A Little Dedication

Will wonders never cease! Look at what a little dedication will get you:

Hello hoochy mamma!

Don't worry, there is a garter stitch border that must be at least an inch wide (I'm guessing) that gets knitted to the neck edge. I have started with the lace border (bottom) instead of moving on to the sleeves because I have an issue with the pattern. Maybe you can offer some advice. As you can see in the photo from the magazine the stylists have cleverly hidden the bottom cuff of the sleeves. Why? Because there is no bottom cuff. The pattern basically says cast on x stitches and knit in stockinette (with some increases). While I do like the way the model wears the sweater over a button down shirt I don't think I always would wear it that way, and an unfinished edge is just plain ugly I think. But the sweater is very "elegant" (I can't think of a better word) and too much fussiness at the cuffs wouldn't be good either. What do you think? Ribbing? A knitted hem? Something else?

Mary thinks she is not getting enough blog-time, so here she is in Part 2 of her continuing coverage of "If it's a Box, It Must be for Me":

If I could just push some of these socks out of the box,
then there will be room for me!

She also would like to let everyone know that alarm clocks do indeed make good pillows (and desk lamps make good tanning beds).

Shhh... I'm trying to sleep. And get a tan.

My apologies to everyone I owe a note to - 'tis the season for running around like a chicken with its head cut off!

I leave you with some further amusement:

You know it's my fav tenor again, but why does he have a dead bird on his head?
(Really, I would like to know what the costume designer was thinking.)


Christmas Cookies and Holiday Hearts

In the spirit of the holidays I have blatantly stolen this meme from Kate:

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot Chocolate. I’m not even sure I’ve ever had eggnog, but the association in my mind is that of “bad”. Hot chocolate on the other hand… I never met a chocolate product (sans nuts) that I didn’t like.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Of course Santa wraps the presents! And he uses the same paper and ribbons and bows (especially the ribbons and bows) every year! I bet my parents have bows in the Big Box of Bows from 1975. My parents were nothing if not thrifty. They recycled before recycling became hip.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Personally I like the classic classiness of white lights, on the house, on the bushes, in the windows, on the tree. (But not those blinking ones, heavens no.) But, when I was growing up (let’s say the ‘80s) there was no such thing as white lights, especially not for outdoors. We had those giant colored bulbs that my father would outline the house with. I’m not even sure they still make them. The kids and grandkids of some of my parents friends call their house the “gingerbread house” because my dad still risks climbing on the roof to hang up those colored lights, and you don’t see them around too much any more. So, colored lights for nostalgia, white lights for my modern sensibility.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Nope, never have. I’m not even where you can get it here in the city. And in all honesty there was only year I was dating at Christmastime, and he was a Jew. Go figure. (That fact makes present-day Christmases kind a thorn in my side…)

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Traditionally the weekend after Thanksgiving. Growing up, if it was bitterly cold sometimes the house lights would have to wait until a warm spell.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Excluding dessert? Um…. I don’t know, Christmas dinner was always kind of a non-event in our house growing up, definitely taking second place to Thanksgiving dinner. I’m not even sure if we had “dishes” that appeared every year. I think the main dish was usually a ham. (A delicious honey-glazed ham.)

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
Playing old records of Christmas carols. We had this one that included Christmas Cookies and Holiday Hearts (…that’s the way the holidays start…) and the Skater’s Waltz (I don’t know if that’s the real name) that my sister and I would play over and over… Another favorite was the Muppet’s Christmas album with John Denver. I think it is called “A Christmas Together”. A Peace Carol and Where the River Meets the Sea are real gems.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Honestly I don’t remember. I know we believed, and then we didn’t believe. It may have been connected to snooping for Christmas presents when the parents weren’t around…

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Yes, but only because my sister and I would whine and whine and whine until they finally gave in. This was repeated every year.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
Growing up we had the colored lights, tinsel (I shudder at the thought now), and lots of ornaments my mother ultimately received as gifts from her students (and not all of them good ones…) The Christmas tree of my dreams has white lights, coordinated glass and fabric ornaments, and possibly cranberry strings. Rather Victorian in flavor (although I don’t know if those things are Victorian). That tree will remain in my dreams until I can afford a big enough place to have it…

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Love it! After having spent sever different Christmases in warm-weather climes I can safely say it isn’t Christmas without snow! (In a similar vein, doesn’t it seem like it was snowier in our youths than today (for me this was the ‘80s)? Now it seems like we are lucky to have a White Christmas…

12. Can you ice skate?
Yes, but even though I grew up in a cold climate I really didn’t learn in earnest until college, where we had a rink for our school team which offered free skating time for students many times a week during the winter!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
I really can’t. Is that terrible or what?

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Theoretically, the general “peace on earth, good will towards men” attitude that is supposed to be pervasive… Here in the city though the attitude seems to be more “get out of my way or I will knock you down” – it’s so damn crowded here for the holidays!

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Gingerbread cookies, the really spicy kind. My sister’s godmother makes the best.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
For my entire adult life (basically since I was in college) my family has gone to New Hampshire for Christmas. It’s nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, there is a greater chance of snow there than either here or my parent’s house, and there are retail outlet malls fairly close by.

