So 248 rounds. Yeah, when I was checking things today, I'd missed a number & it's now 248, not 247 rounds. Why do things always go the wrong way!! So, 63 more rounds!! And one good thing, I've woven all the ends in so far. When I'm done (someday!) I'll only have 3 ends to weave in.

When I get done with the foot/leg/cuff rounds, I'll be measuring the tow socks against one another just before the toe decrease rounds when I switch to garter stitch to make sure the numerical round count & the physical measurements are the same. These are going to be nice warm socks for her.

We stopped by Borders today & picked up 3 new cd's, all new age, of course — 2 Christmas & 1 regular.

A Peaceful Christmas complied by Time Life Music ~ a compilation of New Age Christmas carols. A few we have on other CD's, but mostly it's new stuff for us. This was also on a listening station.

Midnight Clear by Andreas Vollenweider. We like his other stuff, so this was a natural. This, too, was on a listening station. Carly Simon sings several songs on it. I like her voice.

Classical Gas by Mason Williams & Mannheim Steamroller. How could you NOT like Classical Gas. Haven't listened to this one yet, except for the Classical Gas cut but we did like that one.

Well, I'd better keep on knitting. I'm thinking more & more about finishing my sweater when the 2 tube socks are done. Also, if I want to knit another sweater, I'd better be researching patterns, too, huh.

reading: Sudden Mischief by Robert B Parker

Parting Shots: more Mental Health Christmas carols ~ NARCISSISTIC: Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

PS: I'd used most of the 1st line of the lyrics to this song in a previous blog post title. The lyric seems to fit this post, too hence the remainder of the 1st line & some of the 2nd line of the chorus . . .

Thursday, December 14, 2006


I'm half done with the 2nd CIL STRIPES!!! tube sock. A few rounds ago I knit round 123. YEA! Normally, for me the 2nd sock knits up faster. No surprises. You KNOW what it's going to look like. You've made all the decisions so the 2nd one is mindless & therefore, faster!!?? Except for this one. I think it's because there was no heel turning excitement. No heel flap hoo-wee. No picking of the gussets the pretty way. Just round & round, change color, round & round & round some more, k4, p2. So, 119 rounds until I can start the toe decreases!! YIPPEE!! GROAN!

Which also means I'm halfway done with ALL the tube socks. With the 96 rounds on The Principal Sock that puts me HALFWAY done with the tube socks. Oh, happy day!!!

I'm callin' the 1st Principal Sock half done. Her foot is smaller than CIL's & surely she doesn't want these halfway up her leg, too!!! Does she???? Haven't heard heard back from SIL on that one.

This came in the mail the other day. Nicky Epstein's Knitting Beyond the Edge. A while back I'd signed up for that Vogue Knitting book club thingy where every 3 months ~ 6 months?, (I don't know) I get a get a big nice book & a freebie cheapie book. I know I can buy them the same price at the book store or my LYS without the postage, but I'd never get them. This way, I "have" to get them. Heh! I've liked every one they've sent. Even the freebie books, even if it wasn't just what I was into at the moment. As with all of Nicky Epstein's books (I have her other 2 Edge books, Knitting On the Edge & Knitting Over the Edge) she has some wacko ideas & some really good ideas. Very nice book. I like it.

Sweetie & I put our tree up the other day. It's one of those fiber optic trees. Last year, the "power supply transformer" went out so the lights couldn't be powered. Sweetie took apart an old battery charger we had & made that work. So now the tree is all lit up again. We don't have any decorations on it yet, we've just been enjoying the lights! First one up turns it on & the last one down, turns it off.

Sweetie went on his 1st solo service call this morning. It was a simple problem & he was home by noon. Really grumpy on the way out the door, but smooth all afternoon. He got his "company" cell phone yesterday. We got it activated & set the ringer to something less obnoxious than the default.

Remember this post about The. Coolest. Souvenir. E V E R. Well, along with The. Coolest. Souvenir. E V E R we picked up a Ronstan spinnaker pole ring. Technically The. Coolest. Souvenir. E V E R is a whisker pole but most whisker pole rings are small & we wanted one that wasn't going to break. E V E R. So, yeah, it's kind of over-sized. But Sweetie's almost got it to where it fits the mast. Just a little more tweaking. Only about 3 more months & Spray can go back in the water!! YEA!!!! Have we done ANYTHING toward getting that accomplished since she was pulled early in October?? NOOOOOO!!!

The tiller is still in the kitchen, waiting for me to start sanding on it. And not once, in the nice weather have we been out to polish on the boat. Oh. Well. We've got 3 months!! hahahahahahaha! Groan!

And speaking of souvenirs, I can't find my NEW Fiber Trends sock blockers. I know they are here . . . somewhere!!! I hand washed a bunch of hand knit socks today & wanted to use them. Hmmmmm.

