Wednesday, December 28, 2005

in with the new

Hope you all enjoyed wonderful holiday celebrations with your loved ones! While the four of us enjoyed a relatively quiet and mellow Christmas, we'll actually be flying to the Big Island on Friday for 11 days to celebrate New Year's with my family. The extent of my cheapness knows no bounds, as I'll be rousing two sleeping children at 3:30 am, my friends, in order to take advantage of the first flight of the day reduced airfare. I may need to have some Holy water on hand to deal with The Exorcist proceedings that are sure to follow after waking two deeply slumbering kids. Yes, I am cheap beyond reproach and sanity. This is actually going to be a family reunion of sorts, as my younger brother lives in Washington and hasn't been home in over 3 years. This is the Kinda-Sorta Irish Hiking Scarf I've been working on for him (Kinda-sorta because I twisted the cables the wrong way and was too lazy to frog, as you can see)- I'm about 3 feet along now and insane enough to think I may be able to finish before leaving on Friday morning (Seriously, is 3:30 considered the "morning" or just a really late night??) My sister, Fredo and her husband will both be flying home for the holiday, too, for the first time in 5 years. And since The Mercenary will be graduating from college in May and may be moving to the mainland, this may be the last chance we'll have to all be together for a while.

That sounded all warm and fuzzy, right? C'mon now, this is my demented family we're talking about!! (And I truly mean that in the most loving way possible.) Now here's the real low-down. There'll be ten (count 'em!) of us living together in cramped quarters- 3 bedrooms, 1 functioning bath and NO internet access. This is the stuff MTV's Real World is made of!! Fredo, The Mercenary, Bozobana (longtime nickname for my little brother), Chicken Feet Dad, Coleslaw Mom and me....throw in a little Bossy and lots of Stinky, and you know you've got the makings of some seriously crazy blog fodder. Of course, crazy is all a relative state of mind. Literally- a RELATIVE state of mind! And did I remember to mention the outhouse?? Oh yeah, baby, the outhouse. Hilo is a town untouched by time, progress and ....well, plumbing, apparently! Stay tuned- you won't want to miss the upcoming Lord of the Flies post!

But first, I wanted to share with you some of the unbelievable Christmas gifts I received. I think Mr. Wonderful was a little bummed that I seemed so much more excited about all the fabulous knitting gifts I received than I was about the gifts he'd given me (which I honestly loved, too, but I just couldn't repress the squeals of joy when I opened all the knitting gifts!). I'd been admiring the many beautiful needle cases that Acornbud had been making on her blog, and lo and behold, this amazing and talented lady surprised and gifted me with a custom-made case in my most favorite color! I love it, Barbara!! The inner lining has adorable green froggies on it, and she sewed vinyl zippered pockets (and while I'm not an accomplished seamstress, I remember enough from sewing school to know that must've sucked eggs for her!! That's real aloha!) to make it more durable and allow access to see inside the pockets. Having seen everything up close and personal, let me tell you that her stitching is just impeccable!! And look at all the fabulous and generous goodies she enclosed! A Chibi, a needle size check, beautiful Angel stitch markers, a fishy pin cushion and my very own Ghetto Knitter card! How awesome is that?? I'm now an official card carrying Ghetto Knitter- I love it! She also gifted me with the Knitting Pattern a Day 2006 Calendar, which I could not be more thrilled with. Thank you so very much for all the wonderful goodies, Barbara!! I'm so moved by your thoughtfulness and generosity and I absolutely cherish my beautiful needle case- you made me feel so special!

And look at what arrived unexpectedly from Keohinani! (Seriously, how generous and awesome is this girl?? You may recall that Jill just RAK'ed me not even 3 weeks ago!) Is that not the most beautiful sock yarn you have ever laid eyes on?? That Vesper Yarn is sheer and utter perfection; I just can't stop fondling it! All of the most gorgeous shades of my favorite color in one beautiful hank of self-striping goodness. You are too generous, Jill! And look at that awesome Jess Hutchison book- I love it! I've been secretly coveting that book for some time now and spent most of Christmas night reading it cover to cover- it's as if Jill read my mind. I can't wait to start knitting some sweet toys! She also made the most adorable angel stitch markers and a fabulous flower pin, too, that crafty girl. Thank you soo much, Jill, for the incredible gift of joy in a box! Your amazing generosity and kindness just Blows. Me. Away!

