Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The state of things

The New Year is here and I am feeling the need to do a little knitterly house cleaning. All those UFOs piled in the corner... I'm bound and determined to get them all off the needles before I start anything else.

Stop laughing. I mean it.

1. Edgar's Cambridge Jacket - while The Boy was able to try the sweater on during his Christmas visit (he LOVED it, by the way! Go me!) I was unable to get the zipper in on time, and JoAnn's doesn't carry 26" zippers, so I'm going to have to order online. In the meantime I can try to do justice to the single crochet edge. Really I'm just happy to be able to put off the dreaded hand-sewing for as long as possible. I.do.not.sew.

2. Flared Lace Smoke Ring - 2-3 pattern repeats from completion, I conquered this one on New Year's eve, binding off just before 11pm. It's super cute and I love the way the grey yarn looks. Not sure I'll ever be able to wear it because of the Angora Factor - even while knitting it, I've spent a lot of time wiping invisible angora fuzz off my nose and out of my eyes.

3. Tim's American in China socks - I have had one done for about a year, while the other has languished as a yarn cake. I will complete a pair of socks. I swear it.

4. Lizard Ridge - I've been working on this for two years now and this past week I finished my last square. A quick run down to A Loom with a View for some black Ella Rae and it was time to face all that seaming. I'm about half done now and charging full speed ahead. I should have the seaming done by next weekend. I've decided to give up on the crochet edge and do a simple applied i-cord. I've seen it done this way by a few folks on Ravelry, and I really like the look of it.

5. Tim's Uber Cool Sweater - I have the body done and one arm panel. The disheartening thing about this pattern is also the thing I love about it - it's modular nature. It's very encouraging, because you're able to do a lot of casting off, which convinces you that you're getting somewhere.. when in reality it's just a big tease because there is always more picking up of stitches and knitting remaining than there are completed pieces lying about the place. Even when I finish both arms (panels and seedstitch) there's still the neckband, wristband, and waistband to go as well as... the seaming (shudder).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Meme

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
I love to wrap gifts. I fuss about it, but deep down I love it.

2. Real tree or Artificial?
Real. I was torn about this from a "green" pov, but it turns out that studies show a fake tree has to be used for something like 15 years before it offsets the same number of years of real trees. So instead we buy a real tree from the Elks Club and recycle it when we're done.

3. When do you put up the tree?
Second week in December.

4. When do you take the tree down?
The first weekend after New Years.

5. Do you like eggnog?
Love it, but can't drink it. And the fake stuff is disgusting.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
My grandfather got me a huge set of plastic dinosaurs. It even had little plastic palm trees and stuff. Super cool.

7. Hardest person to buy for?
My grandmother. She's 97 for heaven's sake! What you she possibly need that she doesn't already have??

8. Easiest person to buy for?
Husband and son. They both like me to knit them stuff. Aren't they great?

9. Do you have a nativity scene?
Ummm... no.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
..... cards..... ??..... heh

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
A case of motor oil. No shit.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
I'm torn between "Holiday Inn" and "It's a Wonderful Life"

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
I'll let you know when I get that far.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
I'm taking the 5th on this one.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
I haven't seen them in years, but Educator Christmas Cookies. They were made by a bakery in Worcester, MA that I'm sure is long gone. They were wonderful. All sparkly and anise-y. Now I make do by baking spiced nuts (pecans and walnuts with sugar and spices!)

16. Lights on the tree? Clear or colors?
Loads of lights. Usually clear but some years the hubby wins and gets colors. But they must always blink.

17. Favorite Christmas song?
"Christmas Island" by Jimmy Buffet. But the original version of "I'll be Home for Christmas" will make me cry each and every time. I'm a sucker for it.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
My sister has little kids, so we've been lucky enough to get to stay home or spend the day with friends the last few years. We have the family Christmas on my sister's schedule at our parents' house in NH, usually the weekend after the actual day.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
We usually give in and open ONE present on Christmas Eve. Depends how much champagne has been flowing... Honestly, I'm lucky to make it to Christmas before begging my husband to open his gifts. Which is why I try not to shop until the last minute.

21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
Bell ringers.

22. Favorite ornament theme or color?

23. What do you want for Christmas this year?
yarn. No, seriously.... ummm.... I'd love it if I knew a knitter and they knit me socks. I love handknit socks, I just don't seem capable of making them myself. Also "The Knitter's Book of Yarn" by Clara Parks. A new digital camera would be nice too, but maybe a little pricey for this year.

24. Angel on the tree top or a star?
a tin star

25. Favorite Christmas dinner?
roast duck, or goose, with chestnut stuffing, mashed potatoes, rutabagas, Kuri squash, and at least two bottles of Veuve. Yes, we do cook like that. With something chocolate for dessert.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Key West Part II

You never know what a trip to Key West is going to be about until you get there. It *is* winter, and it *is* an island so, just like here, when you're surrounded by ocean, the weather can be iffy. We had lovely warm weather through Thanksgiving, but then over that weekend took a hit from a cold front and had a couple of days of cold and wet and very windy to contend with. Then the rest of the trip was sunny and warm, but not beachy warm - highs in the low 70s only with nights down around 60. So we switched gears from the sailing/beach sitting/kayaking trip we had intended and settled in to a 4 star restaurant/walking tours sort of trip.

Can't really go wrong either way, can you?

It's hard to walk half a block without tripping over an amazing restaurant in Key West. Makes staying on a budget impossible but, hell, you're in Key West so what's with the whole "budget" thing, anyway? So we ate... and ate... and ate! Here are some restaurants to absolutely not miss when you next head down -

Hot Tin Roof - the gulf view is incredible and the food is to die for. We had Thanksgiving dinner there and it was a 3 hour and 4 course event. Just the way I like it! You can sit inside or out (we chose in) but either way you have a perfect view of the sunset. They also make a great martini.

Santiago Bodega - walk past Blue Heaven and keep heading straight into the depths of Bahama Village. It's a tiny little place on a corner in a residential neighborhood serving amazing sangria and wines by the glass with a tapas style menu. Get the dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in prosciutto. You'll thank me.

Nine One Five - another amazing meal served in a little garden right on Duval just a block down from La Te Da (one of my favorite outdoor bars - and be sure to catch a show!). Great wine list, fabulous food. We had several appetizers then split the Soul Mama Seafood Soup, full of lobster, clams and grouper. Awesome.

Maison de Pepe - right on Mallory Square, this place has mostly outdoor seating and a live band at sunset. The cuban food is delicious and they make an amazing Mojito. We eat there several times every trip, or just sit in the shade and listen to the band.

We also toured the Waterfront Theater (what a great space) and saw a Key West-style Nutcracker performed at the Tennessee Williams Theater over on Stock Island. I had never seen a ballet *or* a performance of The Nutcracker, so that was a real treat! The costumes were so beautiful, and the battle between the Nutcracker and the King of the Roosters was something to see. I think my favorite part, though, was when they visited the Snowy Egrets (I think it's Sugarplum Fairies in the original?). Great fun!

Oh, and in case you thought there was no yarn in Key West, never fear - Knit Wits has you covered.

Now for some more photos:

Obligatory shot of a Key West rooster.

Not a terrific shot, but he *is* in front of the sign for the Key West post office, so that's kinda cool, even if there is a palm tree in the way.

Palm trees make nice photos on their own, too.

But it's the harbor and the boats and the sunset that I bring the camera for.

And finally, our last sunset, taken at a few thousand feet as we flew out of Fort Lauderdale. Bye Key West! We'll be back soon!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Key West Part I

I'll let these speak for themselves... more to follow.