But other things arrived either for my birthday or around my birthday, so have been adopted as "presents" even if I bought them myself!
First up - a skein of sock yarn from Ambermoggie. Hey, Amber you didn't need to do a "swap" - my yarn to you was a pressie to cheer up Mr Mog! But I am not complaining because the colours in this skein are really really lovely - it looks like the sock you were knitting recently? So many many thanks!
My non-knitting friend E sent me "The Crafters Companion". This has been on my Amazon wishlist for ages and ages and is one of those books you keep by the bedside to dip into in the hope of inspirational dreams. If you don't already know, it is a compendium of craft blogs, mainly of the sock-monkey-esque genre. Quirky stuff. Things that wouldn't immediately occur to me. Brilliant for sharing with my daughter. At 11, she is on the point of becoming crafty and I think this will spur her on!
Then there is "Crochet Me". I pre-ordered this from Amazon and asked FL to hide it away until my birthday. So... he lost it! We had a major tidy-up and found it at the weekend - hooray! I haven't had time to look at it properly, but it is another blog-derived book aimed at inspiring the "new crocheter" i.e. people who probably didn't do the granny square thing first time around! I love several of the projects in this volume. There is a spider's-webbish tunic that inspires me, a gorgeous baby-doll tunic dress, an intriguing plaid scarf, and probably the hottest favourite, a short-sleeved top with matching arm-warmers - oh yeah! But this will be a technical challenge. I haven't crocheted a whole garment, ever. I am thinking of making one of these projects during the Christmas holidays when the kids are away and I have long periods of uninterrupted sofa-time!
But top of the heap... Norah Gaughan Volume 1. I had to order this via ebay dot com because Berrocco don't ship to the UK. Oh wow! This is knitting like I have never done it before! I thought Annie Modesitt was offering me a challenge in "Romantic Knits", but this is a whole new dimension of knitting! Top of my wish-list is a scarf which uses casting off and on to make a 3-D ladder of knitted fabric - oooh! There are at least three other scarves in here that I NEED to knit: a shibori-looking "bubbley" one, a pointy pom-pom-trimmed one, and a lacey diamondy one. But I also NEED to knit the Manon jacket - which seems to start off as a series of geometric shapes which are then joined together on the bias to create an amazing sculptural effect. Some of the photos in the book are a bit vague, but careful reading of the pattern and use of a magnifying glass have revealed deep complexities that I love! There is a hexagonal patchworked skirt which I respect but will probably never knit. And a little top called Anais which might have to be knitted for its name alone (Anais Nin being the subject of my abandoned PhD many years ago!) - this has a lovely web effect at the neck. There is a LOT of knitting in this booklet! Bags, jackets, skirts, tops, scarves, hats, a belt - it's all here, and every item has a "twist". There's a definite Japanese vibe. It is all arty, yet wearable. I want it all! Not a sock in sight! Will 2008 be the year I start knitting BIG garments?!