Sunday, January 27, 2008

genetically speaking

My husband is insane. He decided, that since it was freezing today and has been all week, today would be a perfect day to go ice fishing.

Yes, ice fishing.

With the kids.

Even the not-quite-two year old.

You're probably thinking "God, do people actually go ice fishing anymore?" I'd like to assure you they do. They cut holes in the ice and set up little flag-things (called "tilts," because this blog is nothing if not educational). Then they hang out in the freezing cold and wait for some stupid fish to grab their hook, thus setting off the flag. Sometimes they even light fires on the ice (because nothing says safety like adding heat to the ice upon which you are trusting your life). They do this for long periods of time and claim it is great fun. (Don't worry, I'm not buying it either.) But here's the thing about ice fishing that gets me: you can only do it on days that are really really cold. AND, it has to have been cold for awhile before that, to ensure the ice is frozen enough so you can stand on it without falling through. Obviously, this combines two of my favorite features in sports- being out in freezing cold weather and the possibility of plunging to my death in frigid water any second. So, yeah, I was totally into "heading out on the ice". Totally. I did agree to accompany Hubby and Big Sister to check the ice yesterday and make sure it was thick enough. (State law requires 5 inches; I require 6; the pond we checked was 7. See? Educational.) And we brought Magic Baby, mostly because you can't really leave a not-quite-two year old in the car while you hike through the woods. At least not in this state. He wasn't all that interested and did not care for walking on the ice at all, so I figured I was in the clear. I could stay home with Magic Baby and let Hubby and Big Sister pursue their death-wishes. (FYI- Big Sister loves ice fishing and has for years. Clearly, she inherited the insanity gene from her father.) Then this morning, while I was still asleep, Hubby took the kids to the bait shop, where they bought a Bucket-O-Fish to use for bait. (Yes, in ice fishing you purchase fish which you then use to lure other fish onto your hook. No, this is not at all redundant. At least, that's what I'm told.) And Magic Baby saw the Fish That Are Going To Soon Be Impaled On A Hook Then Eaten By Other Fish. And he really really liked them. And he was sad when Hubby and Big Sister took them away. Really really sad. So I (and yeah, this was just stupid of me) decided to take Magic Baby to where the rest of the family was ice fishing. On the ice. In the cold. And the snow (did I mention it was snowing?). Because I thought it would be good for him, or educational, or at least that he would enjoy it. And we bundled up (a lot, as I am a total wuss when it comes to cold) and drove to the place they were and trudged through the woods and I slipped a lot and fell a few times and when we finally reached the ice, Magic Baby looked at me and said


And after all that bundling and driving and trudging and falling, we left. Almost immediately, because apparently he is also a wuss when it comes to cold. (Hubby and Big Sister stayed out for another six hours, because they apparently are not.) But, I have no doubt that in a few years he'll be joining his father and sister on the ice, running and sliding and having a great time. For hours and hours with no regard for the cold. After all, it's in his genes.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

all alone

Hubby took Magic Baby with him on his weekly visitation with Big Sister tonight, leaving me all alone. (Tragic, I know.) What do you think I did with my free time? Any guesses? I... (wait for it)... cleaned the house. That's right. No one was home but me and I cleaned the freakin' house. For three hours. (Do me a favor and ignore the fact that my house was dirty enough to necessitate a three hour cleaning. 'K? Thanks.) During this cleaning frenzy, I did a lot of thinking. (Because, really, what else is there to do when you're cleaning?) And I realized a few things.

1. Cleaning sucks. (Pun intended.) There's no other way to look at it. I don't care who you are, neat freak, obsessive-compulsive, whatever. No one actually enjoys cleaning. It's just not possible.
2. You know that lovely saying "A mother's work is never done." Get this, it's true. 'Cos no matter how many freakin' loads of laundry you do, how many times you wash the dishes, how many times you clean the toilet, they're just going to get dirty again. And soon. And that means... you get the joy of cleaning them all over again! I really can't stress how much I hate this aspect of housework. It all seems so futile, don't you think? Some days I really don't even want to bother. Honestly, how did those '50s housewives do it? And in heels and dresses. Hey, maybe that's the secret. Get all dressed up to wash dishes?

Yeah, not working for me either.

