In the Seasonal Swing of Things

With all of my gifts wrapped and under the Christmas tree (hooray!) I’m back to my usual random patchworking. But first, I finished my brother’s cashmere sweater and it fits him beautifully if I do say so myself. He’s so gratifying to knit for; I just finished it last night and he’s already living in it.  I should probably mention that the pattern is based off the “Santa Cruz Hoodie” in Knit2Together by Tracey Ullman and Mel Clark. I did some sizing adjustments and seamed the sleeves differently, but otherwise I love this pattern and have used it a few times; very basic and guy-friendly.

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It’s his Christmas gift, but I think neither of us could wait until Thursday to have him wearing it. In other knitting news, I’m making respectable progress on entrelac scarf number four. Since it’s a rather busy time of year, I’m mainly fitting this in during those odd moments- before and after meals, car rides… but those glimpses of time add up. I’m pretty much in love with the color combination, and since I wear one of my other three entrelac scarves every day, I’m quite motivated to keep on working.

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I have not forgotten about my improvisational lucky penny quilt. Also in those spare moments- in front of the fire, mainly- I’ve been quilting it together, slowly but surely. I’ve just been chosing random blocks to quilt, adding a button here and there, and it’s nearly finished. Hopefully I’ll be snuggling up in that baby by 2009.

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I’m also on to something new, inspired by the Schapiro-like discourse that discusses quilts as a salvage art, an act of saving and making do. I’m definitely a pack rat- something I got from my Dad, actually, not unlike the lucky penny obsession. I keep a journal which I faithfully write in every day, I save brochures and business cards from local events and from all my travels. So I’ve been thinking about these acts of remembrance, this desire to record and hold on to the tangible scraps of life. In some ways, it’s not the best habit to have- I’m learning self-restraint and to not save every little thing that comes my way. But it’s also an enriching and ultimately hopeful act, based on the belief that in the end all of these moments are really worth hanging on to. So here’s what I have so far on my… I’ll call it my Scrapbook Quilt.

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That’s all there is so far and the best is yet to come. Without giving too much away, I’ll admit that this is like nothing I’ve done before and I’m eager to see how it turns out. The globe fabric isn’t incidental, part of the larger aesthetic of the quilt- as is the decision to hold it together with buttons rather than quilting stitches. It will all make sense soon…

Finally, I did a little bit of baking today for a good friend, his favorite frangipane (almond) cake with chocolate icing and some Christmasy sprinkles. It’s a very simple recipe, and always  fun to spend a little time in the kitchen- baking is certainly easier on the fingertips than endles quilting and a bit more social. And like I said, all this patching together- from scrapbook quilts to cakes- seems ultimately related.

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So far, it’s been a productive and crafty break and I don’t expect that to change as the pre-Christmas madness winds down and the wonderful relaxation of the holiday season sets in.

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