Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Very Productive Saturday

Wow! This is one of the first Saturdays I haven't been called in to work. I managed to get a lot done around the house, too!

For starters, I finally finished my "Delight" afghan. I found the pattern in a Leisure Arts booklet called "Beloved Afghans." You can find it on Amazon here; I bought my copy at a Michael's craft store in Texoma.
Anyway, here is what the final product looks like:
And this photo makes it look softer, I think:

I started this project back in October, pretty much the same day I received the yarn. The sample in the book used Lion Brand Homespun, which I have worked with before (remember my "I Am Loved" filet afghan?), but I'm not all that thrilled with the way Homespun ends tends to fray. With all this fringe, I wanted something different. So, I used Bernat Softee Chunky in Faded Denim and New Denim Heather.
The pattern goes pretty quick at first, and after a few repeats it would make a good scarf:
But then, I got to a point where Tim & I would be watching TV and I'd have this project in my lap, and I'd reach the end of a row and need to turn it...and the cats would choose that exact moment to jump into my lap. It's been getting pretty cold here, so 3 out of 4 times this happened, I'd just leave it. Hence it took almost two full months to finish.
Of course, finishing the rows are one thing. Then, there's the fringe. If I'd simply finished off the final row and let it be, it would have looked a bit scraggly:
 So I had to add a bit of extra fringe. Here's what it looked like after I added the dark blue:
And finally, when the light blue was complete:
Looks much nicer, I think.

Once I finished the afghan, I decided it was finally time to start decorating for Christmas. As in, more than a wreath on the front door. As in, put the tree up!
We have an artificial tree. Our decision to get an artificial tree was largely influenced by availability; Japan doesn't have Christmas Tree lots like you see stateside. The Navy Exchange sells live trees during Thanksgiving weekend, but to get a decent tree instead of a "Charlie Brown", we would have needed to be at the store first thing on Black Friday...and then we would need to figure out exactly how to get it home in our little Cube car.
There are some things to like about artificial trees: they don't pose as great a fire hazard, they stay green forever, and you don't have to buy a new one each year (and later dispose of it).
That being said, there are some downsides:
1. You have to store the darn things. We actually bought our tree two weeks ago, and the box was standing in our living/dining room until today. In January, when it comes down, Tim gets to wrestle the whole thing down to the storage shed.
2. You have to assemble them. Granted, this is much easier nowadays, with the trees being three pieces plus the stand. I remember my parents' first artificial tree had separate branches that needed to be attached individually to the trunk. After Dad put the three-part trunk together, we had to sort the branches by length and attach each one.
3. They don't look so pretty right out of the box:

See what I mean? All those branches had to be straightened & then spread. It took me a while.

It's up, though, and it has lights, and 17 ornaments. Yep. Just 17. We have 8 red balls, 8 gold balls, and one silver bell. There are also a dozen candy canes, but those will disappear over the next month.
Actually, I'm surprised I haven't tried to crochet any ornaments yet. Maybe I should get on that?

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