3. There is way more to cleaning a house than I thought before I actually owned one. Sure, growing up I did chores and helped out around the house and stuff, but there are things you have to do once the house is actually yours that no one bothers to tell you. These include (but are not limited to):

  • a. Dusting. I always thought dusting was the easy job Mom gave whichever kid was better behaved that week, or the one you could give to the three-year-old so he felt like he was helping, too, but now that the responsibility of cleaning an entire house is mine, I see that if you don't dust at least once in a while, the place gets really dusty. Go figure.
  • b. Changing the sheets. Okay, this one I don't even understand. I mean, 90% of the time all you're doing in bed is sleeping. (Okay, 98% of the time. And you can bet that if I told you you'd never have to change the sheets again if you slept the other 2% of the time, there would be even more women with "headaches" than there are already.) How the hell do the sheets get dirty? You're. Just. Sleeping. And yet, the sheets need to be changed regularly. (Personally, I think this is a conspiracy involving the laundry detergent companies, sheet manufactures and neighborhood Peeping Toms who get their kicks watching people struggle with the stupid fitted sheets, but I digress.)
  • c. Cleaning the windows. I realize I'm saying this as the mother of an almost-two year old who has recently discovered that not only can he climb on the window seat we have, but also that doing so affords him a splendid view of the squirrels in the front yard. (Not to mention that it gives Mommy a heart attack. That's just an added bonus.) Seriously, though, the windows were so smudged we haven't had to close the curtains in weeks, which is probably a good thing since I sewed the curtains myself and they don't really like to be opened and shut a whole lot.

(Hey, did you like my Clever Use of An Outline there? Yep, 18 years of school; don't tell me I'm not putting it to good use.)

And really, this is stuff that has to be done in every house. It's not like I'm a neat freak or anything, just in case the whole 'my house needed to be cleaned for three hours thing' didn't tip you off. If you don't want to look like a slob, you're expected to do these thing. Often. But what can I do? It's either clean it or look like a terrible person. What kind of a choice is that? Although, to be completely honest I have a reputation for looking like a terrible person. A lot.

Anyway, I'm done cleaning now and I'm also done ranting. In the nick of time, too, because Hubby just walked in with the boy. That's okay, though. I have no qualms about knitting while Hubby puts Magic Baby to bed. After all, my housework's done! For now, anyway.

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I'm still looking for some people to agree to take part in the Pay It Forward! Come on people, I know don't have a ton of people who read this blog, but I would feel like a total loser if I couldn't even find three people willing to continue this exchange. (That's right, I'll guilt you if I have to!) So far I have

1. Kathryn

Yeah, that's it. One person. You don't have to knit, you just have to agree to give something handmade to the first three people who respond to your blog post. AND you get something from me. You know you want to...

knitting update

Since I finished Magic Baby's Little Star Sweater on Christmas Eve, I have felt guilty that I haven't made a sweater for Big Sister yet. (She wants me to make her the Pirate Sweater by Zoe Mellor.) And because of the nagging guilt (which was present the entire time I worked on my Toe-Up Hederas... although I knit those anyway), I have been reluctant to cast on anything else. Like that Swingy Tank I'm going to make out of the yummy CashSilk I bought at Webs. (That one's for me.) And the Central Park Hoodie I'm going to knit out of the Nature Wool I bought at Webs. (That one is also for me.) Yeah, those projects were far too guilt-inducing to even be contemplated in the past month, and all because I needed to get my arse to a lys and buy some nice red merino. Now, usually, my arse would have had no problem getting to a lys, but I promised to go on a yarn diet at the beginning of the year and had already broken that resolution. With a trip to Webs. (The second in two weeks, during which I purchased an entire sweaters-worth of yarn. For, um, me.) Needless to say, I was a bit hesitant about entering another yarn store where I would probably be overcome by fumes yet again and lose complete track of my spending. And then my husband did something amazing. He volunteered to take me to a yarn store. You know, just to look. (Clearly, the man has never been yarn shopping.) And so we went this weekend to Fresh Purls in Providence (which is, coincidentally right down the street from my favorite vegetarian restaurant, Garden Grille) and I got some red merino. When I got home (and during a certain football game), I started on the back of the sweater.

