Friday, December 28, 2012

Lazy Vacation

It's pretty unusual for me to take time off without planning to cram it with activities.   This is the laziest vacation I can recall in some years.  Even Biscuit is lying down on the job.  He thinks he's helping me update the blog, but I'm not so sure he's giving his full attention to the task.

Of course the first weekend was devoted to finishing up the Christmas knits.  Nothing major there, but a bunch of small projects.  I blocked the linen stitch scarf. 

I finished up the moss cable socks. 

I made a pair of Mammoth Woolly House Socks for my sister, who lives in a drafty farmhouse and is all about the woolly. 

And last but not least, I whipped through a pair of fingerless mitts for my brother in law, who spends many hours at the keyboard in the same farmhouse. 

As you can see, nothing especially complicated, but it was nice to have them done.  Alas, the stealth project remained incomplete.  As you can see, a plain sweater.  It will make more progress as soon as I do a little math for the neck shaping.

 Since Christmas, it has been lazy in part because my husband and I have both picked up the head cold that has been going around.  Him worse than me, but it's certainly sapped our ambition for running around.  So I've been idly doing odds and end of things.  I tried Tama's bagel recipe.   Which I am happy to report is delicious.  A little too much fussing over the stove for me to make often, but a perfect vacation baking project. 

I cast on a pair of mittens for no better reason than my knitting bag was across the room and I had yarn and needles for mittens right at hand. (How's that for lazy?)

And then I also knit a second pair of Mammoth Woolly House Socks, since I had yarn left from the first pair.  (These are done in Lion Brand Thick and Quick, and take about a skein and a half a pair.)

Plus, I've read a few books, teased the cats and generally had a slothful good time.  I do have a few things it would be nice to get done, but I'm not going to worry about them.  Because worrying is on the top of my list Not to Do on Vacation. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Nothing Shall Harsh My Mellow

There is a definite sense that progress is being made.    I am officially on vacation until after New Year's.  Unofficially, I may get a call or two, as work will be very shorthanded next week, but that's do-able.   Everything on the 'must do on pain of revocation of vacation' list got done.  Nothing more- but it'll still be there when I get back.  This despite the assistance I received the one morning I worked at home while waiting for massive traffic jams to vacate my route to work.

First, Biscuit sat on my papers:

Cookie napped in the laptop case.

Then I pulled some papers out from under Biscuit and he tried to bite me.  So I banished him from the work table.   He went and sulked on the footstool.

Pretty soon, though, Cookie got up to go see to some Important Cat Business, and Biscuit promptly stole his napping spot.

Cookie was rather dismayed by this when he returned, and tried to climb in with Biscuit, but it's a one-cat-capacity laptop case.  Biscuit boxed his ears firmly and retained possession.

On other fronts, the Christmas cookies have been baked.  There was also some feline volunteerage during this process but after removing cats from the counter six or seven times, they got the idea that their assistance was not going to be permitted.

The current knitting is all Christmassy, so I shall not post photos, but I can report my strategy (which can be loosely summarized as, "Cast on ALL the things!!!") is bearing fruit.  Or FOs, at least.  Of the 5-6 planned projects:  #1 is blocking, #2 ends are being woven in, #3 is 3/4 done with perhaps 1-2 hours more work left, #4 is on the needles and 20% complete, #5 is not started but also short, and #6 the Stealth project is looking like a miss for Christmas day.   There would maybe be enough time,  except for the need for secrecy.  We'll see.  If it looks like I could finish if I gave up secrecy, it may have to be revealed to the recipient.

I will however show you the promised photos of charity knitting that was donated earlier this month.  There was a colorwork hat:

Mittens, of course:

And the second cabled hearts hat, which still needs to have the pattern written up from my notes and posted.  That's going to be a vacation project:

There's a certain temptation to get all goal-oriented about getting projects done for the holidays, but I think I've successfully stayed low-key on it this year.   I've pretty much given up any parts of the holiday that I don't think are fun.  And for the rest- I'm enjoying making gifts for some of my favorite people in the world.  They'll be done when they're done.  No worries. 

