Friday, December 30, 2005


I was a little slow to get into the swing of Christmas, what with my side career of breaking into movie-stardom and all, but the day after PBS, I whipped us into a Christmas frenzy with a visit to see Santa.

(Trying to get a good photo for the Perfect Christmas Card, which once again eludes me.)

A few days later, there was a little Christmas party with girlfriends. Here we are at Laura's house. Clockwise from upper left is: Laura, Melody, Gretl, Ann, me, and Frieda.

Amid eating and laughing, we took a moment to behave like serious artists and show new work. Here is Laura, holding and standing in front of her new quilts.

Mel with her new work, you have surely seen on her blog.

And Ann's fantastic new work:

And because we are such hams, we post for another group shot.

(How many handknit socks and other garments do you spot in that picture?)

Later in the week, Uncle Kenny arrives.

Just in time to keep the kids occupied Christmas Eve afternoon while I do last minute food preparation for 11 people Christmas day.

My mom and sister Allison (who from here on will be referred to as "Pecan Tartlet Chef Extraordinaire") arrived Christmas Eve too. Remember my spotless studio from a week before? It is now the guest bedroom/staging area AKA: "Gift Wrap Shop."

So, Christmas Eve. Sorry to disappoint you, dear readers, but at this point I give up on quite a few of the hand-knit presents. At this point, I really have to narrow my priorities to finding all of the items I have squirreled away over the past months, and to wrapping. We're not even going to discuss the assemblage of the bike. Except to say, thank you God, for giving me a brother with serious bike assemblage knowledge.

Christmas morning. 5 a.m. Who wakes up with excitement and can't get back to sleep? That would be me. Everyone else? Six years old? Four years old? Totally asleep. Me: wide awake. So, I crept downstairs, avoiding those 2 creaky stairs and attempt to put on the coffee without waking any of the slumbering aero-bed inhabitants.

The minute I touch the coffee pot, up pops a bright eyed face--my mom! She shares in my total excitement! We make coffee, break out our knitting, and have a good hour of chit-chat, just the two of us, before the big day begins. It is one of my favorite memories of the week.

Okay, enough about the chit-chat! Onward to the presents!

First up, I bring you my best work! Here is Allison, modeling her new Flora. Some of you may have noticed the little red thing I tried to disguise in my pre-Christmas-knitting-blogging. Let me just say this. Flora: cutest gift ever. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops weeks ago, but my sister is my most devoted reader, so I couldn't. But file this away in your noggin for gift giving next year: Flora. Super. Cute.

(And sorry for the blurry photo, she will be back soon, and I'll get a better picture.) (Or I might have made another one--for myself--by then, anyway.)

Next, Dave. Who doesn't go in for the cute so much as the warm.

Very happy with his Woolease sock. He was going to get a sock and a half, but I found out recently that he might possibly get his feelings hurt when gifted with an unfinished present. (I know, how could he have lived with me for twelve years and still not understand "The Crafter's Way"? I am totally confounded too.) So he got a finished sock, and he is very happy with it!

And my cute mom, with her new blue sweater. (She modeled this the following day, after the ends had been woven in.) The pattern is the Neckdown Cardigan for Women, from Knitting Pure and Simple, and it took less than 10 skeins of Cascade Pastazza.

And I included this photo because it is one of my other happiest memories of the day:

And now: knitting-related presents for me! The book of graph paper is a spiral bound sketch book that my brother made up himself, of knitters graph paper in two different sizes, with my name at the bottom of each page. The Ponchos and Wraps book is from my sister, the tube of buttons from Dave (a tradition) and the beautiful beaded bracelet is from a quilting friend that is practically family, even though we have never met in person.

Three days after Christmas it was Mrs. Mel's birthday, and even though we are partied out, there is always room to celebrate such a special girl. Since she has already written a very entertaining account, see her blog for the whole story of the afternoon. Here we are for our traditional group picture. And fancy this, I have links for every girlfriend there! Top row: Judy, Ann. Bottom row: Jane, Melody, Frieda, Laura, and me. And talented chef Dave made the day complete.

Which brings us to last night. I am seriously pooped but who can resist the call of a good blogger get together? Especially when hosted by the illustrious Ann of Mason Dixon Knitting and her sister in law Mary Neal?

I went with knitpals Jodee and Carla, of the Survivor Contest comments, and we took the train into the city so we could drink I mean KNIT.

Here are Ann and Helen.

This is the only photo I have of the actual party, as the rest are too dark. I think/hope there will be other accounts of the evening on blogs since the room was filled with bloggers. It was a lovely evening, and really nice to see some people I met at the Yarn Harlot signing, especially Karen, who tried to steal my bad kitty, but only in a good way.

The party continued back onto the train home, as we knit our socks, checked for fit:
(that would be Jodee) and generally behaved like wild-and-crazy-suburban-train-late-night-sock-knitters. Whoo hoo!

Here I am, signing off with a pose of me, red sock, and Bad Kitty.
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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Can't Blog--Must Panic!

Thank you all for your support and wonderful comments about the PBS thing. I have answers to all your questions and will tie up all loose ends in the new year, including you Survivor winners (you know who you are!) and photos of finished Willow.

Meanwhile, I will have a dozen people here for Christmas, with the first guest, our beloved Uncle Kenny, arriving tomorrow night.

Here is the status of my Christmas knitting:

Sweater for mom. Must be blocked, buttons sewn on, ends woven in. *This picture was taken this morning, right now, it is blocking.

Yes, there is a little something peeking out from behind her sweater. That is a finished mystery present.

Next: stockings made last year from the Martha Stewart Living pattern. Need initials this year. To be duplicate stitched on. Could do that as late as Saturday.