As if all this wasn't enough to spoil a girl rotten, look what arrived from my Secret Santa!! You are too kind and generous, Secret Santa! Knitting Vintage Socks, which I have been coveting for ages- it's almost surreal to see it sitting on my desktop, and I could not be more ecstatic about it! I'm probably the last knitter on the planet not to have read Yarn Harlot's infamous Meditations, (though I've tried to read it covertly in snippets and portions everytime I visit Borders-that's why I'm Ghetto, people!); I'm so thrilled to finally have my own copy! I adore my very cool Kirigami calendar (as does Bossy, though the thought of my four year old wielding scissors frightens the hell out of me) and cannot wait to indulge in that chocolate bar and bag of gourmet Guatemala Roast from Ristretto Roasters. And saving the best for last...Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Safari- such a rich and beautiful colorway! Thank you so very much, Secret Santa for your amazingly generous and thoughtful gift- you made me so very happy!

And last, but certainly not least, look what my lovely girl Lolly sent me!! Holy yarn gorgeousness! Man, I sure hope Olga isn't patrolling this post; I'm going to get my Ghetto status revoked for sure! Lamb's Pride is like gold in Honlulu because the only LYS that sells it is on the Big Island. And that Trekking sock yarn and Noro Silk Garden are more beautiful than I can begin to describe. As if all that gorgeous yarn wasn't outrageously generous enough, look at all the other goodies this wonderful lady enclosed! White fudge covered pretzels (Hello!!) and chocolate covered mint cookies (!!!) that I promptly hid from both Mr. W and myself (trust no one!), a Washington D.C. mug, monogrammed stationery, a photo magnet, crafts and pencils for Bossy and Stinky, and my very favorite- the very beautiful Last Minute Knitted Gifts! There's such a plethora of gorgeous projects to knit from this book and I couldn't be more thrilled to have been gifted with it. Lolly, I am so moved by your amazing generosity and wonderful kindnes- you're such an incredible person! You made our Christmas more special and joyful than you can even imagine- from the bottom of my heart, thank you soo very much for everything!!

I've said it before and I will say it again- Knit bloggers are the most incredible and generous people there are!! I'm so grateful to count all of you among my friends- thank you for all the joy and happiness you bring to my life everyday! And as our family gets ready to ring in the new year, I leave you with 2005 Christmas Eve and birthday images of the three blessings in my life I am most grateful for. I'll be without internet access (I'm hoping the withdrawal shakes won't kill me!) from Friday till possibly the 9th or 10th of January, but I'm looking forward to catching up with all of your wonderful blogs as soon as I get back (Bloglines, be merciful! No quadruple digit feeds to read, please! ). Bits of Knits will be on temporary hiatus, but I hope to return with some FO's and of course, as promised, tales of the outhouse. Wishing all of you the best in 2006- Happy New Year, everyone!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas

(I apologize for the long-windedness of this post! I realize you all have better things to do right now than read my drivel, but as consolation, there's some knitting involved and I promise not to post again till after Christmas, so please bear with me! :-)

