Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Long time, no mojo

I am fairly ashamed at how long it has been since I have written. I started to compose part 2 of the tips for tourists back in August, but couldn't seem to write it without being totally hateful and malicious. And by now, it's pretty much moot until spring breaks start in March. Maybe I'll take another look at it then and see if I can retool it.

The main reason I haven't written is because I really haven't been knitting all that much. I lost my "knitting mojo," as it were. I haven't given it up, not by a long shot, I've just had little motivation to pick up the needles. I've also had a lot of other things going on - work, family, sleep - that have taken priority. I've decided to squarely place a couple projects in the "UFO" (UnFinished Objects) pile - possibly to pick up again, possibly to pay someone else to finish. I've only got two projects going right now, though I am itching to start a couple pairs of socks, especially since the weather is getting colder.

Punkin' Chunkin'
One of the projects I have going is a scarf for my sister. In the spring, I bought some beautiful orangey-brown sock yarn from Miss Babs called "A Day at Punkin' Chunkin." I bought it because it is SOOOO my sister. She rocks those colors and she loves Punkin' Chunkin'. I bought it thinking she'd want a nice pair of socks. Originally she said she wanted a hat. But when I finally got her to sit down and look at patterns, she changed her mind to wanting another scarf. She picked out a checkerboard pattern and I got to work. It's a fairly simple pattern, though I can never remember the number of stitches at the beginning of each right-side row. It'd be a lot easier to remember if it was in entrelac, but instead it's lace, with a pattern of k2 yo and yo k2tog stitches. It's coming out nicely, though, and is a great display for the yarn, which has started to pattern a little bit.

Adorable, no?
Over the weekend, I started the first of four dresses/tunics for friends who have recently had, or will soon have baby girls. The first is for Catherine Watson - the daughter of my friends Heather and James. It's going to be green and yellow. I am not sure what I'll put as the embellishment - maybe a dinosaur, or a tree, or maybe just a monogram. I finished the hem and am a few stitches into the main part of the skirt. It's worsted weight yarn on size 10 needles, so hopefully it will go quickly. Catherine is getting the 9-12 month size. The others will get the 6-9 month...probably.

Hopefully these projects will help reignite my knitting mojo. It really does help me relax and unwind. Maybe now that the new television season has started, and the Yankees have (again!) made the playoffs, I'll have some good ass-sitting time to get some hardcore knitting done.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

OT: Tips for Tourists; Part 1: Metro

The Dalai Lama is in town for the next 11 days. I think it's kind of funny since I'm feeling especially stabby this week. Since his holiness preaches love and helping each other, I've decided to take my stabby-ness and hopefully turn it into something more productive. With the influx of locusts invading tourists visiting the nation's capital for whatever reason - be it Dalai Lamas, field trips, masochism, or National Treasure/Lost Symbol theme tours - here are some tips to help you avoid angering the locals.

Riding Metro
The DC metro is one of the cleanest and easiest to navigate systems in the country. Those are pretty much the only two good things about it. Washingtonians have a love/hate relationship with our metro system. Its frequent rate hikes, escalators of death, and continuous track work are a constant source of grumbling for all who have to come in contact with the 30-something year old system. Unfortunately, it is the only alternative to the snarl of traffic and construction work that plague the area (more on that later). A few hints to make your ride more pleasurable:
Yes. Seriously.
  • Escalators: Stand right, walk left. This unwritten rule of escalators often spills over into malls and other buildings, but it's most strict in the metro. For many DC denizens, scaling the often stopped moving stairs is part of a daily workout regimen. You can still talk to your group-mates when standing in a line along the right side - trust me, I've done it many times! If you decide to stand on the left, be prepared for locals to sometimes give a polite "excuse me," and don't give them trouble lest you want a laptop bag shaped bruise on your arm.
  • Train doors: You'll hear it a million times: Metro doors are NOT like elevator doors, they will not bounce open when obstructed. If you put your bag in the way, hoping to get everyone in your party on the train, say goodbye to that bag, and maybe your arm. I hope you didn't have an iPod or smartphone in that bag - it belongs to the teens of DC now! But seriously, trying to jam them open will break them and put that train out of service. If that happens, everyone on the platform will shank you!
  • Getting on and off: along the same lines, if you have a big group of people trying to get onto the train together, don't try to all get in one door. People are going to be coming out, and chances are the "door closing" chime will ring immediately after those doors open. Each train car has THREE sets of doors. Spread out. It's nicer for everyone
  • Typical rush hour
  • Times: PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING HOLY DO NOT RIDE DURING RUSH HOUR! Trust me, better for all involved. Locals won't be cranky and stabby when they get to work/home, and you'll save money by avoiding the peak and peak of the peak (seriously - that's a thing) fare periods.
  • Other rules: Don't eat/drink on Metro. It's an arrestable offense. Really. Seriously; Avoid the Red Line when possible. There's no reason you should be on it unless you're visiting someone in Maryland - and why in hell would you want to do that?; Do your research beforehand. Surprisingly, wmata.com is actually fairly well put-together and has a lot of information. Get to know the train routes, the fares and the areas around the stations.
For other Metro tips and all-around metro shenanigans, follow @fixwmata and/or @unsuckdcmetro on twitter. You can also follow @metroopensdoors, but there's not much on there. Who knows, someone might catch you in the act of doing something stupid great and your picture could end up immortalized in the annals of the twitterverse!