Have a lovely weekend, everyone, and a peaceful and joyous holiday!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Okay.  I know I've been lax, but how the devil did it get to be nearly a month since my last post?    For that matter, how did we get to one week before Christmas without me doing more than occasionally thinking, 'Yeah, sure, I've only got 5 or 6 projects to finish.  No worries.'    (I wrote this draft yesterday and then promised myself faithfully that I would download photos and post it last night.  Instead I crawled into bed and collapsed.  There's nothing like a fluffy cat romping over you in the middle of the night to disrupt your sleep patterns.)

So, in the interest of figuring out what the heck happened, I made a list. (I like that sort of thing- and sometimes it's even useful.)

Things I've Been Doing Instead of Christmas Knitting.

Other knitting-  The knit-a-thon closing party was a few weeks ago- we raised a bunch of money for the local food bank and donated many-many knitted items to several different charities.  (Place where knitting photos would go if I hadn't experienced a total blog fail last night.)

Playing withLearning about the features of my new car. Not to mention enjoying the novelty of having a CD player.   The whole thing where I get in the car, and press the power button to turn it on instead of messing around with keys?  Just never gets old.

Reading. I'm really not sure what came over me. I've always loved to read, but I've consumed ridiculous amounts of fiction this year.

Traveling to Washington DC.:    Awesome weekend a couple of weeks ago. While the northeast enjoyed freezing drizzle, my husband and I walked around DC in 60 degree weather, enjoying the sun. Every so often I'd look over at him and say 'Freezing drizzle!' and laugh like a loon. We also went to Library of Congress, which is an incredibly gorgeous building. They had a Civil War exhibition going- we also went to the Civil War art exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery and visited Ford's Theater- we saw Lincoln the movie a couple of weeks ago (not the one with vampires) and so we had it on our minds. The National Air and Space Museum is a long time favorite- both of us are engineers, science fiction fans, and my husband has a degree in astronomy. We went to see the Hubble film in iMax. I'm not sure the 3D added all that much, and I'm not an iMax fan generally, but the Hubble space imagery sure looked fabulous on the big screen.   (I forgot my camera, so you'll have to take my word for it that there were still flowers blooming there in November.  Also answers the question, "What's worse than forgetting to download the pictures on your camera?"  "Forgetting the camera.")

Baking- for Christmas, of course. Lessons learned this week...fig bars are sticky and the part where the recipe says 'roll the dough into a rectangle, cut it into strips and fold them over the filling'?  Is a complete fantasy. I'm considering re-engineering the assembly of the cookie to improve manufacturability. But that's a project for next year.  (I did make the recipe this year, but I'm calling the bars 'rustic' in appearance.)

Working. I'm kind of puzzled about this 'slow recovery' I keep hearing about, because my company is crazy-busy.   It's a good problem to have, but it does keep us hopping.   (Also, if we were less busy, I'd have planned to take a day off this week so I could enjoy Christmas preparations in a more leisurely manner.)

Giving cats attention. The cooler temperatures has resulted in lots of cat lap sitting. And sleeping late on weekends. Because there's nothing like a purring cat curled up beside you to make you feel all drowsy, warm and comfortable. Not to mention making it deuced difficult to move.   Now I just want to know why the devil they only curl up and purr softly on weekends, whereas on weeknights he(Biscuit) sticks his nose in my ear and purrs at high volume until I wake up.  (This has led to the use of 'porch' as a verb in our household, as in, "Biscuit was porched this morning for two hours when when he woke me up for the third time."  The porch is an enclosed sun porch, so although it's cool, it's not too cold for a cat with fluff as thick as Biscuit's to be out there for a couple of hours.)

So.  I shall return-- with pictures of knitting, cats etc-- with my camera or upon it.   (And notice how I've cunningly avoided committing to an actual date or time.)