Happy New Year to all! What a year this has been. One family member departed this life (my husband’s father) and another entered (little Isobel). We traveled to far off places which were quite different – England and Missouri. And my husband completed his first full year of retirement (the verdict – GOOD!). In tallying up my production this year, I was shocked at how many projects I actually completed: 5 shawls, 3 sweaters, 7 scarves, 3 baby hats, 6 baby sweaters, 4 pairs of CIC socks and 5 pairs of adult socks. All but one sweater and one shawl were also started in 2005. Wow! I’m exhausted. All of that is in addition to holding down a job, volunteering at church, going to school part-time (I’m now a senior – WHOO HOO!) and doing enough of my share around the house to keep my husband reasonably content.

My favorite project of the year – Peacock Feathers (gifted to my mother for Christmas):


Cutest project? No contest:


Most repeated pattern? I got stuck on Estonian Scarves and made 5! Here’s a picture of 4:


I must have been doing pretty well – I gave one as a thank you to a friend who had given me her copy of Heirloom Knitting by Sharon Miller. She wore it to Seattle to have a lunch with a friend who admired the knitting and the choice of color. The friend? Evelyn Clarke. The designer!

Last completed project of the year:


More Fun Than Cables Socks – pattern courtesy of Marguerite. Thank you Marguerite for sharing your lovely patterns with us. These really were fun to make. I will definitely do them again. The yarn is Essentials by Knit Picks. Although the yarn was fine to work with, I am not sure I will use it again. After wearing only one day, the toes and instep (where my clogs hit them) are starting to felt a little.

Last yarn purchase of the year:


We went up to Bellingham today and thanks to Li found this great new yarn shop – Marilyn’s. Good selection, good prices and nice people. Well worth the trip, even if we weren’t going for something else. The yarn is “Socks That Rock” in the Azurite colorway. It feels wonderful and reminds me a little of Koigu. I wound the yarn at the shop because I just couldn’t wait to start. But then I reminded myself that I always start a new project on New Year’s Day and decided to wait until tomorrow. I love, love, love this book! I like my library of sock books, but I think this is the one I will use the most. Multiple patterns that you can do in any yarn, any size.

I am thinking over my resolutions for the New Year. I am a big believer in resolutions. Even if you end up breaking most of them, there’s something about the eternal quest to better yourself. The New Year is such a great time to take stock and consider what you really want to do in the coming year. I’ll keep you posted!

The Christmas break is over and it’s back to the grind. It’s tough going back to work when you have a retired husband who gets to stay home! Some day. It was nice to have Christmas on a weekend with the added days off. My sister came up from Seattle and the dogs really enjoyed the extra attention:


In my house we call this “Lap full o’dog”. Despite the fact that Hester looks as if she’s about to fall off, she is actually sleeping. And now that Christmas is over I can show you some surprise gift knitting. Here is Izzy’s first annual Christmas sweater (pattern from “Top Down for Toddlers” by Cabin Fever Knits:


Why, you might ask, is there not a picture of little Isobel modeling her gift from Nana? Because her parents have not yet sent one (hint, hint). We missed so much not having her and her parents here for Christmas, but we would much rather have them save the money for a potential move back here in the spring. But in the meantime, Christmas pictures would be nice (hint, hint).

By the Friday before Christmas I was organized and prepared enough that I had time to play! I had some undyed laceweight yarn from Knit Picks, so I played around with Kool-Aid. My first result (Berry Blue) was a little uneven – nice, but probably too varigated for lace knitting – maybe a feather and fan scarf:


My second attempt (Black Cherry) was more successful. It turned out a very pretty, heathery pink:


It was so pretty, in fact, that I just had to try it out. The pattern is the Snowdrop Shawl from the Yarn Harlot (free on her website). I’m doing a lace workshop for my knitting guild next week and I think this will be a nice pattern for new lace knitters. I had so much fun dyeing that I want to order some more yarn to do some experimenting and get some brighter colors. Since I don’t have a large house and need to use my kitchen, I think I’ll stay with the Kool-Aid dyes since they are non-toxic. I did this in the microwave, but want to try using the crockpot too. Any advice or hints are welcome!

A wonderful surprise came in the mail yesterday:


Lynne sent this to me. Thank you Lynne! I’ve made such wonderful friends in the knit blog community over the past year. In many respects, this keeps me knitting, wanting to have exciting pictures to post. Well, at least knitters find them exciting.

I find it exciting that the last of the Christmas knitting is done with these socks:


Every once in awhile I find myself thinking , “Wait, I have lots of time. I could do this, and this….” And then I get a grip and remind myself that I need to relax and enjoy the season. Each year I wish I had done just a little more in the way of gift giving, decorating, etc. But then I remind myself that this is NOT what this holiday is about. It’s a time to remind ourselves of the great gift that God gave to us in the form of His Son. That gift has nothing at all to do with all the hoopla and decorations that we have invented. That allows me to sit back and think instead of what I can truly give.

In that spirit, I have given cards to at least four people this year letting them know that a pair of hand knitted socks is being donated in their name to CIC. So far the reception has been wonderful. Everyone has been very excited. So, after Christmas a box will be winging its way to CIC with four pairs of little socks and a little sweater.

With no further Christmas projects to finish, I found myself itching to cast on a lace project. I found this pattern, Leda’s Dream via another blog. This was just the project I needed for some pale pink laceweight that has been struggling to find the right home. I have cast on several times with this yarn, but nothing seemed right until this. I think it’s a stunning pattern, and the price was right – only $2.00 to download. You can order it here. Here’s a picture of my progress so far:


I may not get a chance to post again until after Christmas. If I don’t, I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas and that you will have family close to enjoy and love.

