Sunday, December 20, 2015

Merry Fishmas, Elf

My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that? --Bob Hope
I had a weird week. I was sailing along through the last week of work before the holidays, when on Tuesday, I was hit with kind of a 24-hour bug. It's not the first time this has happened. I felt chills, then fatigue, and then I just felt all-out terrible. I went home. I took a hot bath, gave myself a foot scrub, took a nap, woke up with a headache, then took another nap...

And then, I felt fine. So freaking weird.

I decided to stay home on Wednesday, just to be sure I was ok. We're going home to my family over the holidays, and since my mom is immunosuppressed, I can't bring home any bugs. I slept a lot, drank a lot of water, and sat on the couch under blankets.

While I was home, I made this fish for a friend of mine who helped me out of a bind. I should have named him. I think we should call him Cliff. I think that's a good name for a fish: 

I used this pattern, but used some leftover worsted weight Patons Classic instead of sock yarn, and therefore, larger needles. I also reversed the direction of the dorsal fin, and fiddled with the tail to give it more of a tapered look.

I crocheted some lips onto him. And yeah.. his fins are a bit crooked, but that seemed to help him sit on my desk a bit better. Sorry about that, Cliff. The fact that I realized I was doing the head decreases wrong (and therefore, saved him from looking like a sturgeon) was a miracle. I guess I should knit toys more often.

In a rare fit of holiday spirit, I sat down yesterday and decided I'd crochet this elf. I'd been thinking of making it since last year when one of my Google+ friends shared it, and I thought he'd make a cute little gift. It took some hunting, but I eventually tracked down the pattern here. It's in Italian, and I thought I could wing it by making myself a strong coffee and reading it with the best Eat-Pray-Love accent I could muster, but it was the hubby who reminded me that I can upload files to Google Translate to get it into English. That wasn't as fun, but probably a lot more productive. I took me a couple of tries to make sure I understood what was happening, but the result is so darn cute that I put him on the couch next to me while I watched Jimmy Fallon. I think he enjoyed it.

He was actually a bit of a distraction from this hat, which I am basing on Shellie Anderson's Cliff Hat, except that I keep screwing it up. I've ripped it out at least four times in the last two days. I figure I'll either end up with a hat, or a really big pot holder. At least the yarn is holding up with all the ripping. It's hand-dyed worsted weight Merino from local yarn artist, Indigo Moon.

At least the elf is impressed:

It's only today that I'm getting the chance to take photos of my finished Svalbard. In truth, I wasn't really sure I liked the finished result, but I think it has grown on me over the week. I am happy with the colour, and with the way it hangs:

I am not in love with the way the button holes turned out. I hate making button holes in general - I am just not good at them. I might fiddle with them a bit more to make them better, but I'm going to leave it for now. It's enough to make me want to knit a pullover next. 

I am, however, very happy with the buttons. I actually went out and found three different options for it. I laid them each onto the sweater, hmm'd and hahhed, squinted my eyes at them, and even walked away to look out the window to refresh my eyes to make sure I liked them. And yeah, I really do:

But the part I like the best is the back. Bristol Ivy truly is a genius:

I was worried I'd be too cold with the short sleeves, but I wore it out for lunch today, and found I was warm enough with my alpaca shawl wrapped around my neck. It's certainly not the best for a true Canadian winter, but it'll do for a cafe lunch on Vancouver Island:

Given that I had that weird health blip in the middle of the week, it's been an oddly productive project week: quite possibly the most productive yarn week I've had all year. Huh.. interesting.

Perhaps it's because I don't usually knit for other people. I am a self-proclaimed Selfish Knitter, and I'm really protective of the time I spend with my yarn. Maybe crafting for other people makes me go faster. It's an interesting result, and it's a nice thing to be able to do, and it makes me feel good, but I think I'll keep the yarn project gifts as a rarity. Yarn is not to be rushed, no matter who it's for.

We're off to my family on Tuesday morning, and I'm really looking forward to it. People keep asking me if I'm ready for Christmas, and yeah, I really am. Our family holiday has never been about the gifts. It's always been a day of visits from friends and family, and sitting together and enjoying food and conversation and company. Am I ready for that? Oh yes, I really, really am.

Happy Holidays!

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