At first, I wasn't sure about the red. I was trying to find a bright red and the only thing Fresh Purls had in the right weight was more of a wine-red, but now that I've seen it with the black, I like it a lot. Unfortunately, the back of the sweater is just plain stockinette stitch. 120 rows of plain stockinette stitch. And I was getting bored (after the game, of course). So, I took a break and checked out Ravelry, where I stumbled upon a group called The Testing Pool. The way this group works is, people who have designed their own patterns post messages on the group, asking if anyone wants to try out a new pattern they've made, and any Raveler can agree to try it. While you knit the pattern, you make notes on any discrepancies or errors you find and you let the designer know. (You also take lots of pictures, but as this has become a natural step in the knitting progress for those of us with blogs, it's not really a big deal to me. ) Out of sheer desperation at knitting 9600 stitches in stockinette, I joined the group and volunteered to try out two projects. One is this really cute baby sweater (called Liam) which I haven't started yet but plan to in the next few days. The other is this

It's a teeny-tiny Mushroom from the Mario video games and it is super cute. It's also really small, which you might be able to tell from the picture. (Especially if I tell you I don't have ginormous hands. Which is true, even though the picture seems to show otherwise.) It's knit on size 0 needles with fingering-ish weight yarn (I don't know what kind of yarn it is. The pattern designer sent it to me.) and I'm having a lot of fun knitting it. I've decided I like the Testing Pool group for a few reasons. First, I think it's cool to try out patterns for other people. They're trying to market the patterns somehow, and they need someone to make sure the pattern actually works and I feel somehow useful being that person. Second, I get to pick which patterns I want to knit, so I can just choose to knit ones I like and would probably knit up anyway (like the Liam sweater) or ones that are quick (like the Mario Mushroom). That way, I get to knit what I want while at the same time helping someone else. It's a win-win situation! The only problem I've encountered is what to do with a pattern I like and agree to knit but have no one to give it to (like the Liam sweater which won't be big enough for Magic Baby). I could hold on to it and wait until someone I know has a use for it, or I could donate it. I haven't decided, but I guess that's okay since I haven't started yet, either! Oh and there's also the guilt issue again. I would feel terrible if I finished a sweater for a nonexistent baby before I made one for my own daughter. I'm hoping that once I finish the back part of the Pirate Sweater, I'll be less bored by the project, because the skull chart should be fun (right?). And if I'm not bored, I'm more inclined to work on it so I should have it finished in no time. Plus the Liam sweater is row upon row of garter stitch, which is even more boring than stockinette, so the Pirate sweater will be positively thrilling by comparison! At least, that's what I'm hoping. (I'm also hoping that a fabulous pattern, like oh maybe the Central Park Hoodie doesn't try to lure me away from the Knitting That Needs To Be Done with its promise of cables and other knitting joys.) I'll let you know how my delusions (and self-restraint) hold out.

Monday, January 21, 2008

the coolness of me, and generation why?

Pay It Forward- “I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.”

I signed up to do this on Amy's blog. Now, if there are three people reading my blog who are willing to take part in this Pay It Forward, comment on this post and I'll send you something handmade! In turn, post the above info on your blog and we'll keep this thing going.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Over the weekend, I ditched the husband and kids for a bit and hung out with some of my cousins. They're college students now, ten years younger than I am, and we took a trip to Thayer Street in Providence. For those not in the know, Thayer Street is the place for all the cool Brown and RISD students. It's lined with funky, independent stores, and usually packed with young, hip, artsy types. In good weather, there are all kinds of musicians on the sidewalks with their instruments, and there are always tons of dreadlocked hippies floating around. During high school and college, I loved shopping on Thayer Street; not as much for the stores (although there are some good ones) as for the atmosphere. There are all kinds of people there and I always liked how five minutes on that street could make me feel wicked cool and simultaneously not cool enough.

It's been awhile since my last visit, and I was a little disappointed to see many of my old favorite independent stores were gone (and replaced with quite a few big-name ones). No matter, though, surely the vibe was the same, and so the cousins and I trekked on. We visited store after store, mostly just browsing. The bead store, the Army/Navy Surplus store, the candy shop, the funky toy store, the second-hand clothes shops, the Birkenstock store. We hit them all. It was at the bead store that I began to sense a change in Thayer Street. For some reason, I wasn't getting as much enjoyment from window shopping there as I had in the past. A decade ago I could (and frequently did) spend hours on Thayer Street and maybe visit two or three stores. Now, ten minutes into the bead store and I was getting impatient. I wanted the kids to hurry up; I wanted to go to a different store. I wasn't buying anything at that particular shop and I saw no reason to stay. Sure, some of the girls were buying jewelry, but I really thought they should just hurry up and pick out the dern beads already. I mean, twenty minutes looking at beads? Come on. They're nice, but they're not yarn or anything. Finally we left, and I was glad. I felt sure, now that we were out of that silly store, that the familiar feeling of fitting in that I had always previously experienced there would take over and I would enjoy myself. This was, after all, Thayer Street. The place for cool people. And I am nothing if not cool.

