O Christmas Tree

Guess what we did this weekend?

Here’s a hint.

We bought a real tree in the morning. It was only after we got it home and into the front room that we realized it was a bit too large for the space.
They always look smaller at the tree lot. Why is that?

Then, we spent the entire afternoon decorating the tree and listening to Christmas music.

Do you recognize the tree skirt?
This is the first year we get to use it. It fits the tree perfectly.

It wasn’t just the tree in the front room we decorated, we also decorated the shed tree.

If you’re counting, that is 3 trees decorated with one more to go.

Credits for O Tannenbaum Skirt

I have never posted credits for any of my patterns, but this pattern warrants it.

From Christmas Tree Skirt

Over a year of my life was spent on it. Many people were involved in the making of it.

Yarn dyed in August 2007
Yarn Spun August through September 2007
Cast on for Christmas Tree Skirt in October 2007
Completed knitting Tree Skirt in July 2008 while on my road trip to Talbott, TN
Completed decorating Tree Skirt in August 2008
Technical edits completed in September 2008
Pattern published on my website and Ravelry September 26th
Pattern will be published on other sites later this week

First, I would like to thank Brenda of Naturally Spun. Her Christmas Sparkle yarn inspired me.

From Christmas Tree Skirt

I took one look at her hand-dyed, handspun yarn and knew it would make a gorgeous Christmas tree skirt. Yet, if I had not “met” Brenda in Indiepublic, her yarn might have sat in my Etsy Favorites for forever.
She had marked me as a “friend” in the Indiepublic community. In response, I sent a quick convo thanking her and confessing my adoration of her Christmas yarn line. Those two small acts became the basis of a wonderful working relationship.
Brenda spun the yarn in the weight I required, in the yardage needed and remained patient as I debated back and forth over what color of glitz and thread I wanted plyed with/into the yarn. Periodically during the knitting process, she would stop by my blog and leave encouraging remarks in the comment section. Thank you, Brenda!

My thanks also go to the following people:
-To Ada (Ravelry ID: AdaKnits) who tech edited the pattern for me. She did a tremendous job! I already have her hard at work on another pattern of mine.
To you, dear blog readers, who encouraged me to keep knitting when I was starting to go cross-eyed from all the white ties.
To Jake for supervising all the photo shoots, except the last one. He was dismissed from his duty after walking across the skirt and then trying to sit on top of it.
To Dan for his love and support
To my Aunt for gifting Grandpa’s jacket to me. The green stars decorating the skirt were made from the felted jacket.
To my MIL for starting my button collection many years ago.
And to EZ, Elizabeth Zimmerman, for popularizing the i-cord, which just happens to be my favorite embellishment trick in knitting.

Thank you! I couldn’t have done it without you.

From Christmas Tree Skirt

Christmas Came and Went

It was a whirlwind of a Christmas. The tree went up and came down all in 1 day.

It was a bit of a ho-hum Christmas, since there were no presents to unwrap. Poor Jake wasn’t even allowed to supervise the photo taking, since he had tried to help with the show-and-tell of the skirt by walking over the outside sections to sit in the center.

Despite the minor complaints which include the suffocating heat of the attic where the tree is kept, it was a great day. I just wanted to shout from the rooftop that I had finished the tree skirt before the real Christmas will arrive.

Alas, I miss the tree already. It made me sad to have to fold the skirt up and store it away in the cedar closet. I just love Christmas.

For those interested, the pattern for the tree skirt is in the hands of a tech editor. It will be self-published in late September.

And on a personal note: Dan was in a fender bender on Friday. He’s fine. No bumps or bruises. He was a bit shaken up a few hours after the accident when reality sunk in, but he was in better spirits by Saturday. The car, however, is in the body shop. The bumper was almost completely torn off. To relay the entire story, Dan was pulling out from the side of the street where he had parked his car and into the lane of traffic. He looked both ways and didn’t see anybody within range, so he pulled out. Next thing he knew, he had hit a car. A gentleman who had seen the whole thing unfold ran over to Dan to inform him that the other car had run the stop sign, which accounted for why he came out of nowhere.

Dreaming of a Green Christmas

I love a white Christmas as much as anybody, but it’s the middle of August. So, a green Christmas it will be.

Which is to say – in one of my favorite Southern sayings – I am spitting distance from being done.

I finished sewing on the last of the buttons this morning. There are only a few more embellishments left to attach to the Christmas tree skirt.

The back side of the tree skirt:

Left to do:
Finish knitting the last i-cord.

Sew the i-cord in place.
Sew 8 felted stars inside of the i-cord bow.
Sew 6 star beads in place. (OK, so I cheated in the first picture. Those gold stars are just resting on the tree skirt. Sue me.)

If you’re in town next week, stop by. I’ll be decking a Christmas tree. I think Dan is more excited than I am.

Grandpa’s Jacket

In my high school years, my Aunt gifted to me the jacket that Grandpa once wore.