Tomorrow I get my hair cut. I had an appointment for last Friday, but I was afraid we wouldn't get back in time so I rescheduled before we left. Finally! I feel like I have a head full of fun fur up there!!! I'm trying to grow it out some, so it's even worse than usual. If Sweetie has a call, I'll do my usual; hair cut, coffee downtown & then a stroll around downtown, maybe some Christmas shopping. But if Sweetie's home, I'll grab a couple of pastries from a favorite shop & go home. Not a big sacrifice.

Sometime last night, the pump in our tiny "whiskey barrel" pond quit working. Sweetie turned it off before he left on his call this morning. I had breakfast then went out to deal with it. I bailed it out & discovered that gunk had covered the pump's intake screen. YUCK! The water stinks because of the worms (& a tree frog this time) that fall into the pond, drowned & then . . . well. YUCK!! So I got rid of all the icky water, (& the bodies) cleaned out the bottom, made sure the pump worked, then refilled the pond & turned the pump back on. YEA!! But, mid-afternoon the water was several inches down. Maybe we have a leak in the hose that goes from the pump to the "waterfall" or the plastic "whiskey barrel" has small leak. That's a problem for another day.

Reading: Louisiana Big Shot by Julie Smith

Parting Shot: More Mental Health Christmas Carols ~ DEMENTIA: I Think I'll Be Home for Christmas

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Under Pressure

Changing jobs is difficult even when it's what you want. The difficult part for Sweetie is not only setting up a new routine & learning how the new company wants things done (less paperwork with this one, YEA!!) but having to work on equipment he's never worked on before. He has to show up at a new (for him) customer's business & fix a piece of equipment that he's never seen before. We just came back from 8 days of classes on this new stuff but classroom instruction is one thing & having to be in a customer's office looking at a broken piece of equipment & having to fix it before you can leave is a whole 'nother thing.

We got back last Thursday & Friday morning Sweetie went on his first call with the fellow that's leaving. I think over the weekend is when it really sunk in that starting tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday) it's going to be Sweetie's job to fix the broken stuff. Initially, this fellow was going to stay the whole month of December but now that's not happening.

Sweetie spent almost all day today with this fellow & he's coming over to our house tomorrow sometime to give Sweetie some diagnostic software & help Sweetie load it into our laptop & maybe some other things. When this fellow leaves our house (as far as we know) for all intents & purposes, he's gone. And it will be Sweetie's job.

And he's a little stressed out about it. Mostly he's just worried that he won't do a very good job for the customer because he's unfamiliar with the equipment & is not sure that he'll be very good in fixing it quickly. He hates going into a business & not be familiar with the equipment. He thinks it's unprofessional & embarrassing for him. I think it's a bit of a guy think. Sweetie's always been like this.

He's been very quiet, not talking much & not sleeping well the last few days. And little things that normally wouldn't are upsetting or bothering him. It's not like him at all. I'm trying to be "normal", not hover (which I tend to do). I try to make him laugh (which is usually pretty easy) & relax & encourage him to do things that normally relax him & that he enjoys. For a while, it's going to all about him. I wish we could go sailing. That would help him relax & de-stress a bit. And on top of everything else, it's Christmas.

The good thing is that he will have GREAT support only a phone call away. And he likes & respects the folks he's now working for & will be getting support from. That means a lot to him. His territory is on the very edge of needing 2 people & the fellow who is leaving says that this new company already has a prospect lined up. This other person would do the smaller equipment that Sweetie's not very familiar with & Sweetie would do the larger stuff. They would also be each other's back-up for sick days & maybe vacations. Sometimes on vacations, tho, they bring in a ringer so the other tech's not all stressed out.

His direct supervisor is going to come up sometime next week & spend a few days with Sweetie so that'll help, too.

So things get a little testy now & then here in Hermitville. I figure by the end of January (hopefully, a lot sooner) he'll be more comfortable & we'll be back to normal ~ whatever that is!! In the meantime, I'll just give Sweetie his space, let him grumble, I'll listen & just "be there" for him.

I took a bit of a knitting break Sunday & yesterday. This evening, I picked up the 2nd STRIPES!!! (CIL's 2nd sock) & the knitting is just flowing again. I'm knitting this sock as I read blogs & forums & it's always a bit crowded, with the 3 balls of yarn, the little clipboard with my round count, pencil, crochet hook & the 2mm bamboo dpn for picking up recalcitrant (love that word!) loops that I can't seem to snag with the 2.5mm dpns. And there's usually other paper floating around to hide the above along with my keyboard. Something small always end up under the keyboard.

