charmed, i’m sure

one of my favorite aspects of christmas week is the relaxation of the usual routine to fit in visits with friends and relatives. i grew up in a large extended family and my parents were close to thier siblings and cousins, so the week between the holidays was filled by getting out of the house to deliver cookie trays, giving us an opportunity to play with other kids while our moms sipped coffee and talked. sometimes several families would visit together in one afternoon.

we don’t live near any of our family now, but i’m imprinted to crave company during this time, so we enjoy extra outings with friends and their families during the holidays when possible.

on tuesday, beckie and i were invited to the cozy cottage home of our friends kris and helena (and jeff, but he was elsewhere for the day) for a tea party and we accepted with excitement. when we arrived, helena greeted us in a beautiful outfit of vintage clothes and jewelry. helena is a talented stylist and a budding dressmaker with much promise—she enjoys plundering thrift shops and grandmother’s closet for wearable treasures, as well as watching old movies for ideas.

(i should have taken a photo of her gloves—they are hand-crocheted beauties)

KD, the family cairn terrier, was on hand, vying for title of cutest blog dog—he just has one thing to say:
move over mr jeffries—lemme show ya how this posing stuff is done.

though beckie and i did not wear dressup costumes, beckie did wear her new, frilly mitts until the knitting came out and the food was served

(i assembled an outfit carefully that revolved around a shawl and sweater combo, but then left my shawl behind in the bathroom, sigh)
after we opened small gifts, helena showed us her christmas presents

one of them was this adorable hat knit by kris, from the rowan vintage beret pattern and we all decided she should start modeling some knitspot stuff, yes? (this is her pouty pose)

after that, we settled down for a scrumptious light lunch of quiche and salad, followed by confections such as lavender truffles and cookies

(KD didn’t jump once, even when things got way more exciting)

after lunch we all took out our needlework and sat for a couple of hours of chatting and working

beckie is knitting socks from handspun and kris is putting the final touches on a hat and scarf set destined for their adopted sibling in india—a boy whose family smuggled him out of tibet to have a better life. he has been part of kris’s family from afar for several years now.

i arrived with my second gansey sock just barely started and left with the deep ribbed cuff complete, ready to start the patterned panel.

helena has a passion for paper dolls and received several new sets for christmas, including this erté collection. she also spent some of the afternoon exploring a huge bag of trims, beads, appliqués, lace, and vintage sewing patterns i brought

they have been sitting unused in my workroom collection for years—i couldn’t bear to throw them out—just waiting for the right person to claim them. i was more than happy to pass everything along to her—she will enjoy it the most of anyone i know. (and i now have a nearly-empty cabinet under my pressing bench, yay!).

while the light was still good, beckie donned the completed fishbone gansey sock and we did a little photo shoot

kris’s house is so rich with background texture and pattern that it made the perfect location to photograph this cozy sock (and how about those pumpkins?)

after some more tea and knitting, beckie and i packed up reluctantly to head home—it’s been a very cold and snowy week and we hated to leave their cozy house and a magical visit.

it was really sweet that david was all set to put dinner on the table when i arrived home—leftovers from christmas to warm us up.

after we ate, i settled in for an evening of work on my current projects.

i got one of my upcoming secret projects on the needles the other night; this will be a good traveling project or one i can pick up and put down, thus making progress with a little or a lot of knitting time.

it’s kind-of straightforward though, and after a bit i was eager to work on the henley for a little more excitement

it’s growing—and—without any unpleasantness, too. i am through the shaping on this back piece and about an inch from the underarm bindoff. i just love this knitting notions superwash sport yarn—the denimy colorway and it’s soft, comfy, worn feel would be perfect to wear in california in january.
i think i can make a pretty good dent in the upper back tonight and maybe even finish it, if i don’t get sidetracked. then, i’ll just have the front to do (with the exciting placket to work). if i could finish it time to pack it, i’d be pretty pleased.

david’s christmas sweater is still waiting for buttons, but i think we hit the motherlode of solutions with man-appeal during a restless jog over to etsy the other night. i was all set to try to get to jo-ann this week for the buttons, despite the after-holiday throngs of crafty bargain hunters, when it occurred to me to check etsy for possible alternatives.