What is it with this obsession to knit socks? Was it just a few months ago I commented on this very blog that knitting socks just wasn’t my thing? Once again I am forced to eat my words. It seems that all I want to do is knit socks, ogle sock yarn and wander through all my sock patterns (and I have A LOT!). The sticking point for me is that I have to rewrite them all because I have relatively smallish, skinny feet, as does everyone else I knit socks for. What is it with that? However, once I’ve gotten going, it seems as if I cannot stop. The latest effort:


Don’t they look lovely on the Christmas tree? These are from Knit Picks Dancing yarn in the “I forgot” colorway. This yarn is nice and I think I will make a pair for myself eventually, but I find that I do prefer working with wool rather than this cotton blend yarn. This pair will go in the Christmas stash as will the pair I am currently working on out of Regia self-patterning yarn.

That’s another thing that I’m finding different this year. For the first time I’m feeling “IT” as described by the Yarn Harlot. You know, the desparate feeling that you have to not finish, but actually START new projects for Christmas. All of a sudden I’m feeling that I need to knit something for everyone – a totally unrealistic expectation by the way, so all of you on my gift list reading this blog – Don’t get your hopes up! But I hope some of you will be pleasantly surprised.

Updating my last entry – my birthday weekend was a mixed bag. I so enjoyed my visit to the Acorn Street Yarn Shop, but I do find myself getting a little discouraged by the price of all the yummy yarns out there. I increasingly find myself priced out of the market, so to speak. So far I am quite pleased with Knit Picks and hope they keep adding to their inventory of affordable yarns. After the yarn shop, we went over to Seattle Center to see the new Harry Potter in the Imax Theater. Right after the lights dimmed and before the movie started, an elderly gentlemen a few rows down from us suffered an apparent heart attack. They kept us all in our seats while they did CPR on him for over half an hour, then rightly cancelled the show and ushered us all out. I doubt he made it. It was so distressing – he had his family with him, including his grandchildren, and my heart went out to them as well as all the other children in the audience. What a sad memory of what was supposed to be a memorable outing.

On the positive side – I got my grade back on my final exam essay in my anthropology class. I was stunned to receive a 100!!! I was pretty satisfied with my exam and felt that I worked really, really hard on it, but this was a very pleasant surprise. I am now officially a senior! 30 more credits to go and counting.

No pictures today, but I thought I’d let you all know I survived my brutal week. The project at work was completed Tuesday, one day ahead of deadline. What a relief – it was a year long project that was tedious, but rewarding at the same time. The final exam was not 3 pages as I thought, but 6!! Three essay questions, 2 pages required on each. When I first saw the questions I broke out in a cold sweat and got a sinking feeling in my stomach. They were very hard. But I comforted myself with the fact that I only needed to get an 80 on this exam to pass with an A in the class. Once I got over panic, however, I organized my thoughts and addressed one issue at a time and came out, I think, with an A paper. We will see. It was, however, turned in five days ahead of schedule. This should earn me some psychological points with the professor as he was pleading for early submissions because of the crunch next week on his end to get grades turned in.

My Thursday meeting was cancelled at the last minute, allowing me a blessed and unexpected free night at home. Can you guess what I did? Yup, settled down in my chair with my trusty canine by my side and knitted. One theme going around the knitting blogs recently is your favorite place to knit. So, ok, here’s a picture:


This is my knitting spot. My favorite recliner in front of the television in my living room. There’s my trusty pooch. Can you see that little space he allows me in the chair? You can see my coffee cup, the remote control and the phone so I don’t have to move. My knitting basket is on the floor there with my grab and go knitting in the pouch in front. I never the leave the island without knitting in the car – I’ve been stuck at the bridge on more than one occasion. See all those magazines stuffed in the table? Those are mostly knitting, quilting and computer magazines that I need to catch up on. In the background you see the bookcase also stuffed with reading material. Those, however, are not my knitting books. Those fill up a floor to ceiling bookcase in my sewing room (uh, studio!). So, what’s your favorite knitting spot?

As a reward for surviving this week, I’m off to my sister’s in Seattle for a fun weekend. We’ll be shopping, seeing the new Harry Potter on the Imax, shopping, possibly seeing the new Narnia movie, shopping, looking at Christmas lights and oh, did I mention shopping? And, as a special birthday treat (it’s my birthday on Sunday), we’ll be going here, my favorite yarn shop in the whole world. Hope everyone has as much fun this weekend as I’m going to!

One of the downsides of owning a Mini Cooper in Washington is that there is only one dealer in the entire state. So, when you need preventive maintenance – you gotta drive. That is, unless you live in the Tacoma area. It’s about a 2 1/2 – 3 hour drive for us (depending on traffic). The good news – that’s a whole day of knitting time if you’re the passenger! Throw in a three hour wait while we were there and that’s a whole lotta knitting time. Have to look on the bright side, don’t you know. In addition to getting two chapters of school reading done, I finished an entire pair of CIC socks. Here’s the CIC stash so far:


That’s three pairs of socks and a sweater. This morning I printed up cards letting the recipient know that a pair of socks will be donated to CIC in their name. Not all will be done by Christmas, but I will send the giftee a picture once each pair is done. The little sweater will be donated in Izzy’s name – the start, I think of a very meaningful tradition.

This week is going to be a bit hectic. In addition to a gazillion things to do at home, I have a big project at work that has a deadline of Wednesday. Plus I have five chapters to read and a lecture to watch on my class so I can try to finish my final exam (a three page essay) by Friday so I can go spend the weekend with my sister with a clear conscience. Plus a party to go to, a haircut to get, one meeting and, well, you get the idea. So I doubt I will get to posting much. But the next week I have lots of time off, so I can start thinking seriously of Christmas.