While cleaning the kitchen this evening in preparation for The Visit tomorrow, I found a narrow white mug with colorful pansys on it to hold all my knitting tools. Now I don't have to go scouting under the keyboard or shifting thru paper around my keyboard to find the crochet hook or more likely, when I set down the 5th needle. I swear, it's NEVER where I set it. But now I can pop it into the mug & there it is!! Here's lookin' a you kid!

Reading: Louisiana Big Shot by Julie Smith

Parting Shot: Mental Health Christmas Carols ~ MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DISORDER: We Three Queens Disoriented Are

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Two Week's Notice

It's 2 weeks until Christmas. Yes, today (Sunday). Our "family" (Sweetie & me, SIL & BIL) gets together on Christmas Eve to chat, eat Sauerbraten & exchange gifts at SIL & BIL's. On Christmas Day, we meet up at CIL's place to chat, eat & exchange gifts with CIL & the "orphans". These are friends of SIL & CIL that SIL & CIL have "adopted" over the years who either don't have family in town or have none left. Since Sweetie & SIL's mom died in 2003, SIL has "adopted" more orphans to fill the hole.

We (Sweetie & I) never know who'll be at CIL's Christmas Day or how many will be there. We always pick up a half a dozen (or so) $25 Borders gift cards & wrap them in small boxes. We put all of these in a large gift bag & just hand the packages out to the recipients from the gift bag. If there are any left over, we take them back home, unwrap them & combine them with any gift cards we receive. Everyone wins! Who could NOT want a gift card from Borders??!!

For the most part, I've not started Christmas Shopping. I like to do it all at one time, sometime during the week before Christmas. It ends up being cheaper for us as I/we don't keep finding The Perfect Gift for whomever. When I do it all at once, it's easy to remember what you got for whom because it's all right there in the trunk!!

Some years I have a half-assed list from the recipients & some years I don't. We really only have to get gifts for 2 people, SIL & BIL. None of us has kids & all the parents are dead so we splurge on each other. It's fun. We have a $ amount in mind & I keep a mental tally as I shop so they end up with the same amount spent on each.

Yes, I do the Christmas Shopping. Sweetie is so not a shopper for things like this or even grocery shopping. If for some reason we have to shop together, I keep checking with him to make sure he's not getting burned out. If he gets whacked on shopping, he won't go even for a quick in & out at the grocery store for weeks. He doesn't consider computer stores, hardware stores or book stores "shopping". LOL!!!

SIL is easy to buy for. What I like she likes. I always get her a good-sized gift cert to her favorite needlepoint shop. We always have to make sure that SIL is NOT at the needlepoint shop before we pull into the lot. Everyone there knows her & whoever is there customer-wise is always excited to be in on the Big Secret! That's always fun, too. Before we got Spray, it was always, "Oh, you're the one who knits!" After we got Spray, it was, "You're the one who sails!"

BIL is more difficult. He's always been kinda crotchety & loathes "crap." Also, in 2 years they are downsizing BIG time & moving to an apartment in retirement community. And SIL has miles of shelving in their basement where she's stored LOTS of stuff from when her Mom died & we cleaned out her house. So really, NO CRAP, for either of them. BIL is into Cowboy Action Shooting & a found a Henley shirt for him for his birthday earlier this year. I got it because, it was soft & he's liked them in the past. He was thrilled because it's something that Cowboys wore back then & he could wear it when he went to Cowboy Shoot. So, that's on my mental Christmas list for him. I also get him a gift cert at local fly fishing shop & Cabela's.

CIL has recently downsized & moved into an apartment in a retirement community so no CRAP for her either. We usually get her 1 "nice" thing & a Border's gift card. I never know ahead of time what it will be. It's one of those, I'll know it when I see it kind of thing.

And, I'm sure you noticed, no knitted gifts from me. Last year, I was guilted into possibly making a scarf for a Christmas gift for this year. I bought the yarn & could not get motivated to finish it. About March I decided, it wasn't worth the hassle & quit. I was also going to make one for SIL's bud but gave up on that, too. I still have the yarn for both so, who knows. Anyway, SIL's bud LOVES Starbucks coffee, so she's gett7ing a Starbucks gift card instead of the Borders one. Have to remember to mark that box with her name.

We got a new microwave today. The old one's being dying a very slow death. Popcorn is taking longer & longer. That's the only thing we put in there that would take the same amount of time, every time. The one we got has an oval window. I would LOVE to have one like the the one that Rachel Ray uses on her Food Network show 30 Minute Meals. But Samsung not making it any more. Oh, well.

We're back to the same ol' boring hermits we were before we went to Suwanee. Yea! I almost have everything put back. I still have to put all the CD's I took with us away ~ 3 shoe boxes full!

reading: The Kills by Linda Fairstein

Parting Shot: Mental Health Christmas Carols ~ SCHIZOPHRENIA: Do you Hear What I Hear?