Wow. It’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted, but that can be safely chalked up to moving, lack of Internets, Christmas knitting, working, and a visiting Banana. All in all, though, it was a fantastic holiday season. Thanksgiving was had with the Boy and his roommates. I contributed a turkey and hash brown casserole to the table, and we (and all our guests) had a lovely time eating ourselves into early comas and falling asleep while watching Labyrinth.

While I’m in the cooking vein, I’ll detail the other two big meals that we put together in December. As a payback to two of our friends who took us to a really swanky dinner gratis, Neimah and I decided to have a little dinner party for them. This quickly turned into a dinner party for nine, what with other people in from out of town who couldn’t be left off the invitation, and just a general feeling of the more the merrier, I suppose. So the menu was as follows: Breaded roast of pork with mustard, breaded roast of beef with horseradish, ginger glazed carrots, arugula salad with campari tomatoes and mustard vinaigrette, corn pudding, homemade yeast rolls, and homemade jam cake for dessert.

I think the corn pudding was the crowd favorite. 🙂 Then Christmas dinner with the Banana was as follows: Roast lamb, roast beet and cranberry salad with gorgonzola and walnuts, hash brown casserole (Mom’s contribution this time), and steamed broccoli with garlic butter. And for dessert, the infamous Kentucky Bourbon Pie. The Banana took pictures, and I’m sorry I don’t have any to show off, but I’m sure you can imagine what a colorful meal we had. And if any of the five people who read this are interested in any recipes, let me know. I’ll be happy to send them along.

Now, on to the knitting. First off, here are the completed “bulk presents,” the washcloths for all my ladies and the tawashi:

So these gifts were finished pretty quickly, and supplemented with bought things. The ladies all got a nice soap from either Lush or Sabon (whichever I felt went better with their cloth). The tawashi recipients got different things: Anne and Neil got (or are getting, haven’t seen them to give them their present yet!) a bottle of Bulleitt Bourbon, Nanny Jo and Papa Arnold got a nice selection of coffee from Porto Rico (French Espresso and Tiramisu… mmmm), and the Listers got a couple of nice heavy-duty glasses so they could have something aside from wine glasses or mugs to drink from. 🙂 The washcloths are the Reverse-Bloom Flower Washcloth by Cindy Taylor. I basically just made up my own numbers so the cloth would look right, and knit every last one of them from stash. The tawashi were my aborted attempt at Pierrot’s Spiral Tawashi. If you look at the page, you might understand why I had some trouble with the pattern. I don’t read Japanese. Ahem. I got the basic construction, but I couldn’t figure out how to turn the parallelogram the pattern had apparently directed me to make into the circular little pouf in the picture. So I just twisted in a way that looked good to me, stitched things down, and made what I am calling the Fortune Cookie tawashi. 🙂 Now, our next group of gifting: Lis’s Clapotis and the garter-stitch scarf I made for my Pappy.

Lis’s Clap has also not yet been gifted. I never see my friends. 😛 The yarn is Alchemy Bamboo in Sourgrass and Wild Berry, alternated in mostly 3 pattern repeat blocks, or whatever looked right. Lis is a fashion designer, and loves wild colors, so I thought this interesting opposition of color and form would appeal to her. Pappy’s scarf is, as you can see, the exact opposite. It’s Rowan’s Cashsoft DK in Navy with little Bordeaux stripes, done in boring-as-toast garter stitch. As mind-numbing as it was to knit six feet of the same thing, I love the way it turned out. It’s plush and squishy and warm, and the way the little stripes look on the wrong side is very rugby and nice. I also, if I may say, did a bang-up job weaving in the ends, so it’s a truly finished piece. Not to mention the fact that I got the prettiest boy in the whole world to model it for me. 🙂

This is Granny’s stole, the Waves of Grain scarf. It’s Rowan’s Kid Silk Haze in white, with tiny little silver seed beads that you can’t even really see. Romi Hill’s grafting instructions made my head hurt, and I wonked it up quite thoroughly at one point, but after blocking it looks both normal and quite pretty. It was one of the two “super time-consuming” projects on the docket this Christmas, and the only one finished, unfortunately. The other was the languishing Peacock (Ravelry link) for the Banana. I did manage to get in a few rows on it, and am about halfway through the last pattern repeat. That means next to nothing though, when I consider the two edging charts and crochet cast-off left to be done. Bah. I will defeat it yet. My primary reason for not finishing it, however, were these:

Yes. Another pair of Broad Street Mittens. These are in a lovely rainbow Koigu colorway. They’ve been requested to have the pinky and ring fingers in full, with the thumb, index, and middle fingers free. They were also requested to have a mitten top to fold over. And they were most firmly commissioned by the 11-year-old that I babysit.

Yes. A child who is 11 going on 16 actually asked for a handknit for Christmas. Ji Tan’s tendencies usually lean toward the electronic, so to receive such a request was just shocking enough to demand acquiescence. I worked on the gloves for the last few days before the holiday, my deadline being the next time I would see her, well after the New Year. I did my best to not add anything to the queue of gift knitting this year, and I did well. All I added were this little pair of mittens and two more washcloths, and the only thing I didn’t finish was the blasted Peacock. Until, that is, I unpinned Ji’s mittens from blocking and realized that the manner in which I’d attached the mitten tops had rendered them both lefties. Curses. I decided that the most expeditious mode of fixing would be to snip and ravel the top off and reattach it. I instead managed to snip a stitch in the body of the glove, which has created a massive hole and ladder. This all means that I will have to start the whole mitten over again. My disgust with myself means that I have yet to do this. I saw Ji yesterday and mentioned my little error, and promised her the mitts as soon as humanly possible. She looked up from the fart noises she was coaxing from her iPhone just long enough to shrug at me. I guess sometimes that teenage apathy isn’t so bad? So, whilst embroiled in my self-loathing for cutting a big hole in my knitting, I started another project:

More Broad Street Mittens. I know. It’s a sickness. These, however, are for me. I ordered three big hanks of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Mediumweight in the Shadow colorway to make myself a nice matching winter set: gloves, hat, and scarf. Since gloves are the most desperately needed of the three right now, I went ahead and cast on. And after I realized I was knitting on one 2 mm circular needle and one 2.25 mm and frogged back to knit on two matching needles, the glove has gone pretty swiftly. I put it down last night though, because I didn’t want to be working on another mitten in front of Ji (oh, the shame!), and got out the also-languishing Central Park Hoodie (Ravelry link). I knit up to the armhole shaping on the sleeves, and then realized that I’d left my pattern printout at Ji’s house.

I really am utterly brilliant. So far, the knitting of this holiday/new year has been plagued with silly errors and pratfalls. I hope this will not be a continuing theme for 2009. As for knitting goals, I have but two. #1: I want to tackle stranded colorwork this year. If anyone has a good sampler-type project for that sort of work, let me know. I’ve got the pattern for the Venezia sweater, and I would love to make it, but I’d rather cut my teeth on something not so epic first. #2: I want to try and make a pair of socks a month this year, both to knit down the stash a little and to outfit my feet. 🙂 There are a ton of patterns out there that I’ve been collecting yarn for, and I think it’s time to start them. One month at a time.

So that’s it for me, really. I’ll try to keep posts more frequent now that I have regular internet, so they’re not all this sort of novel-length update. And how is everyone this new year? Any special goals you’ve set for yourself? Behaviors you want to change or encourage? I’d love to hear what’s up with (all five of) you. 🙂