Out with the old

I’m alone in the house. I haven’t been alone in the house for about 2 weeks now, and I’m grateful beyond all measure for a few moments of peace. The last few days I’ve had a house-full…which is good for happiness and family unity…but poor for blogging. The tail end of the year upon me, I’m ready for a rest. The last couple of days have run along this theme.

Dance2

Big parties, big fun, all the time. Wayne and Garth would be proud. The Harlot family and it’s associates are a dancing kind of family. Really, unless you are a dancing kind of family, what this does to festive gatherings is difficult to explain. The expression of joy and togetherness through movement and rock classics is a McPhee family tradition, and it wouldn’t be Christmas without it. It turns out that there are two kinds of visitors to the McPhee clan… those who immediately understand this

Dance4

and those who think that maybe we’re a little off. One guest was heard to remark this year, as a member of the Clan sailed past them, that they wondered if the family didn’t suffer from “a pathologic level of happiness”.

Dance3

Personally, I think they are happy because of the knitted presents. See what my Mum got?

Mumspurse

A Sophie bag, with beautiful glass bead handles made to match by the talented Kim.

Erin got this one…

Erinspursefull

The handles Kim made for me are so beautiful that I had trouble giving them away. She chose the loveliest beads to match the yarn. I’m thinking about making a thousand more purses just so I can see what beads Kim sends.

Erinspurse

and Tupp? Tupper was this years knitting victim, receiving only a single mitten.

Tupperone

He took it well, even working out a solution in short order.

Tuppersolution

I’m working on the second one.

Onemitt-1

The very idea that when this mitten is done I’ll be able to embark on some sort of new knitting adventure that has no festive deadline is so exciting. I believe (however delusionally) that Monday I’ll be done Tupper’s mitten. What should I knit next? The world of possibility overwhelms me. (Seriously, if you have an idea, toss it in the comments. More mittens? Lace? Lace mittens?)

Happy New Year all. I’m going tobogganing by moonlight…

Uncle Tupper

(As an aside…I can hear you all thinking “Tupper”? The Canadians might have a hint where the name comes from, for the rest of you here’s a hint, his full name is Charles Tupper McPhee.)

So my Uncle Tupper is my Mum’s brother and absolutely one of my favourite relatives. He’s a restoration/carpenter cool building guy now, but when I was a teenager he was an artist and a runabout. Back then, there were times when I didn’t know his address, only what province he was in. This sort of bad-boy “I’m so cool I don’t have to even tell you where I’m at” thing captivated me. Family Legend has it that he came to live in BC because he got loaded and his buddies tossed him on a plane. Woke up in BC with no cash to get home, so he lived there. One time he came to take me to his farmhouse (he wasn’t a farmer) and we stopped and rented a tv on the way there. He let me watch the Miss Universe Pagent, something that would have appalled my feminist/activist mother. See that? Flying in the face of authority. Can you believe it? My mother was the highest force in the universe and he didn’t care. I watched tv late at night AND it was degrading to women. We ate crap too. He did it and he lived to tell about it. At the time I thought that this was so brave that I can scarcely tell you of it. I thought my Mother would cut him out of our lives, maim him, write his name in the black book of doom…something horrible. Now that I’m a mother I know that she was just grateful that he took me away for the weekend. The morning after the TV we went walking in the fields. There was a thick fog over the farm and we were walking through it hearing cowbells – but seeing no cows, it was impossibly mystic and weird and I still remember it vividly.

If it weren’t for Tupp I wouldn’t have bothered to be a painter for as long as I was and I certainly wouldn’t have such a profound (and yet useless) education in Fine Arts. (What? I can’t be the only one who thought that Art History was going to pay off.)

Why is this all relevant? Why should any of you care who Tupper is? Today, The McPhee Clan celebrates Christmas (Again. We have real stamina.) There will be drink, there will be dancing…there will be a rare and awesome visit with Tupper….

And he will get one mitten.