I've decided to go ahead and break this up into a series. Be on the look out for Part 2 coming soon!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th! Go blow something up!

For the third year in a row, I'm spending my Independence Day in Virginia Beach. It's pretty cool that it's been on a weekend the past few years. Next year, I'm going to have to stay put. :/
Ultimate summer picture, Elizabeth, 4Jul2009

It's my second time in Virginia Beach in as many weeks. Two weeks ago, I was down here for my brother-in-law's retirement from the Marine Corps. It was kind of a rough weekend because there were swamp fires down south and the smoke was aggravating my migraines. Obviously, some started again last night because my head has started to bug this morning. Good thing I have my prescription this time!

I'm not looking forward to the drive home, but hopefully most people are staying put and driving home tomorrow. Or staying home and watching the Firefly marathon on the Science channel! If I didn't have them all on iTunes, I'd be calling in sick tomorrow! 

One of the great things about this weekend is I got to see my nephew play in TWO of his little league all star games. He's so great! He's been playing first base and has been put in a few innings each game. His team is AWESOME! They won their first game 4-0 and their second game 7-something. Yesterday, one of the other parents commended the team on their sportsmanship and the quality of the coaches. They were absolutely right. Yates' next game is tomorrow and then on Thursday. He might not make the Thursday game, though, because my sister and family are supposed to go to a funeral in Florida.
We also went to the Tides game - they won by a lot. The fireworks afterwards were awesome!

As far as knitting, I had been trying to focus exclusively on my sleeves, but I eventually got bored with stockinette stitch. I decided to pick up the Frog Tree Meriboo my mom got me and start the Evenstar Hat. The pattern is fairly poorly written, but thanks to some other ravellers, I was able to figure out the band. It's a gorgeous cable and is popping pretty well in the purple blend. My sister also decided what she wants me to do with the Miss Babs Day at Punkin' Chunkin' sock yarn I got a couple months ago. She wants another rectangular scarf and she chose a tilting cubes type pattern. I'm feeling the sock itch again, too, but need to figure out what pattern I want to do.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Major Award!!!!!

Frah-jee-lay, that must be Italian!

Not this
Ok, so it's disappointingly not a leg lamp, but I did win an award! Actually, my team, headed by me, won an award. The Arc Aspicio Team won the Human Resources Leadership Award, Sister Eymard Gallagher Award for Corporate Social Responsibility for our Community Involvement initiatives. I can't tell you how much it means. I didn't think I'd ever be wrapped up in that kind of thing, but to be recognized for my efforts and those of my team by people who wouldn't know me if they bumped into me on the street. I had to give an acceptance speech and everything. It was so hard for me to not thank the Academy, God and all the little people who helped me get to this point! Ok, maybe it wasn't so hard, but I did give maaad propps to my team, Lynn Ann and the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. The big trophy we got is now sitting in the office, for all to enjoy. We also got a miniature version, which Lynn Ann said I could keep as a token of all my hard work and dedication to our Community Involvement Efforts. I'm still riding the high from Tuesday's award ceremony. I went with no expectations except free dinner and drinks, and walked away with an award! I knew I had been nominated, but I didn't know we had a shot!