So, we went into store after store after store, and in each one I grew impatient after a time. It slowly dawned on me that, yes, Thayer Street had changed. There were more chain stores and fewer independent ones. There were many stores with wireless internet and most people were sporting ipods. But something else had changed, too. I had. I was no longer a young, hip college student with lofty, peaceful ideals and while I'd still like to end global warming and "make a difference," I know I have too many commitments and responsibilities now to take off and join The Peace Corps. My "rebellion" is limited to cloth diapers and a pin that says "I read banned books" on my knitting bag. I've become "real" and I don't really fit in with the young 'uns anymore.

After a quick look in a few stores, I was ready to go home. This of course depressed me, but I stuck it out and tried to act like I was having a great time. On the way back to our car (something like 18 hours later), I saw an advertisement on a telephone pole for free guitar lessons. Immediately, I thought of a book I've been reading. The book was originally published in the late '60s and it talks about a free college that was running at that time in one hip city or another. The way it worked was, anyone who had a talent could offer to teach it, and anyone who wanted to learn anything that was being offered could just go. No money involved, no "establishment" to deal with. Just you teach me, I'll teach you. (A philosophy, I thought, that was quite appropriate on a street full of pink-haired mohawked college kids who at least looked like they were ready to "fight the man.") I brought this subject up with my cousins, explaining how the school worked and the philosophy behind it. Then, I asked why things like that don't happen anymore. I was wondering when society had changed so much, from the free-love and peaceful idealism of the '60s to, well, now. Someone brushed it off with a "That's because we're living in a crazy world." "NO!" I replied emphatically, "That's not a good enough reason!" I was all set to launch into a lengthy diatribe about how things should change, and they could change, but it was up to them, their generation, to set things right. Before I could get up much steam, though, one of the girls said "I wish I was a child of the '60s." Thoughts went racing through my head- "Yes! She gets it! She understands how the people then were at least trying to do something! Maybe I'm too old for Thayer Street and maybe my generation is quickly losing it's opportunity to change the world, but that's okay as long as someone from the next generation understands! There's still hope for a better tomorrow!" Then my cousin continued, "My hair's so straight. It would have looked so good then."

I wonder why the world is the way it is? I may just have my answer.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

sock it to me

Yay! I finally finished my Hedera socks! I knit them both toe-up at the same time on one circular needle using Plymouth Indiecita Alpaca Yarn and they are the softest things ever! I am so excited about them! I have been thinking all day of how best to show my enthusiasm for these amazing socks (the first I have ever knit for myself). Initially I thought an abundance of exclamation points would do it, but now I'm not sure they're emphatic enough. Hm... let me think... I think I've got it. Let me try paraphrasing one of my favorite authors. (You may be familiar with his work.)

Here goes...

Say! I like my brand-new socks!

I do! I like them 'cause they rock!

And I will wear them in the house!

And I will share them with a mouse!

And I will wear them in a tree!
Oh, I will wear them lots you'll see!

And I will wear them on a boat!

And I will put them on a goat!

And I will share them with a cat!

And I will show them to a Pat!

And I will wear them here

and there!

Say! I will wear them EVERYWHERE!

So, um... yeah. I like my newly finished socks. Just in case you missed that.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

a wish your heart makes?

Why is it that when I finally, finally dream of Johnny Depp, he's a zombie clone out to kill my daughter? That is just not fair, although I did get to use some pretty great weapons against him: my aluminum #11s. Don't worry, I hadn't cast anything on yet.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

