FO: Fear of Commitment Cowl

And now we come to the end of the holiday knitting madness.

Given what I’d started, I had to add a knit gift for my sister — especially since she’s the only one of the crew who’s done any knitting. I’m nothing if not a planner (and deadline driven, in case you haven’t yet figured that out), so I’d wisely purchased enough Malabrigo to make this wrap for her.

Pattern: Fear of Commitment Cowl by Julie Weisenberger
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted (Red Mahogany)

In case anyone needs to know this for future reference — not that I’m advocating for that madness — this wrap can be completed in a couple of days. It also makes good airplane knitting.

FOs: Malabrigo Loafers

Somewhere between finishing the Transverse cardigan and knitting a pile of monster parts, I sort of lost my mind. That’s really the only explanation I can come up with for why it seemed wise to plan more holiday knitting at the end of November.

Um, yeah…

So I grabbed the Malabrigo and cast on slippers for my father and brother-in-law. Since it was only after I’d purchased the yarn that I got the pattern, I didn’t realize that short rows were involved. So, yes, I unwittingly queued up a new skill test for myself just to add to the Christmas frenzy. As I said, sort of lost my mind.

Pattern: Malabrigo Loafers by Julie Weisenberger

Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted (Marine & Red Mahogany)
Once I’d committed to the project, though, I went all in and decided to knit sole inserts for both pairs. If you’re going to wear Malabrigo on your feet, why not make it extra cushy? Both pairs were finished before we left New Mexico, but I didn’t get a chance to photograph the second one until we were in MN (hence the crappy shot on flannel sheets).

FO: Monster Mania

I had so much fun making the Penelope Sisters that I decided to create another grouping, this time for my nieces and nephews. Since all four are under the age of 5, I went the practical route on the yarn. There’s just something so cute (at least to me) about super-sized monsters for little kids, so I chose super bulky.

Pattern: Penelope the Empathetic Monster by Rebecca Danger
Yarn: Wool-Ease Thick & Quick (Sky Blue, Lemongrass, Fig)

They we a big hit — not that you’d exactly know that from this I Love Lucy attempt at a group photo.

FO: Taos Transverse

The only thing I’ve been working on longer than this now finally finished cardigan is the Moderne Log Cabin… and that’s a blanket, so much more deserving of the extended timeframe.

I’m very happy to announce that it was finished in time to make it under the tree for my mother.

Pattern: Transverse Cardigan by Ann Weaver
Yarn: Hand-dyed yarn from 2010 Taos Wool Festival

Good thing she liked it enough to be willing to pose for the FO photos. Izzy helped with the photoshoot so she gets the credit/blame for the final goofy pose. And, yep, that’s Northern Minnesota in late December — just barely enough snow to call it a White Christmas.

FO: Monster Mash

My finishing plans for the knitted monsters got derailed last weekend by my own little monsters. And, to be fair, my growing addiction to Pinterest is also partly to blame. It seems Halloween is approaching Christmas in this house in terms of build up and activities.

Along with trying out Ghost Cupcakes (and a half-dozen other Halloween-themed foods), last weekend Izzy’s school had its first Monsters on the Mesa fundraising event, complete with a 1K costume parade for the kids and dogs. Dorothy & Toto were reprised, but this time with a wig. (Note: I’ve long since expected to get a shot of both looking at the camera at the same time.)

But this weekend, thanks to a light activity load (and that extra precious hour), both monsters were assembled and photographed. Here they are before the purple one heads off to MN tomorrow to a good friend’s daughter who is like a sister to Izzy (who’s hanging on to the other one).

Pattern: Penelope the Empathetic Monster by Rebecca Danger
Yarn: Queensland Collection Rustic Tweed
(Forest Green & Grape)

Final 2010 FOs

In the blur that was the holiday season 2010, there was lots of knitting but no blogging or photographing of FOs — especially since presents were part of the mix. The upside of that, however, was that I got a fresh mix of scenery and faces for this blog.

Pattern: Saroyan
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash (Lichen)

I’ve long-admired this pattern on Ravelry and picked it because I could easily lengthen the center section. (Mom isn’t a fan of wool, or anything really warm, right around her neck.) Plus, she’s also a big fan of Bones, so I knew she’d appreciate the nod to the show made by the pattern’s designer. Since she wore it throughout present opening, I’m pretty sure it was a hit. She was a good sport about modeling it for me later in good light (and, as promised, she’ll be happy to see that I did not include her no-makeup face in the posted photo).

Pattern: Saroyan
Yarn: Araucania Nature Wool Solids (Orange)

This pattern is seriously addictive. I was only about half-way done with Mom’s where I decided I needed to make a second. This one for my friend Liz, who’s also a knitter. (Meaning, I could rest assured that she’d appreciate a handmade birthday present.) I really loved this yarn, which I haven’t knit with before, but picked because it was the closest match I could find to the yarn I bought in Taos for my Transverse Cardigan that she openly coveted. Mission accomplished because she asked within minutes of opening the scarf, “Is this that yarn from Taos?”

Pattern: Destroyed Cowl
Yarn: Brown Sheep Handpaint Originals (Rose Slate)

This last FO was actually the first finished, started and completed during that long Thanksgiving weekend as I kept Izzy company on the couch and watched too-many-to-count episodes of Monk (selected because the kid is really into mysteries at the moment and this is one of the few series where the violence is kept to a minimum; plus, if you saw Izzy’s room you’d understand my desire to try to send a little OCD vibe her way). While this one was knit for me, I was happy to share its wooly warmth for her test run in MN of her new ice skates.

A Tale of Two Christmases

Last year, Izzy and I hosted Christmas in Albuquerque for my parents, sister, and brother-in-law. We were in high holiday mode, with every ornament we had making its way onto the tree and lots of new paper chains and snowflakes filling the house. Batch upon batch of cookies were made. And the baking and decorating continued after their arrival, with me making from scratch (for the first time) the gingerbread pieces for five houses (Grandpa preferred to supervise construction and sample the candy adornments).

This year was far more Dickensian in spirit. The holiday season began with Izzy awaking Thanksgiving morn with a raging stomach flu that pushed our turkey dinner to the following weekend. Then a new initiative at work continued to consume a good 60+ hours/week straight through to our plane’s departure for Minnesota on December 23. One secret holiday knitting project was finished and blocked just days before we left, but the other went with me on the plane and kept me busy through December 27 — the day before I saw the recipient — and got blocked on a spare bed at my parents’. (Nothing like cutting it close!) The tree never made it out of storage. We threw a wreath on the front door, pulled out the Christmas doormat, and called it a day. In an attempt to provide some festivity for Izzy, we purchased Trader Joe’s Really Big Gingerbread Man Kit. Poor guy didn’t even make his way onto the good dishes.