Saturday, December 03, 2005

Christmas Wish List

Am I hard to shop for? I think when you have an obvious hobby, like knitting or deer hunting, that makes it easy to shop for someone. On the other hand, you can go overboard. Just because someone loves to golf doesn't mean they would love to have a gold-plated gold ball. Wish lists become almost more necessary as you get older. My pre-schooler is happy with a $.50 can of Play-doh, while my husband requires very sophisticated gadgets and tools to have a merry Christmas. I know that someday, Marty will be as hard to please as Rob is.

Anyway, here's my holiday wish list:

  • Gift certificates for Stitch in Time in Howell, Threadbear in Lansing, or

  • Emeril non-stick pots and pans (they have them at Bed Bath and Beyond).

  • I had a beautiful baking dish that I loved. It was a splurge when I bought it, but I've always wanted the other pieces that match. The other night, I dropped the dish and it broke! I got mine at La Bella Vita in downtown Brighton and would love a replacement and any matching pieces. It's the Emile Henry Artisonal Collection of baking dishes, in a brown and cream color - although I like all the colors La Bella Vita carries. You can see what they look like on my wish list, too.

  • My wish list is here, with books and music and stuff.

  • Iron Gate candle holder from Pottery Barn, set of 2

  • Zoe console table from Pottery Barn, in black, plus the square utility baskets to go with the table.
  • Cute knitting warning

    Sometimes it seems so insane to be knitting for my kid. He's as likely to throw it on the floor as he is to embrace it as a beloved item. And the next day may warrant a completely opposite response. Still, these were too adorable to not knit again in the next size up, and this time I've made the matching mittems. (They were finished before Halloween, just to show how behind I am in blogging.) And yes, I have picked them up off the garage floor and other assorted dirty places.

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    The pattern is from Fiber Arts, one of those you buy in a plastic sheet with 3 holes along the side. I recently organized all those sheets and put them in separate binders - Costco had a sale on a set of 6, and I used my label maker to get really anal about the whole thing. I love that all my patterns are now put away and easy to find!

    I've recently finished another item for Marty, a sweater with a very cute reindeer, tree, and snowflake pattern. It was good chart practice for me, and fun to knit. The pattern is from Erika Knight's Simple Knits for Little Cherubs. The downside was stranding colors on the purl side; I'd have preferred steeks and sewing for better results, but it turned out ok. Just as well since the kid is probably going to get ice cream or something all over it. We are going to use it for our Christmas card picture (is that too self-serving, to force your kid to model your hand knits under the preface of spreading holiday cheer? I hope not, because you know this new baby is going to be wearing a hand-knit sweater on his birth announcement!). The yarn I used was lovely, and truly not appropriate for this garment, but I loved it and wanted to work with it and I can always get more. I must make an adult sweater from it, to be sure. It's Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool, a 35% silk, 65% wool blend for my 2 1/2 year-old child. But the colors were perfect and there's just the hint of tweediness to it. Here's how it turned out:

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    You'd think I might be done with knitting for Marty, but I recently cast on something very cute from the Yarn Girls Guide to Simple Knits for Kids. There is a pattern in there that uses Manos, my big weakness, and it has sizes for newborn to 3 years, so I'll be making one for the new baby to match Marty's, and doesn't that sound like a photo op to you?

    I am so looking forward to the holidays and all the get togethers, though at 8 months pregnant it's hard to find something great to wear. The thought of buying maternity clothes for festive occasions was hard to swallow - I only have a few weeks left in my pregnancy, how can I justify buying something new to wear once or twice? (haha ask me to justify the yarn purchases I make!) Of course the solution was to buy yarn instead. I loaded up on various novelty yarns and designed a pattern. I wanted something drapey and sparkley that I could wrap around my arms to wear with a tank. I used Berroco Quest in silver, Berroco Plume FX in black metallic, and SRK Ranee in black. 3 strands held together on size 19 needles, and I had a wrap in 2 nights that I can continue to wear after I have this baby. The photo is not great, but I'll share it now anyway and hopefully will get a shot of me wearing it one of these December nights:

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    You could sell these!

    Don't you love it when friends compliment your work by suggesting you sell your hand knit goods? It really is meant as a compliment, and I try so hard to take it that way. I always ask, "Oh? How much would you pay for this hand-knit baby sweater?" The response is usually around $35, which is probably inflated from what they would truly be willing to part with so that they don't hurt any feelings. It's so fun to then clarify that of that $35, $12 of it would cover the yarn (newborn size at least), leaving me $23 pay for 10+ hours of work. Hey $2.30/hour's not bad (in Taiwan)!

    I recently attended a purse party where a friend launched her hand-made purse business. She had a beautiful display of hand-knit and hand-made gifts. Such beautiful items! I love the way she's creatively shopped for sweaters that she can recycle into purses - you get a discount if you bring her a 100% wool sweater. She felts them and cuts the fabric, which is then sewn into her own purse designs. I bought myself a very cute black clutch-style purse for the odd occasion when a diaper bag is not needed. The prices here (staying on topic) ranged from $59-$150 - much more on target for what a hand-crafted item warrants. Could I buy something similar at Target? Yes, something similar would be $15, though not one of a kind, and not special, and not recycled!