Alert the Media

Breaking news – I have made yarn:

FirstYarn

This is my first official skein of yarn.  The fiber was given to me by the owner of the shop where I bought my Traveler.  She referred to it as Icelandic wool and said it is from a sheep on Whidbey Island.  Local yarn, no less!  I am quite proud of it.  It's a little bumpy and thick and thin, but that's to be expected for my first try.  And not all of the bumps are totally due to my inexpertise.  The fiber actually had some slubs in it, so there was no getting around them.  They do tend to hide my little glitches, though.

This is my second go around and I think I am actually getting a little better:

SecondYarn

Not sure what this will end up, but it seems to be at least a fingering weight single (possibly finer in sections).  I'm looking forward to a great time this Saturday when I go to my first spinning get together with my wheel.  My friend is picking me up for a St. Distaff's Day spin-in.  It should be lots of fun.

In other fibery news – I finished both the Nutkins and a Flower Basket scarf:

FlowerBasket

The Nutkins were given to my sister for Christmas and the scarf to my best friend.  I also finished Sue's Swallowtail Shawl, but it still needs blocking.  This now leaves me with only two projects on the needle, the Reversing Tide scarf and the Creideamh Shawl.  The shawl is getting very close to being done.  See?

Shawl

Yes, lace knitting is indeed a leap of faith.  Without any way to spread out my work and check it I'm assuming that since each successive row lines up with the one before, I'm good.  It's always worked before and I am confident it will this time.  If all goes well, I hope to complete this before I start the mystery KAL on January 10th.  Retirement has indeed made me more productive!!

This was the first Christmas with the whole family nearby and it was as wonderful as we hoped.  The girls were very excited, but also very grateful for the gifts they received.  One of their favorites was a dress-up box that my sister (with a little help from me) put together.  Two lovely ladies ready to go shopping:

Ladies

Robes sewn for them by Nana.  And I have to share this picture that hubby took at my retirement party:

SweetIvy

Could that not be a Christmas card?  However, don't let the angelic expression fool you:

SillyIvy 

After Christmas I went home with my sister for my birthday treat.  We spent a fun day ice skating, dining out, shopping and a movie (Avatar – a wonderful, magical treat).   I haven't been ice skating in probably 30 years and I managed not to break my 60-year-old neck!

Skating

Hope that everyone has a safe and enjoyable New Year.  We're meeting the kids for a daytime party at the Children's Museum, early dinner and home by 8:00.  We always have been real party animals.  Happy New Year everyone!

The First Week

I have the first week of retirement under my belt and am ready to determine it all good!  I do have to admit to a little disorientation.  Hubby and I kept thinking every day was the weekend!  We would get ready to do things that we normally do on Friday or Saturday and then realize that it was the middle of the week!  If that's the only downside, I think we can get used to it fairly quickly.

Where to begin?  How about at the beginning?  Saturday was a big retirement/birthday party for me at the original doc's house.  I was so humbled by the amazing outpouring of love and appreciation.  There were about 20 people there, including former employees and my favorite former doc, who attended via webcam.  Ben & Abby and the girls and my sister were there and it was an absolutely wonderful night.  Some of the gifts were even fibery – here's Isobel trying to cop my wool:

FiberGift

And two dozen beautiful pink roses – one for each year:

Roses

The week started off with lots and lots to do.  I think everyone is right – whenever did I find time to work??  There was Christmas sewing to do (pictures after Christmas) and even a little leisure time visiting some knitting projects.  I started Sue's Swallowtail shawl and made decent progress – I've finished the body and started the first Lily of the Valley border:

Swallowtail 

Notice the little dog nose.  Maggie thinks she needs to be included in everything.  I decided I needed to get this done before starting the Enchanted Wood Mystery Shawl in January.  And, spurred on by Kris, I started a pair of Nutkin socks.

Nutkin

This is a fun little pattern.  I'm not ready to do multiple pairs, but am enjoying the process.  Work also continues on a Reversing Tide scarf. 

