Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Year's end

Well, chalk up another one. One more day to get all the things done that I said I was going to get done. Actually, I don't think I have any serious unfinished business. My dentist postponed my final appointment until next week. Most of my holiday shopping got done. I need to clean house, as always. My stash has grown pretty much of its own accord. So this year is ending pretty much like the last one did.

Except. I will stay home this year. I usually leave town to avoid the Rose Parade crowd and all the noise and trash that goes along with it. This year, however, I'll stay home and listen to the radio and do some knitting. Robert, where I usually go for the night, still has the flu and I don't want to take a chance on getting it myself even though he said he was getting well. We'll celebrate Christmas next Sunday, I think.

Phebie's (not Phoebe's) was a fun trip. I got some new yarns and a couple of Rebecca magazines that I didn't have. I'll try to get some photos tomorrow when I have more time. I got a tripod for Christmas, thanks Lisa, so maybe my indoor shots will be better.

Just got home from my weekly knit together. Just three of us tonight but we managed to have a good time. I started another multidirectional scarf using some Brown Sheep handpaint cotton (Kaleidoscope) that is looking pretty cute. Pics to come. We pretty much wiped out a pound of See's candy and two pots of coffee.

The big year end news is that Skein is moving. Probably around the middle of February we'll be in Pasadena. Close enough to where I live that I'll be able to walk there. The property where the shop is currently located has been sold and will become a huge Walgren's shopping center. Or that's what supposed to happen. For anyone familiar with Pasadena the new shop will be at the corner of Walnut and Wilson where Poobah's is at present. Ann Mary likes the little house and she thinks it will look good as a yarn store. I agree that it's a cute building but I'm not so sure about the location. Parking will be a problem, I think, and there are two auto repair shops on two of the other corners. There's a Chabad site on the fourth corner plus some other small businesses. An upholsterer and something that I don't recall.

I've known for a few weeks that Skein was going to move but I didn't know until today where it was going. I'm trying to see the good points of the new location but I'm having some problems. I could say "I just work here" and let it go at that but now Ann Mary is asking me what I think. A little late in the game. I like the house. It's a little funky but that could be a good thing. Except Ann Mary doesn't really understand funky. She planning on removing some sheds and the garage which will create a few parking spaces. Maybe four or five. But she'll need one of those for herself. The area is very easy to get to. It's primarily residential except for the main street. I don't think a muffler repair shop and a transmission replacement center are quite what I'd expect if I were looking for a yarn shop.

So with that, Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Final Sunday of the year

Another busy day but only for three hours! I have a couple of new students, one is six and one is seven. It's a little hard to find the right level in talking with them. I don't want to go over their heads but at the same time I don't want to treat them like they're too young to get it.

The seven year old taught herself the basics from a book so I don't think she's going to be a problem. The six year old is the daughter of one of my regulars. I think she understood the sequence but had a little hand/eye coordination problem. I didn't have enough time with her to really get her going but her mom says she's persistent and is content to sit quietly working at this kind of thing.

Carol and I are planning a trip to Phoebe's tomorrow. That's a needlecraft shop in Montclair, a suburb of the suburbs. (No site that I could find.) I saw their exhibit at the LA County Fair last September. I'm not expecting it to be too much different from all the other shops Carol and I have visited but it will be new to both of us. Carol is on vacation from the school where she works and we try to fit in at least one yarn shop expedition any time she has a week or two off. I'm not looking for anything in particular but if they have some Kureyon in bright colors I could be tempted.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

What day is it anyway?

I feel like I've just had two Sundays in a row, and it hasn't even been Sunday yet. Christmas falling on a Thursday just seems weird. I'm still recovering and trying to get reoriented.

Friday at Skein was extremely busy and we weren't even having a sale. Ann Mary doesn't believe in sales or bargain baskets or whatever you call it when there's a basket or bin of one or two leftover skeins. We do get a lot of people asking. One of my cheap thrills is to be able to sell something from the odd lots bins even if it is full price. Anyway, today was a little slower. I had a couple of students and spent some time working on the second half of a pair of socks. Almost done.

I'm not planning to make any New Year's resolutions. Not any new ones. I'm still working on the ones from last year. The one that says I'm going to get organized and get all my WIPs done before I start anything else.