Next: Triceratops.

Kitty: from World of Knitted Toys. This is the one that really screams "1am on Christmas Eve"

Next: Woolease socks. As of this morning, when I took this picture, there was about 1" done. Now I am up to the heel flap.

Mystery present. Not even started. Hint: the dark brown is for the nose.

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

PBS! At My House!

They arrived at 9am, just as Dave was whisking the kids off to school/the library/anywhere but here in the house.

There are 3 of them, Producer Laurie, Camera Man Frank, and Sound Lady (I think her official title is "Videographer") Kerman. Look at them! You can already tell they are totally nice, and not the least bit scary.

They came into my studio and immediately decided that they would use the thread rack as the backdrop for the interview.

Laurie gets set up to do the interview:

While Frank and Kerman get set up too:

Here I am getting miked:

The interview went well. We had to stop and wait for a couple of planes to fly over and the snowplow to go by (and by again, and ok, back up and go by one more time, Enough Already!) We also had to stop at one point and turn off the refridgerator (it was humming, apparently, and Kerman could hear it.) My refridgerator has an off switch! Who knew?!

The only thing I think I wish I would have done differently is smile more, or at all, during the interview. I think it was a little serious, heck I was just getting warmed up when, bam, it was over. But I take comfort in the fact that a half an hour of talking will get edited down to, like, two seconds. So, even if they take out all the dopey stuff, they should have two seconds of good material, where I sound like I know what I'm talking about, and maybe, I hope, I smiled.

Then it's time to do a little demo. I show Frank and Kerman what I am going to be working on. They film me for a while, tracing my pieces, cutting them, and walking to the wall to pin them on. They are impressed, and think I am actually getting work done. But no, I was just cutting any color willy nilly, trying to look professional, but in truth, there were big fancy TeeVee lights shining on me, and I was in a trance.

Now my part is done, and I can bite any remaining lipstick off my lips. It is time to film the quilts. We go out to the living room where I have some quilts already set up on stands. These were too big to fit into my studio.

That is "Sunflowers" on the left, "Daffodils" on the right. Frank did the filming, Laurie recorded the information, and Kerman made out her Christmas shopping list for her nieces and nephews. (Glad to be of assistance with that, Kerman!)

It was important to do the mysterious "white hanky test" before shooting the quilt. They all assured me that Frank did not use the hanky for any other purpose.

They were so fun and so funny. You could tell they have a good time working together, and I really enjoyed having them. Here Laurie takes a minute to goof off with me in front of my quilt.

The last one he shoots is the newest quilt "Pink Tulips", above the mantle.

(That's "I'm Buggin" in the background, the oldest quilt they picked.) They also assured me that the background will get edited away, no need to lug out the play kitchen.

It's a wrap. They scurry around and pack everything away.
And, just as quickly as they have come into my life--they are gone. With the kids still out, the house is incredibly quiet.

But that's a good thing, for now, because I have over a dozen quilts to carefully roll up and put away.

So, its really over.

Heavy Sigh.

Onward Christmas knitting!
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Thursday, December 15, 2005

I'm Ready

Studio clean as of 10:30 tonight.

PBS people arrive 9am tomorrow. I'm excited, and exhausted, and promise a full report. Thanks for all your good wishes!
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Monday, December 12, 2005

Next Quilt

Thank you all for the nice comments you left about my quilt! I really really appreciate them.

I am pleased with the way it came out, especially since I am feeling rusty in the quilting department. I suppose I didn't really need to have shiny new work specifically for PBS, since the few new quilts I have made over the past few years haven't been shown much, and I haven't even put them up on my website yet. But, it did loads to put me back in the quilting frame of mind. I'm slightly juiced toward quilting again. And, not to mention, it sparked up my living room. :)

So, on to the next thing! This is the quilt that will be *in progress*, for the PBS people to see me working on. ***Friday***

I took this photo on Sunday, when I finished the drawing, took it to Kinko's to enlarge it, and put it up on the wall.

It will be red poppies. I traced this drawing onto white fabric, and pinned the fabric to the wall. It (the fabric drawing) is my diagram as to where to place my pieces. I fuse right onto it, and it becomes an actual layer of the quilt.

The paper drawing becomes my template, I use it to cut my pieces. I can go more in depth about this process, if anyone is interested, (later--after Christmas!)

Here is my progress at the end of tonight:

It's so dark, even with all the lights in my studio. Here's a slightly better picture, but still dark:

And we have Survivor Contest Winners! I will make a big announcement later this week, after I have e-mailed all concerned.
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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Pink Tulips

Hi guys! It's the Survivor finale! (No Jan, I didn't forget, I did forget one of the first times it was on a Sunday, never again!)

In honor of the big day, I bring you finished quilt, "Pink Tulips":

Detail shots:

And here it is, hung above my mantle. We moved in 8 years ago, and it's taken me that long to make a quilt to hang in the focal point of my house. Oh well, I did birth a few babies during that time.

And here is what you've all been waiting for: the Fleece Artist sock yarn, reclining on the mantle among the Christmas decorations:

Survivor Contest Winner gets to choose, the denim colorway or the deep purple colorway. So give it up ladies, who's it gonna be? Tell me who you think will come in 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st. You will get a point for each right answer you get. (Hear that Jodee, there's still hope!). My post-it notes indicate that Jan has 2 points, and Lauren has 1, but this has yet to be confirmed by the accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers. I'm going to take a stab in the dark and say: Danni, Lydia, Stephanie, and Rafe, going from 4th to 1st. I do hope Rafe wins.

And I'll be knitting a last-minute-Christmas-Wombat. I kid you not.
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