At t minus 4 days, it's beginning to look, smell and feel an awful lot like Christmas! As a child, I never quite realized how much work my parents put into making the Christmas season so magical and memorable for us. Full circle now as a mom, I take my hat off to my parents for managing to create the magic year after year without getting divorced in the process. As a kid, the only time separation seemed really plausible was during the setting up off the tree. My brother and sisters and I dreaded Tree Day. It was almost as bad as Window Washing Day, but usually with more profanity and threatening. Tree Day (which, you will notice, rhymes quite well with D-Day) always began with the proverbial noble vs. douglas fir debate and embroiled with the 6 foot vs. 7 foot debate. Apparently, year after year, nobody could remember whether our ceiling was 7 or 8 feet high, thus sparking the annual "How Tall?" debate. (Now you know where I get my tendency to "forget" to write down my little "pattern modifications.") This would result in my mom being royally pissed off before we'd even loaded up into our wood-paneled brown station wagon from the tree lot. Loading the tree up was an even riskier proposition, since my mom is a compulsive neat-freak. The nature of her disorder truly warrants capitalization- Neat Freak, Extraordinaire. Pine needles found anywhere other than the branches of the tree were grounds for decapitation in our house. Imagine my mom turning holly-berry red as the needles had the audacity to break off the tree, toying with her tenuous grip on sanity. It was not pretty. Neither was the garbage-bag lined demented "red-carpet" from our front door into our living room, that we so carefully tread, tree-in-arm, so as not to jostle any needles loose. Don't even get me started with the whole screwing-in-the-base -of -the- tree- while-ensuring- the -tree- is- perfectly- straight bit. By this point, my dad was undoubtedly calclulating alimony payments in his head while we progeny joyfully flocked to decorate the tree. In our hearts and our minds, this truly was the most joyful time of the year, as we reminisced about the history of each of the ornaments, remembering Christmasses of yesteryear. Of course, actually placing the ornaments on the tree was an entirely different deal courtesy of maternal OCD, but somehow I've repressed that part of the memory. As I grew older, I began to see the whole probable-grounds-for-divorce bit, but as a child, everything about Christmas was magical.

Fast forward several decades...determined to avoid the trauma of my youth, I really tried not to flip-out during Tree Day on Dec. 1st (Yes, I realize I've been very remiss about blogging!). I actually did quite well. No irreconcilable differences or anything. No debates, either. Slam, bam, 7-foot douglas fir, thank you, ma'am. I even managed to bite my tongue (hard) when Bossy and Stinky placed THREE of the same colored Macy's balls on the SAME branch. Aside from a bit of bleeding in my mouth, all went well. I'd even venture to say there was a bit of Christmas magic in the air...

I even managed to hold my tongue (albeit in a contortionist pose) as I watched Bossy and Stinky place all the candies and gum drops in one big glob on our gingerbread house. I think I even managed a smile as they tested whether the icing really kept the walls glued together. Just testing the laws of physics, right, smile, smile? I kept grinning as Stinky repeatedly dropped and retrieved candies from the floor and deposited them surreptitiously into her mouth. I vividly remember all those silver candy balls that never made it onto my mom's snowman cookies, having met a similar demise. Girlfriend, I invented that trick! Christmas magic is definitely tricky...

I gritted my teeth as I worked on my sister, Fredo's tote bag. Let me tell you, trying to figure out intarsia-isle (my own freaky mix of colorwork) for the first time while frantically trying to finish gifts SUCKS EGGS! My only consolation is hoping that my sister, the Hello Kitty fanatic, will like her bag. I used the Microrevolt Knitpro site to chart a graphic I downloaded off the Internet. I've got most of the front and back done, with just a gusset to go. I'd hoped to have the tote done and lined in time for Holiday Countdown KAL day today, but now I'm just hoping to have it seamed by Christmas Eve. Christmas magic is believing...

I've kept a smile through the umpteenth replay of "The Christmas Gift of Aloha," a local show put on at the mall that Bossy and Stinky are obsessed with. Smiled while paying the exorbitant fee for the 5 minute (!) Candy Cane Train ride around the mall... that was worth every penny to see the exurberant smile on Bossy's face. Christmas magic is special...

Smiled while being visited by the Ghost of Christmas Reality, who announced that ain't no way all that knitting, baking, wrapping and shopping gonna get done in t minus 4 days and counting, especially with Bossy's birthday on the 16th and a belated party on the 23rd to contend with. I sent that ghost off on his merry way. Who could begrudge this beautiful child? Seems like only yesterday that the midwife placed that warm and slippery bundle of joy on my chest, initiating me into the world of motherhood. We survived the terrible twos, held our breath through the torrential threes and here we are today at four. (Somebody, please tell me that the alliteration for four is positive! Fantastic fours? Fabulous fours? Somebody, anybody?) My little baby, my little boy, my little man....where did the time go? Christmas magic is remembering...