17. What tops your tree?
A gold tinsely star tops my parent’s tree. I envision a beautiful glass or wrought gold star on mine, but for now, nada for my non-existent tree.

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving?
Both. J But on the receiving end I prefer consumable gifts honestly, because I have too much junk as it is and too small an apartment to store it all.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Bing Crosby singing White Christmas in Holiday Inn. (Yes! Didn't you know that White Christmas was recorded for Holiday Inn, not White Christmas, which came later!) I just love Bing… Frank Sinatra too. Pretty much all the classic carols from the 40s through the 60s. I hate the modern crap we hear today, I really do.

20. Candy Canes… Yuck or Yum?
I’m kind of ambivalent about candy canes – I’ll eat them if they’re around, but I don’t seek them out, nor do I buy them (except as decoration sometimes, not really to eat). Kate’s suggestion to use them as a stirrer in hot chocolate certainly sounds like a good idea to me though.


Women Are Fickle

Before I get to the knitting content (Yes! There is knitting content!) another page in my busy entertainment calendar has turned:

Don Carlo, Opera in five acts.

Yes, another star-studded evening was spent in the Family Circle of the Metropolitan Opera. Can you see the time listed dear people? I entreat you to click on the photo to make it bigger. Go ahead. I dare you.

Yes, Don Carlo, one of the great masterpieces of Verdi, is nearly five hours long. Including the travel time I spent as much time at the opera as I did at work yesterday (and time more enjoyably spent, I can assure you!) Yet the hours flew by as though mere minutes, that's how good it was. You actually have heard music from this one too. Don't believe me? Have a listen to the famous "oath duet", 'Dio, che nell'alma infondere'. (It's short - it's an Amazon clip.) See, I told you so.

This opera featured one of the most celebrated casts that I have ever seen to date: Patricia Racette, Olga Borodina, Johan Botha, Rene Pape, (stars every one of them) and this man:

Just press play.

Dmitri Hvorostovsky sings Rodrigo's famous death aria from Don Carlo (swoon). He's fifteen years older now and with striking silver hair (click the link!) but he's still got the goods. The Marquis du Posa never looked (or sounded) so good. And the best part - I get to see him again in Eugene Onegin in February... From bel canto tenor to dramatic Verdi baritone - I just can't help myself!

OK, ok, knitting. Well, I blocked the back of the Embellished V-neck and look what happened:

It's a liiiiiiiiiiiiiitle bit small. If I continue to knit at the same gauge it will have like three inches less ease than Salina. Hmmm. Now, Salina is a bit big, but I'm not sure if she's that big. (Length looks good though.) Sandra, clearly you had your fingers crossed too hard. Have I learned my lesson? No. I am forging ahead and knitting the front less tightly. Wish me luck, and be ready to send beaucoup tissues when it doesn't work out...


We Now Return You To Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

(More or less.)

I did a little bit of knitting today:

Yeah, I'll get to those holiday cards one of these days...

The back of the Embellished V-neck is done! Fini! Cross your fingers that when I try blocking it it doesn't grow to gigantic proportions and reduce me to tears. Of course I enjoyed some entertainment while I worked:

See Laurie, you aren't the only one who takes photos of your TV.

Ten points if you can identify that man. Twenty if you can identify what he is in.

Finally, I have a weird cat:

If it's a box, it must be for me.


It was fascination, I know

Hi knitters! I haven't been knitting! Why? I have a new love:

His name is Rockwell Blake and he is the premiere Rossini tenor of his generation. This is how Rossini should be sung. You know Rossini - The Barber of Seville. Even if you don't like opera you owe it to yourself to have a listen - you won't be disappointed. And do yourself a favor, let it play all the way to the end. You will be left wondering how the hell does he do that?


Embellished V-Neck

The new sweater has gained some length, while all others languish:

I have finished the armhole shaping and am a mere 35 rows from binding off the back! My handy calculator tells me that I am 77% complete with the back. Not bad for mindless (= boring) stockinette. Really. The front should be more interesting though. (God I hope so.) I swear I did not intentionally buy taupe colored yarn. I don't actually remember the color I thought I ordered but this is what came. (It is actually very slightly lilac.) I hope it ends up looking ok - I really like the dark color of the sweater on the model but I didn't have anything dark that was even close to gauge. Ah, well, cross your fingers.

Mary had her annual check-up and vaccinations today. What a fun day that is, when then furball has to go in the carrier. She cries like she is mortally wounded from the very first second she goes in. It's even more fun carrying a yowling cat down 3 city blocks in New York. Yup, that's how far away I live from my vet. I love NY. For now. All is well, but... OK, she is a little overweight. By like 1-2 lbs. My baby has to go on a diet. Starting tomorrow.

This is on the loft frame (2" wide and 6' off the ground).

Look at me! I won't fall off! I'm graceful! (No, you are not.)


My Knitting Shop

Anyone else get this amusing ad from Yahoo!? (Click to make bigger):