Sunday, December 30

house party

One of Christopher's friends invited us, along with a few other couples, up to her parents' second home in Connecticut this weekend. We took the train up after work on Friday and just got back. It was so lovely to be away, somewhere completely new, and no real responsibilities at all. Our hostess is very into games, and so we played Balderdash into the wee hours on Friday night. As one of the few non-writers there, I was a little nervous, but it was actually really fun coming up with fanciful movie synopses and word definitions.

Before going up I volunteered to help coordinate meals, and so on Saturday I created a menu and we all went grocery shopping together. And, can you believe it, everyone else helped cook the meal. That's five people plus me chopping and mixing and sauteeing. The kitchen was really beautiful, a chef's dream, except that it was lacking wooden spoons and a garlic press. Next time I know what to bring as a hostess present!

Anyway, I might say it's back to reality, but the holiday season isn't really over, plus we're going on vacation a week from now, so there's a lot to look forward to.

Wednesday, December 26

holiday roundup

We had very busy 48 hour trip to Philadelphia, to spend time with our families over the holiday. I feel like we were being social in almost all of those 48 hours, and I'm rather relieved to be back, though the time there really wasn't unpleasant at all. Dinah is also happy to see us.

Here is a photo of my parents' impromptu Christmas tree (and Christopher).
(This- and our own tree- got me thinking recently about dim lights in the dark, and how I start enjoying both the darkness and lights this time of year, mostly in the form of Christmas lights and candles. Neither can be really appreciated, in my opinion, without the other. There's nothing really like sitting in a dark room in front of a roaring fire or meditating on a lit tree. I guess I find it sort of spiritual.)

The other major highlight was being able to spend some time with our nephew, Isaac. He's 3 and we've had trouble finding time to get to know him, since usually we only see him on holidays when there are tons of people. Today we went out and spent a few hours with Christopher's sister and him. It was really fun, especially since he's become very chatty in the past few months.

I hope we can do more of that sometime soon.

Monday, December 24

an early Christmas

In planning our holiday, Christopher and I decided to limit our family visit and save a little of Christmas for just the two of us by celebrating a day early, in Brooklyn. We'll head down to Philadelphia tonight, spend tomorrow with our families and return on Wednesday night. Quick, hopefully not too painful.

We spent last night wrapping presents and listening to Christmas music. Today I made a feta and tomato frittata and we opened our gifts for each other. I gave Christopher a few books he's been wanting, along with a giant mug. Not exactly romantic. I had asked for some beginning spinning supplies and books, and he went all out. I have to confess that I am blown away by what he got me and how much thought went into his gifts. First, he gave me The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning, which is an extremely thorough bible type book on spinning. I've read a little of it and it's very informative. I'm sure I'll learn a ton from it.

Next, there were a bunch of little packages, each labeled either "To Start With," "To Make With," or "To Experiment With." The "starter" package contained 2oz of Shetland fiber, which is apparently a great fiber to start spinning with. The "To Make With" packages each had 4oz of Multi 64s. I don't actually know what multi 64s are, but I guess I'll learn! The "To Experiment With Packages" each had 2 oz of different more expensive fibers and blends: silk/yak, bamboo, merino/mohair and silk/wool.

I'm pretty floored at Christopher's thoughtfulness. I shouldn't be surprised, he always really thorough in his gift giving. But he had all sorts of interesting stories to tell about his trip to the store where he bought the fiber, about what he'd learned and seen. He even compared touching the fiber to crack. I'm glad he understands, at least a little, why this interests me. I'm so excited to start, though I'm not sure where to begin. Should I read the book? Or skip directly to the Shetland? Or finish up the free fiber that came with the wheel?

Wednesday, December 19


I have two things to celebrate today.

One, after many weeks on Craigslist and thwarting more than one scam, I finally sold the Ugliest Tile in the World. Not only that, but I made a very small profit on it. What a relief. Now we can move on and get better tile and finish our kitchen.

Two, Christopher's stocking is done. I really dragged my feet on the foot which was so wide and really rather boring to knit. But now it's finished. I'm not sure how I'll fill this enormous stocking. Maybe all of Christopher's gifts will have to go inside. Or maybe I can pad the inside. Just look at how it compares to my own stocking (knit many years ago by my mother).

