gray sweater Predictably, I did not spend the entire day lolling about yesterday. There was a certain amount of lolling, particularly since my husband finally has a weekend off, so I was able to spend some time with him.

But I also finished #2 son’s sweater.

This was a basic set-in sleeve, crew-neck pullover from The Knitter’s Handy Book. This is the first time I have made something from the book, and I was very impressed with it. I chose the size based on the chest measurement and the amount of ease my son wanted, adjusted the length a bit, and otherwise followed the directions exactly. Knitters know how rarely we can do that with good results. The sweater turned out exactly as he wanted it to be. It was made with Wool of the Andes, and took about 6 skeins rather than the 10 the book estimated, so I do have some leftover yarn, but it is a great color, so I will I am sure be able to find a use for it. And of course overestimation is better than underestimation, so in all I am very happy with this book.

With the sweater completed (and lunch out and grocery shopping done), I got back to Christmas presents.

A couple of months ago, I made this table runner for a wedding gift.bound runner

At the time, a friend pointed out how well the colors would go with the dishes I was giving my elder daughter.

She was quite right, so I decided to make one for my daughter too.

Both the girl I gave the first runner to and my elder daughter are glamorous women. But where the bride is kind of a sparkly shiny fancy girl, my daughter is strictly elegant. Think Marilyn Monroe versus Grace Kelly.

jewel runnerSo the first runner I made was a Laurel Burch bright and shiny thing, and the one I am making now is more reminiscent of jewels and exotic lands.

I am going to skip the applique, make the whole thing smaller, and do some complex quilting in the center.

Last night, I did the basic outline quilting for the ends.runner detail I have two full weeks before the HGP-recommended deadline for handmade gifts, and I have this runner and one more set of little presents planned. I am through shopping. I plan to get the boys into the kitchen once that deadline passes, to help with the cookies and candies and other kitchen gifts. I think I will finish everything without undue rushing or stress.

Today, I go back to work.

It is one month till Christmas today. I will begin playing Christmas music in the store. I am working with JJ today — she is only at our store on Saturdays, so it is a long time since I have done so — and I don’t know her musical preferences. We have had people in the past who disliked classical Christmas music, and people who have liked The Chipmunks’ offerings (I think I threw that one away after she left), and we try not to make anyone listen all day to anything they find irritating. JJ walks around singing the Mickey Mouse Club song under her breath, so I may go with children’s choirs.

At home, we have a new Christmas CD: “The Ultimate R&B Christmas 2.” This CD was a bit surprising, since Nat King Cole’s “O Holy Night” and Lena Horne don’t just scream “R&B” to me, but there are also tracks by Smokey Robinson and The Temptations. There is Rufus Thomas’s “I’ll Be Your Santa, Baby” and The Drifters singing “White Christmas,” which is absolutely my favorite recording of that song.

I was surprised to learn that The Drifters recorded their take on “White Christmas” just about a decade after the original was recorded. “White Christmas” was of course written by Irving Berlin in 1942, another song from the 20th century Christmas music renaissance. It is still under copyright, so I cannot give you a link to listen to it, but here are the lyrics for The Drifters’ version. The alert will notice that the only real difference is a section that goes “oop doop,” so this will not tell you much about the song if you haven’t heard it. If you have, however, it will be easy enough to gather up a few friends to sing “oop doop” and snap their fingers while you sing “I-I-I’m dreaming…” Doing this will improve your post-Thanksgiving clean-up chores no end.

I would take the new CD to work, but I am not sure that “I’ll Be Your Santa, Baby” would be appreciated by the moms. Would you want Rufus growling “It’s more than just a toy” to your little cherubs as they play with the trains?