Sunday, December 28, 2008

Out of sight, out of mind?

I feel like Dr. Zeus' Whos down in Whoville. So many things have kept my "shouts" from being heard lately. I was optimistic in mid-October that I could get on with our usual winter activities but we didn't get a hard freeze till the very end of October so I kept canning beans (over 150 quarts put up), tomatoes in several forms (salsa, whole tomatoes, and juice to name the main ones) and those pears! We went back to the still-loaded tree with a 15-foot ladder in late October and DH picked three more bushels. Some I wrapped in paper and the rest we spread out to ripen then dried or ate in all their oh-so-sweet juicy glory. The last of the paper-wrapped ones kept till the week before Christmas -- still tasted great, were extremely juicy but the skins had begun to toughen. I will definitely wrap some the next time we have such a bumper crop. I managed to write a few posts off and on during Novemeber and early December but they're stored away as document files till I can get photos sorted and really just TIME to put them up.

Christmas came and went in a blur. I made a few gifts this year but not as many as I'd planned so I've started on next year's in an attempt to spread the work over as many months as possible. I cast-on this yarn Christmas night in order to start a simple garter-stitch hat with a rolled brim for one of DS's cousins. To go with the hat, I'm planning to make a pair of felted mittens trimmed with the same yarn using the fulled shetland sweater showing underneath the skein. The cousin is in the fast-growing age range so I'll wait till closer to next Christmas before cutting out the mittens. The yarn came from several years ago but I've lost the label to tell me the name of the colorway. It's very soft, probably merino, and the colors blended together well in the sample I knitted.

One thing I did make this year was knitted cotton dishcloths. I made variations of the two styles shown in the photos below. They're very fast to knit and I can remember the patterns without having to refer to a printout. Along with some handmilled soap or, when short on time or inclination, liquid soap from someplace like Bath & Bodyworks, they made a thoughtful gift that was quick to put together.

Tho I've used the pattern often over the past five years or so I noticed that the pattern for the blue-and-white dishcloth was printed on the yarn's label and it's also listed in Mason-Dixon Knitting as a ballband dishcloth and can be found on-line under other names such as textured slipstitch dishcloth. The other dishcloths are diagonally-knit and the pattern is so simple. It can be found all over the place including in one of my posts from earlier this year.

For the my fiber guild's gift exchange I made a paper star (sometimes called a Polish Star) just like the ones my mother taught me to make as a kid. In exchange I received two inkle-woven chenille ornaments with tassels. They're too lovely to pack away till next Christmas so I'm going to hang them in my workroom. Wish I had a picture but no time tonight. One of those things that have kept me from posting regularly requires surgery scheduled for tomorrow so I'm off to pack for an expected short hospital stay and have a last drink of water before the no food-no drinks rule kicks in at midnight. On the positive side, I'm looking forward to downtime during recovery as I may be able to catch up on some knitting and posting.

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