Dude Stuff

Pattern: "Knotty but Nice" by Natalie Larson, available free here
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (color #300500) - 55% merino wool/33% microfiber/12% cashmere

Plus: Really well-written, highly addictive pattern. This yarn makes a really nice pairing since cables pop so beautifully in this round, plumpy yarn. To make everything that much sweeter, I found the yarn a few weekends ago in the 50% off bin at my LYS.

I had so much fun doing this, I got major hand cramps as I powered through round after round, saying, "I'll stop after this row...."

Pattern: "Stacked Wedges" by Lynne Barr, available in Knitting New Scarves
Yarn: Spinning Rainbows Handspun Yarn

Plus: This scarf flew off the needles in a flash. The short rows broke up the monotony of garter stitch; the garter stitch balanced the counting required for the short rows. All in all, a fun but easy scarf. I think I've mentioned before that Lynne Barr is kind of a rock star.

Delta: This yarn, a gift from my mother, was a rather difficult customer. I was anxious to find an appropriate home for this unique, local handspun, but it took more than a few false starts to find its match. To begin with, the rustic two-ply ranged from dk weight to bulky from foot to foot, inch to inch, making gauge a nightmare. Furthermore, the wool is minimally processed, thereby leaving it a lanolin-rich treasure trove of hay and stickers, both of which I tried my best to pick out as I went. Finally, the ply was quite crisp in some areas, while nearly felted and fuzzy in others, rendering any fancy stitchwork a total waste of time. Thus, I had to think non-fitting, industrial, and geometric, respectively. I think I managed it here and, as a result, honored the gifts and charm of the fiber.

Alrighty, so that's two more Christmas gifts, which I can add to that green hat, the blue beaded hat, the orange fingerless mitts, and the pink/orange cowl. I've also got a girl scarf and some boy mitts on the needles, along with a special order ponchette for my mother-in-law and a special-order toddler hat for a dear friend of my mother. So, if I finish everything I've started so far...that's ten gifts. Doesn't seem like many, and I'm beginning to panic. There are many more available yarn+project pairings in the stash, but what I'm short on is time. Adding to the sticky, I'm flying into Dallas on Sunday, so I'll have to choose my last-ditch-effort projects in advance, weighing speed of completion (super-bulky weight hats?!) against space in my bags (oh, uh, lace shawls). Blimey! If only I had MONEY for Christmas this year. Hopefully family and friends will understand.

Watts' Afghan of Eternity Square #35/36 (Sweet Jesus, just one more!)


Snuggly necks and chic babies

Pattern: "Darkside Cowl," by Sara Fama, available as a free pdf download on Ravelry
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb - single ply aran weight, 50% silk/50% wool/400% HEAVEN!!!
Colorway: Bittersweet

Plus: In the future, we'll all be born with our necks permanently swathed in Lion and Lamb. And everyone knows I'm a sucker for groovy textures and geometric designs.

Delta: The fun was over too soon. I see a few more of these cowls in my future. I also foresee being yarn-poor in that same future.

Pattern: "Knit 'Suede Baby Booties'," by Candi Jensen, available free but with minor hassle here
Yarn: Berrocco Suede and Plymouth Yarn Oh My! (both 100% nylon)

Plus: I couldn't help myself. These have been calling to me for years! And now I get invited to the shower of a winter baby? Bring on the baby Uggs!

Delta: I was overly ambitious/reckless in my timing of these and consequently made a mistake counting the rows which decrease the instep. I ripped back and corrected it, but the setback meant I had to show them just one bootie and provide an apologetic IOU for the pair at the shower. Totally lame.

I played hostess for Thanksgiving for the first time this year. My in-laws flew in from Dallas, and though they graciously took us out to restaurants or cooked many meals, I insisted on making every dish served on Thanksgiving. I followed Alton Brown's method for brining and cooking the bird, and it turned out scrumptious! Leftover white meat has been enjoyed in sandwiches slathered with homemade cranberry sauce for days. We're not huge fans of dark meat like wings, so I used all the leftover dark meat and bones in a lightened up adaptation of this soup. (I used 3Tbs each of flour and Brummel and Brown for the roux and substituted 3/4 c. fat free half and half for the 2 c. regular stuff--plenty rich enough!) It is ultra-comforting and delicious now that the temperatures are hanging around the 30s consistently. Yay for cooking victories!

Watts' family afghan of everlasting torment square #34/36: