I am very happy to report that my handmade holiday gifts met with much enjoyment - Madison looked adorable in her party dress (and being a complete idiot, I forgot to take my camera with me, and therefore have no pictures to show) and also LOVED her knitting dinosaurs; my Dad called to say how much he loved the Intricate Stag pillow; and my little felted Xmas Trees were enjoyed by all who received them. Thank you, everyone, for your appreciation and for being part of my life - I am very fortunate to have such wonderful friends and family.
I am still working on the Delft Pillow for my mom, which wasn't intended to be a Xmas gift. I took it with me when I went down to see her over the holiday and she was pleased with how it looks so far in it's current half-finished state. While the linen and cotton aren't the easiest things to work with for a stranded design the finished fabric is very appealing - it's more upholstery fabric-like in feel, than knitted, which certainly suits the pillow idea very well.
As the Delft Pillow is not exactly conversation-friendly knitting I started a long-pondered new project to have on hand for those times when my mind needed something more, well, mindless. I have long loved Amanda Blair Brown's Fringed Stripe scarf from Interweave Knits, but was not crazy about all that 1x1 ribbing together with intarsia in 7 colours. But I also had some luscious but no longer available vegetable-dyed alpaca yarn in just the right number of colours to do the scarf with. I finally took the plunge and started in the fringe sections.
Much to my surprise, the fringe sections are knitting up with surprising speed so I am feeling less trepidacious about actually finishing the whole thing. As I am short, I don't intend to make the scarf the entire 96" length specified so that helps speed up the knitting as well. Instead of making the fringed section approximately 20" long on each end, I am going with about 16", and keeping the center intarsia section at 50" as specified. That will give me a more manageable 82" in length; better suited to my pipsqueak stature, I think!