 In other news, I went to the Glee Concert Last Thursday. It was AWESOME! I was a little far from the main stage, but my cares about that melted away when Mark Salling (aka Noah Puckerman) appeared on the second stage right over my left shoulder! I unexpectedly turned into a screaming fangirl. So unbelievable. I also swear that I was NOT the one who pulled Darren Criss into the crowd at the end, but I'm pretty sure the chick next to me would have if she had been closer to the stage.
Sue's going to be PISSED when she sees the New Directions used her confetti canons!
Anyway, now I'm headed for Virginia Beach. My brother-in-law retires from the Marine Corps after 21 years. Looking forward to a fun weekend with family.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Insurmountable Sweater!

Look! Sleeves!
Last post, I mentioned how I was teaching myself how to knit "two at a time." I figured it out and got most of the way through my socks.* Even though I rarely suffer from "second sock syndrome",** I do suffer from "second SLEEVE syndrome." Hell, I have even been suffering from FIRST sleeve syndrome. My first bout of the ailment happened when I was making the Rayne Wrap Cardigan for my sister. It took me FOREVER to finish the first sleeve, and another FOREVER to finish the second. For that sweater, the sleeves were the last things I had to finish, so if I really had a big problem getting through them, I could have given up and turned it into a vest.

I have a confession to make. I've been ignoring the fact that I've been plagued by this sleeve syndrome again. This time, I have been battling it for about nine months. How embarrassing! I've been avoiding confronting the problem, even to the point of taking it "out of sight out of mind" by burying the sleeve in a project bag at the bottom of my knitting basket. It's not my first battle with this particular sweater. I've effectively been working on it for 19
The sweater as it has been finished to-date.
It has been completed up to the armpits.
months now. The sweater? My "World Champion Cardigan" (aka the Ruby Red), which I started soon after the Yankees won the World Series in 2009. I got up to the arm holes last September and started on the first sleeve. I've been working on it off and on for the past nine months. I only got halfway up the arm since then.

Yesterday, I decided to come out to myself and acknowledge the problem. In doing so, I have also devised a solution. I have frogged± the first sleeve, cast on and finished the cuff pattern of the second, and started to work them two at a time!!! This not only ensures that they will get done at the same time, but also that any increases, lengths or design characteristics are consistent between the two sleeves. Hopefully this will get my rear in gear to finish this blasted sweater under the two-year mark! I'd like to give myself the ultimatum of not starting any other projects until I finish this one, but we all know that's not going to happen. I've got waaaaaaay to much gorgeous sock yarn waiting patiently in my stash.

And for your viewing pleasure: my recently finished Haleakala Socks.
Of course, the day after I finish them, it is around 100 degrees outside!

*I got about three rows past the heels and one of my needles snapped in half. I had to transfer the socks to double pointed needles and finish them one at a time. 

A particularly dire case of SSS.
Ironically, this comes from Felicia Lo, the woman
behind Sweet Georgia Yarns, which 
I have used twice in my sock-making career.

**Second Sock Syndrome (SSS) - An affliction for a lot of knitters who often finish the first sock of a pair and do not complete the second. Symptoms include: wearing mismatched, handmade socks; unfinished objects (UFOs); occupied DPNs; and multiple half-skeins of sock yarn. It is often treated by two at a time knitting, and/or public ridicule by fellow knitters. 

± The knitting term for quickly unraveling a project after finding a mistake or being frustrated/unhappy by the results. You might be asking what amphibians have to do with knitting. What do you do when you unravel knitting? Rip it, rip it, ripit, ribit, ribbit. A relative of the also popular, but less dramatic, "tink" - literally knit backwards.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

'Tis May!

Man, I'm pretty bad at keeping up with this blogging thing. I had wanted to do it every week, or at least every other week.  Though I guess monthly is better than never.
Cruise Shawl
There's not a super whole lot to report I think I've only finished two or three projects since I last wrote. I finally finished the shawl I started on my cruise. It came out very nicely, but it doesn't want to stay in the shape I blocked it to. I might have to try it again.  I've gotten a lot of compliments on it, though, including a bunch of random ones coming from people at the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival last week.

I finished the self patterning spiral-y socks a few weeks ago, too. I'm very pleased with them. They're very warm and comfy as well.
Another project I did was for my coworker. She found her hands were getting cold so I offered to make her some fingerless mitts.  Not just any mitts would do. She's a sassy old broad and she needed some sassy classical mitts. I made her some red and black victorian style fingerless mittens. I don't think she's really worn them yet, but she sure liked them!

