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December 15, 2008

all is Calm, all is Bright

I'm taking a different approach to the holidays this year. Normally late November and December will find me chugging along in high production mode, trying to knit a ridiculous number of items for my loved ones. This year, I'm just sort of floating through the holidays, doing whatever the heck it is that I feel like doing, and it's lovely.

Hallo, ik ben een Koolhaas

How did this come about? You may recall that I spent July, August and September in designy/deadliney mode and, while I'm quite proud of the three patterns I managed to scrape together (lotus leaf mittens, rainy day fingerless gloves, and one more yet to come out in January), three months was more than enough stress to last me through the end of the year. So I'm just sortof moseying through the holidays, not worrying about how Christmas cards will get written (will they?), only going to parties if I feel like it, and spending more time on the things I like to do like baking Christmas cookies, decorating things, dancing around to Christmas carols, and trying to fit in a little reading every evening too. This is all totally unlike me and, honestly, the most fabulous thing I've done for myself in a long time.

I made these guys as ornaments, but they took up residence under the tree

So I've thrown a few photos of some of the Christmas stuffus here, but I'm feeling pretty lazy and I want to get to my reading tonight (tonight I start The Subtle Knife!), so you'll have to be happy with a few details, short captions, and no links. The current tally is as follows:

- 3 completed gifts
- 2 nearly completed gifts (only finishing remains)
- 1 botched handspun design-in-progress (I ran out of yarn. Oops)
- 1 just started project
- and Thunk's project which (as usual) I will try to complete in time for his birthday in February. Because his always gets sacrificed, and this year is no exception.

dear, your ends are showing

All in all I'm supremely unconcerned about how it will all get done. I'm sure I'll work something out. They're all smallish projects. Anyway, I've been unusually verbose this evening so I think it's time to wrap this one up. I hope you're all staying warm and sane! I'm thankful for you this holiday season.


December 2, 2008

Baa Baa Black Sheep

Back at the end of September Wendie and I (spouses in tow) made a little excursion south of town to the Schacht Farm to watch the little Icelandic sheep get sheared. I managed to leave the camera's memory card at home, which explains why the trip went undocumented. {If you're curious, here is last year's post.}

hello. I am like buttah

I am...how should I put this...prone to falling under the thrall of the wee woolly ones. Maybe you can relate? Here's a summary of my thought process:

Knitterly Elli: Mmmmmm...sheep. Sheep are cute. Sheep are also woolly, and make cute noises! I should get a sheep.
Practical Elli: Dude, get a grip. I don't think the apartment allows sheep. Though they might consider it...I bet sheep would be much quieter than the lawn crew, and they wouldn't leave cigarette ends on the sidewalk.
KE: Fleece then! If I can't get a whole sheep, I can at least take home the woolly bits.
PE: You totally don't have time to spin up a whole fleece. It'll take you forever to finish. And I hate to mention it, but you kindof suck at spinning.
KE: A whole fleece will be great practice! And if I get a colored one it'll look very tempting and I'll want to work on it all the time! Plus, I've got those hand cards just sitting around gathering dust. If I card it myself I'll save on the processing fee AND get to use my fun tools!
PE: You'll feel bad every time you look at it. It will become the fleece of guilt. It will sit in the closet and suck the joy out of your life like a fluffy little black hole.
KE: I'll just get a small one then!
PE: How little do they make them?
KE: Lambs! They're like wee little sheeplettes, right? Surely a lamb fleece won't be so big.
PE: Your logic is astounding. I concede.

Next thing I knew, I was sidling up to Mandy and requesting a raw lamb fleece, the darker the better.

Sure enough, come November I found myself the proud owner of 3lbs, 12oz of black Icelandic lamb fleece. I know that doesn't sound like much, but can I just say...holy crap, this lamb was not messing around! I have no idea how this much wool came from such a tiny little creature.

Over the last couple of weeks I've washed some of the fleece, and carded what felt like a goodish bit (I am the world's slowest carder). I was feeling fairly proud of my progress until I dumped the remainder out this past weekend and did a little comparison.

Back row, L to R: washed fleece, carded fleece. Front row: the rest of it

Right. I've got a bit of work to do.