Sunday, December 03, 2006

Do the Holiday Hustle!

It's the Christmas season, so it's that time of year when we all seem to run around crazily in 97 different directions trying to accomplish every little thing that needs to be done. My life and my knitting are definitely falling into the holiday hustle and bustle category.

I frogged Maude. After I took those lovely pictures last week, I stretched her out in all her loveliness on our coffee table to admire her glory. Yep, you guessed it, the glory disguised not just one, but two, places where I worked the ends of the bias stitch rows incorrectly. I couldn't bear to leave the errors there because I suspected it might someday affect my decreases on the other end. I re-started Maude and found I made exactly the same mistakes as before. I frogged back to the first mistake, picked up my stitches, checked for more errors, and then disgustedly threw her in my knitting bag. I have ignored her now for over a week, and I don't feel any pricks of conscience as a result.

Knitting was slower than usual this week because of my schedule at school. I spent breaks there and time at home entering grades into the computer and getting ready for report cards because the trimester ended Friday. I am pleased to say my report cards are almost completely finished. I just need to print them, copy them on letterhead, and stuff them in their envelopes in time for Thursday's awards assembly. It was painful to stay five hours on a minimum day afternoon, but at least they're done. I won't be one of the people scrambling over the next few days!

On a brighter note, I have made some amazing progress on some other things. I finished the plain vanilla *b-marie* socks on Thursday night, and then I wore them to work on Friday. They were a huge hit with everyone who knew them as my conference socks from Thanksgiving week.

I was on such a knitting high Friday after the extra time at work that I re-sized and cast on for a miniature sweater ornament I found via Emily's blog. The pattern for the real ornament is here. I couldn't resist it! Moose's class at school is having a hat/glove/scarf tree for Christmas. As part of the giving spirit of Christmas, each student is being asked to bring something new and warm to wear to add to the tree. The donated items will all be given to needy children for Christmas. I love how our tiny Christian school can still celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and reach out to others during the season.

I thought a slightly larger version of the mini-sweater would make a perfect tree topper in the classroom, and I couldn't wait to give it to his teacher. I knit like crazy Friday night, and finished the sweater before bed. All I had left to do was the weaving in. Roo and I attended the Christmas tea at our church on Saturday, and guess who was there? Moose's teacher, of course! I had the teeny sweater in my knitting bag, so I quickly pulled it out of my bag and wove in all the ends while listening to Christmas carols and chatting with the other ladies at our table. After I finished and during a song break, I jumped up, ran to her table, plopped it on her place setting, and ran away. She stopped by our table later to say how cute it was. Please imagine a picture of it here, since I failed to take one in my eagerness to give it away.

Most of Saturday was spent knitting a pair of Fetching for myself using my leftover Highway 30 Socks That Rock yarn. I used U.S. size 2 needles and didn't make too many adjustments in the pattern. (I must have skinny hands.) I started them in the morning and had one finished before we left for the tea. I started the second one while we were there. I took them both along when we went to watch OU win the Big XII championship with the Sooner Club (Look out Arizona--here comes the Sooner Nation!). I practically finished the second one--I actually bound off the hand part and then realized I did not have enough yarn to make the thumb hole. I had intended to make the hand section longer (24 rows instead of 18), but I had to shorten the length of the hand and frog back to 20 rows instead to have enough yarn. Of course, when I did that, I had to go back and change the other one too. I'm so glad I was lazy and didn't weave in any ends! I finished them up after we got home from the game, and I popped them in my knitting bag to keep in case my hands get cold.

Everyone loved Fetching at church this morning, and I can't wait to wear them to school this week. My friend from church wants half a pair. She only wants one for her left hand, and she wants it extra long to cover up her bangle bracelets. She crochets while she runs the sound board during the church service, and Fetching will keep her bracelets from jingling and clinking while she works. They're not only adorable--they're functional! I already have her Christmas gift done, but I may make her one anyway with some more leftover sock yarn when I finish my next pair of socks.

I intended to work on Maude today since I have been neglecting her so. Instead, I have been doing the holiday hustle around here. We decorated for Christmas when we returned home from church, and then I spent a couple of hours in the kitchen preparing my annual batch of Italian Chocolate Chip Cookies*. When I finished up that enormous task, the DCA and I started Web surfing to find the best price deals on the few remaining things we need for the kids. Because presents are available locally and shipping is getting so ugly, it has been decided that I will spend my teacher work day this Friday bopping around town to finish up the shopping. I then did some online shopping of my own for the DCA and paid those ugly shipping prices anyway.

Somewhere in all this, I started the next traveling sock. It's toe-up (yes, I know--the cuff-down girl must be high on cookie fumes), cabled, and absolutely lovely in STR County Clare. I went with toe-up this time, because I want to try a reverse heel flap and because I want to use the picot edge from Fetching at the top of the sock as a decorative detail. I'm just in need of a challenge after the plain vanilla pair I just finished. STR is pretty stretchy, so I'm confident I will have a lovely cuff when I'm finished. Now where did I put that sock???

*So you want to know about Italian Chocolate Chip Cookies? Once upon a time, the DCA and his family lived in Italy (his dad was in the Navy and was assigned to Naples). His mother's friend shared her recipe, and these cookies became an annual tradition in the DCA's house. When the DCA and I got married, I was handed the recipe and informed that the cookies were now my responsibility. The original recipe calls for a 5 lb bag of flour, a can of chocolate syrup, chocolate chips, and hazelnuts (among the other "regular" cookie ingredients), and the cookies are supposed to be rolled out like the play-dough snakes we made as children and then cut into bite-sized pieces. I followed the recipe exactly for our first Christmas, and the DCA hardly touched any of them. Upon questioning, I was informed that he doesn't eat nuts in ANY baked good. I have no idea why it took me over 18 months to learn this about him or why no one in his family mentioned this tiny change in the recipe to me. I also learned that rolling out a full batch of these cookies by hand in the original method is literally a day-long project and that dunking them in their powdered sugar glaze can sometimes cause them to go moldy. I have since tweaked the recipe and made a few simple changes, and each December, I produce one half-batch of Italian Chocolate Chip Cookies with no nuts dropped by teaspoonfuls on their baking sheets. I must do okay, because the DCA says they're wonderful, and the Roo informed me this afternoon that they are her absolutely favorite cookie in the world. Do you think I can abdicate as cookie queen when she gets married???

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Poor ignored Maude - I promise, when she resumes her glory, you'll ignore her no more!