Tupper

I realized last night at 2:30 that I wasn’t going to make it. (No kidding? Really Steph? Seriously? You had one stinking mitten at 2:30 and that’s when you figured that even though the first one took you 10 hours, 2:30 was when you realized that you couldn’t knit another one before dawn?) Every year somebody gets the shaft. I knit and knit and warp the time space continuum and (last night marks the 15th night in a row that I have had no more that 5 hours of sleep) and totally lose my cool and pull what Tupper would call “A Kathleen”. Kathleen was my grandmother, famous for her berserk Christmas enthusiasm. She liked things to be “right” and despite never being particularly enamoured with housework or cooking was often found baking and polishing silver in the dead of night in the days preceding Christmas. (It is only because she did not knit that this was the focus of this energy) Tupp and Mum feel that I channel Kathleen every Christmas, and it does not endear me to them, but rather makes them sort of shudder a little as they flashback to 2am festive insanity from the Christmases of their childhoods. (Apparently the part where I scream “Are you trying to ruin Christmas!” when someone suggests that perhaps the happiness of the entire family does not hinge on my ability to flawlessly iron a tablecloth in the dead of night is particularly reminiscent of the Christmases of their salad days)

Despite my hysteria, sleep deprivation and screech (both of the alcoholic and vocal variety) Tupper is this years unfinished knitting victim. I tried to keep it from him, but now he knows. Not only did I pull a Kathleen….I didn’t even get it right.

On the upside…this last minute defeat means that I haven’t slipped at all. Tupp’s the only one getting a gift on the needles.

Party on.

Eye of the Storm

It is very quiet in the house. Too quiet. If you were here, it would totally flip you out.

I know better than to think that this is the relaxing end to the holidays. No, no…we are in the exact centre. The quiet lull in the eye of the storm. The one where everyone thinks that the hurricane has gone over their house so they come out of the basement and WHAMMO. The other half of the storm whacks them. Except me, I’m staying in the basement, I’m not getting tricked this year. Besides, I’m still knitting.

I need this…

Tupp1

To be a pair of mittens by tomorrow when the second wave of Holiday merriment will sweep over us in a bewildering daze of relatives, presents and rich food. Two more gatherings to go. Then a dinner party, then new years. All that and a mitten by tomorrow. Yeah. I know. It’ll be a miracle. All this deadline knitting has me a little defeated. I’m completely fixated on the fact that when I finish these mittens I am released. I can knit whatever I want. I wonder how I’ll feel when I discover that what I really want to do is cast on a pair of mittens?

Since I really can’t come out of the basement, I’ll give you highlights.

Spiderman

Hank thought his mittens were exactly spiderman mittens. (You will note that his is also wearing spiderman slippers. He is smiling, which was not the case when he discovered that you cannot wear your spiderman slippers when you want to put on your spiderman roller skates.)

Speaking of slippers…

Ianali

Superbrother Ian and his charming wife Ali have warm feet. (And a new spraying watering can. Yes, Ian is going to squirt Ali with it.)

The girls gave me fleece artist roving and a brilliant little Elegant Knitter gauge.

Girlsp

This one goes to 1.25mm, and none of my others do. (Remember Spinal Tap? “This one goes to eleven….”)

I gave Ken his Pablo Neruda Poem socks…

Pnfinished

These are based on the poem “An Ode to my Socks”

and the writing on the socks reads, (In spanish)

beauty is beauty

twice over

and good things are doubly

good

when you’re talking about a pair of wool

socks

in the dead of winter.

The top of the feet indicate the right and left feet (in spanish) so that Ken will always put the poem on in order.

I know…I know. What could a friend do to deserve these socks? My present from Ken was this.

Rc-1

Ken really, really deserves the socks.

Happy Christmas

This is it. This is the big Harlot coup de grace. I know you want to hear crazed stories of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth at 2 am. (True). Stories of demented midnight yarn hunts, managing to finish felted clogs by the light of the moon hopped up on egg nog with only a metre of yarn to spare. (True) Stories of the Harlot children, sadly abandoned while their babbling and exhausted mother refuses to cook, screeching about how many hours are left and how screeching slows her down and they had better all get it together around here because it is coming down to the wire people and how if they don’t pick up that wet towel on the floor she’s going to throw all of the presents into the snow and who will be happy then…EH? (True as well. I get festive I tell ya.)

I’d tell you those stories too, and maybe I will…. later. For now, I’m on track, on schedule, and will probably finish. (Well. I need to knit an entire man sized pair of Estonian Mittens before the 28th….Maybe I’ll just do a photo blog for the next few days. Row by row updates. You guys have nothing better to do…right?) I’m still considering Julia’s absolutely brilliant plan for anything I don’t finish.