ReversingTide

This is a great, almost mindless pattern – very easy to memorize.  The scarf is reversible, but has a different pattern on each side.  The yarn is a lovely handpainted merino that came in one of my Embrace the Lace shipments.  It was intended for knee socks, so the yardage is substantial.  I just couldn't see this as knee socks, but it's making a beautiful scarf (maybe two!).

This weekend was busy with granddaughterly doings.  We met the family at Warm Beach Camp for the Lights of Christmas.  The whole camp is decorated with millions of Christmas lights.  And, of course, the obligatory visit with Santa:

Santa

The girls really enjoyed it and we took them home with us for a sleep over, giving Ben & Abby a few childless hours.  The next day we took them home, dumped them off and then went on a Christmas dinner cruise, given to us by the new doc and his wife as a retirement present.

By the end of the day we were exhausted!  Definitely a surplus of excitement, if there can be such a thing.  Today will be a relaxing day.  After church I will be playing with my new toy.  Oh, didn't I mention??  Friday I took delivery of this – some assembly required:

Ashford

After two hours, this is the result:

Traveller

It's an Ashford Traveller.  After much research I felt that I couldn't go wrong with an Ashford.  On Thursday I attended a local spinning group and was welcomed with open arms.  I think the ladies were really excited at getting their hands on a newbie!  They've set me up with workshops, spin-ins and offered to give me all the guidance and lessons I could possibly use.  Oh my – when did I have time to work???

I hope all of you have a very blessed Christmas.  This year, especially, we are counting our blessings.  We are so grateful for the good health and prosperity that God has given us, along with the blessings of a family that is near and time to enjoy them.  But most of all we are grateful for the gift of God's Son sent to us.  May His peace be with all of you.  Merry Christmas!

A New Beginning

It's hard to believe that the day has finally come!  This whole week has been a little surreal and yesterday was no exception.  I have to admit the last day was wonderful.  In some respects it was business as usual.  There were still patients to be greeted, insurance problems to be solved and personnel issues to be discussed.  But throughout it all was the constant thought that this time would be the last time that I did each of these tasks.  The day started off very nicely with a desk piled high with cards and a dozen red roses from the original doc and his wife:

LastDay

The new doc took us all out to lunch to celebrate my and the original doc's birthday (we share the same birthday, but I'm a year older than he is).  I thought I was going to be able to hold it all together until about the last hour.  The original doc's wife came by to bid me farewell and tell me how much my being office manager has meant to them.  Her husband gave me a touching card telling me that I am one of the most competent people he's ever known (high praise in my book!).  Then the doc who just sold the practice called from California.  He told me how much my being his office manager had meant to him.  He said that for 10 years I had kept him organized at work and was truly his "work wife" (our little joke).  He said that he and his real wife were so grateful for how easy I had made his life. 

The interesting thing is that through all of this the new doc remained strangely silent.  Although he took us out to lunch, he does that for every employee on his or her birthday.  He never said a personal word of congratulations or thanks to me.  But this was perfectly ok as it confirmed that I was making the right choice – as if there was any doubt!

Last night I had a defining moment.  I usually wake up in the middle of the night and have a hard time falling back to sleep because my mind is racing with worries and concerns about work.  Last night I woke up and in that half asleep/half awake state I visualized a bunch of folders.  The largest one was labeled "Work".  I opened it up and it was empty!  So I rolled over and went back to sleep.

My random number generator (hubby) picked a number and the winner of the Swallowtail Shawl is Sue – Cody Country Knitter.  Congratulations Sue!  I have already been in contact with her and she wants a white shawl.  Perfect in my opinion.

