I finished the hats for my in-laws.
While knitting the hat for my mother-in-law, I became concerned that I wouldn't have enough yarn to complete all the pattern repeats. I decided to cut things short and make a tam instead of a stocking cap. I think it turned out very nice. The ribbing draws in quite a bit, which will keep the cap snug around the ears, while the top is loose so as to not produce hat hair.
This pattern had several elements that I had not tried before. The Bavarian cast on is a long-tail variation that is very stretchy. I'll have to remember to use it on socks sometime. The elongated stitch was another element that was new. I like how it looks, but it was bit difficult to knit on 4.5 mm needles and worsted weight yarn. My fingers were hurting after a few rounds of this. I'll try to incorporate it into something using a lighter weight yarn and see if it is easier to execute.
The hat I made for my father-in-law is a basic socking cap. It was a very fast night. Ed tried it on for size. I think he's going to want one himself.
That concludes the gift knitting I was planning for Christmas. I haven't made much progress on the Custom Fit cardi, so it probably won't debut at Christmas. I have a 4 rows to go to finish Faith. It will probably play the role of understudy.
This year has been an unusual year for me. Because of my time off work, I have been able to accomplish all of my Christmas preparations scheduled to date. The house is decorated. Christmas cards have been sent. Christmas Eve meal is planned. Most presents are acquired. The only thing left not started is the baking. The kids asked that I wait until they get home from school for that. Blake finished up his semester yesterday. Kristin came home last evening. Trisha is expected home tomorrow. It feels a bit strange not to feel frantic at this point, but I am not complaining. I'm loving it!
After the New Year, I will return to work. The paperwork still needs to be done, but I will be starting as a consultant for a state agency either on January 4 or 11. I'm hoping for the latter date just to give me another week to be lazy at home. I need to start adjusting my body clock back to a working person's schedule.