For now…I’m reeling it in. This afternoon at 5:00 the Harlot family will roll out the door for the beginning of the holiday season, and I’ll stop. I won’t stop knitting, I won’t stop trying…but I will stop making myself nuts about it. I’ll remember that the reason that I attempt death by knitting every year is to make these people happy and to show them my love..albeit in an unusually wooly, looped way…but it is about love and I’d rather be with them than knit for them, and I think they want that too. (This lovely and calm Christmas message is only possible because I believe that I will finish. If I were further from done I assure you that I would be a berzerker, espousing victory at all costs. Let’s overlook that.)

Gifts for knitters #24

(Yeah, I missed 23. Sue me. I’ve been busy.)

I know, I know. It’s Christmas eve and you’re freaking out. You worry that you have not got the right gift for your knitter. You worry that there is going to be a snowflakes chance in Hades that you are going to be able to go out and get today’s gift for your knitter. Relax. I’ve saved the best for last. The absolute perfect gift for every single knitter. Give your knitter

Time

Time to knit. Go walk the dog, take the kids skating, scrub the bathroom, make dinner or acquaint yourself with your very own Mr. Washie. (Added bonus, If your knitter sees you doing housework there may be a gift in it for you. After a certain number years of living together housework is foreplay). If you cannot bring yourself to do any of those things then simply give your knitter time during which you expect that they will do nothing but knit. After all, it’s what your knitter gives you. The hats, mittens and sweaters they shower you with aren’t just made of soft, lovely wool, each knitted item is magic. It is made from hours and hours of your knitters life. Time spent sitting and working with you in mind…time that they chose to give to you above all others, carefully hidden in a hat.

This Christmas, make your knitter a cup of tea, give them a kiss and GO AWAY.

Happy Christmas all. From the Harlot house to yours,

Peace.

48 hours

Finished:

Dragonmitts2

Dragon mittens (or what we hope will be interpreted as dragon mittens by a five year old buddy of Lene’s) The knitted eyes are cracking me up.

Finished:

Clatviandone

Latvian mittens

Sigh. These are so pretty that the only think keeping me from stuffing them into my own coat pockets and giving the intended recipient something impersonal and sucky from the drugstore is the fact that they are too big for me.

An extra shot for the Latvian mitten junkies:

Lmdetails

Finished:

Clogsi

Clogs

One pair down, one pair to go. In case you haven’t played this game before, my foot is included for scale. The magic trick of felting just never gets old. (Rest assured that these will be felted inside a tied up pillowcase to protect Mr. Washie’s innards. I only have to replace a $300 pump once to learn my lesson.)

Sam is shovelling up that white Christmas I ordered.

Samshovel

(You know what? I can’t be the only one who worries when it all starts coming together, right? I start thinking that maybe I do run the world….)

Joe is at the store buying underpants for the girls. (I ignored his pleas for release from this task. I care nothing for his discomfort in the underpants department. He is a parent. He will buy teenager underpants and he will survive. I have no pity, for I am a knittter at Christmas and my only hope is delegation.

Answers to questions.

- Four (How many hours of sleep I got last night)

-Two and Six. (The number of glasses of wine I drank last night and how much coffee so far today. It’s entirely possible that all the tofu I eat the rest of the year is only in preparation for this week.)

-One (How many crappy movies I watched last night. It was “Anacondas”. It was truly crappy.)

-Three. (The number of times I noticed that Joe was not working on Christmas.)

-Two. (The number of times that I managed to let that go because he was asleep)

-One. (The number of times that I woke him up to discuss my failure to let it go)

-Five. (The number of times that I’ve thought “There is no possible way to finish all this. In the name of all things holy would somebody please lock me in a closet with a bottle of scotch and a fruitcake until Christmas morning so that I can stop trying.” )

-Four (The number of times the previous thought has been immediately followed by “Oh, c’mon. Keep trying. You can do it. You’ve been in rough spots before, look to the schedule and fear not the coming of the morning. Rise above. Wrap something, eat a cookie and knit.”

-One. (The number of times that I needed a little scotch to believe that).

Quitting is for…quitters.

Realistically, there are three days left. Three days…and I still need to finish two pairs of mittens, with a third pair needed on the 28th that I haven’t started yet. This is pair #1.

Ammittens

I’m feeling pretty good about them, despite having knit most of them in between wet basement psychotic breaks. (We are not speaking of the basement. The important thing is that I am not down there now and I am not planning on going down there for at least a day. I’m not going to think about it until the vein in my forehead stops beating out an SOS message that is visible to others.)