Sassy Mitts
Another piece of news is that I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival for the first time last weekend. I didn't really find any yarn that I HAD to have, but I did buy 2000 yards of some Virginia-made cotton/wool blend for ~$50. There are a couple patterns I want to try out with it.  I also got a yarn-bowl and some size 1 circulars for making two socks at a time.
My loot
Speaking of two socks at a time, I'm working on  my first set of 2-at-a-time socks using the String Theory Caper yarn and the Haleakala pattern from February's edition of the Cookie A Sock Club. They're coming along pretty well, but I'm dreading the point when I have to rearrange everything for the heel flap. I'm sure it'll be fine, but I'm going to have to transfer the stitches to dpns then back to the circulars. Should be fun!

From the work side of things, we had our spring celebration/Search Dog Foundation fundraiser on Thursday. It went really well despite our guests of honor, John Stewart and canine Lani, arriving about an hour and a half late.  But they got there and it was good.  We managed to raise $3000 for the organization in one night! My colleagues did a great job of organizing the silent auction and the part as a whole.

Now all I need is for my Yankees to come back around. They haven't been playing very well recently. I hope our favorite catcher-turned-DH gets it together soon. He's losing the mental game and I know he's better than that. Maybe Girardi should put him in as catcher every once in a while so that he gets some confidence back. He's one of the pieces of the heart of the team, and you can tell that his struggles are weighing a lot of folks down. I hope he finds his mojo again.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cruise Recap and other catch up shtuff

St Maarten port from my stateroom's balcony
 (I upgraded - totally worth it!)
It's been a month since I was on my cruise and I'm just now getting around to write about it. The cliffs notes version: I had a blast. It was my first cruise and will definitely not be the last.  I loved everything about it. I loved being able to get chicken fingers at all hours of the day/night. I loved upgrading my room to a balcony and sitting out there, watching the world go by. I loved the heated tile lounge chairs in the spa. I loved being in the warm sun of the Caribbean.
I definitely recommend Norwegian Cruise Lines. Of course, it's the only cruise line I've been on so far, but the ship was gorgeous. It was well taken care of, clean, spacious, interesting. I could be social when I wanted to be and had my "me-time" when I needed it.  The staff was wonderful.  I got to see the Blue Man Group, Second City, St. Maarten/St Martin, St Thomas, St John and waved at the port of Nassau as we passed it by. The customer service was awesome. I accidentally left some clothes on board when I got distracted during packing. I got them back in the mail last week, clean and in one piece!

Cruise shawl

The only thing missing was any kind of lap pool. I LOVE to swim and wish I had the opportunity to really swim some laps. The only pools they had were wading pools and the hydrotherapy pool, nothing where you could really swim.  I was able to go snorkling in St. John - a last minute decision and one I'm very happy I made. It was a gorgeous day aboard the catamaran from St. Thomas to St John's Honeymoon Beach. The water was warm and the sand was white and fine. I would've loved to have spent more time snorkling, but they do two sailings a day!!! I'm also glad I did it because our port of call in Nassau was cancelled due to wind. I had a snorkeling trip planned for the Bahamas and would have been incredibly disappointed had I not been able to snorkel at all!

I was able to do some knitting on board. I started a shawl - the Sea Foam shawl in my "Caribbean Blue" linen lace. It was the perfect project for a cruise - nice and light and inspired by the sea. I'm still not done with it, but it's getting there. I was working on it during the plane ride from Miami to DCA and the flight attendants were so impressed, they let me move into an empty row so I could have more room to maneuver. They were so sweet.

I haven't finished any projects lately. I've had a severe loss of what we call my "knitting mojo." My motivation to knit had left me for a while. I'm just now starting to get it back.  I have put a few more inches on the Cruise Shawl. I finally turned the heel on the first Ribbelmuster/Spiraleta socks in the Plymouth Sockotta self-patterning yarn. A few more inches down the foot, decreases on the toes, and one more sock to go! I'm going to teach myself how to knit two socks at a time so that I never have to suffer from "second sock syndrome" (knitting socks one at a time and getting bored after the first one, thereby never knitting the second). It hasn't plagued me as yet, but the way my mojo has been going in and out, it wouldn't surprise me if it does.