And the other perennial one. The one that says I'm going to start a regular exercise program and be more careful about my diet. Of course, I have to finish all the holiday goodies before I can start that. So far I've had three boxes of cookies and some cheese and crackers. And trying to finish the huge slices of birthday cake that we had for Carol's birthday. Only one piece of that to go. I don't think I'll finish the case of wine and the miscellaneous bottles that I got though.

I got a couple of Vogue Knitting on the Go books. Scarves Two and Bags and Backpacks. The scarves book is quite interesting, more than the first one. There are a number of things in there that would be fun to make. And I could see making some things from the Bag book. Mostly I just enjoy reading the patterns. I'll have to see if there's anything Lisa would like.

One of the last minute gifts I got for Lisa was the Acorn Hat pattern from Fiber Trends and the yarn to make it. I'll need to start that pretty soon as she has a thing going for acorns right now. I have no idea why.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

My sorta odd Christmas

I had a quiet Christmas, as in I slept most of it away. I did get down to Lisa's for the morning part just as we had planned. But dinner with Robert was postponed due to his flu. I slept several hours throughout the rest of the day. I'm not getting the flu but I think I'm getting something. Might be a throat or ear infection. Too soon to tell. It just randomly hurts, mostly when I swallow. So anyway I think the extra sleep will do me good.

It was also strange because it rained today. That should be in caps. I don't remember when it last rained on Christmas. It has stopped now but I hear there's a danger of flooding up in the mountains where there were so many forest fires this year. And mud slides!

And then, Lisa's friend John, who always joins us for Christmas morning, was not there today. He's in the hospital for a few days for some tests. So that made it seem like we were short handed.

In spite of the odd things about the day it was still a wonderful holiday. I got a stack of new knitting books that I wanted. So I have plenty of reading and dreaming to do between now and the beginning of the year. Lisa loved the fruit hats that I made for her, especially the strawberry and the grape. They took pictures so maybe I'll have some to post in the near future. Her mom really liked the multidirectional scarf and the hat, both in Kureyon, and the one sock I got done.

I just brought the gifts into the house. It was raining too hard earlier today. So I'm off to leaf through the books. I've been working on a diagonal stitch scarf while waiting for the rain to stop, or at least slow down. And listening to Bach's Christmas Oratorio.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

'Tis the season

Flu season, that is. I just had a call that Robert has the flu and will be unable to celebrate Christmas tomorrow. There is an outside chance that he will recover quickly but I kind of doubt it. I'm supposed to get a call tomorrow afternoon to let me know. Robert is not the kind of person who would get a flu shot but we won't talk about that.

I'll still be going to Lisa's for Christmas morning. I'll be taking some quick breads that I made as well as the hastily wrapped gifts.

Skein was busy right up to the last minute. Lots of kids home for the holidays as well as people leaving for ski trips who wanted something to knit on long car rides. I didn't finish the last holiday project. I didn't like how it looked so I've started over and will present it sometime next month.

It's nice to feel completely relaxed and be working on a project that doesn't have a deadline. Not sure what I'll do for dinner tomorrow night but I'll have a good day no matter what.

Merry Christmas!
Guess who's going to Knitters' Retreat next November? I can't begin to tell you how excited I am. I don't know all the details yet but when I do I'll be writing about it. One thing I do know though is this is one very special Christmas gift.

I need to get some more facts before I can really explain how this came about but I do know that a couple of bloggers were involved in making it happen. I'm not naming names just yet but you know who you are. And the person who gave it to me, well, she's more special than I can begin to tell you.

I'm too jazzed to even think about anything else.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

I'm just not going to talk about it anymore. I'm done with feeling panic about being ready for Christmas. It is what it is. If people get their gifts in brown paper bags from Trader Joe's that is perfectly all right. I will not put myself through this again, ever. I'm starting my holiday knitting on Christmas day. Well, some of it is for this Christmas.

And, speaking of knitting, I worked on project number six yesterday while I "did my blogs". But that's all I had time for. I still think I can finish. I have a few hours before I have to be at the dentist and then I can also work on it at Skein and tonight at Mendy's. I'm supposed to be fringing the poncho but in a world of shifting priorities that's just not going to happen.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Done, more or less

All I have left to do is wrap everything. Not that I got everything done that I meant to, but enough. There's still a couple of things due in from Amazon but there's still a couple of days to go.

The earthquake this morning was a none too gentle reminder of how subject to change everything is. No damage around here so far as I know, beyond the shattered nerves. We're constantly being warned that "the big one" could come at any time. So even a small quake is enough to trigger a flight response. I didn't actually flee but I did move out from under the chandelier.