Sometime in the next 24 hours I need to figure out how these would be “Dragon mittens”. I also need two pairs of clogs and a pair of socks. This is a lot. Even I can see that. The pair of socks are getting close, but I haven’t even looked at the clogs yet. This is worrisome.

There comes a time in every holiday season when even the most insane determined of knitters has to admit that maybe she isn’t going to make it. That maybe it’s too much. That maybe it can’t be done. That maybe, it’s all about peace and love and spending time relaxing by the tree and just letting go of all the material crap that weighs us all down and remembering that it’s the thought that counts and that your family would rather get a gift still on the needles than have you an exhausted gibbering mess.

Now is not that time.

Do not give up. I can understand how you might be thinking those mushy things, but I can assure you that there is lots of time. Tons. I don’t need my knitted stuff until the afternoon of the 25th. That means that I have 72 hours left. What could you knit in 72 hours? Seriously, think about how long it takes to knit stuff. There is 72 hours available. What could you do with 72 hours? Hat? Mittens? Scarf? Do not be deluded by the number of days left. Let go of the idea of “days”, it’s only discouraging and once you are knitting around the clock it’s largely irrelevant anyway. Press on.

Three tips.

1. Coffee. Do not worry that you are drinking too much unless your family says “What is that thumping noise?” and you realize it is your heartbeat.

2. Sleep is for cowards. Besides, the tree looks prettiest at 4am and if you really luck out you can get to see “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians“. I assure you they don’t show these gems in prime time.

3. There is no place in the next three days for negativity. If anyone tries to talk to you about the knitting pace do not allow them to cloud the issue with facts and logic. If they persist, ask them if they are trying to ruin Christmas.

Gifts for Knitters Day 22.

Ok. Do this. Go to the store and get 2 plastic boxes with lids. Make sure that one of your boxes is at least 9 inches long. Label the top “DPNS”

Bin

Go to the yarn shop and get the things in this picture.

Notions

Tape measure, wool needles and holder, crochet hook for picking up stitches, row counter, needle gauge, stitch markers, scissors, stitch holders a notebook for writing in and a pack of post-it notes. (The post-it notes are handy for putting notes on a pattern without marking it up, keeping track of where you are in a chart…etc.)

Put them in the other box. Wrap both boxes and feel like a genius.

Do not worry if you think your knitter already has this stuff. This stuff is transient. As an example, I personally have bought at least 94 tape measures in my life. I don’t know where they go. Ditto for stitch markers. There is a doorway to the seventh dimension that sucks knitting notions into an invisible swirling vortex of doom. There are 98765345623467 pairs of scissors in there. The entrance may be the crack in the side of the couch. Be careful.

Too busy to blog

Hello this is Megan, Yarn Harlot’s lovely middle child. My Mum is to busy to blog. I know what all of you knitters are thinking, TOO BUSY TO BLOG! Yes well it is true, my mother can’t blog today so it’s up to me to save the day. It is five days until Christmas and every one is busy. I am knitting a scarf but I have a long way to go, I wish I was working on my blue shawl instead. Sammy is knitting a facecloth. Amanda is not knitting this year, she says she may have a temporary wool allergy. I think she is not making a big effort. Mummy is mopping the basement, cleaning like a frantic lunatic, knitting and baking. I have to do todays Gifts For Knitters. My mother tells me I have to do four gifts for knitters because she is behind, I think she is a slacker. I must talk about the basement first, its been flooded, a pipe broke or something I don’t know what happened so I am guessing. Mr.Washie is ok (Mum said you would all be very worried about him.) he lived through this experience. The basement, however, I don’t know if it’s going to survive. It’s very, very wet, along with our neighbours basement. Joe spent the morning vacuuming up all the water and I spent the morning with my sisters trying to find food. We asked mom for some food while she was mopping and she said, get this, “Do I look like I have food down here?” I think Mum might be a little pissed.

Now for gifts for knitters, since I am a kid young adult I think that all the presents for knitters should not just be for adults so here I have four presents for kids or young adult knitters so here it is.

Day 18: We have a knitting needle making kit. (Denny made these ones, but we have made lots)

Needles



All you need is some doweling and some beads and some wood glue and then you have a kit. It’s easy to make and its really fun. You cut the dowelling, glue the bead on the end, sharpen the point in a pencil sharpener, sand it smooth and rub it with wax paper to make it slidey. I think that they are cool, but this isn’t all about me. Most young knitters would love this.

