A Barrel….er Pair…of Monkeys

Happy 2009 everyone.  I hope New Year’s Eve and the beginning of this year have been great for everyone.  Both have been pretty good for me so far.

We went down to Farmington Hills to visit with TJ’s dad and mom (separately, of course) for New Years since we didn’t spend Christmas with them this year.  It was the first year in our new house and we wanted to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (Pictures to follow soon, I promise) in it.  So we left Tuesday evening and drove down to Dad’s.  We spent an uneventful but very enjoyable night there; Jake opened Christmas gifts from his Papa and Grandma Fran and so did TJ and I.  As always they were generous to a fault.  Jake is now the proud owner of the game Operation which he’s been coveting from TV commercials for months now.  It’s much more high tech then the version that was out when I was a child.  Instead of just making that horrible buzzing sound for the parts, there are individual sounds for each different part.  Wicked.  He was very happy.  My favorite gift was the incredibly warm pair of pink suede moccasins that I swear have hardly left my feet since I got them.  I love having warm feet!  I’m not sure what TJ’s favorite gift was, probably the lined, puffy lumberjack type jacket – he likes being warm too.  Why do we live in Michigan again?  Not to mention right on the edge of a lake effect snow band?  Hmmm…  After presents we got the Wii (by far our favorite gift of the holiday season) out so Jake could show Papa how good he is at boxing (stay out of the kid’s way, I tell you, he just kind of punches and kicks wildly, but does very well) and tennis.  He ended up playing baseball, too, and now that’s his obsession.  I see Little League in my future this summer and possibly tennis lessons as well since that’s his other favorite thing.  After finding out how much we love the Wii, my mother very generously offered to buy me a Wii Fit as an extension of my gift (an already ridiculously generous Sony Alpha 300 DSLR camera).  I can’t help but wonder if this is her not so subtle way of reminding me that I need to lose weight.  Either way, I’m thrilled to be getting it and I can’t wait to start getting in better shape (one my resolutions for this year).

Wednesday afternoon we went to TJ’s mother’s house to spend the afternoon and eat an early dinner.  We were surprised, pleasantly of course, to find Aunt Nancy at the house when we arrived.  It made for a great afternoon filled with Christmas gifts, Wii bowling and pizza and ribs.  So much fun.  Mom knows Jake so well and got him a Michigan CAT train set which he went crazy for.  After the afternoon at Mom’s we left Jake with Dad and Fran and we went to a party with friends that we haven’t seen in a few years.  It was a great night and it was so much fun to see friends that we haven’t been able to spend time with.  I’m usually not much for parties and I actually thought about not going for a bit, but I didn’t want to disappoint TJ so I went and had a better time than I can remember having in a long time.  I should really do things like that more often.  Depression sometimes makes you forget how much you like your friends…:)

So now we’re back home and the Christmas knitting is done.  It was a relief to finish in time (just barely) but also a bit of a letdown at the end.  For a few months now I’ve been working to get these gifts done in time and once they were done I had nothing on the needles so to speak…I actually have quite a few WIPs in the not finished basket.  I decided that this would be a perfect time to actually knit that pair of socks that I’ve been wanting to make since I taught myself to knit a few years ago.  I grabbed the Socks that Rock in Hot Flash ( a color which I thought was atrocious when I bought it as a gift for Andrea, but when I balled it I discovered that it was absolutely gorgeous) and swatched and grabbed a set of dpns to cast on.  This time I’m going to finish these socks.  I picked the Monkey Socks because it’s a pretty pattern that seems like it’s not too complicated.  I’ve started multiple pairs of socks with a plain 2×2 pattern or a simple 4 st. repeat from Sensational Socks but have always gotten bored and stopped by the end of sock one.  Not so much Second Sock Syndrome as bored out of my mind with the boring pattern syndrome.  This time, though, I’m determined to finish these socks so I’m not allowing myself to cast on anything new until I’m done with these…and I have some really great yarn in my stash and some more on the way.  I may not be able to force myself to work on only the socks until they’re done; I’ve never been able to be quite that monogamous with my knitting, but if I get bored with the socks I will pick up a WIP rather than starting something new.

On the spinning front I’ve got two things currently in the works.  I just finished the first half of the roving for the Spirogyra Mitts which has great spinning instructions in the same issue’s Knitty Spin.  I’ve spun it on my Spinsanity Spindle to 28 wpi and am planning to chain ply it to get 13 wpi (I hope).  If I did all my math correctly, I should have plenty of yardage for this pattern (I’m using 4.2 oz. of merino/tencel in a 50/50 blend).  Tomorrow I’m planning to get the first half on the wheel for plying (I’m still not really clear on chain plying on the spindle).   Once I’m sure I’m getting the right wpi and correct yardage, I’ll get to spinning the 2nd half.  I also just finished the second bobbin of singles from the Girl Insane roving (80/20 Merino/Tussah Silk roving in shades of light to bright pink with accents of purple and a darker black shade).  I split the roving by colors (light and dark) and spun them on separate bobbins.  I’m going to ply them together in a simple two ply and hope to see the colors blend together in a really pretty way.  We shall see.

That’s about all for now…back to the monkeys for a few more rounds before bed.  Next time…my 101 in 1oo1 or at least the first part of it.  I’ve decided I want to try this resolution thing with a little extra time.  I’m excited to do it and see how much of it I actually accomplish.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to come up with 101 things, though…

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