Guess I'd better get started on the wrapping. Plus I need to see if the laundry room is available. Since I'm already depressed I might as well pay bills too.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

The storm after the lull

Saturday and Sunday were both incredibly busy. There were lines at the register most of the day and I had two tables full of students. As far as I could tell everyone got pretty much what they came for and went away merry. We still have plenty of yarn but a lot of the flashy, glitzy stuff is pretty picked over. And there are a few holes in the needle board, mostly the 13s through 17s. We're out of black in almost everything.

I finished Christmas project number five and have cast on for number six. I should be done with this one tonight or tomorrow. There's still shopping and wrapping to be done and a little more baking. And I need a birthday present for my friend Carol, a Christmas baby, a long time ago. And a dentist appointment on Tuesday. I'm making myself very nervous.

Friday, December 19, 2003


It was a quiet and slow day at Skein yesterday. So weird after the frantic day on Wednesday. Well, it did allow me time to totally finish holiday gift number four and to knit a few rows on the socks that I may finish in time for another gift.

Looking forward to the days when I'm not under a deadline. I've been reading Nancie Wiseman's Knitted Shawls, Stoles, and Scarves which is a book I got for Christmas last year. My fantasy is to make everything in the book, even the ones that I'm not too crazy about. And maybe not the Autumn Leaves shawl. Way too much intarsia in that one. I've already made the Shoulder Warmer shawl using some stash mohair.

There are a few things in the book that I've never tried. Entrelac and mitered squares, for example. I've done short rowing and lace and slip stitches but I could use more practice. One of the scarves, the Chenille Diagonal Lace scarf, is already on my needles. Just a coincidence. The only difference is the number of stitches.

I'll try to use yarn from my stash as much as possible. It should be easy enough to modify the patterns to fit the yarn available. Anyway, I'm just thinking about it during this lull in the action. Who knows if it'll actually happen?

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Oy! my aching hands!

I don't think short circular needles are good for me. Much of my holiday knitting involves the use of some size 7, 16" circulars and my hands are hurting like never before. This may not be the fault of the needles but instead the fault of trying to make too many small, round things. But I am going to power through it and I will reach my goal, if I can stay awake long enough.

We had our Thursday night knit together on Wednesday this week due to a scheduling conflict on the part of the hostess. Not that she didn't try to get it changed but she was outvoted. Anyway, it was fun and relaxing as always. I didn't do the fringing I had planned to do because I think I need to steam the yarn first so the fringe doesn't look like a band of dried out spaghetti. Instead, I worked on one of the above mentioned round things. (Next week we'll have Thursday on Tuesday.)

When I got home, after checking what had happened during the day, I started number five project and tried to stay awake long enough to listen to all of Judas Maccabeus but was only able to get through about half of it. I do like my local classical station but I wish they'd start these long pieces a little earlier than midnight. Tonight it's going to be The Chanukah Story narrated by Leonard Nemoy (instead of Theodore Bickel) so that will be neat. And it's starting at eight.

I had more students than you could shake a needle at yesterday. Most everything was easy to demonstrate and everyone went away with progress. But, oh, it was crowded and noisy. I guess it was all the chocolate combined with all the last minute frenzy of holiday knitting. I think it makes Ann Mary nervous when people start having too much fun. Must be the high school principal syndrome she carries.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003


Most of the time I drive myself right up a tree with fretting about stuff. It makes me crazy if I'm going to be late for an appointment or if I forget to do something I've promised to do. I think I inherited this from my mother who was an all time high level worrier over things that nothing can be done about. She's not here anymore so I think it's my duty to pick up where she left off.

I had an appointment with my dentist this morning. I've had this appointment for two weeks. All my plans for today are predicated on getting there early so there won't be any snags with other things I have planned for today.

Last night, on the way home from Skein, I realized that I would have to take my car to the mechanic today as something wacky was going on with the engine temperature gauge. So I spent most of last night trying to decide how to get the car dealt with so I'd still be able to keep my appointment with the dentist. So I finally decided that I'd just have to cancel my appointment with the dentist and take care of the car first.

I still haven't heard from the mechanic but I called the dentist and apologized for having to cancel with no notice. "You don't have an appointment. I don't see you." I hate it when I spend all that time worrying and have it come to nothing. Now I wonder when the mechanic will call and if I'll be able to get to Skein on time.

