Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Frightful weather (and a December giveaway)

Today it rained so hard that it got brighter from the light reflecting off the sheets of water.  It didn't last for long, but it was definitely startling.  Now the temperature is dropping and it feels like December again.  I'm not sure why it's allowed to be December when I was just getting used to November, but there it is, December 1st, 2010.

This month's giveaway is a bit of a tease. See, I've got these fun red boxes.

So this month, I'm giving away a box. The contents of said box is a surprise.  Think of it as a mini swap box, it will contain at least 50g of fiber or yarn and some other goodies.

This month, I'd like to know about the best gift you've ever given.  I found this kind of a difficult exercise that sounded easier than it was, but that may be because I'm hit or miss with the presents.  So tell us a story! And it doesn't have to be fibery, although knowing this crowd I expect that more than a few will be.

For me, it is possibly this hat I made my cousin for after he had surgery.  Knit out of butter soft fingering weight Dalegarn Baby Ull, it covered up the incision and kept the cold off. Practical and simple, it's not the most impressive thing I've ever knit nor the most complicated or difficult, but I do think it's one of the most appreciated.

Now, you know the drill.  Post here and make sure I have a way of contacting you if you win. I'm letting this one play out until December 8th, since I'm up to my eyeballs in fest prep. I'll pick a random winner on Dec. 9th.  And yes, you can double dip with the Ravelry group. :D

Meanwhile, if you're in Boston this Sunday (Dec. 5), come by the Boston Bazaar Bizarre and say "hello".  It's at the Cyclorama and KnittinK and I will be in booth 110 trying to keep our gigantic piles of yarn and fiber from spilling out from the tiny, tiny booth and into the aisles.  This is my first "away" festival and I'm both nervous and excited.

I'm in the weird position of getting ready for a major fair but having to finish prep early because of that 5+ hour drive to get to Boston. Everything has to be perfect, packed, and stuffed in my car so I can drive up early on Friday. Then I get to hang out with friends and try not to stress out from the forced inaction until Sunday.

Of course, this means I'm dyeing fiber today instead of doing all sorts of necessary things like making more stitch markers, printing labels, and writing up my inventory list.  I can't write up the inventory list if things are still being added to it, after all. *cough*  But really, I'm sucked into fiber dyeing because it finally clicked.  Which is to say that what I know intellectually about how temperature, acidity, and water movement affect a dye job has finally been paired up with enough experience that I'm beginning to intuit how to achieve what I want.

I can think up a colorway in yarn and figure out how to get there.  Prior to today, I wasn't very good about figuring that out with fiber, mostly because of the limitations of my preferred technique.  But now there's this.

This still wet fiber is 4oz of American Silksheep roving (white) dyed up in the Moro colorway I've done before, but this time it's right.

Right feels good, so I'm going to drop 2 more batches of fiber tonight and hope I can make up the time by working really fast on the other things when I can.


Amy said...

The best gifts I give are my towels with knit toppers. Everyone in my family and at work begs for them each year. I am making them like mad at this point. I save up special towels with certain people in mind and start about Halloween to get them all done. knitterofhats on Ravelry

rinebird said...

I used to crochet when I was younger.One year I crocheted Xmas stockings.The pattern included crocheted stars in the stocking design. .To this day I cannot believe I made them.I gave all of them as gifts to my family.I kept the first one I made which was way over sized.I wish I could find the pattern.


ikkinlala said...

The best gift I've ever given is probably the Christmas stocking I made for my mom a few years ago. She'd never had a real stocking before (she had always just used a sock) and everyone else in the family did, so I think she appreciated getting a homemade one.

ikkinlala AT yahoo DOT ca

ladysisyphus said...

The best gift -- the one I love giving my dad every year -- is buttermilk pie! I make it, and I know he loves it, and I make at least a half dozen of them every Christmas, and he freezes them. And they make him so happy!

(Also, I took some scarves I've made from your yarn to a little craft table to-do at Bryn Mawr College today, and got many, many compliments on your lovely yarn!)

cthulhulovesme said...

Oooh, gorgeous fiber. Curse my love for colors I never wear!

My best gift, I think, was the chemo hat I made my mother last year when she began her treatment for breast cancer. I couldn't do much for her with an ocean between us, but I could make her a hat that would keep her warm and remind her of me when things were rough. *mouth quirks*

Zibu said...

The best gift I can think of is my dad's 60th bday present - a quilt wall-hanging that I designed from scratch, starting with an idea and translating it into an intricate pattern. It's quite beautiful and I can't believe I made it sometimes! He loves it and shows it off to everyone (who oohs and aahs appropriately!).

Rebecca said...

My first thought when asked the best gift I've ever given was of a book I made - I took my friend's honors thesis, an epic poem, printed it, and bound it with scrap book paper, a cast off hardcover book, and a half dozen kinds of glue. By when you mentioned the fiber goodies, I realized I was wrong!

The best gift I ever gave was one I didn't intend to give.

