The Last FO of 2011

Most people do not spend about six hours out of their New Year’s Eve sewing two skirts. Clearly, I am not most people since that’s exactly how I spent my New Year’s Eve. (P.S. After I publish this post, I’m going to either convince Momsy to watch a movie with me or I’ll read a book until we go watch the ball fall at midnight. And yes, I know I’m lame. I don’t care.)

Anyway, it all started yesterday when I went to JoAnn’s to buy a size 15 circular knitting needle and some yarn to make a friend’s impending niece a blanket. While I was there, I saw these two bolts of fabric sitting next to each other.

I’ve seen these two together before. And honestly, I’ve seen them with better pricing than I saw them yesterday. But that’s not the point. They were there. They were 30% off. I had a coupon for 15% off my total purchase, including sale items. And I was in desperate want of a cute new skirt or two.

So, I bought three yards of each one and brought them home, intending to use my tried-and-true wrap skirt pattern (McCall’s 5430) and my crafting genius to make a reversible skirt.

But then, Momsy pointed out that if I wanted two different skirts, I should just make two different skirts and call it good. So, I decided to go with it. But the skirts wouldn’t be made all from one fabric. For each skirt, one fabric would be the “body” and the other fabric would be the waistband and, for one of the skirts, the pockets.

Last night, I cut out the fabric, and this afternoon, I sat down and sewed until dinner time. After dinner, I went back at it again.

And here’s the end result. (Also, because I’m a dork, I named both of the skirts. Live with it.)

The first one is Lily. I’m not really sure why, but the name seems to have stuck. This skirt is view B from the pattern, which is the most basic way to make the skirt.

And here’s a close-up of the bow.

And then there’s a close-up of the fabric so you can see the gorgeous vine detail.

The second skirt is view C on the pattern. I named this one Poppy because it seems a little more vivacious and silly and fun. But you can judge that for yourself.

A close-up of the bow and a pocket…

So those are my last Finished Objects of 2011. And I’m pretty proud of myself for making two skirts in one day.

It’s been a good but hard year. I’m looking forward to 2012 and hoping that it’ll bring some pretty amazing things into my life…and yours, of course dear blog readers.

So good night and have an utterly fantastic 2012!

2011 in Review

At the beginning of the year, I set 11 goals for myself. I fulfilled some and didn’t fulfill others. So, let’s review the goals-and my level of success.

  1. Graduate from college-this will take the majority of the year but I will do it. CHECK!!!
  2. Finish Middlemarch. I started it last week and I’m only three chapters in. Ahem, let’s not talk about it. And then, we’ll make it a goal for 2012.
  3. Knit at least six pairs of socks. Last year, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee created a self-imposed sock club in which she created twelve kits including a pattern and some yarn to make a pair of socks every month. Well, SPM is a much more experienced knitter than I am and so I am starting a little more slowly. I’m going to commit to a pair of socks every two months with the intention of trying to get each pair done in a month. I’m starting by making these socks in green and I’m pretty excited about them. I made four pairs of socks out of my intended six. We’ll try again next year.
  4. I have two knitting patterns up my sleeve and I’m hoping to get them both out into the world this year. One was inspired by a sweater that Hermione Granger wears in the newest Harry Potter movie. The other is inspired by my imagination, current fashion trends, and by some of my favorite literary heroines. And if you want to know how all that can fit together, well stick around until a sweater pattern with a name from a Jane Austen novel gets posted. I released both of those patterns as well as a cowl pattern and a headband pattern. Also, I have two shawl patterns in development. I’d say I did something with my life. 
  5. I want to spend a week in Pittsburgh. I know I went there in the spring of 2010, but I want to go again this year. I didn’t go to Pittsburgh. But I want to go to Iowa this year.
  6. I want to knit my brother a sweater. Nope…he moved to Arizona. That ended my motivation. 
  7. I want to knit at least five sweaters this year. That includes the one for my brother, one for my friend Jenn that is currently “on needle,” and both of the patterns referenced in goal #4. But I also want to make Katie and Jenny sweaters for their birthdays, so I somehow feel that this will turn into making at least six sweaters. We’ll see. I didn’t make Katie or Jenny sweaters. But I did make six sweaters. And as the year comes to an end, I have two more on needle…and tonight I’m ordering yarn for two more. 
  8. I want to read Interior Castles by St. Teresa of Jesus. I own it; that’s the easy part. St. Teresa is a great personal heroine of mine and I want to learn more about her and learn from her. Check; awesome book! 
  9. I want to read a book from an author that I’ve never read before-not because I have to read it for a class but because I want to and because someone I trust recommended it to me. I think I fulfilled this goal. I read three books this fall purely on my mom’s recommendation-and I loved each of them. (For the curious, they were The Help, The Swan Thieves, and Cutting for Stone. I’d Amazon-link them, but I’m feeling lazy. Go google them yourself.) 
  10. I want to knit a cowl. I’ve never made one before-or even worn one. But I think it’s something that I would like and that would be useful to me. Well, I knit three, including one for which I designed my own pattern. 
  11. I want to be more patient. Now this might sound strange, but bear with me. I just listed off numerous knitting projects (sweaters, gloves, cowls) that I want to make. And as SPM said, “I don’t knit because I’m patient. I’m patient because I knit.” Ergo, What I want in 2011 is this…more knitting time. I want more time to sit and read a good book in peace, more time to knit and drink a lovely mug of tea, more time to relax. I don’t know how I’ll get that, but I’d really like it if I could get that. I don’t know if I did this. I don’t think so, but oh well…there’s always 2012. 
Also, with regards to my insanity from last week, I finished the shawl by 10:30pm on Christmas Eve and wore it on Christmas dinner.
I love it. I love the pattern. I want to make it again in another color, but I have about 5,000 other things I want to do first.
Also, I got a new camera today. I think I’m going to name it Miss Bates after the dear, sweet babbling busybody in Jane Austen’s Emma. 
That’s all for now, folks! Stay tuned for my 2012 goals coming soon to a blog near you!

