Tag Archives: christmas2007

Catching up: Part 2 – Christmas in New Jersey

Our Christmas started a little early with Scott’s brother and sister-in-law, David and Jennie, spending a long weekend with us before Christmas. They brought the gifts sent from Omaha and they were added to the already overflowing table.

We took the train into NYC on Saturday to see the windows at the department stores and the tree at Rockefeller Center. Our first stop was Macy’s. We didn’t wait in line to see the windows, but we got a pretty good view over the shoulders of those in line. We went inside and after taking escalators up to the 9th floor, we found the Christmas ornaments. The escalators kept getting narrower, until the last one which seemed to be the original wood construction.

When I was young, my parents would take us into Chicago to see the windows at Marshall Fields, and we would always go and pick out an ornament to commemorate our visit. I wanted to continue this tradition with Scott, and last year we got an ornament to remember our time in Texas. Nothing says Texas like a Christopher Radko cowboy Santa, so that’s what we got.

This year we were at Macy’s and the selection was fairly traditional. But always on the look out for the unique, Scott and I found these little people dressed as traditional Christmas items. We chose two, one dressed as a stocking (though it looks like a sausage 🙂 ) and a red light bulb. Quite silly, and they will do quite well to remember Christmas in New Jersey. They even hung on an upside-down tree.

From Macy’s we walked to a Korean restaurant tauted as “the best Korean food in the city” by the Not for Tourists Guide to NYC. We were not disappointed by Kunjip. We had Korean BBQ and a two stews. It was great food and a good time.

We walked up to Rockefeller center and saw the windows at Lord and Taylor and Saks on the way. The tree was huge and lit with LEDs. It was quite crowded so we didn’t stay long.

We walked up to FAO Schwartz, waited in a line one city block long to get in, and browsed the toy store. From there we took the subway back to Penn Station and took the train home. I had great fun, and the guys were great sports for putting up with crowds, etc.

Sunday we had a ham and southern sides (hoppin’ johns and spinach mushroom casserole from our Threadgill’s cookbook) with apple and sweet potato pies for dessert. We then watched movies and knit.

David and Jennie, in an effort to encourage my fiber habits, gave me a “Learn to Spin” kit that has a lot of hand dyed roving and a drop spindle. Both Scott and I have contributed to the tiny bit of yarn we have spun, but so far it is very time consuming. I’m sure with more practice it will get easier, but right now it is an exercise in patience. 🙂

From Scott’s parents, I got the Boye needle master set, and I am very happy with it so far. It is nice to have a circular needle short enough to make a hat, and now I have every size I could want. I also got some knitting books that will give me more ideas and projects.

David had to work on Christmas eve and day, so they drove home on Monday. Christmas day we had one of Scott’s co-workers, Takeshi, over for dinner at 2 pm. and had fried plantain and sausage stuffed mushrooms as appetizers, cooked a turkey breast and another batch of the same sides, since we like them so much, and had rice dumplings with red bean paste for dessert.

We had a video chat with Alexey and Elena in Austin, since we spent last Christmas with Alexey and he is friends with Takeshi (from the time he spent as a post doc in this group at Rutgers before moving to Texas). After that we had fun building a gingerbread house from a kit.

Although we didn’t have snow and missed family, we managed to have a good time, all in all.

Catching up: Part 1 – Knitting Projects

In a completely Boneheaded Move, I deleted this post. I will now try to reconstruct.

I spent the months of November and December in secret knitting, but now that the gifts have been opened, I will disclose my efforts.

This year, the theme was wool hats, with the exception of a couple of scarfs and bath puffs.

1. The Green Beret

Pattern: Gretel by Ysolda Teague.

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran

I learned a lot from this pattern. It is very well written, and it was the first time I had used a tubular cast-on. Though a little challenging, it looks good and seems necessary to keep the hat on. I cast on and knit the four rows with size US8 circular needle, put provisional stitches for the tubular on US6 circular needle then knit the first row of K2P2 rib onto the US8 circular, then switched to US5 dpns for the next 8 rounds.

I knit the regular version of the pattern on 2 US8 circular needles, though I eventually switched to dpns. I undid my swatch and ended up using exactly 2 balls, with little to spare.

2. Watch Caps

Pattern: Marsan Watchcap

Yarn: Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair.

After making one of these for Scott, he suggested I make them for all the guys. Let’s just say I can probably knit this in my sleep.

3. RoboCap

Pattern: Improvised

Yarn: Rowan RowanspunDK

An experiment in double knitting. The pattern is based on this robot from explodingdog.com. It is a website that Scott found many years ago after searching “make sarah smile“. I started the decreases a little early and in a manner I would not do again, but I hope my brother likes it anyway. The yarn was tough to work with for this project because it was uneven in thickness and tended to break with just a little too much tension.

I used the asymmetric graph paper generator from this site and drew the pattern by hand.

This was definitely the most challenging project.

4. Striped Scarf

Pattern: My So-called Scarf

Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted, 1 skein each of Ibiza and Tortuga Colorways

I finally wove in the ends and gave it to Scott. You can see him wearing it in the pictures of NYC.

5. Angora Leaves Scarf

Pattern: Branching Out from Knitty

Yarn: Cascade Yarns, “Cloud 9” 50/50 Wool/Angora

This pattern is going to make me eat my words about not knowing why people knit lace when they can crochet. This pattern was so simple and elegant, that I think I see more lace knitting projects in my future.

6. Crochet Bath puffs

Pattern: Cotton Bath Puff

Yarn: Lily Sugar n’ Cream

Fun little project that can be thrown in the washing machine to clean, unlike the nylon ones. Definitely more environmentally friendly. I will have to make one for myself soon.

I also printed care cards on Avery business card paper. I think they turned out pretty well.

That about wraps it up. I knit all of these, with the exception of the striped scarf, in about 5 weeks, so I am pretty happy and a little worn out. I have a few stragglers yet to send, but I’m mostly done.

Next year I plan to start earlier so I can enjoy it a little more.