I spent the winter, maybe 5 years ago, crocheting afghans. I gave away the first two, and the third was all mine. It was a bit of a strange combination of colors that appealed to my eye as well as to my desire to find a use for some random balls of yarn. The night after I finished it, I was asked to help pick up a vehicle from my granpa's house. There was no occasion; we weren't staying. Yet something I never understood made me take the blanket along, and give it to my granpa.

He loved it. It was so light and airy, yet incredibly warm. He used it all the time, either to rest against in his chair, or to sit under. It turned out to be perfect for his lap - generously oversized without being awkward.

I have it back now. He passed away Dec. 23rd, almost two years ago. He used it long before he was sick, through his illness, and up to the day before he died when he went to the hospital for the last time (Horse pistol, he'd call it.)

Thanks for asking - I'm glad you reminded me.

Kitten With a Whiplash said...

This may not be the best gift I've given, but it had the best results of any gift I've given.

My mother has never taken to cooking. She was a waitress for years, just to get fed without having to cook. Early in their marriage my stepfather made a few futile attempts to get Mom to cook. What a Schmuck!

When I was 12 we had the Christmas gathering at our house. It was all his family, as none of her family lived within 500 miles. That year they decided to gang up on Mom; every present she received from them was something to do with cooking. Cookbook, rolling pin, etc.

Mom’s reactions progressed from polite “Thank You”s to icy stares. Finally my stepfather handed her his present. A Deluxe Teflon Coated Electric Bacon Cooker!

Before she could bean him with it I gave her my present to open. It was a red lace peignoir set she had admired while we were out shopping together a couple months earlier.

Mom beamed with delight. There was a gasp and some chuckles and muttering that a 12 year old boy would give his mother a gift like this. Old Schmuck turned redder than the nightie, and he never gave her another gift for the kitchen. It was as if he had suddenly realized he'd married a woman, not a servant.

BTW: The bacon cooker was a sham. You drape the bacon over the center, pull up the sides and turn it on. 20 minutes later you have undercooked U shaped bacon.

ajdag said...

I think one of my best Christmass i think i was about 10yrs was when i got Animal the puppet. we had just gone to New york and seen the macy's day prade for Thanksgiving and visit a distance cousin. i got to go to FAO Schwarz toy store. that's another story. while we were visiting with the cousins they were quite a bit older. they had an Animal puppet. I loved the Muppets.He still hangs on a hanger in my closet.

Ilina said...

This really is quite difficult! I think probably a beaded lace shawl I knit for my mother. She's been knitting for as long as I can remember and has knitted me so many things, but I only started seriously a year ago. I did know the basics when I started my first sweater last winter, but I think without her advice and encouragement I never would've gone on knitting and discovered my passion for it and learned all these new techniques. The shawl was a way of saying thank you for being a great knitting example.
Ilina (on rav)

lylian.mae said...

I've been a hockey fan for for about 16 years now. The best give was at age 17 when my mom bought us girls our own jerseys. That was the best Christmas gift ever. There have been close seconds, but this one takes the cake.

cols journey said...

Two years ago in October my mom passed away; my dad was never the "doer" for holidays - he was always the recipient. That year my sisters and I decided we were going to converge on his house and decorate it the way mom would have (foil on the banister and all). The older kids put up the nativity set, the little ones decorated the bottom of the tree and my sisters and I took my dad to lunch. He said the house looked beautiful, but the time he got to spend with his adult children was the best gift ever.

rogue1 said...

I miss buying toys for Christmas. In 1996, the week before Christmas, my 6yo daughter looked at me and asked me to take her to see Santa again, because she "forgot to tell him about Elmo." Yes, she wanted a Tickle Me Elmo. 7 days before Christmas. I told her Santa may have a hard time (try impossible) getting her one, because the elves may not have enough time to make hers. She gave me a solemn look and said "Santa is magic."
So, whenever I was out, I looked for one, but I refused to enter the fray, so to speak. I happened to be in K Mart, and the toy person told me they were giving rainchecks for Elmo, but not guaranteed for Christmas. So I got a raincheck and stuffed it in my glove compartment.
On Christmas Eve they called me. It was snowing and wet and yucky. I had one hour to get to the store and pick up Elmo. I had to go to the back (the gun counter, LOL), show my raincheck and a photo ID, and the gun man brought out a box wrapped in black plastic and silver duct tape. They then called security to escort me to my car (I am not making this up!).

And Elmo was hers. When she opened it she said, "I told you Santa was magic." She kept Elmo with her. And this year I am going to find him and re wrap him and give him to her to take back to school with her. (She is 1000 miles away.)


lisa said...

the best gift I ever gave was to my oldest son. He suffers from seasonal depression and by December the blues are beginning to set in and he struggles to be upbeat for the holidays. I try very hard to think of things that will mean a lot to him and will help to lift his spirits, but I always feel like I've missed the mark. One year I decided to make him an evil overlord kit. I sewed him a cape from an old sheet, made him an eye patch from some shrinky dink film and bought him a 'button' that when pressed played Darth Vader's theme music. I topped it all off with a handmade book titled Family Recipes. Inside was, of course, the whole evil overlord list. My son was so pleased with his gift! For weeks he wouldn't enter a room with out first playing his Darth Vader music. It was so good to see how a simple inexpensive gift could mean so much