I missed one of my big New Year's resolutions. Opening day of baseball was last week and I'm no closer to finishing the World Champion sweater than I was in January.  Oh well. I might see if I can pay someone to knit the sleeves for me.  Or rip out the first one and do two at a time.  It's just a lot of boring stockinette in sock yarn - so it takes forever to even do an inch.
I'm still fairly good on my other resolutions, though. I've only had three Starbucks coffees since January. And I've only been to fibre space twice - one of the times, I didn't even buy the yarn!!! I did falter last week, but it was for good reason. Miss Babs Ausherman was in town and I attended her color workshop. Her yarns are wonderful and I got four skeins of sock yarn. I can't wait to knit them up!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Putting my feet up

I am going to there.
I really have been delinquent again on my blog-writing. I guess once a month is now a reasonable goal as things continue to be busy. Work is getting much better and personality conflicts with new colleagues and clients are starting to improve. What has made it even more bearable is that I've got a vacation coming up! Next week, I'm leaving on my first cruise!  I'm leaving out of Miami on the Norwegian Epic and hitting St Maarten, St Thomas and Nassau. I cannot wait. I've been needing this break. I'm looking forward to the sunshine and being able to "switch off" completely - no cell phone, no computer, no work. I will be able to do whatever I choose.
Caribbean Blue indeed!

I've already been planning my knitting for this vacation. I plan on taking the linen lace I got from the fibre space stash club and making a shawl. It really is meant to be as the colorway of the yarn is "Caribbean Blue" and the shawl pattern is called "Seafoam."  It should be beautiful!  I'm also taking a pair of socks, the World Champ Sweater (which I still intend to complete by Opening Day!).

I haven't finished much for myself recently. The last thing I finished for myself were my Pomatomus/Mermaid Socks. They came out beautifully and I LOVE to wear them. I'm now a devotee of Wollmeise. I'm still working on the self-patterning socks. The spiral-y pattern I've picked is a little tricky, but it makes the knitted pattern interesting without taking away from the dyed pattern. 

The main reason I haven't finished much for myself was because I was making a bunch of things for my colleague, Donna.  Last month, we met up on a Sunday and I introduced her to fibre space. She fell in love with a hat in the window and bought me $100 worth of Spud & Chloe yarn to make it and whatever else I could make out of it. I wound up making her the hat, convertible mittens and a really long, randomly colored scarf.  They all turned out beautifully and look fantastic on her.

On a more serious note, my gmail account was hacked last week and a spam message was sent from it telling everyone that I was in London and that I had been robbed.  The perp set up forwarding to a yahoo account and changed my passwords. Thankfully, my friends were quick to alert me to the intrusion and facebook was able to disable my account before he/she got to it and I was able to get it back up again the next day. It was terrifying. I hope others can learn from this mess and take the time to change their passwords and make sure their security settings and software protections are in place.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Ooooooh....the weather outside is frightful...

DC has had its second "snowstorm" of the season.  Normally, the inch we got in each event would have devolved Washington DC into an accident causing, ice sliding, bread and toilet paper buying mess.  I've seen it happen many times.  Traffic snarls, schools close, the federal government shuts down.  But since the major Snowpocalypse of December 2009 and the Snowmageddon of February 2010, the city has become desensitized to the cold powdery stuff.  Of course, this means I actually have to clean off my car when it snows.  I have an ice scraper that works pretty well, but it's small.  I have to lean across my car to get the snow and ice off the rear window, effectively coating my front in a layer of snow.  I should really bring a change of clothes for when I scrape off my car.  On the good side, I did get to try out the YakTrax rubberized grippers that you can slide on your shoes to keep from slipping on the ice.  They work really well.  I'm glad I remembered to ask for those for Christmas.

My Pomatomus..es.
I had been hoping for a snow day because I really like knitting my latest project: Pomatomus socks, designed by Cookie A.  I decided to use some Wollmeise yarn from my friend, Beth, for this pattern.  They're absolutely gorgeous.  They kind of look like fish scales, and the teal/emerald color of the yarn really brings out the pattern.  I've turned the heel on the first one and can't wait to start the second.

Self-patterning pattern.
I frogged the Guitar Man socks I started in the self-patterning yarn I had.  I was quickly running out of yarn, and I wasn't even to the heel of the first sock.  I need to find another pattern that will show off the cool design dyed into the yarn. The basic ribbed sock is an option, but I prefer more intricate patterns. I think the yarn will make great socks for hiking.  I might give them to my sister to wear with her hiking boots.