And so, even though Stinky's advent cookie ribbon has been on "Christmas Eve" mode for the past 5 days since she snuck and ATE all her cookies last week, and even though our DIY Costco holiday cards will probably arrive after Christmas, it's all good. Somewhere, somehow, I think we've managed to nurture the magic and peace that Christmas is all about. I had one of those maybe-you're -doing-a-decent -job-as- a- mom moments when Bossy asked if we could buy a toy for kids whose parents can't afford Christmas gifts. And I realized that all that knitting, baking and wrapping...well, sure it's nice, but superfluous, really. Isn't it funny how the voice of a child can bring it all home to you in a single moment? The magic of Christmas is love....

And since our greeting cards have all been sent (C'mon, you all know what a Karen Carpenter freak I am, I had to fit that line in somehow! ), I thought I'd end by sharing the e-version of our (late-to-be!) paper greeting. Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday, filled with love, joy and the magic of the season. . . Merry Christmas, everyone!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

clarion call (x3!)

Let it be known that classes are finally done!! I handed in my last paper this morning and sold my book back to the mafioso bookstore. Being the bookworm that I am, that felt a little like blasphemy, but hey, that's darned decent yarn money! I feel so liberated. Speaking of liberation (seamless segue, I know) brings me to clarion cry #1. . .Ghetto knitters of the world unite!! Give me your socioeconomically disadvantaged, your poor, your huddled masses with Susan Bates aluminum needles yearning to be free! My fellow ghetto knitter girl, Olga, designed this fab button and came up with the idea to do a "You know you 're a ghetto knitter when..." post, inviting all you other ghetto knitters out there to rally with us by posting your credentials in comments or posts of your own. Olga's already come clean, loud and proud- check out her impressive ghetto CV! For the benefit of ghetto knitters everywhere, I'm officially coming out of the closet now. Hopefully this won't be as traumatic as admitting that I'm a Clay fan. Or admitting to being a Josh Groban fan. Apparently, I've got some weird thing for skinny, dorky good boys. Again, I blame my mom for making me unnaturally obsessed with Barry Manilow in kindergarten. Oh, the flashbacks and therapy!! Subsequent, my ghetto knitter resume in full:

You know you're a ghetto knitter when...
1) You go to Borders on a mission to find a copy of the latest IK. . .not to purchase (you can only afford that off of Ebay a season later when the price drops by half), but to find the latest Knit Picks free shipping code, which you furiously scribble on the back of your hand and milk for all it's worth till next season.
2) You wonder if trusty, loyal Knit Picks is turning Benedict Arnold on you, selling the likes of Ambrosia and Panache at freaking $6.99 a ball. "What's next, angora?" you mutter to yourself in disgust.
3) Your "knitting library" and the public library are one and the same.
4) The librarian recognizes your voice and greets you by name when you call to claim your knitting library for another three weeks.
5) You're reduced to stealing gnarled hair elastics off your daughter's stinky head because you refuse to pay for stitch markers.
6) You can passionately articulate the subtle nuance differences between Red Heart, Caron and Bernat acrylic.
7) That said, you hoard your Caron Simply Soft for your "good projects" only.
8) You unabashedly ask your LYS owner for $2 parking validation after recklessly blowing 5 bucks on an impulse purchase of Plymouth Encore.

Give it up for Ghetto Knitters, the true blue collar bones of the craft! Take a button and spread the love. Many thanks to Olga for conceiving and lending her passionate voice to the new Ghetto Renaissance Movement!

Speaking of Renaissance Movements (note seamless segue #2), brings me to clarion cry #2. Throwers unite and stand proud! Pickers may revel in all the glory, but it's time for English knitters to throw their way to bursitis and the forefront! Check out Laura's awesome buttons and stand tall!