my worldy girl

I had to make a quick stop at a local music store, since Magic Baby's favorite cd (More Singable Songs by Raffi) bit the dust today and there was absolutely no way in hell I was driving for 45 minutes at night with a tired, cranky boy whining for his Six Little Ducks. The only store I could find was a Newbury Comics, which is a New England music store with a Hot Topic vibe. When I got back to the car with my prize (not the same exact cd, but at least it was The Man, and the boy, mercifully, was satisfied), Big Sister (who was 7 the last time I checked) said disgustedly "Why would that store have Raffi? He's not even Goth!" First of all, should 7 year-olds know that word? I'll admit I'm not super in-the-loop here, but she's only in second grade. How many Goths are there in lower elementary school? Not that I have a problem with people of the Gothic Persuasion, I just hadn't realized they had permeated society to the extent that prepubescent girls knew of them. Then I realized, she'd probably heard the word somewhere and wanted to try it out. Surely she had no idea what "being Goth" actually meant. So, of course, I asked her. Her response? "Goths are people who like black, won't go in the sun, and aren't morning people." Ummm... yeah, actually. That's pretty much right on the money, and I had to admit as much. So, I guess my question is, now what do I do? Do I have to buy her black leggings and skull t-shirts and let her borrow my mascara? Should I be worried by the fact that she, being a huge pirate fan for the last four years, already has an extensive collection of skull shirts? Or should I be more worried that I don't actually own any mascara that didn't expire back in 1991?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

my weekend

Anyone reading this who actually knows my grandmother probably thinks she is a kind, sweet woman. I'm here to tell you different: She is an enabler. An enabler of the worst kind. I know this seems harsh, but let's look at the facts, shall we?
As reported on this blog, I went to Webs last week. My grandmother (a knitter) knew this and urged me to call her when I got home. Being the wonderful granddaughter I am, I did just that. I shared with her the wondrous experience we'd had at the Yarn Bonanza That Is Webs. I told her everything I'd bought, and I shared with her that, per my usual m.o., I'd spent way more money than I had intended.
Then, on Friday night, do you know what she did? She called me and invited me to go with her to Webs the next day. And she did so, knowing full well it was the last day of their Fantastic Sale. My response? Considering I knew I was already over my yarn budget for the month? And taking in the fact that Jen and I swore to go on yarn diets the minute we returned from Webs last weekend? What did I tell Grandma? Come on, this is Webs, people. Of course I told her I would go, but I promised myself I would only buy a little more CashSilk. Just a skein or two, to make sure I had enough for the Swingy Tank I want to make with it. Plus, I reasoned with myself, Grandma had never been to Webs before and she would need someone to "show her the ropes" (or "the yarn" as the case may be). (Forget for a moment that last week was my first trips to Webs, and I went without a Webs Expert and I did just fine. I'll admit I was grasping at straws for a reason to go, but really I was trying to rationalize my second trip to the Knitting Mecca in less than two weeks. Cut me some slack.)
So, yeah, Grandma, her friend and I got to Webs, whereupon it is revealed to me that Grandma's friend (a life-long knitter) has Never. Made. Herself. A. Sweater. Never. I quickly set about rectifying this, plying her with the nicest, softest wool I could find, convincing her she could do it and making sure she had enough yarn for the pattern she chose. While she was deciding on a color, I went to look for the CashSilk. Webs, it turns out, didn't have any left in the color I had already bought, which was fine (really, I probably already had enough at home. I was only buying more to be on the safe side). I decided, in light that discovery, that I could allow myself to buy a small amount of another yarn. Enough to make a hat, or maybe some Fetchings, but no more. I was disciplining myself. Of course I could walk out of Webs with only a skein or two. Knitting doesn't control me that much.

At this point, I lost complete track of what happened. I do vaguely recall debating between some Araucania Nature Wool at $4.99 for 240 yards and Elsebeth Lavold Classic AL at $3.49 for 109 yards. I remember leaning towards the Nature Wool, because while it was not quite as soft as the other (which is a wool/ alpaca blend), it was definitely the more economical of the two. I also sort of remember my Grandmother pushing the alpaca on me (See? I told you she's an enabler). The next time I was fully conscious was when I was leaving the store. With enough of this

to make myself a Central Park Hoodie. What can I say? I am a weak, weak woman and the combination of being at Webs and having a willing Yarn Pusher at my disposal was just too much. I succumbed to all that is Woolen. But at least I'll get a hoodie out of the deal!!

I feel, in the interest of full disclosure, that I should report that people in the area of the cash register at the time I was allegedly making my purchase have said that I, upon learning the Nature Wool was $3.49 a hank, not the original $4.99 I thought, immediately bought two more hanks of it. All I can say is I have 7 hanks of it all together. I have no idea if the reports of me "eagerly rushing back to the warehouse" and "running through the store squealing while triumphantly holding two hanks of wool above my head and humming the 'Chariots of Fire' theme" are true.
Also, to be completely honest... when I got in the car and came to my senses, I realized (somehow) two skeins of that CashSilk I had originally gone in for had made its way into my bag. And it was the right color. And the right dye lot. I have absolutely no clue what it was doing there, but I thought it best to bring it home and show it some love. Gracious of me, I know.