You may have noticed that there's no knitting content. Again. Well, there is some. I finished knitting the poncho last night about 12:30. I still have to weave in the ends and attach the fringe and figure out how to block it so it doesn't look so home made.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003


Do you have an Anthropologie in your neighborhood? I didn't know they had opened a shop in Pasadena until one of our customers mentioned it last week. Actually she was going to try to duplicate one of the trees they have in their window.

I've been saving a trip there until Lisa could go with me. I went scouting yesterday but couldn't find it. I thought it should be with all the other new shops that have opened over by the Macy's (the one that used to be Bullock's) but it wasn't there. I did check out the Orvis shop and liked it a lot. Anyway, I checked Erica's blog for a link and found the store location page to get the address. So last night it was shopper's nirvana.

It's been a long time since I have been so excited about a store. This place is not to be believed. Not just because of the merchandise although that's pretty amazing. The seasonal decorations are just plain clever. It's enough to make me want a tree of my own. I didn't buy anything but I will. Even if it's just a lot of different soaps and candles.

So, it's not about knitting. While I waited for Lisa to arrive yesterday I knit a few more rounds on the poncho. I think I have about 8 more rounds and then casting off and fringing it. I was getting concerned that I wouldn't have enough yarn so I did some math to see how much I'd need just for the fringe. Barring some unintentional math error I should have about half a skein left.

Monday, December 15, 2003

The way I figure it I have two more days in which to get Christmas under control. So I'm off to see what kind of inspiration I can find for those hard to buy for people on my list. Actually, there are only two of those so it should be easy to come up with something. What do you get for someone who has everything? I mean, that you can afford.

Still in the throes of knitting socks, poncho and other things that need to be done before Christmas. I worked on one of the projects at Skein yesterday even though I was surrounded by students. And I'll get some more done this afternoon after I get back from prowling the mall.

Lisa is coming over tonight. She was supposed to come last night but spaced out and didn't make it. You never get over being a parent.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

I finished another holiday present last night and have cast on for the next one. I also brought home the yarn for what I hope is the last one. Now I just have to keep plugging away. I'm not doing anything difficult but it still takes time.

I'm going to lunch with some friends today and Lisa is coming over this evening so I won't be getting much knitting done. I should be able to work on Lisa's poncho while she's here since she already knows about that.

I came home last night with a couple of boxes of candy and some cookies. Thank you gifts from customers. I feel really special. And I'll enjoy all the goodies. Especially the truffles that Ann Mary's sister made. I'm not even thinking about calories until after the first of the year at which point it may be too late.

All the people who didn't show up on Thursday and Friday decided to come into Skein yesterday. We were close to swamped all day! I had a new knitter first thing in the morning and a few quick questions throughout the day but mostly it was getting yarn into people's hands and getting them in line at the register. Some of the glitzy yarns are sold out or almost. Time to get really creative.

Friday, December 12, 2003

A scarf a day

Scarves continue to save the day. There was very little traffic today and what there was, well, scarves are still the thing. I only had one student today and she was there for five hours. At least I had someone to talk to. Ann Mary took the afternoon off, or most of it, and went for a perm. Her husband filled in for her on the register. All in all it was a long day.

Getting started on the holiday baking tonight. Some applesauce and more spiced pumpkin bread. I think that's about it for now.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

One sock is done and the second has ribbing. That's about it for today's production. Except that I worked on the poncho tonight at Mendy's and am almost 80% done. It's even colder now than it was last week. I'm pretty sure that I'll be done by this time next week, except maybe for the fringe.

I'm really anxious to start some new projects. But I still have the Mt. Hood socks to complete and the Hearts scarf. They're both so barely started that they will be like new projects when I pick them up. Somehow that's not the same.

Knit together was fun and relaxing as always. We all seem to be working on the same projects we were on last week. It was just so good to be with people who share so much, not just knitting. I took some of Mendy's stash that I've been storing so she could show it off. And we decided what needs to go back to the store.

I spent most of my time at Skein working with the bipolar student. We're on to a new scarf that is actually more challenging than anything she's done before. So far it's going quite well. I think she's making good progress overall. She still has moments when she forgets what she's doing but we have a good enough rapport that she is comfortable letting me know. And she's beginning to recognize mistakes and is learning how to fix them. Being able to really focus on her knitting seems to help her calm down when she's stressed about something else that's going on in her life.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Even more decorative than I thought. The Christmas cactus is loaded with blossoms. I've never had one of these before and I must say I'm pretty impressed.