And finally, clarion call #3: Lelah is DONE!! And just in time for Holiday Countdown KAL day tomorrow. Sewing the casing for the elastic wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Please excuse the glaring white unmentionables. Compared to the prospect of looking at a top-commando pic, I think the white bra is quite the acceptable alternative. The second shot is truer to the actual color (of Lelah, not the undergarment!), which is a deep red; the ribbon is actually a creme color. I thought about going with a black ribbon, but decided against it, thinking it might look a little too ooh-la-la. This is for my baby sis, after all. I'm actually pretty pleased with the way this turned out, especially post-blocking (on garbage bags and old towels with pushpins, ghetto-style, of course!). As I mentioned in my last post, this Lelah's way too tight for me (hence my weird getting-squeezed-like a -tube-of-toothpaste posture), but that'll be a good thing for The Mercenary, who is taller, thinner, much younger and much more fit than I am. Having just re-read that last sentence, I've since decided that I hate her. I'm considering adding a v-strap halter, so if anyone has any ideas on how to accomplish that other than Icord, I'd appreciate any advice.

Lastly, having been duly inspired, I leave you with my latest attempt at being a good, crafty mom. I based these advent calendars on a cookie ribbon that my aunt made for me when I was born. She has since passed away, but using the cookie ribbon she made me year after year is one of my most cherished holiday memories. Now, if Stinky can just manage to leave the cookies and Honey Boro tied to the ribbon long enough to become a memory, I'm hoping the tradition will become a cherished one for she and Bossy, too!

Friday, December 09, 2005

making a list and checking it twice

Making a list and checking it twice,
Gonna find out who's naughty or nice...

This regularly scheduled post has been pre-empted. What's that, you say? Well, I had planned to unveil the blocked and finished Lelah tonight, but certain sorta-knitting and non-knitting events have taken greater precedence. Not to worry, Lelah, she is certainly finished and is sure to return in the next post. But for tonight, in the spirit of the season, I wanted to share some recent events that have touched my heart.

Yesterday, after a stressful afternoon at the Honolulu Academy of Arts with Bossy and Stinky (note to self: do not attempt to imbue culture or art appreciation in barbaric toddlers in quiet, genteel museum with breakable 4000 year old ceramics within arm's reach), I came home to find a mysterious box from kpixie in my mailbox. It wasn't from Hairy Legs, and a couple of quick calls to the family confirmed that it wasn't from them, either. Curiosity killed the cat and got the better of me, so I ripped open that box to find the most beautiful hank of yarn so beautifully and artfully packaged. This is, without doubt, the most gorgeous yarn I have ever laid eyes on! It's Claudia's Handpainted Yarns Large Loop Boucle in Cherry Chocolate. This is the softest, most heavenly stuff I have ever felt- it is amazing!! I quickly rifled through the box to find out who had gifted me with this luscious and decadent yarn, but there was no note, no tag, no invoice, no nothing!! Was it possible that I had been RAK'ed?? I'd never signed up on those RAK boards, so how was this possible?? I hemmed and hawed, and finally the lightbulb went off in my head. Keohinani graciously replied to my quite possibly psychotic email and confirmed that the wonderful, mysterious package was indeed from her. She had no intention of me finding out it was from her, except for the fact that I pummeled it out of her, being the pushy, blog stalking psycho that I am. It just blows my mind to think that someone would be so generous and so unbelievably kind, to randomly and anonymously send such an incredibly generous gift, just because. And to me, of all people. Jill, from the bottom of my heart, truly, thank you SO, SO, SO much! I can't thank you enough or tell you how grateful I am for your kindness and generosity. Your wonderful package and even more wonderful sentiment made my day and touched my heart. I'll never forget that you were the very first blog land "stranger" to leave a comment on my sad blog and become a blog land (and later, real-life SnB) friend, so it means even more to me, coming from you. Knit blog pals are the best!!!

Look what else arrived in the mail yesterday from Sandee!! I almost passed out with happiness!! Keohinani recently held a "You know you knit too much when..." contest with some fabulous prizes. Sandee was so incredibly generous to donate AWESOME prizes, including the above beautiful Regia sock yarn and Crystal Palace flowers. And this was just for honorable mention!! Sandee, I am SO, SO grateful for this wonderful prize! I can't tell you how touched I am that you would send such a generous and amazing package of yarn and even refuse to let me pay for shipping! I'll say it again....knit bloggers are the best!!!

