i lolled

oh, it was a nice holiday around here.
i was so relaxed i forgot myself, and didn’t blog, and didn’t cook—we decided that a soup meal would be a great follow-up to the feasting of sunday night, even though we had planned for baked ziti. keeping it spare seemed to do the christmas eve feast better justice. so we pulled some ribollita (bean soup with greens and bread) from the freezer and didn’t stress.

but wow, i canNOT have so much time to myself and nothing to do . . .
by 4 pm i was pacing. i should have cooked for today, but i didn’t think of it. instead i worked (and reworked) most of the day on this

it’s not my favorite, but my niece will love it. it will appeal to her liberace streak . . . and i have a felted hat i made last year that will go with it.

i worked on the black mitts, too and got those pretty far along

they seem a little big (meaning, they fit me great), but i think they’ll be fine. and i finished the london beanie. this one stumped me. i did it the way the pattern read, but it was really bunchy on top, like a tomato.

there were so many decreases at the end. it looked funny, both on and off, and it didn’t look as long as the one in the picture, either. it was too late at night to call debbie to see if i had made a mistake.

so i just ripped it out at the top and put a plain knit round in between the decrease rounds, but i’m still not sure if it’s right . . .
however i DO like it a lot, and i might make one for me—it’s just a plain old hat, but it’s nice and small. and since i have the tiniest adult head on earth (20.5″), it’s been hard to find a hat pattern that fits. even this one will need to be shortened.

i’m just a pinhead.

so, anyway, then there was gift opening to be done, which i had looked forward to ever since that enormous (and heavy) box appeared under the tree on the 23rd. david got his gift a while back since i had to order it way ahead—a subscription for an italian cycling magazine. now, i know david would never buy me an appliance as a gift, and honestly there wasn’t anything i’d requested, so it was a big mystery, and finally last evening i got to open the mystery box

the national geographic is from may, 1988. i don’t know how he unearthed it, but i love it. check out that guy’s outfit! can you imagine someone strolling into starbuck’s with that on? i always have to chuckle a little at the costumes you see on the street from year to year, when people are trying to be “different” in a new way—the real innovations in dress are nothing to do with that . . .

and then there is that BIG book—did you notice it? quite honestly, i didn’t know they made book this big (when i expressed this, david said simply, “well, it’s a special book”—he’s nothing if not understated). i put a dime on it for scale—see it there, up near andy’s head? and it weighs—i kid you not—well over 12 pounds. i don’t know exactly how much because my trustly kitchen scale only goes up to twelve. it’s a lotta book.

i have a huge collection of art books, which i love to lay around looking at whenever i can, or use for research on just about any question i can think of. right now they are all in boxes waiting for our third floor to be done, so we can have a library up there. this will be a star addition—i love it, and previously did not have a really comprehensive book about andy warhol. this one has a lot of photos that were featured in a recent, 3-part documentary we saw on PBS about him.

and then, see that funny contraption behind the magazine? that is a yarn meter that david made for me—whoop! i always sorta wanted one, but also thought it might be excessive to purchase a tool like that. i love it that he made me one . . .

my mom sent me some money, which i used to purchase another book. i have been trying for a while to find more information on hap shawls, but it’s scarce. then the other day, Knitterguy talked about a brand-new book on just this subject—Shetland Hap Shawls ~ Then & Now by sharon miller—JUST what i was looking for, a complete coverage of the topic. i ran right over there (er, as much as one can do virtually) and ordered a copy.

david also began refinishing my father’s massive secretary desk, which will eventually go into my work room and provide some sorely-needed additional shelf-and-storage space. it has a whole other half that goes on top—about 4 feet high, with shelves and glass doors. it was built by my father’s uncle and passed to him, and then to me. this is the bottom half, sanded down.

we are trying to decide if it should be stained (the wood is quite dark, and was previously stained almost-black), or get a painted finish, something scandinavian and creamy-light, with a little gray rubbed into the seams. i’m afraid if it is stained it will overwhelm almost any room by looking dark and forbidding, the way it did in our house growing up. maybe if it’s lighter it will be friendlier?

but then, we are both such suckers for old wood, and there are those burlwood panels on the
doors . . . what to do, what to do??