There were a few holes in it, but otherwise it was in good condition. I wore it to death. A button fell off. The zipper became busted.  At least a dozen more holes sprouted on the sleeves and back. About five years ago, I packed it up with the rest of the winter clothes.

Though I can’t hold a candle to my Aunt’s pack-rat habits, I’ve never been able to get rid of this jacket. I know I will never wear it again. I kept telling myself that next year I would throw it out.

While working on my Christmas tree skirt, I quickly came to the conclusion that hand sewing 24 buttons onto each tie would land me in the nut house. There had to be a better way to decorate the white ties. Then, out of the blue, I remembered Grandpa’s jacket.

It was 100% wool. It would felt.

Why is it when you want to felt something, it won’t felt?

I tried washing the jacket by hand, moving it from hot water to cold. Nothing. It didn’t felt at all. It two cycles in the washer and two more in the dryer before it felted enough where the edges would no longer fray. I’ve never had such trouble before.

But, it worked. I have green stars with which to decorate my skirt with.

Keeping My Needles

I had boasted before our trip to Tennessee that if I didn’t complete the last tie of my knitted tree skirt, someone could take away my needles.

You’ll have to pry them from my dead, cold hands first. I’m keeping my needles.

Not only did I finish knitting the last tie of my tree skirt, I knit another i-cord (that will become a bow on one of the white ties) and I started and finished knitting a pillow cover. Perhaps I should be stuck in a car for 22 hours at least once a month. I would knit more than I usually do.

The final tie:

The i-cord:

The odd-shaped pillow cover:

The reason for its odd shape is so that I can weave the knitted strips together like a basket. I’m not sure if this crazy idea will work or not. It popped into my head. I was stuck in a car with no book to read (I had finished it), no more ties to knit and nowhere to lean my head for a nap. It seemed perfectly rational at the time. Of course, walking home also seemed perfectly reasonable. I take back what I said earlier. It would not be good if I was stuck in a car once a month for 22 hours.

Did you notice something else about the pillow besides the odd shape?
The cream yarn is my 1st handspun yarn.

Happy Independence Day!

I hope you have a wonderful day celebrating our country’s independence! (Unless of course, you don’t live in the States. Then, I just wish you an ordinary but still wonderful day. Grin.)

Dan and I leave for Tennessee tomorrow morning. His father and paternal grandparents live in a large house on a lake in Talbott, TN (little town outside of Knoxville). It should be a relaxing weekend, minus the 11-hour drive … for one of us. The other one will be knitting.

Have you ever seen the Lion Brand’s “So much yarn, so little time” tote bag? Huge, right? Mine is stuffed to the gills with knitting needles, yarn, roving, spindle, and notions. The plan is to finish knitting my Christmas tree skirt. I only have one white tie left to knit. If I can’t finish one tie in 22 hours, someone should take the pointy sticks away from me.

Speaking of my tree skirt, I started playing around with more ways to decorate it. I wanted the embellishment to be non-breakable, flat in dimension and durable, since presents will be stacked upon it year after year. Plus, it needs to withstand abuse from children, pets, and the stifling heat (or freezing cold temperatures) found in our attic.

What do you think?

As you can see, I dipped into my button stash.

PS. The cookies are lemon almond cookies (with a Hershey’s kiss inside), drizzled with white chocolate. Even Dan liked them.

WWKIP Day and Slow Service

There is nothing wrong with my computer. The problem lies with my Internet provider, Comcast. We have a high-speed cable connection though you wouldn’t know it these past few days. On Monday and Tuesday, I was certain I had a dial-up connection. Yesterday, I couldn’t connect to the Internet at all. Today, it is still splotchy, but greatly improved. I can only load one site at a time, but something is better than nothing.

Though it was frustrating to be barred from the internet, it did allow me to complete a task I have been procrastinating about. I completely rebuilt the charts in my Christmas Tree Skirt pattern so that they are easier to “read”, adhere to industry standards, and look more professional. My eyes were starting to cross towards the end, but I am pleased with the way they turned out. Here’s a small and abbreviated snapshot of the chart for the white tie.

Because of my Internet service troubles, I was not able to share with you pictures of what I did on WWKIP (Worldwide Knit in Public) day. So, I’m late coming to the Show off your WWKIP Pictures party.

Knitting at Spinnerstown Hotel & Restaurant, Spinnerstown, Pennsylvania:

A closer shot of the good beer: Scotch Silly.

Dan would like to make a notation. He asserts that I cheated. He states that I only started knitting at the table so that he could take a picture of me. Once the pictures were taken, I promptly tucked the i-cord back into my purse so I could concentrate on the good beer and good conversation.

I defend myself by pointing out that I put enough foresight into the occasion so that I was properly prepared with both a knitting project and a camera. Besides, it will have to do. I was not about to drive a hour to the nearest WWKIP event in Philadelphia. Gas prices are high here too and Philadelphia is too far away to bike to.

