Wednesday, December 26, 2007

i bless the rains down in africa

what a holiday! santa was really good to me and gifted me with all sorts of wondrous things, like a new cuisinart, giant power bars, a carving fork, and more tights and work socks than i could ever possibly need for a year. more than that, it was a chance to do some quality time with both families and eat a tonne of food. the meeting of the families went really well and i managed to avoid watching "a christmas story" (which i hate because i think the part in the chinese restaurant at the end is racist). so score one for me! that was the christmas dinnie i made for my family, and the sticky toffee pudding with whiskey caramel sauce in which it is soaked. for the dotytron's family, i made a trifle. i subbed in pound cake for sponge cake (i hate sponge cake more than anything - soggy, texture-less, flavourless, limp thing that it is!) and layered it with a raspberry mix, lemon curd, and whipped cream. it really sang after a dinner that was comprised mostly of carbs and an aggressively cooked turkey that had no choice but to cry surrender after an inordinate amount of time in the oven. here are some things that i have learned: my off-colour, racially insensitive satiric humour plays better with some audiences (my family) than others (the dotytron's family). the dotytron's nany and poppa are probably the warmest, cutest grandparents around and love shopping with a vigour that would have warmed the cockles of adam smith and the chicago school of economic's heart. so far, the wave of tchotchkes (i spelled that right on the first try! score!) is being held at bay, but i sense that as our christmas list to santa's elves becomes by necessity shorter and shorter (the older you get, the more the stuff you want tends to cost thousands of dollars - like a mid century modern teak 8 ft dining room table), the amount of "decorative" home items is going to grow exponentially. i am not into "home" decor per se. in the sense that i have a very specific idea of what i want my person, abode, and surroundings to look like, and generally, it doesn't involve seasonal, purely decorative items like wreaths and miniature santas and the like. it's just not my style.

now i can finally show off the knitting i've been doing! the first is a scarf i knitted for my sister, out of this ridiculously expensive hand-dyed alpaca. the pattern is from the yarn harlot's blog, and i saw someone on another knitting blog do it and copied it from there. isn't it lovely? it's soft and warm and cuddly, like being wrapped in a hot dog bun, to borrow a clever metaphor from the dotytron's aunt. the next thing i made is the montego bay scarf from the interweave summer 2007 issue for the dotytron's sister. it's basically a 4 row pattern but it almost broke me. the yarn is also ridiculously expensive (it's rowan handmaiden sea silk - hand-dyed again) and i must have ripped it up at least 10 times. the last time, i had finally mastered the pattern and had knit about 3 feet of it, but the fishnet lace kept changing direction on me (i mastered the pattern at about the 2 foot mark) and it nearly broke my heart ripping it up, but i'm a perfectionist, and even though impartial judges assured me you couldn't tell, **i** could tell, deep down in my heart, and my little type A conscience wouldn't let me give something away that WASN'T perfect.

this was also my first time "blocking" a finished object (FO in knitting blog speak). blocking is a process that separates home-spun, organic looking knits from something that people would pay a lot of money for. basically, you soak the item(s) in a yarn-soap and water bath, then pat it dry, then pin it out and let it dry to the shape that you pin it out to. it kind of makes the fibres tighten up and neaten up and look all sharp and professional. it's like getting a shampoo and hair dry at the salon, instead of letting something just go au naturel. because the fibres of this scarf was so fine, i just steam blocked it with the steam setting on my iron. it made a world of difference. the lace pattern really popped.

now it's time to get my life back in order. le sigh. unpacking and sorting all the stuff from the holidays almost requires its' OWN holiday. to that end, i'm feeling lazykins and not terribly inclined to cook. i think i'll restart my life tomorrow with oatmeal and healthy, home-cooked food. tonight, in its' stead, i'll probably get takeout (it's the holidays!!!)


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