And Santa, in addition to Jill and Sandee, I have one more person for you to add to your "nice" list...Hairy Legs, who hereafter shall be referred to as Mr. Wonderful. (Thanks for the moniker, Agnes!) Today, while backing our relatively new van out of the *%&$#@% gymnastics parking lot, I failed to see a telephone wire and scraped the passenger door pretty bad. Imagine 7 parallel lines about a foot long running across a previously pristine and unmarred door. We've always made jokes about my driving ability, which (CLEARLY!) is not the best. Which is why I didn't get my license till a year and a half ago, never imagining I was capable of doing something so stupid. The van is barely a year old and was an investment we could barely afford with only one income, but we went ahead with it for the sake of the kids. Needless to say, Mr. Wonderful has been OCD about keeping it clean, waxed, vacuumed and pristine. I almost threw up thinking about how I was going to tell him what I'd done. I considered lying or feigning shock about someone "vandalizing" the car, but in the end, I knew I couldn't pull it off. With my pulse beating wildly and my stomach a mess, I called Mr. Wonderful and told him the truth. And do you know what that wonderful, amazing man said? He said that he was just grateful and relieved that we were safe and unharmed. No anger, no yelling...not even a raised voice. He even told me not to be sorry after I apologized, and that accidents happen. And that he loved me. I got off the phone and cried. Even just writing this, I'm tearing up. I am so blessed to be married to such a wonderful husband and father. Thank you for all that you are....I love you with all my heart, J!

There's a line in one of my favorite Christmas songs that goes And saying I love you is always better; Seasons, reasons- they don't matter, So don't hold back. And while I always say that my family and friends mean more to me than anything, I am often guilty of taking them for granted. And never moreso than this past month, with school and holiday preparations often taking greater precedence. These recent incidents have touched me deeply and have made me take a big step back in reflection. I'm reminded of a list that Bossy wrote at Thanksgiving. I wrote "I am thankful" at the top of the page and gave him a pen and free reign to write whatever struck his fancy. I came back a few minutes later to find a list that made me cry. The kind of list that makes you believe that maybe you're actually doing a decent job raising a good kid. Of course, I'd hope that by next year we'd make the cut above turkey and pumpkin pie, but hey, I'll take what I can I get. It's so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle that we sometimes forget to thank those we love the most. Today, I am reminded again of all that I have been blessed much my family means to me, how much I love them and how very thankful I am to have them in my life. And how very thankful I am for all of the wonderful friends I've made blogging!! For all that you share and all that you do, you girls truly are the best!!

Whew! Thanks for letting me go waaaaay off the knitting tangent there...I promise, definite knitting and crafty content next time! Up next, Lelah's debut and the premiere of my girl, Olga's, super fun list and incredible button that's up for grabs....have you noticed anything new in the sidebar?? Hmmm....Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

little miss artsy fartsy

The Mercenary is coming to a bathroom near you.

Some of you may recall my baby sis, The Mercenary, aka the printmaking BFA artsy-fartsy girl. Very talented, very artsy. And oh-so-very fartsy.

I pondered whether this post would embarass the heck out of her if she ever caught wind of it. (Be glad it's not vice-versa with you catching her wind!) She may get flustered momentarily, but she's the first to admit that she's got stomach issues. Chalk it up to IBS, a weak stomach or just plain bad luck, but when you've gotta go, you've gotta go, and boy, does the girl ever go.

Call us cheap, but we don't bother taking her out for extravagant celebration meals anymore. She knows as well as we do that her gift will wind up down the tubes within minutes of consumption. She set a new record this past birthday, when she turned 21. We'd barely touched our entrees after finishing appetizers when she disappeared to the bathroom for a full half hour. My MIL, a pretty straight-laced, serious woman, asked whether we should send a search and rescue team after her. Don't get me wrong; most 21 year olds do spend the better part of their birthday evening in the bathroom. But at least they can justify their toilet time with the likes of 2 margaritas too many or a keg party. Imagine if it were a cheese quesadilla that did you in.