Computer Woes

I have been battling computer problems for two days now. I’m not certain that I will be able to post this little blurb or not. I was shocked when I could even get onto WordPress. My server freezes or shuts down altogether when visiting Ravelry, Etsy, Blogspot, Bloglines, etc. Hopefully, Dan will set everything right tonight. Though the new light fixture hasn’t been hung in over a year and I imagine another year will pass before it does get hung, computer problems never last longer than a week in our house.

Not much was accomplished this weekend. I did a minimal amount of cleaning before our friends stopped by for a visit on Saturday. On Sunday, I ripped out ever more grass in our yard and laid ever more mulch. I would have thought by now that I would have used all the mulch up. No such luck. Everytime I look out the kitchen window, I can see the remaining pile of mulch, mocking me. Perhaps out of pity or out of a desire to see the pile gone, my neighbor has offered to lay some of the mulch in his yard.

In knitting news, I might have solved the mystery of how I was going to decorate the white ties in my tree skirt. My solution involves i-cords.

Finally, pictures!

Still … there is something missing. It needs some more bling. I’ll keep playing with it.

Remember the 19 skiens of wool hanging to dry in my basement? They finally dried all the way through. I have would them into pretty yarn cakes.

Just two more white ties, 5 more i-cords and a bit of bling to make before I can start on the cabled jacket.

Halfway to Christmas and a Tag

Knitting Dragonflies tagged me almost two months ago with a traditional 7-weird-facts MEME, but I was paralyzed with writer’s block. I couldn’t come up with any odd and semi-interesting facts about myself.

Mr. Puffy tagged me with a MEME last week. His format requires that I answer a survey. I can handle a survey.

Here are the rules for this MEME:

“The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.”

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?
I was attending Christian Brothers University part-time and working at Wright Medical Technology full-time. I had moved to Memphis, TN because my sister was attending CBU. By this time, 10 years ago, she had moved to Texas with her fiance and left me alone. I suffered through one Thanksgiving by myself before I caved and moved back home to Pennsylvania.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today?
(1) Take Jake for our daily walk. (2) Take pictures of my halfway completed Christmas tree skirt. (3) Update the blogs I maintain. (4) Water my garden. (5) Complete a few housekeeping chores: laundry, dress bed, mop kitchen floor, etc.

3) Snacks I enjoy:
In general, I don’t eat snacks. Instead, I have a 2nd breakfast. Breakfast normally consists of fresh baked bread, mostly made by me, but sometimes I cheat and purchase breakfast rolls from our local bakery.

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
I am a firm believer that the more money you have, the more of an obligation you have to do right by your family members and your community. Yet, I don’t know that I would do much differently. We would live in the same house. Perhaps, I would have a larger garden and a larger yarn stash. Dan would retire from his job and we would travel more to visit family. I would give money to my sister with the knowledge that it wouldn’t make her happy, but it might ease her burdens. Then, I would follow the footsteps of my grandparents and set up trust funds for each of our nieces and nephews. Additionally, I would donate more money to our veterans and their families.
It goes without saying that we would be debt-free. Bye, bye mortgage.

5) Places I have lived:
Born in Montgomery, Alabama. Lived there for 6 months.
Moved to Colonial Heights, Virginia
Moved to Buffalo, New York
Moved to Akron, New York
Moved to Erie, Pennsylvania – We lived here for 5 years. It was the longest period I lived anywhere during my childhood.
Moved to Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Moved to Sebastian, Florida
Moved to Horsham, Pennsylvania
Moved to Memphis, Tennessee – college years
Moved to Morrisville, Pennsylvania after becoming engaged to Dan
Moved to Secane, Pennsylvania (our 1st apartment)
Moved to Frazer, Pennsylvania (our last apartment)
Moved to Pottstown, Pennsylvania (our 1st and last home)
I am NEVER moving again.

6) Jobs I have had:
My 1st job was working as a cashier clerk at McDonalds.
Next – QA inspector at Wright Medical Technology.
Then, I moved to Pennsylvania and worked as a receptionist at The Development Center.
Within in a year, I was promoted to Exec Assistant. During the downsizing, I became responsible for the entire HR and Finance departments.
I resigned because the stress was affecting my health (migraines, weight loss, etc)
I took a less stressful job as a Senior Admin Assistant at Elsevier.
I resigned from Elsevier 2.5 years ago to focus on becoming a knitwear designer.

7) Bloggers I am tagging who you will enjoy getting to know better:
A Piper Knits: She knits and she plays the bag pipes – not necessarily at the same time. A pity she doesn’t live next door. Though I imagine she would become weary of me requesting her to play March of Cambreadth over and over again.
Katia: She is a fellow Pennsylvanian. She knits, spins, and gardens. But mostly, I just love to read the funny stories about her two daughters.
Karen: Like me, she designs everything she knits. Recently, she has self-published a bag design for the first time. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of things to come. 
The Long Ladies: This blog is a family affair.  What a talented family they are! They design all of their own sewing patterns from aprons to bags to rugs. It is fun to watch what their creative minds come up with next.
Jane of Glorious Hats: I have been a constant reader of Jane’s blog for over 2 years now. Her hats are works of art. Most recently, she designed a hat for Meri Greenleaf to wear at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.