Day 19. I think that the best thing you can get a young adult from ages 13 to what ever is a cell phone.

Cell



I know it has nothing to do with knitting but I got a phone and it is so totally awesome, I love it so much. Mum hates them. Don’t buy her a cell phone, she would trade it for wool.

Day 20: Well my little sister Samantha has come to help with the blog she says that the best gift for some one of any age is a Gameboy Advance SP.

Gameboy



Yes, yes… I know. Once again, nothing to do with knitting but the thing is so totally rad!

Day 21: Well I have gone back to stuff for knitting. What I have chosen for today is a little knitting ornament. They are fun to make and they are really really cute and I love them. All you need to make them is just tooth picks and some cute beads and just a little bit of wool. A knitter would like to get them I think.

Ornament



Well that’s all I will talk about today, tomorrow my mom will go on and on and not me. I hope you liked my blog I thought it was great and well, that’s all.

Merry Holidays.

Megan

Reversal of fortunes

My attempt to regain control of the weekend was, well… Let’s recap.

Friday: Friday night was spectacular. Beyond all expectation. Friday night I sent Lene these two pictures and the following note.

The sock at 8pm

2Pnsock-1

The sock at 10pm

Cantoo

Do not tell me that I cannot warp the time-space continuum. Do. Not.

The children were away. Joe was at work. I was alone. I danced, I knit, I celebrated the joy that only a knitter making good time in the week before Christmas can feel. I had rum. I had eggnog. I watched CSI and “The Best of What Not to Wear”. I watered the tree.

I knit until 2am and it was good.

Saturday:

I got up early and drank coffee and did the crossword while knitting. (I also ate Christmas cookies for breakfast. It was not nutritious. I don’t care) Not one single soul spoke to me during this time. I knit. I had a bath. I celebrated my aloneness with an uninterrupted phone conversation and a long soaky bath. I spoke to no-one during the bath. This is remarkable. Completely remarkable.

I finished the socks. (Details to follow post-gifting)

Pnsocks

Saturday night Joe and I left the house together. Alone together, at the same time.

We went to Chinatown and had noodles. We saw a guy in a cape on Spadina Street (and I think it was his regular clothes. Very festive. ) Then we went to the Horseshoe Tavern for The Skydiggers annual Christmas Concert. (It’s that Record Producer thing again. Joe is so cool.) Gord Downie sang a Gordon Lightfoot song with them. The Skydiggers at the Horseshoe singing a Lightfoot song with Gord Downie while it snows. That’s such an incredibly Canadian moment that I think you might have to be Canadian to get it.

(Here’s something funny. I went to the bathroom after the first set and this chick (I cannot even dignify her with the term “lady”) asked me if I was the girl knitting. I thought about that for a minute. “What are the odds that there are two of us” I thought? “Yes” I said, pretty sure that she was going to ask me to make her a scarf or something. “Don’t you think that’s pretty offensive to the band? Don’t you think they would mind?” she asked.

I was stunned. I’m here to tell you that I was knitting in the most Hip and Musical way possible. I was watching the stage, I was dancing a little, I was on my feet clapping and cheering at the end of each song. Offensive? I resisted the urge to tell her that what is actually offensive is a 35 year old woman in a pair of jeans six sizes too small for her drunkenly attempting to hit on a 20 year old hottie while wearing a shade of lipstick that should be banned. Instead of saying that, I just told her that when I was backstage after the show I’d ask the band if they minded.)



We did go backstage after the show and Gord Downie was just leaving. He said goodbye and I said “Bye”. I didn’t say “Bye Gord”, since I thought that would be too familiar. (It’s so hard for me to be cool.) He looked at me and said “Have a Merry Christmas” which is so nice because he has no idea who I am. Then I said “You too”.

TO GORD DOWNIE.

(and Andy said that the band was honoured that I was knitting at their concert. Honoured.)

Sunday: Again, making excellent time with the knitting.

3Sophies

(This is three finished Sophie bags. This is all of them. There are two knit since the last time you saw me. I am a force in the universe.)