Insanity

I may have lost my mind. Note the use of the word “may.” The jury is still out. However, I have decided that I can finish my Holden shawlette in time to wear it to Christmas dinner on Sunday.

To understand the state of my insanity, you must understand a few things. When I got up this morning, I still had to work ten rows of stockinette on this baby. And then, I have to work the 38 row lace pattern, knit two rows in garter stitch, and bind it off. I’m four rows into the lace pattern. It’s about 4:15 on Friday afternoon. I want this thing done by noon on Sunday. Okay, that’s doable. Doable, not likely to happen.

Between now and noon on Sunday, I have to sleep (preferably) for at least nine hours a night, for the sanity of all who have to come into contact with me in the next forty-eight hours. I have to eat three meals per day. I have to decorate Christmas cookies with Momsy. I have to sew the fleece lining into Nina’s Abigail headband.

And I have to finish this shawlette. It’d be easy if it was all garter stitch, but this is lace shawl. It’s complicated. But I can do it.

I think.

I’m off to get some caffeine and keep rolling. Wish me luck; hopefully, I’ll have pictures of this (and other knitted goodies) to share on Monday.

And remember; I’m standing here solidly on my own two hands going crazy.

Random Wednesday

  1. All of my Christmas gifts except for one are done. I’ll cast that last one on tomorrow. (It’s an Abigail without the applique for my cousin. She doesn’t read the blog, so I feel entirely comfortable confessing all of this to y’all.)
  2. Now that my gifts are done, I can freely admit that Christmas is coming. It’s coming! In four days! The brother is coming in THREE days!
  3. As of 3:35pm today, I’m done with rebind until June. But it was a blast while it lasted. I loved being with the people even if the work is what Sir Percival Blakeney would call “demmed tedious.”
  4. The flash on my camera died the other day. I need a new one. That’s a major post-Christmas wish. I need to see what sort of gifts I get and what kind of money I can make once I start subbing in January. I also need to figure out exactly what I want. I know I want something fancier/more professional than what I currently have.
  5. I joined Pinterest the other day. I’m still not sure that this was a good idea. But it sure is fun!
  6. I’m tired. Hopefully I’ll have some more exciting blog posts as I get more excited about Christmas…or after Christmas.

That’s Not a Christmas Song

I have declared myself the Christmas Music Police. Live with it. In this capacity, I will declare what is good Christmas music and what is not. So I’ll start by declaring what is bad music. And then I’ll tell you what I like. (Because I’m awesomely nice like that…)

Anyway, I’m back working in the wonderful world of rebind. So today, we were listening to a “Josh Groban (Holiday)” station on Pandora that the lovely H created.

So as we were listening to this station, I started to hear many songs that are not Christmas songs. They are not winter songs in any way, shape, or form. Nevertheless, Pandora believes them to be Christmas songs. So here are ten songs that aren’t Christmas songs, with my commentary (of course) as to why.

  1. Pachelbel’s Canon in D; it’s considered to be vaguely religious, and therefore it MUST be Christmas music. (eyeroll) (I will make an exception for Trans-siberian’s “Christmas Canon” because they at least tried to make it Christmassy.)
  2. “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music; “Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes, silver white winters that melt into spring…” I’m sure you get the picture.
  3. “You Raise Me Up” Just because Josh Groban sings it, that doesn’t mean it’s a Christmas song.
  4. “To Where You Are” See my reasoning behind #3
  5. “Last Christmas” It’s a break-up song that just happens to take place on Christmas. That doesn’t make it a Christmas song. I’m sorry.
  6. “Don’t Give Up (You Are Loved)” See reasoning on #3
  7. Anything by Glee; I know they mean well, but they’re just too much for me. If you like them, fine, but I’m a traditionalist. I like Frank Sinatra, classical music, the first part of The Messiah, and Josh Groban.
  8. Anything that implies that the true meaning of Christmas is getting gifts; even if you’re not into the Christ part of the Christ-Mass, the spirit of Christmas can be seen as the spirit of giving or sharing but it shouldn’t be so focused on getting.
  9. Ave Maria; Honestly, I’m not sure why this one bothers me. While it is a religious piece and it is about the Mother of God, something about its use as a Christmas carol bothers me. The same is true for Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. I don’t know why it bugs me, but it does.
  10. “Linus and Lucy” from any sort of Charlie Brown special. It’s not Christmas specific. It’s just a piece of piano music named after the VanPelt kids.