I took the shawl in today and showed it off. Ann Mary is very pleased so that's a good thing. We don't have a holiday window display as yet but when we do the shawl will probably go in it.

It was pretty quiet today considering how busy we've been recently. I managed a few rows on the socks but that was about it. I did have one student who required my attention most of the afternoon. She had made two right fronts for the baby sweater and they were both equally short compared to the back. So we got that fixed and then I showed her how to do a three needle bind off. That took a couple of tries since she dropped stitches and didn't notice it until she was finished, twice.

Renee came in with her niece and my faux grandson Nicholas. The kid's a riot. So we had a chance to play a little but he doesn't know me very well so he's a little apprehensive. He'll be ten months old on Christmas day.

I really need to do some shopping. So I'll probably be on-line a lot tonight.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Seems like there's some problem over at Blogger. Trying to log on for a couple of hours. Oh, well.

Finally, I'm finished with the shop shawl sample. The top photo shows a detail of the yarns, well sort of. It's Prism Popcorn and something fuzzy, also from Prism. The lower photo shows how the poppies are distributed across the shawl. The black background is Bouton d'Or's Organdi. Not what the pattern called for but we didn't have the Trendsetter Dulcino in stock.

I'm glad it's done even if I don't care for it very much. I've been trying to only work on it while I'm at Skein but decided to just finish it at home tonight. Now I can concentrate on holiday stuff.

It was insane again this afternoon for about an hour. One person commented that it was like the day before Thanksgiving at the supermarket. I'm not sure if Ann Mary ever got to have lunch. When I left tonight about twenty minutes after the store closed there was still one customer trying to make up her mind.

I just finished writing a pattern for Lina using the Sweater Wizard program. We're doing a bell sleeve. I guess SW doesn't know how to do decreases on the lower part of a sleeve. It did show the stitch count but didn't have any text explaining when to do the decreases. I like Sweater Wizard but you still have to do a lot of the work yourself, sometimes.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Dim Sum

What a delightful way to break up the day! I just got home from dim sum with Lina and Irene, two of my students. They assure me the place we went is the best dim sum restaurant in Los Angeles County. Judging from the crowd I'd say they're probably right. I can't describe all we had because I don't know what everything was but it was all delicious and I have enough left overs for the next couple of days. I never knew it was possible to do so many things with rice, or taro or daikon.

So now it's back to the mundane. Laundry and working on the poncho. I have managed a few more rows as well as some progress on the socks. I'm also swatching some Georges Picaud yarn that I got last year when Carol and I went yarn shop stalking.

Georges Picaud has been out of business for at least ten years, maybe more. I can't find anything specific about the company but there are some sites, mostly in French, that mention their yarns. I'm working with one called Scarlett. It's 75% viscose and 25% cotton, variegated red, pink, salmon and plum. I tried it on a US6 and am now trying a US4. It's pretty but I don't want to spend that much time making a shell. I think it will be a good carry along for some other stuff from my stash.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

It's been a dark and gloomy day. And it's been drizzling rain most of the afternoon. But that didn't keep people away from Skein. I had five people for various levels of help this afternoon including one brand new knitter. And there was a pretty steady stream of customers, mostly scarves. Between helps I worked on the crocheted fringe for the shop sample shawl. That's been about it for my knitting lately.

I have spent a couple of hours on a pair of socks and the holiday gifts. I have a shawl to rip for one of the students. She got too frustrated to deal with the Furz as she tried to rip it. So she's donated it to whomever wants it. I tried several times to show her how to handle the yarn so it wouldn't get gnarled but I guess she just wasn't patient enough and kept getting it knotted. So I'll undo the thing and have enough for a lap robe.

There's a homeless person trying to take up residence in the laundry room of my building. Most of the people who live here are not owners and don't really pay much attention to the rules and regulations, one of which is to lock the laundry room when it's not in use. So this person comes every night and if the room is locked goes to sleep in front of one of the cars in the carport area. We don't have a security gate so there's no way to keep people out. I'm not sure what to do about this, if anything.