I decide that I am ahead enough to go to a staff party. My sister owns The Old York Bar and Grill (Niagara and Wellington. Good food), I bartend sometimes, and she throws an “it’s so bad it’s good” Christmas Karaoke party. I truck down there in the -20 weather. (Yes. -20. It’s so cold that the minute you go outside you have an involuntary gasp. Then all the hairs in your nose freeze and you wonder why you live here. This wonderment gives way to absolute fundamental shock as you step away from the protection of the house and realize that it’s actually -30 with the windchill. It takes a lot of gumption to leave the house when it’s like this.) I once again affirmed my position as reigning Queen of Karaoke Avoidance and timed my escape just as several drunken bartenders took to the stage and microphone proving that the problem with drunken Karaoke singing men is the same as with drunken men in general. It’s easy to get them up – and really hard to get them back down again.

I came home, I knitted some more,

Cm2

Joe and I watched Dodgeball and I fell into bed thinking that I was really, really lucky to have so much knitting done, and two parties, and such nice friends and that I couldn’t believe that I was having such a good time…even though the whole Christmas knitting thing is looming so big that I can scarcely breathe….and that maybe, just maybe….it wasn’t going to be like that this year. Maybe.

Monday: I wake up an notice we have no water pressure upstairs. Odd.

I go downstairs and as soon as I am in the kitchen I can here a funny noise in the basement. Odd. It sounds like water.

It is water. It is a lot of water. It is a basement full of a lot of water. I live in a very old home. This means that we have no drain in the basement, that a couple of the walls in the basement are dirt, and that when a pipe freezes and breaks because it is an unholy and vicious sort of cold outside….the resulting scene in the basement will be some sort of incredible Arctic mud slurry thriving in the basement. (I would like to assure you that wading to the shut-off valve was an experience that cannot be described without suffering a flashback so horrible that I could not endure it. Let us simply say that it will be a long time before my feet are ever warm again.) We can be grateful for waking up in time to catch it before the water rose high enough to flood the furnace and water heater and be additionally grateful that the basement is considerably lower at one end, thus giving us one almost dry corner. We can also be grateful that there is a separate shut off for that pipe, so we don’t have to go without water in the rest of the house until we can hunt the elusive urban plumber.

(We can only hope that Mr. Washie will survive. It’s too soon to tell.)

I am behind schedule, again.

Gifts for knitters returns tomorrow…when my house is drier.

Missing time.

Yesterday did not go as planned. You know that “missing time” thing? It’s supposed to be one of the signs of Alien Abduction. (Can I just tell you how much that list freaks me out? I find it sort of alarming how many of the “signs” of Alien Abduction are also “signs” of fairly serious mental illness. Except vegetarianism. Who knew?) So yesterday, not only was I a vegetarian, but I experienced profound episodes of missing time. Pretty much the whole day. I have vague memories of being abducted and taken to a place full of small beings with high voices and being left with a ringing in my ears. The room was full of other victims and there was screaming and running. There was no “probing” of any kind though…so I think it might have been Sam’s school concert.

Sconcer

(Motherly note: Sam is in the front because she is singing a duet. She was very, very good, and there is no doubt in my mind that she was the best one there.)



I am six hours behind on the schedule. (There will be no pictures of this failure because of my shame. Also, my batteries crapped out). This is the problem with having so much emotionally invested in the schedule. If the schedule is the end all, be all, and all I must do to make Christmas work is sink deeply into the schedule and let it surround me with it’s regimented goodness and the miracle of effective time management…then when the schedule goes to Hades in a handbasket I HAVE NOTHING. Nothing I tell you, nothing. Without the schedule I am in an abyss. Hopeless, dark, swirling terror. It’s bad. I must return to the schedule. I must not abandon the only link to hope and sanity left to me. In order to make up for lost time I have taken the following steps.

1. I have had a conversation with my completely charming and endearing mate who agreed completely (even though I am out of my mind and he isn’t really all that normal either) that since he cannot knit chooses not to knit Christmas presents that there is nothing stopping him from doing everything else. Last night he made apricot bread for the teachers. There was some minor upsets, (like when I came into the kitchen at some point in the process and said something really supportive like “Holy crap Joe! What the hell are you doing?” and he said “Give me a break Steph, I’ve never baked anything in my life”. Minor issues). This commitment from my good natured spouse means the world to me. He’s shopping and making meringues this evening. He knows how to do neither. It is important to note, in case you were thinking about doing this yourself, that delegating chores to the untrained only works if you are the sort of person who can absolutely let go of the fact that the Apricot bread (while it tastes really good) sort of looks innovative and unique this year.

2. The children are going away for the weekend and I am entering Christmas boot camp. I don’t expect it to be pretty.

3. I have rented the entire first season of CSI on dvd.

4. I have purchased rum and egg nog.

5. I have acknowledged that sleep is over-rated and that warping the time-space continuum is inexplicably easier at 3am. I do not know why this is true, but it is.