Monday, December 17

Christmas presents

Look what I bought myself for Christmas.Does this mean I'm hard core?

I have to confess that I bought this with about 10 minutes of spinning experience, and that was in high school when I spent a month going to school on the Navajo reservation. They offered traditional Navajo crafts classes for the kids after the academic day was over, but I was the only one who was interested. I ended up taking a silversmithing class, but I hung out briefly with the weaving teacher who showed me a little about spinning.

Anyway, Okayknits was selling her wheel and I knew I wanted to try spinning and I figure I can always sell the wheel if spinning isn't for me. I let myself play with it a little tonight and feel like my first attempts at spinning yarn (with no lessons) were not so bad.

In other news, I have indeed knit a decoration for the tree. My yarn remnants are a little odd together... I'm not so sure about the brown tweed with the green tweed and the hot pink alpaca. It's certainly unique.

What about a big star made with the lumpy handspun I'm currently creating?

Sunday, December 16

holiday spirit

We got our Christmas tree yesterday. For some reason, this seems like a huge accomplishment, perhaps because we've been talking about it and scouting out sellers for over a week. Christmas trees in New York are expensive, and we were balancing the wish for a tree against the need to not spend a pocketful of money.

Yesterday we looked at trees at the Greenmarket and on Flatbush Ave before we found a small seller near 7th Ave in Park Slope. He had decent trees and nothing was over $65. We found one we liked, paid for it and left it there while we continued shopping in the area. A few hours later we came back and carried it home. Our tree is about 5 feet tall, which is at least a foot taller than any tree I've ever had on my own. Christopher mounted it on its stand and I put a strand of lights on it. It is bare. We haven't decorated it, but the 6 or so ornaments that are in the box will go on quickly and I'm afraid will seem meager. Rather than go out and buy a bunch of ornaments, I've decided that it would mean more if we (I) made some. A string of popcorn or cranberries will perk it up, and I'm thinking that some Korknisse would also be welcome and quick. Elizabeth Zimmerman also has a pattern for knitted stars. I went through my boxes of yarn this morning and pulled out all of the little remnants and sorted them into piles by weight. I didn't realize that I had so many little bits of yarn and I feel a little overwhelmed by them all. But oh, perfect for some Korknisse and stars, don't you think?

Sunday, December 9


When I was growing up my mother always took cuttings when she visited my grandfather, who lived on an overgrown tree nursery. She decorated our kitchen table with holly, pussy willow or branches covered in berries. So when I saw bunches of eucalyptus for sale yesterday at the Greenmarket, I leaped to buy some. I've never bought it before, but we lugged the sticky bouquet home and I set to work finding something to put it in. The only thing we have that is large enough is a galvanized vase we bought for our wedding that now holds our umbrellas. I had to do a lot of trimming to get it to fit, but now our apartment smells wonderful and we're living with a little more nature. Aren't the leaves just beautiful? If I get ambitious maybe I could make us a eucalyptus wreath.

Monday, December 3

new stitches

You may have noticed that I haven't written about knitting recently. That is mostly because I am knitting gifts at the moment and therefore haven't wanted to display gifts before they have been given.

Now that my father's birthday has passed, and he has received his present, I am happy to share it.

My father has been hinting at wanting a hat from me for several years. He is a tough customer, and rather than choose something and knit it, I decided it would be safer to have his approval before casting on. We chose Megan Mills' Circular Bicolour Prime Rib (Brioche) Hat, a simple looking hat with vertical stripes. I had never tried brioche stitch before, though I'd seen patterns for sweaters knit with it. It wasn't too hard to pick up, and it was really fun to try something that was so completely different, creating an unusual fabric at the same time. I'm not sure I can explain how it works, but the fabric ends up being ribbed and reversible, it gives the appearance of there being a knit stitch on the recessed stitch instead of a purl, which more common ribbing has. When you do this with two colors you can play the interchange of color on the reverse site. (this might be a great stitch for a scarf...) It is also very stretchy. Anyway, details:
Pattern: Megan Mills' Circular Bicolour Prime Rib (Brioche) Hat
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride, oatmeal & brown heather, one skein of each
Started and completed: November 2007