Anyway, there you have the reasoning behind my allegations regarding my grandmother. Clearly, all my yarn buying was her fault. I have no responibility in the matter whatsoever.

The rest of my day went like this: After Webs, Hubby and I met some friends at a local gaming store so he could buy some Dungeons and Dragons stuff. This means two things. First, I immediately felt less guilty about bringing home more yarn, as it is common knowledge that Hubby has way more for D&D than I do for knitting. Second, having gone to both the Knitting Capital of The World and The Biggest Gaming Store in The State of Massachusetts in the same day, I am officially the biggest geek ever, which I kind of already knew. Still, it's good to have confirmation of these things.

And now, I would like to take this opportunity to express my eternal gratitude to my husband for taking care of Magic Baby twice so I could go to Webs. It was fabulous of him. He says he doesn't mind and he'd do it again in a heartbeat. He's so sweet like that! Btw, did anyone else hear a rumor that Webs has another sale around April...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

... and received

While I'll agree that giving gifts is fabulous, we all know that it is way better to receive than to give. In that vein, let me share with you some of the wonderful gifts I received this holiday season:

It looks like people around here think I enjoy knitting. I wonder where they got that idea.

(Clockwise from left: "Knit for a Cure" scarf-making set from my godfather, two new knitting books Beautiful Knitting from my grandmother and Not Tonight Darling, I'm Knitting from Jen, a gorgeous skein of hand-spun, hand-dyed merino also from Jen and a nifty box-o-knitting-notions from Jen's mom. Her name's Stephanie, so she put "Stephanie Pearl-McPhee" on the tag. Ubergeeky, but I loved it.)

After such a good haul, Jen and I decided to take a trip to the mecca that is Webs. (I tried to incorporate the acronym SEX in there somewhere, you know for Stash Enhancing eXpedition, but it sounded wrong. Very very wrong.) Here's the thing about Webs: It. Is. Amazing. We were there for more than two hours, and we were noticing new things on the way out. The store was incredible; totally worth the drive. (As an aside, before I got pregnant with Magic Baby, I started a Masters program which I had to put on hold because, well I got pregnant. Why am I mentioning this now? The program was at Smith College, which is in Northampton. This means I was going to school in the same town as Webs. And I wasn't a knitter, so I didn't care. Do you know how much it hurt when we drove all the way there and I realized the biggest yarn store in the country is within walking distance of where I lived for a month. And I didn't even know it was there. Excuse me while I wipe the tears from my keyboard.) I had a gift certificate to the store, which I promptly spent on this:enough Gedifra Cotton Merino for a sweater (por moi). I also got some cute 100% bamboo sock yarn (which is red pink and white and incredibly unphotogenic. Sorry.)

And then I was evil and splurged on some of this (also for me).

Yes, that says CashSilk as in 25% cashmere, 25% silk, 50% wool. It is so soft! I bought what I hope is enough to make a light, summery top of some sort. I still have to find the perfect pattern, but that's what Ravelry is for, right?

So that was the stash garnered from Webs. Add that to my Christmas gifts, and I'd say I did pretty well this year. Oh, and there is one more knitting-related gift.

Okay, so it doesn't look like much but that's only because it's not done yet. It's going to be a scarf, but not just any scarf. This is an extra-special, love-filled scarf knitted by...

my husband! Unbeknownst to me, he had Jen teach him how to knit! While he was in the hospital with gall stones! And he's been working on my scarf on coffee breaks at work and even during football games! How amazing is this guy?! This was by far the best gift I receive this year, and it's not even done yet. (Can you see where he inadvertently increased from 20 stitches to 42? He decided that rather than go back and fix it, he'll just do the same thing on the other end. I told him this is what we knitters call a "design element" and that it's a perfectly acceptable knitting technique.) I can't wait for him to finish, so I can proudly wear it and show it off! I've been watching him knit, and I can tell it's not really his thing (although he says he "appreciates the craft"). To me, that makes the gift even more special, because he keeps working on it for me, even though he's not a knitting fanatic. Yeah, he's great. And I know what you're thinking: Where can I get me a man like that? All I can tell you is: Sorry ladies. This one's taken!