We opened our presents late in the evening, as David had to depart very early this morning. Here is Nikki, surrounded by clothes, still one of her favorite presents.
She later had to use that box to fend off her brothers, who all received toy air pistols (don't ask me why!), Rex from his girlfriend, Scarlett, and Cody and Jesse from Rex, who somehow thought this would be a good idea... when I caught them having accidentally blasted an ornament on the tree, and accused them of being redneck changeling children, they hung their heads in shame, and put the things away - for about ten minutes...
Every mother's nightmare
Everyone was so happy to see each other that the night ran into morning.
Getting together with our family is fun but exhausting!
We still had to get up early, as we wanted to have coffee with David before he departed... at about 6 AM. Reminded me of the old days, when my tots would be clamoring to see what Santa had brought... Santa did leave candy for David as well as toys for not-so-good little boys and girl, who managed to all head out by mid-morning to other relatives, even though they would have preferred to sleep in at their mid-twenties age, rather than awaken early as they would have over a decade ago!
Glenn and I had a very quiet afternoon, as the predicted showers turned into a heavy downpour and hiking with the burros became out of the question.
Glenn got out his model paint and assembled a "hobo jungle" for his train layout... which has become a consuming interest of late, since wet weather has forced us indoors. This little shack actually looks an awful lot like a shed we have...
Here is another one of the buildings.
I managed to finally conquer the two hats that had given me so much woe in the past few weeks... I finished Nikki's hat last night, and tomorrow's Product Review will feature a photo, as I will fill you in on Berroco's Bling Bling, which I used at her request. I decided to make a simple K2P2 rib the entire hat, in order to get the stretch/cling factor that would keep this hat on their heads, while still being low-profile, and was happy enough with Nikki's to cast on right away for Cody's in Rowan Cashsoft Aran (a Product Review a few weeks ago). I actually used up every bit of one skein, down to about a four-inch tail, and sure hope he likes it! We all agreed that these were "casual" beanies, not ones you would actually depend upon in cold weather on ski lifts... so I still plan to make some "better" hats later this winter.
However, I was ready to go on to something different, and have this small stash of the most wonderful violet yarn that has been calling to me the past few months. It occurred to me while wrapping the final presents in my studio yesterday afternoon (yes, I even set up the quintessential "Martha Stewart" wrapping station for my family, since I have this great space now), that I should use this yarn and some bright red mohair I have, and come up with a Red Hat shawlette for myself! I pulled out the Ruffled Shawl pattern I had gotten just after Thanksgiving from Windy Valley Muskox and dug in, favorite ebony needles in hand. Well, I ran into obstacles with the pattern, as written, right away.
The shawl is triangular, working with increases at the beginning and end of every other row, and on either side of a center stitch, from the neck cast on of three stitches... now that part was simple enough, and I dutifully pulled out some markers. It was when I had enough stitches on the needle to start the pattern stitch on either side of that central stitch that I ran afoul of the instructions.
Now, I am a clever enough knitter, and knew that I would need to keep track of the additions I was making and expand the pattern stitch as I went along. And, it didn't take but a few rows to figure out that there must be a typo or two in the description of the Bee Hive Stitch, which is the pattern for the main body. Luckily, with the stressful part of Christmas behind me, my brain could come up with a plan.
I pulled out a nice, thick yarn and another circ and made up a sample of the pattern, sans increasing, to see what it was supposed to be doing.
The stitch pattern is a nice, puckery honeycomb effect- much easier to figure out on a square sample. I quickly determined where there were a couple of typos, and returned to the shawl. With minimal ripping, I was on track, armed with more markers, and getting the first 12-row repeat in place.
I also typed the basics and the tips for myself I had picked up over the first twenty rows or so, into Knitable, which appears to be pretty useful software for my PDA, to help me keep track of patterns more complicated than a beanie or washcloth. I am heading back to leftover turkey and a nice, new shawl pattern to keep me inspired. My best gift has been to have family to share great laughs with this season, and some quiet time to explore a new knitting project. I hope you are enjoying your Christmas as much as I am.