OH! I wanted to get to the end of the KOTOTW Knitathon so badly within 3 years instead of 4! But although I am quite close, I won't be able to make it, considering today is December 30 and I have to work tomorrow. But I have no reason to be blue; my holidays have been busy but full and happy ones.
Here are some fun pictures from Wuollet Bakery of their Christmas cakes and cupcakes; ever since they opened a branch in the Minneapolis skyway, I enjoy seeing what is in their windows!
My friend from Russia, Anastasia, was able to spend a few days with us before Christmas. We had a wonderful time shopping, making borscht, drinking tea and chatting, and baking Christmas cookies. My niece Amanda and Anastasia helped to set up and decorate the Christmas tree for me, using only the ornaments with stories behind them (as opposed to the anomymous glass balls, most of which are fading and cracked anyway). My favorite part was what they decided to do when I couldn't find the angel for the top of the tree - they used one of Nathan's Halo soldiers (Halo - Angel - get it? MWAH!)
He actually got dressed up for an improv camp this week with a nice shirt, vest and tie - I wish I had taken a picture then (the sweatshirt doesn't really do the hat justice). He got out a piece of cardstock and wrote 'PRESS' on the side, and tucked it in his hatband, and went around the house interviewing people. My son is a genuine, bona fide hambone, just like his mom.
Nathan's men's chorus had a lovely Christmas concert - the high school's choral music program is so popular that they have two concerts, back to back, to allow all the various choirs to perform. That is him, top row on the right side, singing his heart out. He has really enjoyed being in the choir, more than he enjoyed playing the trombone in middle school, I think.
Anastasia gave Nathan a lovely set of Matrushka dolls:
And I bought Anastasia a tiny Kindle, so that she can download books in Russian and Chinese (both hard to come by in Minnesota book stores!) She was really happy with it; I also got her a hot-pink kindle case, and am making her a Gaptastic Cowl. And I gave her an old fake shearling jacket to keep her warm crossing campus, as she was making do with two really thin ski jackets for a winter coat (NOT enough for our Minnesota winter winds, for sure.) I am getting such joy out of our friendship and having a "daughter" to support and encourage through her college years. She reminds me of me and my sisters; a very driven student, self-critical and anxious about her future. It is like telling my younger self to just focus on the present moment, do the best she can do, and to have a little faith that the future will work out just as it is meant to.
I took an evening to make a baby toy for one of my partners who had a grand-daughter recently (a pattern from the Lion Brand website - so cute!)
But other than that brief distraction, I've really been buckling down on the balance of the KOTOTW projects. I spent the morning working on one of the two sleeves of the Lisbon Lace Jacket; it is coming out too narrow, but luckily I made just enough extra motifs to widen the sleeves a bit. I am meeting a friend for coffee and a visit to a knit shop in an hour, but hope to come home and finish the jacket tonight or tomorrow.
Yesterday, after working for the first half of the morning (OY! A crazy deal that started with a phone call from a client on December 21 who needed to take out a loan to pay off a promissory note for a noteholder wishing to avoid an increase in the capital gains tax rate that kicks in on January 1, and has involved hunting signatories down in upstate Minnesota at a cabin, in Sarasota, Florida and in a retirement village, as well as cajoling reluctant and estranged family members into cooperating while faxing loan documents to a European hotel for signature and arranging for a foreign notary to witness signatures... holy cow!!! Sometimes I think there should be some sort of "lawyer Olympics" for the year-end machinations we go through to help clients. with names like "Most Convoluted Closing" or "The Deal That Wouldn't Die!")... where was I.
Oh, yeah! I started off in the AM by setting in the zipper on the Great Bear Zip Tunic:
It isn't so hard to do, just a bit fussy. I pinned it in with safety pins, and the back-stitched by hand in the "ditch" beween the edging and the first stitch, about 3/8ths of an inch from the zipper teeth on each side, and then whip-stitched the loose edge of the zipper tape down on the inside. I use sewing thread, which disappears into the lofty stitches.
Then, I sewed on the bear-paw pockets and claw-shaped buttons, knitted on the neck, sewed the side seams, and voila! Another KOTOTW project complete!
It is like a blanket - a bit heavy but really cozy. I'm wearing it today and will try to get my friend to take a photo at the yarn shop this afternoon. This was a REALLY fun knit - splendid, kooshy yarn (Classic Elite Montera - llama/wool blend), and it went really quickly on big needles. I did the motif in the center via intarsia, but stitched on the other details like the little animal on either side (probably supposed to be a cow, but I think it looks more like my dachshund!).
The sides also have buttons:
I finished the first side of the bag last night:
That is some serious intarsia! I do it the way Nicky suggests, leaving long strands of yarn instead of using bobbins, as the yarns inevitably tangle as you twist them where the colors change to avoid holes, and it is much easier to just pull the smooth lengths of yarn through from time to time instead of unwinding a dozen or more ^Q@#$% bobbins from each other.
As you can see from the back:
There are a HECK of yarn ends to detangle and to patiently weave in and secure when the knitting is finished. As I'm only just through the ribbing on the second side, there is just no way to finish the knitting by year end, let alone the weaving -in, sewing together, felting in the washing machine and blocking, lining, and sewing on the handles (sigh...) Well, I gave it a serious effort. Work just was a bit busier than usual the last few months and earning a living does tend to get in the way of my knitting plans from time to time. :D
I'm hoping to finish it before the 12th, when I leave for a trip to the east coast, first to visit Nicky in New York for a few days (!!!) and then to visit my parents in New Jersey. I'm going to drive them to Worcester, Massachusetts, to see their grandson/my nephew, Eric Obeysekere, play basketball. He plays for Holy Cross and is a senior this year - a phenomenal ball player, he grew up in California, and my parents have never once been able to see him play, which I intend to fix!
Thank you all for following me for another year's knitting adventure - I'm hoping to have more photos of finished projects for you soon, as well as pictures of my visit with Nicky and to Massachusetts, a retrospective of KOTOTW memories, and then we'll get going on a (SHOCKING!) number of knitting projects that have been lying around half-finished since I decided to go on my world tour!
I wish you all the happiest of New Years! May your days be merry and bright.