Christmas this year was at our house, which made me happier than I can say. I love being back home, being able to tell everyone to "just come on over," no plane reservations required! (Everyone telling me I'm the "hostess with the mostest" didn't hurt either. What can I say? I thrive on praise :) )
But before we get to what I did, I'd like to focus on an awesome accomplishment of my mother's. My late grandma, Mary Cox, made applique stockings for all of her children and grandchildren, and they are a mainstay to all of my Christmas memories. This year, Mom got her craft on, rounding out the collection by making stockings for each of our spouses and one for Logan. She had a grand time and the results are truly impressive!
Mine from Grandma: Care Bears of course! And Jon's new hockey-playing snowman.
Pat's from Grandma: Santa visiting our house, complete with barn and windmill in the background. April's new stocking is beautiful Christmas bells with silk flower petals from her wedding, and Logan's is a mountain goat and Christmas tree.
Murph's from Grandma is Santa flying over our house with baby Murph in his sack (Or, "Santa's Baby Jetpack," as Jon calls it. Cara's new stocking is a super-cute little girl looking up at a star-flower, copied from the decorations at her wedding, and ribbons from the wedding decorations. All are so beautiful!
We had planned on doing a brunch, but with my work schedule (nights!) brunch time is not a great time, so we had supper...but still rocked the breakfast food. Champagne with juice, sausage, potato pancakes, caramelized onion rolls, eggs in tomato sauce, winter fruit salad, and for dessert, fig pudding and Cook's Illustrated chocolate cream pie. The eggs in tomato sauce was...difficult to pull off. We added spinach so there would be something green, and I popped in the eggs and turned everything down to a low simmer so that it would be ready with everything else. The tops kept looking clear, so I kept cooking, and by the time they were done the yolks had all firmed up too much (even though a few whites were still too soft!). I think that if I had waited until everything else was done and put the eggs on high heat and cooked them quickly, as well as not trying to do so many eggs, it would have been great. As it was, it was fine but not "right." The above photo is the aromatics from the winter fruit salad, which was a real hit. "The fanciest fruit salad I've ever eaten," said Murph, which is all I can ask for, really!
Now, Logan's Jay. I went up to the "2 year" size (I think my gauge was a little small) and it fit him like a dream! A little room around the middle and a lot of room in the sleeves. My mother says he will probably stop getting rounder and start getting taller now that he can crawl, so this should fit him for a long time!
The pattern is written to come out a little big, as the denim fiber shrinks in the wash. This means that I finished the whole thing and then had to throw it in a warm wash and tumble dry, in a delicates bag, and pray it didn't shrink down to doll-size. It felt like putting my first-born in the wash! This picture is before the fateful bath:
Luckily, it came out perfectly, and I love that I have already washed it, so Pat and April don't have to be scared to toss it in the wash and drier. I told them to just wash it with the rest of their laundry and it put it in a mesh delicates bag so it doesn't get snagged. Machine washability is a must for parents and for non-knitters, and I'm so happy to give them something practical so they will actually put it on him! Drool and baby food? Bring it on!
You can see the sleeves are rolled: lots of growing room! Also the fabric is really nice and soft. I would recommend this project to anyone, although there is a lot of making up: it includes a drawstring in the bottom, so you have to sew up a tube in the bottom few inches as well as all the other sewing. It even wants you to sew the garter stitch border for the neckline separately and then sew it on. I picked up stitches and did a k2p2 rib for 5 rows, and I think it came out more cleanly than a sewed-on border would have laid. Other mods include being a bit generous with the hood length, to accommodate the 'fro! The hood fits perfectly: not to big or too tight. Also I sewed the pocket closed in the front and then left it open on the sides, to create a kangaroo pouch he can put his hands into that looks like a pocket with a flap.
Now a WIP: Mom's Eastlake sweater. I a knitting it in the round to the armpits, because it is after all just stockinette stitch for most of the body, besides the panel. The panel's wrong side instructions (all the even rows) is "knit all the knit stitches and purl the purls" so I don't even have to reverse the directions in my head since I'm knitting it all on the right side: sweet! I also replaced the bottom ribbing with a row of garter stitch (really a row of purls) which my mom and I both think fits the sweater a little better. The ribbing was too casual for this nice sweater, and there is no ribbing anywhere else.
Lastly, while organizing my office, I came across this pair of socks. I am embarrassed to admit that I did most of this knitting on my honeymoon...two and a half years ago! Yet here they lay, with a measly 8 live stitches on the second sock. I stopped cleaning and organizing right there, pulled up some instructions online for kitchener stitch, and finished them in 5 minutes. That, my friends, is procrastination at its finest! They are my first socks, Cat Bordhi's Simple Socks from Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles, a book I would recommend to other beginners.