Now, on the other hand, I do have Christmas music I love. Here are five examples.

  1. “We Three Kings;” I love this song in general but I love this version. That’s partially Hugh Jackman’s fault, but it’s mostly because they sing all the verses and you can see (or at least hear) the point of the song.
  2. Straight No Chaser’s 12 Days of Christmas; it’s sooo sweet and funny.
  3. “Mary, Did You Know?” Michael Crawford’s version is my favorite, but I can’t find a video of it on YouTube.
  4. Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas Eve/ Sarajevo 12 24: Do we need to discuss this? It’s epic-McAwesome-sauce.
  5. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”…especially Jars of Clay’s version
  6. Also, I love Jars of Clay’s “Little Drummer Boy” but theirs is only version of it that I like.

So that’s what I like. I’d throw things like “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” or “Gaudete” up there, but they’re technically Advent music, which is more seasonally appropriate, but they’re not what I’m ranting about. At the moment.

So what Christmas music do you love? What do you hate? Which ones do you disagree with overly-opinionated me about?

Random Friday

  1. I’m drinking vanilla caramel truffle tea. It sounds, smells, and tastes like a luxury.
  2. Yesterday, I added another piece of Christmas knitting to my life. I decided to make a man’s hat…and then I decided to design my own pattern instead of using someone else’s pattern.
  3. Today is the 236th anniversary of Jane Austen’s birth. In honor of that, I’m drinking my vanilla caramel truffle tea, enjoying some chocolate-raspberry truffles that were given to me in honor of the feast, and watching the good 1996 Emma. (This is in opposition to the bad 1996 Emma, of which we shall not say more.)
  4. Between now and December 25, I need to finish a shawlette and a hat. And I need to make a headband.
  5. I’m working in rebind again next week. This will cut into my knitting time.
  6. I’m going on a road trip this weekend. And I’m not driving. That will give me at least six hour of solid knitting time while In the car.
  7. The shawl is a relatively easy pattern. The headband is an absurdly easy pattern. The hat has cables. This weekend will be interesting.
  8. I need to get back to Jeremy Northam and the hat I’m knitting. But on Sunday or Monday, I’ll have pictures of a dress I sewed earlier this week, so stay tuned for that.

An Apostrophe

Ladies and gents, I’ve had an apostrophe.

Okay, so I’m not going to corrupt Peter Pan’s children. But, I had an epiphany. Lightning struck my brain. And it didn’t hurt.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been working on Momsy’s Christmas present. The knitting was going at a glacial pace. (Seriously, molasses and turtles move faster than this project did.) It wasn’t the pattern, which I was kind of making up on the sport. It was the yarn. The yarn was constantly snagging on itself and tangling. I’d had to tear  the thing back to the starting ground probably three times. And while Christmas is still eleven days away, I just couldn’t see this thing being done by Christmas. Sure, Momsy told me a couple days ago that I could give her an IOU for Christmas, and she wouldn’t mind. But a) I mind and b) well, I’d be paying that IOU off sometime around 2028.

Then last night, I was having trouble sleeping, and somehow, my Great-Grandma Grace came to mind. Now, Great-Grandma Grace, Momsy’s maternal grandmother, died before I was born, but apparently she was a crafter. (I’m not sure on all the details of this because Great-Grandma Mary, Momsy’s paternal grandmother, was also a crafter and I’m not entirely sure on which one did what. But Momsy is named after both of them, which makes me love them even though I never met them because they both died before I was born.)

But Grandma Jo once told me that both of Momsy’s grandmothers would be proud of me because I knit and crochet. (Sidenote: Great-Grandma Mary was seriously freaking talented; you should see the bedspread she made my grandparents when they got married, but I digress.)

Anyway, I was thinking about the shawl I made over the weekend and about Grace. And then, I had an apostrophe…or an epiphany. Lightning struck my brain. I knew what to make Momsy for Christmas.

Now, you won’t get to see it until Christmas. (And by a totally bizarre turn of events, Momsy *might* get two knitted things for Christmas, but we’ll see how things go.)

But I’m soooo excited about this. I don’t have to sit around and detangle yarn anymore.

So, Great-Grandma Grace, thanks for the inspiration. I hope you are proud of me.