18 Responses to “i lolled”

  1. Lynne E. says:

    Visualizing the tomato-topped hat made me laugh out loud. Too bad you didn’t get a photo! NG also has an excellent issue on silk, which makes me want to read yours on wool. Special thanks for the link to the Shetland Hap Shawls book, a must-have for my knitting book collection.

  2. Sidney says:

    Looks like you had a lovely Christmas! Tell me, do you have a recipe that you prefer for ribollita? I’ve been thinking about trying to make some since last February when I had an amazing bowl of it in a little restaurant in Siena.
    Love the black cable-lace mitts!

  3. Carrie says:

    OOooh, that desk is gorgeous, as is! Get some paste wax and give it a good waxing and leave that gorgeous wood to show through. Beauty.

  4. stacey says:

    wow! lots of great stuff! my head is only 21″ around, and the center square hat was even big on me! I feel for you….the book is hugely amazing! that is a lot of book. I’ll have to go look for that National geographic in my dad’s collection – he has almost every one! The yarn meter is great – my dad made one for me and I love it!!!!!

  5. Juno says:

    Oh, how beautiful. No stain – finish the natural wood, maybe with oil, so you can see the burl? It’ll get a bit darker with age, but not as dark as a dark stain.

  6. Stephanie says:

    I vote no stain also! It’s far too beautiful to cover that wood.

    How are you??? It’s been a LONG time – too long! I LOVE the black lacey mitts – let me know when the pattern is done so I can buy it & make them for my daughter.

    But, now I must go & order the pattern for the Rococo socks. I’m in the sock kind of mood!

    Call me, ok?

  7. Laura says:

    Seal it. Don’t stain it. Don’t you dare paint that gorgeous wood. But it needs to be protected. I’m sure you can find a basically clear sealant of some sort. Sometimes a nice wax finish is all that’s needed on something lovely like that… it’ll let the beautiful grain show through without making it too much darker. :-)

    That’s my say on it. LOL

  8. dhyana rose says:

    *
    Hi -
    hopefully you will get this second message regarding my ‘obstacles’ purchase.
    Because it was sent to my husband’s email I never recieved it.
    Can you please help me get my pattern ?
    Thanks very much.
    Dhyana Rose

    *

  9. Kate says:

    I’m going to throw in my vote for the ‘Don’t stain it’ school of thought as well. Just get some clear lacquer and seal it up to show the wood through. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Whatever you do, don’t paint it. The idea of painting something that looks that lovely raw pains me.

    I’ve done the London Beanie quite a few times and agree about the tomato effect. The decreases just happen far too quickly, some of mine even developed gaps when people put them on because of it. So I do the same as you now and add in rows of plain knitting in between.

  10. LaurieM says:

    I thought those black cabled mitts were going to be for you this time! When do you get a pair?

    I think the desk looks pretty nice in it’s natural state, but if you do go for painting, I say go light. You need to put your own stamp on it somehow.

  11. Jenny Raye says:

    I’m with the others–oil or some other clear finish.

    Sounds like you had a great Christmas. We’re still recovering from our whirlwind weekend.

  12. Carole says:

    The wood is gorgeous – seal it and let it shine!

  13. Monica says:

    lol, Liberace streak.

    Don’t cover the wood!

  14. Jen says:

    What a beautiful desk. How cool to have something with such family history :)

  15. Michelle says:

    I *adore* Warhol…didn’t know that book was available. I’ll have to look into it!
    Glad you had such a nice holiday!

  16. Jodi says:

    I knit the London Beanie recently, too, and it came out a bit odd. I blamed it on myself initially, but perhaps it’s not the best pattern.

  17. Elizabeth Alm says:

    Beautiful desk! I’m a sucker for antiques that have a “lived and loved” look. I’d check with a museum to see what’s best to put on it, but I wouldn’t paint it. I’ve watched too many episodes of Antiques Roadshow. Leave the wood as is.

  18. Debbie says:

    Keep it natural, and definitely do NOT paint it! If you want to keep that to pass down in your family, just protect the wood. Don’t stain, either.