Friday, December 05, 2003

I'm almost excited. The shop sample shawl only needs eight more garter stitch rows and it will be off the needle. Then I get to do the finishing, tedious but easier than working with all those mixed breed fibers that wind around each other and refuse to budge unless they're carefully and gently unwound one strand at a time while trying to keep the stitches from sliding off the unmonitored ends of the needle. Today for sure.

Knit together last night was fun per usual. Mendy had a couple of house guests so our head count was temporaily elevated. I put some stitches back on the needle for Mendy's cousin, 56 stitches on size US2 in a dark multi-color yarn. I'm still not sure how the stitches got off the needle but it was pretty easy to pick them up. We had lots of things chocolate and were all sent home with bags of fresh cherries. Plus I got some bagel dogs. Not sure what those are but I've been assured they are addictive. Just what I need.

What does it mean when a pattern says "increase purlways"? I haven't found an explanation in any of the standard knitting books. The increase was done in the ribbing so I just purled and then knit into the front of the stitch. I have no idea if this is correct but it looked okay. I don't much care for Sirdar patterns and this just reconfirms my distaste.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Christmas Tree

I think this will be my Christmas tree this year.

My sister, who is always ahead of the game when it comes to sending gifts, sent me this Christmas cactus. It's loaded with blossoms and buds. I don't know why I'm so lousy at picture taking. Four new batteries and sixteen frames and this is the best one.

There's no knitting content here. Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Well, that was the plan

I had to be two places at one time today and it was really difficult. I had students coming at eleven and a dentist appointment at ten. I thought I could make it work but the dentist won. So I called Skein and left a message. The student arrived on time, bought some yarn and came back later. So it all worked out. But I hate it when I mix up my schedule like that. I should carry a day planner but then I'd have to remember to use it.

It was a strange, slow day today. Hardly any customers but I did have a few drop in students this afternoon. Mostly chit chat. I'm very close to finishing the shop sample shawl and will be able to get a pic maybe by the weekend. It's too scrunched up on the needle right now to make any sense of it. After it's off the needle I'll still have to do a crochet fringe on two sides. And weave in all those loose ends. Generally I don't mind intarsia but when the yarn is several different sizes and one of them has lumps like popcorn it's tedious.

After receiving several good suggestions about giving IOUs for Christmas I'm thinking that's a great way to go. I wonder what the cut off date would be before a gift was in default. Just kidding. Surely I'll be done by the end of Janurary. Or February at the latest.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003


Yesterday, in an effort to jump-start my holiday spirit, I took Lisa to lunch and then set out to do some browsing at various boutiques. They were all closed. Why do shops close on Monday? Lots of restaurants used to do this but now they all seem to be open everyday.

So we went to the local antiques mall to look around. I used to love going there and all the other shops in the area. Don't know what has happened over the years that I haven't been going there but the whole area just seemed drab and dreary. Must be me though. They still had piles of the same old old-stuff that I used to lust after. Maybe I'm just over stuffed!

But on the upside. I got to see some of the socks I've knitted being worn. They looked good and didn't fall down. Lisa bought some special sandal shoes to show them off. So now I'm feeling excited about making some more.

I did manage a couple of rounds on the poncho and a little work on the holiday gifts. Today should be better since I don't have all those pesky chores to do. I'm expecting a couple of students at Skein today. This should put my cash flow back into a more positive direction.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Rabbit! Rabbit!

It's beginning to look...

like I'll make my holiday gift knitting quota. But that's a flexible number. I won't be spending much time on them today. Lisa is coming over for lunch and then we're going browsing in some of the clever little boutiques that have opened since last year. But first I have to do a little more house keeping.

I received a lot of interesting suggestions for things to do with pumpkin. Thanks for all the help. Pumpkin ravioli is definitely on the list. Thanks, John. I didn't get to try any of the spiced pumpkin bread that I made but I hear it's good so I'll have to try that one again.

I've been having this curious winding-down feeling lately. I don't feel much like trying anything new in my knitting. I seem to be satisfied with making socks and hats. Even those are pretty simple. At the same time I'm fantasizing about things to start using yarn from my stash. I'm not enjoying my current shawl project for Skein and will avoid working on it as much as I can. I'm going to try to finish it this week and then not take on any more shop projects for a while.

The poncho is progressing, but very slowly. It takes an hour to knit two and a half rounds. I'm almost 70% done. The nights have been very cold so I'm sure it will get lots of use. Even though it's not a Christmas present I hope to have it done by then.

How would you feel if you got and IOU for Christmas?