Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This Christmas cometh, and that right soon

Firstly, I'd really like to thank those of you who sent messages of sympathy, either in the comments or privately. They were lovely and heartening to read. Sadly, my dear mother-in-law died last Tuesday. I'm so glad she's not suffering anymore, but I will miss her very much, and I'm very sad that she missed seeing Christmas. She loved this time of year. Shopping and giving were sources of tremendous enjoyment for her, and of course she loved having family about, especially the grandkids.

So it looks like Christmas will be at our house this year, for the first time. We're therefore in a bit of a mad frenzy to make sure that the house is presentable and (if necessary) sleep-over-able. Also, since Christmas is here at home, my husband and I have decided to do stockings for the kids. We've never done this before, because we've always slept over someplace else on Christmas Eve, but now we'll do the whole cookies-and-milk-for-Santa thing and it'll be great fun. My husband is particularly delighted - it's a little spark of fun joy during a tough time.

All these changes of plans have necessitated a change to some of my knitting plans, especially with just over two weeks to go. (Two weeks? TWO WEEKS?!? Deep breaths. Ohmmmmm...)

Ragna for my brother
This has been officially shelved. I'm sad about that, because it's working out to be a terrific sweater, but I'm having technical difficulties with the front and back - they're both finished; but the two sides of the back neck opening have ended on two different rows of the pattern; which is a different row again from where I ended the front. I'm not quite sure how I managed to do this, but I don't really have the time to find out, particularly with two whole sleeves left to go. Given the situation right now, I'm all about the minimization of my personal stress, so I'm going to carry this project forward to next year. I'm sad about this, but there are a few silver linings. Firstly, I found my notes for how long the sleeves are supposed to be, so I'll be in good shape to get this finished up in the new year; and secondly, I have an excellent substitute gift that my brother will love. Shh.

Ilaisa's Wristies for Mrs. C
I had a heart-stopping moment this week when I was going over the master plan for all the Christmas gifts and realised I'd forgotten about DD1's teacher.

Way to go, brain.

Fortunately, I was able to come up with a solution: I'm using Myrrhia Resneck's Ilaisa's Wristies pattern, which is a free fingerless gloves pattern that looks pretty fantastic. It has instructions to accommodate FIVE different yarn weights - how awesomely versatile is that? I'm going to be using the three skeins of Phildar Exciting yarn that I bought at Value Village this summer. It's a really silky 51/49 blend of wool and viscose with lovely, soft variegating colours. I swatched it up and showed it to DD1, and she approved. (If she hadn't, I had a backup plan to use some of the cone of aqua wool/angora/nylon (I think that was the blend, anyway) laceweight that June gifted me with a while back...this fortunately turned out to be unnecessary, but how cool is that, that I could've substituted a laceweight if the worsted hadn't worked out?)

They work up really damn quickly:

That is one completed glove (minus the weaving in of ends, which I have tucked out of sight for the sake of a pretty picture) and about five rows done on glove #2. This represents one day of commuting time. Not bad, eh?

They're a little loose on me, but I'm pretty sure the teacher's hands are bigger than mine, so hopefully the fit will be ideal.

Christmas socks for DH
Done! I've wrapped them up but unfortunately all our gift tags seem to have relocated somewhere and I have no idea where. I blame DH. He's promised to find them. I have stashed the gift bag in the armoire in the meantime. Once I do finish the wrapping, I shall put the gift under the tree, and hope like heck that my toddler doesn't start opening all the gifts and spreading their contents throughout the house.

Edit a few minutes later: Just realised that I hadn't actually talked about these socks on the blog before blogging about finishing them. Brilliant. This was one of the things I'd been knitting on which I didn't feel like talking about in my previous post. Started them up on November 24, worked on them during my commute, and bingo-bango-bongo, they were done 10 days later. I used the OnLine Supersocke 100 Afrika Color 89 yarn that I'd gotten from The Studio at a ridiculously discounted sale price earlier in the year. I like them a lot and I think DH will too. The socks are, as is usual for me, precisely identical...except for being mirror images of each other. Gosh, I'm anal.

Toddler alpaca socks
This pair is destined for DD2, and might even turn out to be a Christmas gift (especially if I can't find the almost-finished socks that I was planning to give her for Christmas but which have now mysteriously disappeared). But mostly I'm making these socks so I can know exactly how much leftover yarn there will be to make Barbie clothes for my older daughter. The Barbie clothes plan is another Christmas gift. I'll be running around gathering up yarn leftovers here and there for soon as I can find the #*@#$*&!!!-ing pattern book with all the instructions for the clothes in it. Also mysteriously unfindable. Particularly mysterious when you consider that I have TWO COPIES of the damn booklet.

Christmas socks for DD1
Finished these toward the end of November and I love them EVEN MORE than I did while making them. They are gorgeous and fun and vibrant and perfect for my kid. They are also wrapped in a gift baggie without a tag, which is hiding in my garb armoire. (I write the location of all these gifts in this blog not because you actually care, but for my own reference when panic because I can't remember where they're hidden.) I know she will love them. Can't wait!

AFK hat for BIL#2
My younger BIL is very into World of Warcraft. What I really want to get him for Christmas is a T-shirt customized to his character (guild, alliance, etc.). However, I have run into a serious snag - I have zero information about his character. And this is not for lack of trying! I have used all my Interweebs stalking skills to try and find out ANYTHING that would be helpful, with zero results. He mentions absolutely nothing about his WOWing on Facebook or Twitter. I can't find any friends on either of those sites that I can either positively identify as people he knows through WOW or who are close enough to him that they'd know anything about his character. I've tried to find him on the main WOW message boards. I've tried to find him on the message boards for his favourite WOW podcast. Alas, the dude has made himself totally stalker-proof, WOWly speaking. AUGH!

So the very least I can do is to whip him up a hat and do "<AFK>" in duplicate stitch at the front. It's a pathetic backup plan to my original cool gift idea, but it's all I've got at this point. (Well, that plus a few other geeky gifts that should tickle his fancy.)

(Oh, and by the way? If it seems like a lot of things seem to disappear around here? You're right. Story of my life. Along with things like visiting Spain and getting a book published, one of my major goals is to actually, finally, get my $#!+ together before I shuffle off this mortal coil. At this point, winning the lottery seems more likely, but I continue to try.)


Gillian said...

My deepest sympathies to you and your husband.

I'm glad you're all still able to look forward to some little things about Christmas, though!

Georgiana said...

Sorry to hear that your mother-in-law missed Christmas, but I'm glad she's at peace, and that you're finding some joy in the season nonetheless.

Keja said...

I too am sorry to hear that she's gone, and I am also very glad she is no longer suffering. The first Xmas will be hard, but you have kids and they will be the bright light in your days. I hope it's at least a peaceful one for you.

Carrie K said...

Life is all about striving and making do but it's a good life nevertheless. Argh at Ragna! Next year.