Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas is a comin'

Yes,  ready or not,  it's almost here.  Am I ready?  Uh, not really.  That's not my fireplace (though it has finally gotten cold enough for us to have a fire each evening),  but what I'd love more than anything would be to sit down in front of it,  with a cup of my favorite hot tea,  my stack of mostly British magazines and have my knitting close by.  I don't know why I'm always surprised at how rushed everything becomes the last few days before the 25th.  The Christmas knitting is finished,  the baking and making is done.  I still have a few things to wrap and then we'll have a full week of comings and goings.  I'm ready to slow my brain down and stop waking up at 3:00 am,  wondering if I've forgotten someone.

Oddly,  Christmas day will be the only quiet day here at the home place.  If the weather is nice,  we're likely to take a hike down the creek to the waterfall where it drops into the river.  Maybe I'll make a big pot of clam chowder and some homemade bread.  Maybe we'll watch "The Christmas Story" and "A Child's Christmas in Wales".  (Mike thinks it's probably against the law to watch a movie during the daytime,  so there is some risk taking in that!)

I'm especially thankful this Christmas for my friends and family.  I'm grateful that all are healthy and close enough that we can see them more than once or twice a year.  I'm grateful for all of you who take the time to check in here and read about the farm and our life here.  Thank you and I wish all of you a blessed and happy Christmas.

(This "Red-headed Knitter" ornament is one I ordered from Anthropologie years ago.  She resides on the little tree in my studio, with all the little woolie ornaments I've collected over the years.  She kinda looks the way I feel sometimes - except my hair is much shorter!)


Friday, December 14, 2012

Ford's Mill Sunset

Coming home to the farm one evening last week,  I turned onto the next to the last country road before ours and saw this .... a gorgeous fat sun slipping out of sight.  I pulled over to the side of the road and snapped a hurried picture just as it disappeared.

Turning onto that road seems to send a signal to my body .... ahhh,  you're almost home.  The traffic and busy-ness of town fades away.  I can almost feel my heart rate slow.  Though I didn't grow up in the country,  I've lived there most of my adult life and I can't imagine living anywhere else.  I know there will come a time when it's just too difficult physcially to stay on the farm and maybe I will be mentally prepared for leaving by then.  I don't know.  A few years ago,  when I stepped on a garden tool that went through my boot and into my foot,  Mike told me that he had an epiphany.  He said it suddenly came to him that leaving the farm might not be a decision we come to slowly and in our own good time.  There may come a moment when something drastic happens and the decision is taken out of our hands.  We have acknowledged that neither of us could manage it alone.  There's just too much work,  too much involved in keeping things even marginally presentable around here.    I do think we've reached the stage where we are no longer adding things to the mix.  There have been no new species of animals lately and no new building projects undertaken,  though both of those are continuing temptations. 

I've been thinking a lot about these things lately because I've had an on-going physical problem with one of my shoulders.   I've had trouble sleeping and being able to comfortably do the chores I need to do.  It's been a not so pleasant reminder of aging and the limitations of my own body.   I'm setting some fitness goals for myself for the new year and am thinking about how to be more creative and productive, yet more relaxed in my daily life.  What do you think?  Is that even possible? 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A pair and a spare

Not long ago,  Susan Anderson released her Waiting for Winter Mitten pattern,  and though I have knit many a mitten and have many patterns for said mittens,  I wanted to try it.  I have a bit of a pattern addiction and love trying out new ones.  I was hoping this one would be super simple and easily memorized ... you know,  the kind where the numbers are easy enough to remember that you can pick up needles and yarn and jump right in without having to hunt for the pattern and try to remember the changes you might have had to make (especially if,  like me,  you often forget to make clear notes of pattern alterations).

Susan's got a mitten knit-along going on right now on her Itty Bitty Knits group and lot's of people are already posting their versions of the pattern on Ravelry.  These are my first attempt and I've already cast on for the next pair.  They are fast,  fun,  easy and just slightly addicting to knit.  The whole time I'm knitting,  I'm thinking of ways to knit the next pair.  For my 'pair and a spare',  I used one skein of Noro Kureyon and one skein of Silk Garden,  alternating every two rows.  After beginning the second mitten,  I could see that the colors were going to be very different (ah,  the beauty of Noro's variegation that makes it so interesting to knit with!).   I ended up knitting a third mitten in order to get a little more coordination.   I don't have quite enough yarn left for a fourth mitten,  so this little group has become  a set of fraternal triplets and I kinda like the idea of having a back-up mitten to replace the one that invariably gets lost.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

You need a knitted wreath

I'm making a quick post here to point the way to a fast and fun knitting project that just might put you in the mood for Christmas.  It will also confirm to all your non-knitting friends that you really will knit anything!   This is the Hampstead Wreath.  You can read all about it here on Mason-Dixon Knitting and find out why you can justify taking a few hours away from Christmas knitting that you should have already finished.

I opted for cheap and durable yarn,  in case I decided to hang it outside.  Michael's satisfied my desire for something somewhat natural looking,  even if it is a wool and (gasp!) acrylic blend.  (It's Wool-Ease Thick and Quick and is only 10% wool.)  I know my knitting friends are choking on their coffee after reading that I've stooped to anything lower than 100% wool,  but sometimes you have to compromise your principles just a little.  (I'm a terrible yarn snob and this confession is painful to make.)  Anyway,  except for the vaguely unpleasant squeakiness of the yarn,  it knit up just fine and has the sort of rustic look I was going for.  (The color is off in the picture.  The wreath is the same natural color all over and the pom-poms are redder.)  After looking at all the versions on Ravelry,  I believe I need to add some more pom-poms* - or some bigger ones maybe.  Still thinking on that.

*Those pom-poms!  I bought one of those little Clover pom-pom makers while I was in Michael's and boy-oh-boy are they fun to use.  I want to make pom-poms all the time now!