And now let the party begin:

Invitation

The Home Stretch

It's really getting close now – only 4 more working days until retirement.  There were a few days this past week when I wasn't so sure it was going to happen, though.  We promoted from within to fill my position and then hired a new person.  This past week she was admitted to the hospital with suspected appendicitis.  She is still in the hospital, though, while the doctors try to figure out exactly what is going on.  As she said, "They've ruled a lot of things out, but nothing in."  This created a real dilemma for me.  Our front office is basically a two-woman operation.  Could I really go off and leave the other one in the lurch?  Thankfully, my problem solving skills kicked into overdrive.  We are entering a very slow season and the schedule is pretty empty, necessitating having dental assistants take unscheduled time off.  This next week I will pull one of the assistants up front and do a crash course on front office skills.  Everyone is happy.  The dental assistant is happy because she doesn't have to take time off, the other lady is happy at not having to run the office by herself, the new girl is happy because her job is being held for her and I'm downright giddy that I get to retire in 4 (count 'em!) days!!

A really bright spot in the past week has been some intense fiber enhancement.  The Friday after Thanksgiving saw the arrival of two packages.  The first contained my new Embrace the Lace shipment.  It has the softest camel colored wool along with a cute pattern for a matching cowl and fingerless mitts.  

Embrace

I had momentary thoughts of diving in and knitting these for a Christmas present, but therein lies madness.  I squelched that thought pretty quickly and will address that pattern when I have more time.

The other package was a beginning spindling kit.  Hmmm – was it just a few months ago that I said I wasn't going to take up spinning?  As Lorette says, "Never say never!"  I seem to have become slightly obsessed with the idea of spinning.  I started with the spindle and have managed to spin some incredibly crappy yarn:

CrappyYarn

I will still keep playing around with it, but this has convinced me that I want a wheel.  I've spent hours poring over the internet, reading Ravelry groups and different articles.  Double drive vs. single drive, single treadle, double treadle, finished or unfinished, Lendrum, Kromski or Ashford?  It seems the more I read, the more confused I get.  However, our LYS sells Ashfords and I stopped in yesterday to talk to the owner.  I have an appointment today to go and try out a Traveller.  I think I'm leaning in that direction simply because she's local and will give free lessons.  She's also available for advice and coaching.  Living in a slightly remote area as we do I'm thinking that is a clear advantage.  In addition, I've been invited to join a spinning group that meets here locally every week, even if I do not yet have a wheel.  Regardless, the actually purchase will have to wait until after Christmas.  I don't need any distractions between now and then.  However, I have already begun buying fiber!  This lovely roving from Corgi Hills Farm just arrived on my doorstop:

Fiber1

This had to be the best customer service ever.  I ordered it and seriously – within 10 minutes I had notice that it had shipped.  Was the postman waiting on her doorstep?  I had it within just a few days and she included some beautiful samples as well.   This is so beautiful that it is going to have to wait until I hone my skills a little bit.

Another package arrived a few days after the first two.  I was a little puzzled because I didn't remember ordering anything else.  Turns out this is a Mystery Shawl group I had joined several months ago.  The mystery begins in January and they were holding off on shipping the yarn until November.  I had completely forgotten about it!  This is the Enchanted Wood Lace Shawl Knitalong.  The yarn comes in gradations and you use them in order (forward or backward doesn't matter as long as you use them in order).  I've never done a mystery shawl and I think it will be great fun.

LaceYarn

Oh, and knitting peace?  I think I may have somewhat achieved it.  I am down to three projects, as long as you don't count the Dale sweater that has been hibernating for several years.  I have one lace shawl, a pair of socks and a scarf:

RedScarf

The scarf is for the Red Scarf project.  Not sure if I'll finish it before the deadline of December 15th, but if not I'll save it for next year.  Of course, knitting on it is such a pleasure since hubby gave me my Christmas present early:

Lamp 

Dog added for scale. It's a Varilux light and I love it!  No eye strain and it has a perfect little shelf for all of my knitting doo-dads. 

Well, off for a busy day.  I seem to have done something to my serger so I have to run it down to the south of the island for repair.  It will be a nice road trip for me and Maggie. 

Late breaking news – I came home from our road trip to find this in my mailbox:

Fiber2
I'm pretty sure I have The Knitting Doctor to thank.  Thanks Lorette!