Friday, December 19, 2008

Crunch time and the formation of new traditions

Every year, I get knitter's delirium and forget that there are only so many days in December before Yule, Christmas, and Chanukah. I've done a little better this year, making washies for several people I know and love and giving those with fancy soaps. I like fancy soaps and I can give them every year! Whee! Also, the people at Tennessee Gourmet are no less than wonderful. You should buy their stuff. I sent some gifts from there, but the shipping was crazy whoa, so I called them. Their gal, Sue, not only got my order down from $140-something to $102-something, but her follow-up email made me feel like a real live person instead of just an order number. Thanks, Sue!

Anyhow, I'm short by three or four gifts at this point and there's no way I'm going to get something handmade for those people at this point. There's just too much to do between now and then. Fortunately, we're going out into the world today and have pennies enough that we'll be fine.

So, John, Iris, and I have been a family for more than seven years and I'm not sure why, but we never managed to form holiday traditions of our own. I've been content to participate in the traditions of others and happy that I've made Yule part of my annual winter holiday thing, but the three of us didn't really have anything that was just for us. I thought of traditions as something that kind gradually form over time, but this year, we made a conscious decision to have family breakfast, just us, on Christmas morning. While the day of our Yuletide family breakfast may need to be fluid to allow for participation in other things and for work schedules, that time is just for us. It's something to build on and make our own.

Another new thing is Chanukah with my sister-in-law. Iris was introduced to Chanukah through John's parents, but they don't really have a big to-do at any of the holidays and have since become Mormons. I don't pretend to understand Mother of John, so I'm just going to go with it. Stepdad of John seems to just go along to get along. He's got a California surfer dude vibe to him... probably because he used to surf in California. Anyhow, my SIL is whatcha call a Jewish American Redneck and I love her so much. She asked us if we would be staying in East TN for longer than just for Christmas since Chanukah overlaps both Christmas and Yule this year and she wanted to know if she should hold back a few gifts for Iris for the days of Chanukah we'd be there. Iris is so excited about celebrating all the holidays (except for Kwanzaa, she says), but we never get around to Chanukah.

We'll have a tree and presents and lights for Yule, a tree and presents and lights and pancakes for Christmas, and latkes and presents and lights for Chanukah.
Happy Holidays, y'all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Clicky and close

Here lately, I've had a bazillion things running through my head like each one is one of those is a stock ticker with the latest update, only there are so many stock tickers that you can't see the newscast. There are several things I'm working on finishing and each time I manage to move past one of them, I clicky and close one of those tickers. I think you might be able to see Tom Brokaw's eyeballs now.

One of those things was a map and presentation for my ArcGIS class. I finished the project, it was fabulous, it was beautiful, and now I'm done. I finished the rough draft for my proposal, but haven't edited it yet. I finished my Seminar class, a pair of socks, lots of washcloths, and I've almost finished sewing one Yulemas present.

One of the bigger things I recently finished was a length of weaving that I absolutely had to have done before Yule. The weaving is done and I cut it in two yesterday so that I could sew the two pieces together. Cutting it made me a little lightheaded, but I had to and I did it. The most amazing thing about this project was that I could not have done it alone. I had help from Dear Husband, Kadollan, Bubbo's Pants on Ravlery, Peaceful Pastures, Matt and Jaime at Wooly Knob Fiber Mill, and even little Iris. She helped me ply some of the yarn I used. Thank you, all of you, and thanks to the nice woman that sold me the loom. I definitely could not have done it without her.

Every yard of yarn used in this (approximately) four yards by 23 inches of fabric was handspun by somebody. I spun all the warp threads, but the cool funky colored stuff was graciously donated by Andey and the pinky red was a trade with bittlerely on Ravelry for spinning the most lovely batt. I almost kept it, it was so pretty. There's only one that was a handspun in my stash that I don't know the origin of.

I am so pleased with this. I can't tell you how happy I am with the fabric. I made lots of mistakes along the way, but hopefully have learned from them so that next time I weave, I'll do even better.

Here's a random side note that is almost completely unrelated to everything I've posted about so far. Iris asked me to braid her hair the other day with one on each side, leaving mostly down hair, according to her instructions. She ended up looking like Elrond's great great great granddaughter. So cute.