Ok, what have I been doing during my long absence from my blog? Follow me through my life since Dec. 11. Don't despair, there will be yarn--just not much of it. It seemed that I was knitting constantly--but I didn't achieve much.
First, my husband retired , ending a 42 year career as a college professor. As a true professor/scientist, however, he continues to go to work everyday. His last class lecture was in mid December. But, he can always find tasks to occupy him in his office, which he gets to keep until he dies or the department needs it. Our 16-year old daughter and I attended the last lecture and presented him with flowers at the end. A true bittersweet moment for him. He loves teaching. (I knit during his last lecture.)
Next, I attended numerous concerts. Just as the Yarn Harlot documented, mothers love their children's concerts. I have attended dozens of concerts of dear daughter #2. She is terrified of solo performances, but loves being part of a chorus. So much so that she participates in four choirs. Here in the US, or at least here in Wisconsin, schools seem to have December concerts without mention of Christmas or Christmas trees or presents, etc. Although we feel festive in attending the concert, the concert is distinctly non-sectarian to the core. We had the all-of-the-school choirs winter concert and the jazz band and choir concert. Here's daughter #2 in a small choir of 10 girls, five juniors and five seniors, who sing wonderful madrigal type music. (I knit during the concert, except when my daughter was performing!)
Daughter #1 is tool old for school concerts, but she demanded attention due to the slow, slow progress of her scuzzy condo renovation. It has been three steps forward and two steps back since September. One major step back is that the dryer is 3/4" too wide to fit in the alloted space in the kitchen. Now it holds court, unplugged, in the second bedroom which is the storeroom/office. (I couldn't knit when helping with the condo--I only have two hands!! Rats!!)
Back to another concert with daughter #2, this time in our church where appropriate seasonal music (for Christmas type holidays) was sung. However, also sung were festival of lights type music and Solstice type of music. We are ecumenical. (I couldn't bring myself to knit during the service, even though I had project in my purse calling to me!!)
We also struggled through low temperatures (below 0 F) and lots of snow. Daughter #2, an avid photographer, donned warm clothing on the coldest day to document ice on every pine needle. (I knit while she was outside. I wasn't stupid enough to frostbite my cheeks out there!!)
And then Christmas was upon us. Who decorated the tree all by herself?? Who did all the shopping for presents all by herself?? Who did all the grocery shopping and cooking and baking all by herself?? Who wasn't able to knit while doing all the above activities?? You guess.
The holiday was wonderful. My parents spent a few days with us. My mother does the most beautiful present wrapping, while recycling. She takes old Christmas cards, cuts out the drawings, and tapes them to plainly wrapped packages. The result is spectacular!!
Yes, I knit a number of Christmas presents, including two Wallaby sweaters for our surrogate grand children, a pair of socks for my mother, a six foot long scarf for daughter #1 made out of cobweb lace yarn and size 2 needles, a hat and mittens for a friend, a hat and mittens for daughter #2, a scarf for my father and a basket of scarves and mittens for friends and other family to choose from.
And, I put together a 1,000 piece jig-saw puzzle. I am now the only family member who observes tradition by putting together a jig-saw puzzle. I can't abandon the tradition. It used to be a way for family members to communicate, to laugh and catch up on the year. Daughter #2 helped out periodically, offering "new eyes" to the pieces that just didn't seem to fit anywhere. And, as usual, the empty spots were filled at the end even though I swore that the company failed to pack two essential pieces!!!
Then, my Fiber Arts Group, held a service project day during which we cut and sewed 106 hats for cold children's heads!! One of our group member has orchestrated the making of 10,000 hats in the past few years! She is a force of nature. We were swept in for only one day.
Our local knitters' guild has set a goal of making 500 items to donate to various local charities. January was "baby sweater" month, so I made an Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket. I started with some self-striping worsted weight yarn that did not stripe, and quickly ran out. I switched to white Red Heart yarn. The charities require yarn that can be machine washed and dried. My changes to the standard pattern were two: 1) use an I-cord bind off and 2) pick up stitches along the cuffs of the sleeves to extend the sleeves to the wrist. (Check out our charity blog at http://mkgckc.blogspot.com!
I gave up on the socks I was making, using a pattern definitely NOT appropriate for self striping yarn.
I experimented with my my fave--Lucy Neatby's mermaid socks pattern. This pattern enhances the allure of self striping yarn. Much, much better. I frogged the ugly sock and made another matching mermaid sock. Success. Finally something for myself.
Now, I've been catching up with requests made at Christmas time. My dad finally realized that hand made socks are great for the feet of diabetics. So, he requested another pair (the first pair I made for him were made 4 years ago; he finally got around to wearing them!!). Daughter #1 didn't find anything in the basket that she wanted for Christmas, so she selected some yarn and has ordered socks. Daughter #2 decided that full, hand made wool socks were perfect to wear in the fake-Ugg boots she got for Christmas. So, she also, requested a pair of socks.
Christmas knitting fall out will last to mid-February I figure, when I will finally start a project for myself!! What oh what shall I make???