and voila—i give you buttonboy and wooden treasures, purveyors of natural wood buttons, plain or fancy and rustic or fine (check out those spalted wood ones!), that are sure to appeal to any guy’s inner paul bunyan.

i ordered a couple of sets to be sure i got some that are the right color and smoothness—i’m sure i’ll use all of them at some point (when i showed them to david, he smiled broadly and nodded wordlessly—a sign of very strong approval).

later on, in front of the TV, i worked on the second gansey sock some more

and got all the way through the upper leg panel. obviously, i’m anxious to wear these, heh. don’t forget to vote on the color name for this yarn—see my last post to participate in the poll (and thanks again for all of the great suggestions you made!)

16 Responses to “charmed, i’m sure”

  1. Kyrie says:

    What a lovely relaxing afternoon. And thanks for the button folks on etsy. Great buttons!

  2. babyface says:

    I love your cozy afternoon and I love Helena’s
    choice of vintage clothing. I seem to like the
    things in the past. I also like her dinnerware.
    We use to get family together also. It was great,
    but there is hardly any family anymore. Your sock looks great. I spent the day working on my troublesome sock and I have finally turned the heel. A big accomplishment for me since I frogged that sock 33 times.

  3. Angeluna says:

    Lovely post, what a civilized afternoon. The tea set looks like a dead ringer for my mother’s wedding china, which is shoved in the back of a cabinet here somewhere (to make room for stash).

  4. Jocelyn says:

    Oh, it looks like a wonderful afternoon! The henley’s coming along beautifully — I can’t wait to see it in person. And I do love those gansey socks :)

  5. jill says:

    My older daughter was a lover of paper dolls. She spent countless hours organizing, playing, and designing for her dolls. Such good memories. Looking forward to knitting those gansey socks myself! Happy New Year!

  6. Miranda says:

    Thanks so much for the button info — I just finished a sweater for myself, and wanted wood buttons — some of those luscious spalted oak ones are now mine! And how great is it to share old craft stuff with the perfect recipient? I just gave a bunch of old beading stuff to a friend who loves it. I can’t bear to throw stuff out either, especially when there might be someone out there who’d love it. Happy New Year and thanks for another year of inspiration!

  7. Vicki says:

    What a perfect day! And no wonder you are excited to get those socks finished, I know we could use some of those bright sunshiney colors around here lately.

  8. Patricia Dixon says:

    What a wonderful afternoon..I really envy having friends like yours..Having lived in Germany for many years..tea parties were so much fun..To have a young lady interested in Fashion is great and fun..Have a Happy New Year..

  9. Jody says:

    I love a good tea party–it sounds like you all had a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing the button ideas. I will definitely head over for a look. I look forward to all of your posts in 2010! Thanks for all of the inspiration in 2009.

  10. Shelda says:

    Wow! Those buttons are stunning. I’m a button addict (amongst my addictions…, one might say). If I didn’t already have a ridiculous number, I might…

    Well, I might anyway ;)

    That looks like a very fun tea party. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  11. Linda says:

    What a perfect way to spend an afternoon. happy new year Anne and thank you for writing your blog posts which I love to read.

  12. MaryjoO says:

    Happy New Year, and I had to laugh at the lovely part of Clara Parkes of Knitter’s Review about you in her “end of year knitting round up” … and chocolate!!
    http://www.knittersreview.com/article_event.asp?article=/review/profile/091231_a.asp
    You can’t eat that much, or there would be constant references to sticky fingers and wool. Too funny!
    Seriously, thank YOU for all the great designs and blog posts!
    Maryjo

  13. Annie says:

    What a cosy place to have afternoon tea with friends and knit. How lucky are you. You all have some really nice knitting you are doing.

  14. Sherri says:

    I love the gansy sock! Is it one of your patterns?

  15. MaryjoO says:

    hi again, and in ref to a question of mine about finding you LOL and Twitter – I KNOW that your blog is always up to date … I just can’t always get to it! But it sure is fun catching up :)

  16. Tara says:

    I’ve been stalking Wooden Treasures shop, actually. I really like her shawl pins! So rustic.