That is pretty much all I have for today.  I'm going to leave you with this great video I found.  It's pretty old, but still cute.  I will have to show it to my nephew the next time I see him.  He still doesn't believe that there are (male) Marines who knit in the field.  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hail Mary Christmas Knitting

First things first: Happy New Year!  I can't believe it's been over a month since my last post.  Ok, maybe I can.  I'm sure a lot of you are tuning in since I included the blog link at the bottom of my Christmas letter this year.  I seemed to get a bunch of hits between Christmas and New Years, even though I didn't post anything.  Welcome.  I hope you don't get bored.

It's really purple, not blue.
It was a pretty good holiday around my house, fairly quiet, which is pretty nice.  The parents and I took off for my sister's house on the 23rd, something I came to regret.  In hindsight, I should've spent as little time as possible at my sister's house.  One thing the two of us do not share is my allergy to pine/fir/spruce trees.  It was like "Death by Christmas Tree" at her house.  Between the live tree in her living room and the fresh clippings all over her house, I was a wheezing, stuffy mess.  I wound up having to get a z-pack from my doctor to knock out the yuckies that resulted from her decorating.  If we weren't such good friends, I'd think she was trying to kill me!  I did work the week between Christmas and New Year.  I got a lot done, but not as much as I would've liked.  New Years was perfect: quiet, on the couch with my knitting, good cheese, a cocktail and my puppy.  Shortly after midnight, I had my first finished object of the year: a Norwegian Star fair-isle hat requested by my friend, Amy Acland.

The theme of this post, however, is the hail mary knitting I did leading up to Christmas.  I originally wasn't going to make anything for Christmas presents.  Too much stress, too much worry about it being appreciated.  I went back on this decision when I realized I had no idea what to get for my grandmother, my sister and my grandfather.

Emily holding the Emily by Emily
For my grandma, I made a capelet.  Normally, I don't like capelets or other such frivolities, but this one seemed perfect.  First of all, the pattern's name was "Emily."  How perfect!  That's my name, too (duh).  Not to mention: I was named after my grandmother.  Emily made an "Emily" for Emily.  Second, it was beautiful, with subtle but elegant lace, cables and picots.  Third, it gave me an opportunity to work with some beautiful Miss Babs Yowza yarn.  It came out beautifully, and I hope she wears it and enjoys it.

For my sister, I had a really hard time.  The only thing she really needs is a new car, and that's a little out of my hands.  She's pretty meticulous about her decorating and already has her house situated.  My brother in law is obsessed with diet and what the family eats, so food stuff is mostly out.  I decided to use some of the yarn I got in the Outer Banks and use it for a scarf for Trish.  It was a pale pink and tan and I used the "Twisted Ribbon" pattern using beads at the points where the "ribbons" crisscrossed.  I finished it shortly before midnight on Christmas and was able to put it under the tree.  I also got her some spices and rubs that she can use while cooking. What surprised me, though, was that she asked me to teach her how to knit while I was down there!  She bought some fun fur and worsted yarn along with a set of needles and made a scarf for her sister in law.  Now, I just have to teach her about what is quality fiber and what will melt if it gets too close to heat. (hint, fun fur falls into the second category)

He likes it!  So cute.
Grandpa was the hardest.  He's not one for scarves or mittens, and he's not really one for hats, either.  He has one cap that he always wears.  After much polling and advice seeking, I decided to make him a cap, much like the one he has, out of yarn.  It is a newsboy type cap, with cables and a little brim.  I was able to whip it out in one evening on the 21st.  I was a little worried it'd be too feminine, but realized that throwing in a stitch to attach the front of the hat to the brim would do just the trick.  He really liked it.  I also tossed in a gift card to Red Robin because I know he loves their bottomless root beer floats.

I don't know if I'm going to knit for Christmas next year.  If I do, I'm going to start a lot earlier, like tomorrow.

Right now, I'm working on socks.  I have so much sock yarn and I really want to make a dent in my stash.  Also, right before Christmas, my cousin's son came up to me and asked when I was going to make him something.  When a 3.5 year old sits on your lap and asks you to knit him something, it's really hard to say no.  He suggested a scarf, but I reminded him that I made one for him last year.  We agreed on hat and mittens - a set for him in his favorite color, purple, and another for his twin in yellow.  I've finished the hats using the Nottingham pattern in Bernat satin.  I've made one pair of really simple mittens, complete with string, and am halfway through the second.  I can't wait to drop those off!