Now, I can't really talk, because much as I love Mexican, it does me in pretty quick, too. But for The Mercenary, something as innocuous as grilled chicken breast with plain rice will send her sprinting with a can of Lysol. Lysol is not normally her weapon of choice, though. Something very unappealing about the lingering aroma of evergreen manure. In a pinch, she'll use the courtesy flush and light-a-match method. But she brought us into the millenium last Christmas by stuffing our stockings with a new high-tech Japanese product called Nonshu. (I imagine that the Japanese translates roughly into something like, "No! Smell, shoo!") I'm telling you, this stuff if phenomenal! It's the Addi Turbos of toilet treatment. One drop and everything's coming up roses.

Now that this post has really gone down the tubes, let's Nonshu a little, shall we?

Wednesday is Holiday Countdown KAL day, so I started working on a little something for The Mercenary. Sure, I considered making her a toilet paper cozy, but decided against it since TP doesn't get much of a chance to sit idly about in her bathroom. It's all business, all the time at her place. So I went instead with a little number you've probably seen all over the blogosphere, the infamous Lelah.Image hosted by A while back, I showed her a bunch of tops I was interested in making, and she mentioned how much she liked Lelah, so I'm hoping she'll get a kick out of it. I've had some issues with lace before, but it looks like we may have a future together, after all. It was pretty fun knitting up that fishtail lace pattern, and this Wool of the Andes in Cranberry is not half-bad, either. Warning: you engineer types with math-inclinations and/or OCD compulsions may want to skip over this part where I explain my fancy-schmancy math calculations. Be it known that I'm not responsible for any ensuing coronaries.

The catch is that since this is a surprise, I couldn't exactly go and measure The Mercenary. So I'm going by kinesthetic memory, aka winging it. Which is kinda bad when this top is sorta fitted. My precise measurements have The Mercenary pegged at about-my-size but-a little-smaller. According to my calculations, I'm a small, so she's a smaller. From there, I painstakingly extrapolated (aka randomly decided) to knit a size 34" bust with size 7 and 9 needles instead of 9 and 10's to achieve something between 29-32". Why? Because I felt like it. Did I swatch? Yes, but there exists little purpose for gauge when you don't know what measurements you're shooting for in the first place. I also added an extra pattern repeat, because my sis is not the belly-baring type. Being cold makes you go more, don't you know. In the final analysis, it's a little tight for me, which was exactly my intention, so my precise plan of keeping nothing constant and varying all the variables just to freak out my inner scientist seems to be working.

I'm crossing my fingers that Lelah that fits The Mercenary. I'm soliciting all the advice I can get on this. Especially for those of you who've knit Lelah, is there anything specific I should be wary of or anything I ought to know about the fit? Ah well, even if it doesn't work out, like everything else in life, there's always a lesson learned. Like learning that artsy-fartsy sisters, while not cost-effective at fine dining, are simply extraordinary at buffets. The unspoken benefits of having dual loading and unloading capacity!

Bossy has made it exceedingly clear to me that he is not pleased with his prolonged blog hiatus. "Why am I not on the bits of knits?" he demanded, arms crossed and scowl in place. Okay, Bossy, this one's for you. From our weekend holiday adventures, Image hosted by Photobucket.comImage hosted by Photobucket.comhere's Bossy incognito on the swings with his fab new Thomas sunglasses and Stinky practicing her best orangutan smooch with her baby. Finally, we've been trying unsuccessfully to get that dreaded perfect holiday photo. I wish there were some Cute on Command button I could press. I think we got off easy last year, with only 22 shots before arriving at a decent one. We're up to 59 this year and still no dice. Of my faves, there's Bossy strangling Stinky in front of the mall display Image hosted by Photobucket.comand this one,Image hosted by which could almost be a real contender, save for the phantom limbs in the foreground. Looks like this is going to take us a couple more tries...thank goodness for Costco and expedited shipping!