Sunday, December 15, 2013

Gettin' Ready For Christmas!

As I alluded to in my last blog post, I celebrated part of Christmas a little early this year! Because I won't be able to see my immediate family on December 25th this year, my mom, my sister and her fiancée came over to my house for a early celebration last weekend.

Festivities started with Mom baking a batch of fudge in my kitchen - yum! Then we popped down-town to the big Christmas Market for some hot apple cider, delicious food, and gazing at some beautiful ornaments!

In earlier discussions we had talked about skating in Robson Square and walking to the giant Christmas tree at the Conference Centre that day, but after a few hours at the Market we were so cold that we decided to simply head back to my place for a nice quiet night indoors. We played some board games, ordered in dinner, and decorated my teeny little Christmas tree (there is a photo of it at the top of this blog post). My mom and I knitted while my sister worked on some Christmas cross-stitch - what a wonderful way to spend the evening!

We also took the opportunity to exchange presents. I had knit my sister a hat from some of my handspun I completed during Spinzilla:

I have been working on a new hat pattern lately - I used it to create a hat for my brother out of my own hand-dyed worsted yarn;

...and a hat for my dad from some handspun merino and silk I had.

Thanks Kevin for modeling those hats!

Since Mom has taken up knitting again lately, I spun her a skein of SweetGeorgia Yarn's 50% merino wool and 50% silk in the colourway 'Cypress'. We don't know what she is going to make with it yet - it's almost 100 grams of DK weight 3-ply yarn, so there is definitely enough to make a hat or a pair of mitts.

Poor, poor Kevin... I tried to make him a Jayne hat, but I had to recalculate the pattern (I wanted to use DK instead of worsted weight wool). Unfortunately my math was a little off, and I had to cast on another hat, and it wasn't done in time! However, I had to put something under the tree for him... luckily he has a sense of humour and doesn't mind getting his real hat a little late.

The next morning we had a huge brunch of crepes, bacon, and sausages, but the visit was over much too soon. I really missed my brother this weekend too - he couldn't make it over to the mainland because of school exams - boo! I can't wait to see my everyone again in January - I hope all my family has a great holiday, and at least this year we have Skype to help keep in touch!

I hope you are all having a wonderful time preparing for the holiday season!

- Grace

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Grace Takes Manhattan

This November, Mom and I went for a trip to New York! It was a one week girls trip to see the sights and celebrate American Thanksgiving.

We stayed in a hotel within walking distance of most of the big sights we hoped to check out - Grand Central Terminal, Central Park, the Natural History Museum, some outdoor ice skating, and the big Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! Also, there was LOTS of shopping in the area so we could score some Black Friday deals too.

On Day One, we arrived in New York at 8am. We found some breakfast and checked into the hotel - with an niceeee upgrade! We went from sharing a small one bedroom with a queen-sized bed to a HUGE suite with separate living room, kitchenette and a king-sized bed! That made our week there sooo much more comfortable.

In the afternoon, we did a little shopping and found me a decent winter coat from Macy's. After that, the cold never bothered me once.

The next day we took a big walk around the main part of town we were in. We found Times Square, the Theatre District, the Garment District, and saw all the Christmas lights on 5th Avenue. We ended off the tour with a visit through FAO-Schwarz and a peek at the Muppet Workshop!

Our big event on Monday was going to the Rockette's 'Christmas Spectacular' Show at Radio City Music hall. It's was wonderful! Thank you Mom sooo much for the tickets - what a treat!

On Tuesday we went for a giant walk! We walked from our hotel at 38th and Lexington to the Lower East Side to split a bagel and some maztah ball soup at Katz's deli. Then we crossed over to Soho and checked out Purl Soho. THEN we continued our walk into Chelsea, and checked out the Chelsea Market before walking north up the High Line. We found Madison Square Garden and visited the Cake Boss Cafe to nab some dessert for the evening. We took a long route home and relaxed in the hotel room that night.

Now you are probably wondering if ANY of this has to do with fibrecraft. Well, some of it does! This was the first time in years my mom has started a knitting project - a worsted weight scarf!

... and I took the opportunity that night to finish off a handspun hat for my dad too!

Over the next few days we checked out the American Museum of Natural History, took a pedi-cab tour of Central Park on a rainy day, scored some great Black Friday deals at Macy's, and finished off another hat (oh wait, that was just me. But Mom's scarf IS coming along wonderfully!)

And yes, the museum was chock-full of glorious ancient textiles from around the globe! The images before are just a few of the highlights of spinning and weaving that I came across:

Weaving and spinning in Africa:

 Camelids of South America (and an Rhea...?)

Spindles from South America:

My own spinning stayed at home this trip, but I got A LOT of work done on the Goat Coat. I am really hoping to have this projected wrapped up before Christmas!

If you would like to check out more photos from the trip, I have an album of our downtown adventures here and another of Central Park, the NY Public Library, and the Natural History Museum here. 

After a week of fun and excitement, we returned home safe and sound. But it wasn't long before I saw my mom again; we had an early Christmas celebration last weekend to make up for the time around the actual holiday we won't be able to spend together.

I hope you are all having a wonderful December - and I will get a proper post about Christmas up soon!

- Grace