Christmas Re-enactment

Here we have our Christmas Tree. It is real. I like real trees. Plus, someone else cut it down and was selling it in town. We didn't want it to die without having it's day of glory. We got the tree a little late in the month, less than a week before Christmas, so the tree is STILL up today. Not for long though.

Last year's tree was stripped of all it's branches and the trunk was saved. Ryan kept it out in the shed until this year when he cut the top 5 inches off of it and made my christmas gift this year.

Ryan carved it by hand with an exacto knife out of last year's Christmas tree. Amazing, huh?! The flash kindof washed out the detail. The body is carved in one piece and the little nose is carved too. the eyes and buttons are beads raided from my stash and the hat is fabric that he stiffened with glue. The arms are little sticks from the garden. The arms make me nervous. I try not to touch them, I feel like they will break just by looking at them.

I made a few Christmas gifts this year, I made a great hat for my sister. The yarn is Knit Picks sock yarn and the pattern is Chapeau Marneir from Knitty.

Fortunately her outfit on Christmas morning matched her new hat perfectly!

I also made my mom a scarf. While I was out buying her some sock yarn for Christmas, I found some perfect blue Angora blend yarn on clearance. Whenever mom looks at yarn she immediately rubs in on her neck, makes a face, puts it down and then goes back to the sock yarn. Most yarn is too picky for her to wear around her neck. So I hoped that this would be soft enough for her.

The pattern is simple:
Knit first three rows
K3, * (P2, K2, repeat, ending with a P2), K3
Knit back
End scarf with three more knit rows.

All of the gifts I got are great, here are some highlights. From my parents, I got a Kitchen Aid Mixer!!!!! I thought I was going to have to get married to finally get one. I've already used it to make a carrot cake and it was SO FUN! I love my mixer!

Also in the picture above is my new watering can. It's the tan colored camel on the left. It is metal and must be pretty old. We saw it in the window of a consignment/antique shop and I loved it, but the shop was closed. My mom went back later and found it. It is so fun to use that I am probably over-watering my plants.

I got some great books, some that I asked for, and some that were surprises.

Ryan picked out a great knitting book all by himself; the Knitting Answer Book. So far I've just flipped through it and it seems like it will be a great reference. I got another knitting book that isn't shown in the picture, because it took forever to ship and didn't arrive in time for Christmas. I think the book is Simple Knitted Gifts, or something along those lines. I know it is one I asked for, but I can't remember the title.

And of course for Bella, we got her a 34 inch rawhide shaped like a candy cane. We let her open her gift first, so it would keep her busy all morning. She saw me wrapping it just before we left home for Christmas morning at my parents' house. So she was already really excited about it.

We had to put it in the trunk of the car so she wouldn't rip into it before we got there.


Back to August: Michigan Fiber Festival

Ok, getting back to posting about things that happened a long time ago now.

My best friend Leah and I agreed that instead of getting each other birthday presents in 2007, we would go together (along with my mom too) to the Michigan Fiber Festival at the end of August and spend the money that we would have spent on each other, on ourselves. It was a GREAT TIME. None of us had ever been to this festival in Allegan County, and Leah had never been to a fiber festival at all. I took my camera with me, but didn't take any pictures. I wish we had had someone take our picture with the Alpaca though.

We got to the fair grounds around 1:00 and had our game plan all mapped out. Since we all had a fixed amount of money we could spend there, we decided we wanted to see everything, and then go back around and buy. We got halfway thru the first barn and asked someone what time the thing was closing. When they said 4:00 we all panicked! We thought for sure we had until 6:00. Of course that assumption was based on absolutely no facts, just hope. So, we started just buying what we wanted assuming we might not have time to get back to what we wanted.

Since this was our first time at this festival, we thought this one barn was all there was to see as far as things to buy. Somewhere there was a barn full of animals and sheering demonstrations. There was supposed to be herding dog demonstrations. We did find the barns with the animals, and on our way there found a whole other barn full of yarn to buy. I was kindof disappointed because it was 3:40 when we found it and Leah and I were out of money. We'll have to plan better next time. And definitely go on the Friday or Saturday instead of waiting until Sunday to go.

So, this is what I ended up buying:
My first and last purchases: Sock yarn. I grabbed up the trekking because none of the yarn shops within an hour's drive of my house carry it. And the red colorway there is a superwash hand dye that I spent my last $18 on. I hope it looks as good knitted as it does in the skein. because I would consider NEVER knitting it if it doesn't.

This was the only yarn I bought with a specific pattern in mind. I brought the book with me so I could make sure I was getting the right stuff. It is a mohair loop. It is held double for the pattern and this picture shows it already wound doubled.

This yarn is 100% wool and very soft, about a dk weight I think. Each skein has almost 500 yards on it and I hope it will be enough to make a sweater or something. The color is somewhere between these two photos.

And for some current material; this is what I am working on now. I am to the point of cutting the yarn and winding it through the last 8 stitches of the mohair hat. It is supposed to be slightly felted when it is finished. When I tried the hat on at this point in the knitting, it doesn't really fit, so I decided to take some yarn from the other end of the barn and make a swatch to see how it will felt. Well, it doesn't. So it's going to stay on the needles until I decide what to do about that. (another reason why the only projects I seem to finish are socks.)
My other project on the needles is a pair of socks that I started on vacation in August. Specifically, Hartsville, Ohio.

The reason they are taking so long is because I really really dislike the colorway. I loved it in the skein, but now it is showing all the nasty browns and other pukey colors in the stripes. I know I will wear them when they are done, but they are just not fun to knit. So my new motivation is to get them done so I can start on the red hand dyed stuff from the fiber festival (see photo above). I also had to stop knitting on them to work on some Christmas knitting. That will be for next time.

I think I have the blog updated well enough to cover the important stuff that happened while I wasn't blogging. I hope to be blogging more in 2008. I also hope to get back into the habit of using my sewing room for my own work. It has been a hard year for me as an artist. Struggling with the issues of being paid to do someone else's art. when I do that for about 35 hours a week, it is hard to stay in there and clear all that out of the way to work on my own. I know it shouldn't be hard, if I really am the artist that I think I am. So this year, I will try to stay true to my own label as an "artist", not just the "paid to be" artist that I was in 2007. Wish me luck!