5000 miles later…casita, sweet casita.

Apologies for the radio –err, blog — silence these last few weeks. I was expecting wireless at my parents’ house, but their router doesn’t like me. The holidays sapped any motivation I may have had to take the extra steps of transferring photos/blog content to a jump drive to use my dad’s computer. Result? Multiple holiday pictures and entries detailing my adventures.

First up? Christmas redux. Boh and I drove 1800 miles home in two days, aided by my new ipod, old episodes of my favorite podcasts, and Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, as read by Brenda Dayne for Librivox (highly recommended).

I arrived in time to bake and frost dozens of “spritz” cookies with my mom using her mother’s cookie press. (We ate the evidence. No photos.) I also learned that it is very difficult to work on secret holiday knitting in the home of the recipient. I did a lot of relaxing knitting at home, but didn’t get much time to work on Mom’s Montego, which made me a bit nervous. In fact, it wasn’t until I helped Santa arrange the presents under the Christmas tree that I had time to work on it — Christmas Eve night.

My mother may exclaim over my knitting and say that she isn’t crafty, but nobody wraps gifts the way she does. Her bows and packages are exquisite, and it is understood that we must ooh and ahh over the package before unwrapping it. No complaints here — my wrapping does not compare, and this is but one of the many things my mother has always done to make Christmas incredibly special. Take a look:

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My dad, ever the photography enthusiast, insisted that we get out the tripod for me to take this shot, and it made a huge difference. One of my favorite parts of Christmas is sitting with my dad in the living room, with only the lights from the tree illuminating the room. This is a more recent tradition of ours, and my younger brother still refuses to enjoy the tree after Santa has arrived. I really treasure this time with my dad.

After that, we were off to bed! Christmas comes early in my house, meaning my dad is up well before 6, and we are expected to follow his example.

No sleep for me just yet, however. I still had some Montego work to do. Earlier in the day, I swiped wrapping materials, and at bedtime, my elf-like fingers hurried to knit another 18 inches and attach the fringe.

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Victory! Here’s a late-night Christmas Eve shot of Montego on me.

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Hard to tell in this picture, but it is wrapped around my neck multiple times. I love this, and I am excited to make one for myself — I have another skein in a forest-y colorway. Most importantly, my mom LOVED it. No pictures of it on her, but she spent quite a bit of time marveling at how intricate it looks.

I don’t have any photographs of my family with their knitted gifts, but to recap, here’s what they received:

Mom: Montego Bay scarf and Luxe Neckwarmer

Dad: Hat (he received another year of Cook’s Illustrated!)

Brother: Scrap-happy Celebration Hat and Dashing

This is the first Christmas in my grown-up life that I’ve been a knitter, and I think that added to how well-received everything was. I finished all of my gifts in time for Christmas morning, but it was close! (I don’t know how Santa does it.)

Here’s one last shot of Christmas at my house: the fireplace. The smaller stockings were sewn by my grandmother from pieces of my grandfather’s clothes: his ties and his hunting jacket. (He died when I was very young.) The larger stockings were quilted by my mother.

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Mr. Claus was quite good to us this year — more on that in a later post. This year, I was able to spend some additional days at home, and it was the extra moments: wrapping and baking with my mom, enjoying fires in the fireplace and the lights of the tree with my dad, walking the dog with my brother, that made this a particularly wonderful holiday.

minimal knitting content, but look — snow!

As promised, here are a few pictures of our adventures about 100 miles west and about 3000 feet higher. First, a traffic jam. The guy in the pickup ahead of us was asleep at the railroad crossing. After about 15 minutes and a phone call to our destination (in which we considered leaving the car and climbing through the spaces between the stalled train cars), we turned around.

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some weather-appropriate graffiti:

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The sky, particularly when it is this color, is one of my favorite parts of being out here:

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Boh and I took a walk before heading back yesterday morning. I love the way the early mornings seem to make everything glow.

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Oh, right. I’ve also been knitting. Here’s a shot of Mom’s Montego Bay scarf. I’d say it is a bit over 3 feet in length, so I am more than halfway. I’d love for it to be perfect, but that is not quite happening. I’ve done some ripping back because I’ve messed up my counting or dropped a yarn over, but the stitches are so small that I am realizing that I can hardly see the rows where that happens, so I am leaving it. Also, under a time crunch. Full disclosure aside, this is GORGEOUS. Nice to have a lace pattern that is a bit forgiving when you discover a mistake 3 inches back….

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I just hope I can get it finished in time!

longer…

I’ve done some cursing, ripping, a lot of counting, and maybe a wee bit of fudging thus far, but despite it all, the Montego Bay scarf is coming along.

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I stayed up too late and got up early, but we are approaching 12 inches, people. Note to self: do not work on Mom’s Montego before consuming an entire cup of coffee. You’ll thank me for this.

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gorgeous morning.

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Here’s what I saw when I stepped outside with the dog this morning. I can’t think of anything that calms and readies me for the day the way this kind of sunrise does. (Well, sunrise AND coffee.)

Last night I reheated that curried soup and it was even more delicious the second day. Another picture, because I put it in one of my bright Le Creuset vintage pots — total ebay score.

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Last night, I cast on for the Montego Bay Scarf, by Amy Singer (Ravelry link). I’ve been planning to make this for my mom, but was a bit late in ordering the yarn. It arrived yesterday, and I’m hoping I can get it done before Christmas. She has this fabulous bronze dress that looks incredible on her, and I think the Mineral colorway of this HandMaiden Sea Silk will complement the deep bronze of that dress. (We have a bunch of family weddings to attend in the coming year, and I’m hoping that she can wear this scarf with the dress.) Also, my mom has a wool allergy, so finding things to make for her can be a bit challenging, just because non-wool fiber is unfamiliar territory for me.

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What do you think — can I finish this in time? Happy Tuesday!