6. I have somehow managed to trick myself into believing that finding six extra hours for knitting over the course of two days is not only possible, but reasonable, necessary and normal. I have managed to convince myself of this even though my original schedule called for 8.5 hours of knitting on these two days.

7. I am working on convincing myself that not only is knitting approximately 11.5 hours a day without running into the street screaming and looking for reindeer the solution to my problem, but that this is also possible, reasonable, necessary and normal….and (here’s where it gets a little tricky) that it will also be “fun”.

Gifts for knitters Day 17

Maybe, just maybe… your knitter has enough. Consider helping a far away knitter less blessed with the wealth your knitter has. A donation in your knitters name to Heifer International to help purchase wool bearing animals for a less fortunate family might warm the hearts of all concerned. Knitters Review forums is doing some fundraising here, and Wendy and Deb have a project running as well. Think about donating the price of a ball of yarn. It might be the best present your knitter gets this year.

That twitch is normal

Yesterday, I braced myself and did it. Some aspects of being a grown-up suck, and there’s nothing you can do about it. You have to bite the bullet, storm ahead and just get it done, no matter how repulsive, hideous or horrible the job is. (I’ve been trying to explain this theory to the other people who live here who seem to feel that the bathroom and litter box maintenance is just a little too yucky for them. The train of thought seems to go….” Wow, that’s gross. Mom should do that.” Yes. Absolutely. If there is a job involving faeces it should totally be mine. Can’t wait, sign me up. Yay me. Yay litter box. I do it ’cause I love it. I digress…) So yesterday one of those nasty jobs came up and I did it.

I went to the mall.

It had to be done. There was no choice. What is it about those places that leaves you incapable of doing anything but blinking when you get home? Sensory overload? To0 many other people? The stench of desperation? The weird thing they put in the air so that the whole time you are in there you feel a lot like you really need to buy things made from petroleum products? I tried Norma and Claudia‘s “just relax and enjoy the season/don’t get your knickers in a knot” approach…but it’s 10 days until Christmas and there’s just no sign of anybody dropping off any presents for the children and I have not yet succeeded in cooking my share of the family dinner with the power of my mind. (I tried not baking or buying the cookies the kids need for school parties…but no flirty little house-elf with a good attitude and a penchant for dusting dropped by with baked goods either.) In fact…the more relaxed I got, the less seemed to get done. I sat quietly on the couch happily knitting, absolutely stress free, but at no point in the process did the Christmas tree mystically appear fully decorated beside me. In fact, when a couple of the gifts got downgraded to gift certificates to make my life easier, nobody from the store hopped in their car to bring them over here either. I mean I sat here…I relaxed. I let go, and NOTHING HAPPENED. I thought over letting go of some of the stress by not going to the school concerts, but Sam’s learned to play “Silent night” on the french horn and I don’t know how to clone myself. Claudia? Norma? Are you sure I’m doing this right? I put the gifts that I had on the table and this morning they weren’t wrapped. Do I need to wait for a full moon? Should I be more patient? Should I just wait for Christmas eve and hope that slacker Santa comes through for me? What if he doesn’t? What will happen with the children if he lets me down?

I’m starting to think that this whole relaxing thing might not be the answer. Relaxing might be stressing me out.

I finished the Spidey mitts.

Spidermandone

I love Lene’s schedule. There is time allotted for (and this is a direct quote) “Glory in accomplishment”.

The first of the Pablo Neruda socks are done. (Or is that “is done”? Damned plurals)

1Pnsockdone

(We will overlook…for the sake of the “just relax” faction of knitbloggers, that human beings have two feet. It’s counterproductive.) For those of you who asked, the charts can be found in Socks, Socks, Socks. The second one, according to the High Holy Schedule of Power, should be finished tonight.

2Pnsock

Clearly, I need to relax more if this is going to work.

Gifts for Knitters Days 15 and 16

Two gifts suggested by readers

Saralyn suggests an ear lamp. She claims that it lets her knit or read instructions in a dark car or room without disturbing others. I think it’s a pretty nifty idea, and certainly gets around the problem of regular head lamps eating your hair. (If you are the sort of person who’s hair gets eaten by head lamps.)

Tree suggests these really, really beautiful handmade wooden needles. There’s something about handmade things isn’t there?