Sunday, December 1, 2013

Traditions Old and New ...

I took a break from writing these past few days to enjoy the time with my family. Thanksgiving was amazing but then again, it always is. It doesn't seem to matter who is joining us around our table for dinner it is always awesome. Its nice to see how the traditions for the Holiday Season have changed and evolved over time. The memories I have for this time of the year as a kid are so vivid, they will live within me forever. 

From the time I was a little girl to my teen years everything was done the same way ever year. My Aunt Fran and Uncle Herb (who were actually my great aunt and great uncle but never had any children. My mother was really their 'kid' and since she always called them Aunt and Uncle, so did we) lived in Jackson Michigan and they would host Thanksgiving. We'd drive the 4 hour road trip up north every year and it was always beautiful. The cities and little towns we drove through we already decorated for the Holidays and everything always looked so festive. I cant remember a year when we went to Jackson where it had not already snowed too. I remember all those mornings of Thanksgiving I would get up early with my Aunt to prepare and stuff the turkey. It was always such a special time. We used to lay all the bread out the night before so it would dry out for cutting up the next morning. Now you can just go to the store and by bags of cut of dried bread for stuffing already. Somehow I'd like to think that even if it were available back then, my Aunt would insist on doing it the old fashioned way. My Aunt Fran always salted the inside of the bird before stuffing it, I had no idea why back then but I know now why this is done. And the turkeys were always HUGE!!! Now, I know I was a little kid back then but the birds she bought were always so huge. Usually about a 20 pound bird. There were always tons of leftovers that we brought home which was obviously intentional. As soon as the bird was in the oven there was breakfast to think about. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas morning my Aunt Fran's pecan glazed sticky buns were on the table. To this day I have never found anything that even came close to Aunt Frans recipe. Sadly, she took that recipe to her grave. Breakfast was always an amazing feast. We all wondered how we would be hungry for turkey later. Thanksgiving night after we had all had our fill and then some, it was traditional to play Triominoes. Uncle Herb and Dad usually watched football while the rest of us played. It's sort of like Dominoes but the pieces have 3 sides of numbers rather than just 2. We get these huge games going and it was a blast.We now have the coveted set of Triominoes and should play a game, its been a long time. After Thanksgiving ended and we went home a few days later, THAT was the start to Christmas to me. Three and a 1/2 weeks later Aunt Fran & Uncle Herb would drive down south to our home outside of Columbus, Ohio to celebrate Christmas. That's the way it was, this was tradition for us well into my teens. 

Traditions change over time to accommodate for the loss and addition of family members, moves, etc. Traditions change because lives change. Years ago, since my parents moved here to Albuquerque, we started a new traditions. Friends that either go nowhere for Thanksgiving, have no family, have no real traditions, we have asked that they join us at our table. We have such a small family and with my brother Dennis gone now (may you rest in peace dear brother) having others join our table and our traditions is the way its supposed to be. This year there were just 6 of us at the table and 2 others who were not able to attend so we made plates to be given to them later. Its all about sharing and spending time with the people you care about. This year we started a new tradition, I am now the one cooking the turkey and stuffing and squash. I love doing it! I'd like to think Aunt Fran is looking down, making sure I'm doing the right things! Two very dear friends who now join us for Thanksgiving and Christmas are Kathie and Marni. They started the dessert tradition since they always bring pies! And boy can Marni bake. Last year there was a chocolate pecan pie, a regular pecan pie, pumpkin pie and dutch apple pie. This year she brought a pecan butterscotch pie, pumpkin pie, strawberry pie and a sweet potato pie. We are all so very thankful for each other, our friendships and the people in our lives that make up our family. The only thing that got missed was that game of Triominoes. I think we should fix that this afternoon...

Now that Christmas is in full view, are you hurrying to finish things? This time last year I was and people got unfinished things and a promise of a finished knitted item. This year though, I'm golden. Everyone is going to get what they were supposed to get last year. My in-laws socks? Finished. Betty's shawl?

Pattern is the Morlynn Shawl by Alexandra Weidmayer knit with Silky Wool on US size 8

FINISHED! It's off the needles and need a soft blocking, this things is huge, and she is ready to go! I didn't think I was ever going to get this one finished. Its huge, just like Betty likes them, and they're her colors too. I really, really hope she likes it. Not just in front of me, but I hope that maybe it can become a go to shawl for her when it gets cold.

The last time we saw Dads socks, they looked like this...a good start on the second one with no problems and plenty of time to finish them for Christmas...

Now it looks like this!

I'm into the heel flap already and pretty soon, passed the heel and onto the foot. No problems here at all. And since these socks and Betty's shawl are my only knitted gifts this year, I had to start a couple more things. The collaboration with Phydeaux Designs is underway as their yarn has arrived and let me tell you folks...this stuff is gorgeous. It is her 'Soie' 4 ply fingering 50/50 merino and silk blend that is sublime to work with. And the color work in this yarn is incredible. I highly recommend checking out her website and picking up some of her yarn. I hadn't really seen anything like it before and knew pretty much right away what I wanted to do with it. I've started the shawl already. With the colors in this yarn and how it plays out when its knitted up, I knew I wanted a garter stitch body to show it off. Here's the yarn...


 Beautiful, isn't it? The colorway is called Danaerys. Here's what it looks like knitted up...


I'm not quite sure what I will call the shawl but it is telling me it likes afternoon tea, garden parties and spring flowers. So we'll see. I also took advantage of a Knit Picks sale and picked up some of their City Tweed at $2.00 a skein in the colorway Kitten. $2.00 PER SKEIN for KITTEN colorway yarn? I bought 7 skeins...

 I am going to make a nice big cushy cowl and a pair of fingerless mitts. I had been eyeing their City Tweed for quite some time now, its got baby alpaca in it and feels soooo soft! I have been wanting fingerless mitts for so long now and it is getting cold out there. I found a fab free pattern for basic simple mitts, which was what I wanted for this yarn, and I cast on last night. Since this is a heavy worsted weight yarn these should go pretty fast!


I love them! They are so soft and they'll be nice and sturdy too. What are you up to? Are you doing Christmas knitting and panicking with the approaching deadline? Take each day one at a time and try to relax. If you're knitting for family and friends, they'll understand if they unwrap something still attached to needles... It won't be the first time and it won't be the last!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Hanukkah if you are celebrating. I hope that you are enjoying your traditions and maybe even making some new ones! As soon as Mom is home and we have a little lunch, I think we'll maybe catch up on some Triominoes...

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