Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out With the Old

Today I'm going to take a look back at my New Year's goals from 2009 and see how well I did at keeping them. Tomorrow I'll list my New Year's goals for 2010 after the new year has officially been rung in (I just glanced at my clock and realized that in about 5 minutes the New Year will begin in some parts of the world...and then I just checked the world clock and it's already 2010 on the other side of the planet). First let me explain that I make New Year's goals, not resolutions, because I feel that resolutions are too binding. Goals allow for some flexibility and a little less guilt if/when you don't meet them. So, without further ado, here were my goals for 2009 (a full blog post on this subject can be found here):

1. Walk at least 3 times a week. This goal started out strong but fizzled by spring (when it started getting hot). It picked back up a little during the fall when I joined an exercise team at work but by the time the temps dropped below 50*F I was off the wagon again.
2. Cook at least twice a week. This never really stuck with me. It's too hard to plan a meal for one person that I will feel like making after coming home and I will want to eat leftovers of for the next week.
3. Knit more for charity. I feel like I meet this goal even though, quantitatively I didn't make as many items for charity as I did in 2008 (I made 26 or 27 items for Warm Woolies in 2008). In 2009 I made 12 items for charity but 6 of them were sweaters that would fit a 10 year old, or older. I feel like I spent as much, if not more, time knitting those 12 items as the 27 I made the year before. I count this as an accomplished goal.
4. Branch out socially with my knitting. Definitely done. I joined the Atlanta Knitting Guild in early spring, became the community service chairperson for the AKG in May (or there abouts), and regularly attended 2 knit nights a week.
5. Be more social in general. Another accomplishment. I spent more time with old friends and even made some new friends. Someone even told me they noticed I was coming out to a lot more functions than I had in the past. Since vacation started I've been in recluse mode but I think that's ok every once in awhile.
6. Be more involved at my church. My goal was to start working in the preschool department. Which I did. So, done.
7. Go on another mission trip. I was originally thinking Romania but I ended up going to Peru instead. Still, another goal done.
8. Dye at least twice a month for my store. I started dyeing colorways in larger quantities so overall I was doing less dyeing. And I still need to sell more stuff so I can buy more yarn on a regular basis. I'm formulating a plan though...

There you have it. I would say I did pretty well last year. 5 accomplished, a couple sorta done, not one completely ignored. Yay me! I noticed that all my knitting and church related goals were meet but not one of my fitness goals was completed. Guess you can see where my priorities lie. I've already started thinking of my goals for next year and I think they are going to be very realistic and attainable. Tomorrow I'll chat about those and show you some knitting projects that I've started/finished (Yes, I did start and finish 2 projects after Christmas. It's amazing what you can do without a deadline.). Until then, have a Happy New Year and I'll see you in 2010!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Recap

I hope everyone out there in bloggy world had a very merry Christmas! Let's do the time warp again and go back to last week.

Wednesday: I started by washing and sewing the buttons on the BSJ for my cousin Britt.
Then I finished up my mom's gift (the fabled Last Knitted Gift of '09...which you will see more of in a moment). And finished all the wrapping.
Penelope helped by keeping Brandi's pizza pan warm.
Then checked to make sure the gift boxes were the proper size.
By then she was pretty tired so she took a little break on the snuggie.
But woke up and moved to the floor to guard her toys (including a new catnip toy she got for Christmas from me).

Thursday: The fam and I traveled to south GA to my aunt and uncle's house where we had a big Christmas dinner and gift exchange with my extended family.

My cousins Jake and Harrison got their sweaters. Jake asked me back in the summer to make him a sweater. I was a little afraid that he wouldn't remember asking me but those worries were unfounded.
As soon as he opened it, he looked at me and said, "You made this for me, didn't you?!?" He was really excited. Later that evening he even put it on and wore it around. My mom has some great pictures of him in front of the Christmas tree. He was even jumping and running around in it and it was holding up well (Am I the only person who's paranoid that the first time someone wears something I've made it will totally and spontaneously fall apart?).

Harrison got his sweater as well but he was little distracted by the Mickey Mouse play tent and G.I. Joe figures he'd gotten.
Friday: Christmas Day was spent with my parents at their house. My aunt Becky was there as well to open gifts from Santa. And an unoriginal hat from me :)
I won't post the pictures of my mom since she'd probably not like that but here's some pictures of the scarf I made her (The Last Knitted Gift of '09).
I had some fun bundling up in it.
It's the Irish Hiking Scarf made from Eco + in a bright fuchsia color. It turned out super lush and warm. I didn't have time to block it but I did wash it at my parent's house and laid it out to dry.
This picture doesn't have the correct color but it shows the stitch pattern really well.

Saturday: My brother and future SIL came over to my parent's house to open their Christmas presents (they were with my future SIL's family for Christmas Eve and Christmas). My brother had to try on my Rockin' Bones hoodie that came in the mail (a gift from Santa).
What sucks is that he looks better in it than I do. I told him he could pull off the punk/emo look. That night we went out to eat for my cousin Brianna's birthday.

Sunday: This morning I woke up and knit for about an hour on a slipper for charity. After church I drove to Thomson, GA for a Christmas themed wedding shower for my brother and Brandi (my future SIL). Between driving there and back I've been in the car for over 5 hours. Now it's time to relax and watch some t.v. and finish knitting my slipper. And also try and fight this head cold I've come down with. Tomorrow I'm thinking I'll sleep in as late as the cat will let me and then dye some yarn. I'm already thinking of my New Year's goals so I think it might be time to revisit last year's goals and see how I did.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Little Bit Sentimental

And after:
That's 10 inches of hair, gone. Whacked. No more. I cut it this morning and will donate it to Locks of Love. Oddly, the whole process made me a little sentimental and retrospective. Those 10 inches of hair represent 2 years of my life. And a lot has changed in that time: I had a different job, I was dating someone, I hadn't opened my yarn shop(s) yet...but some things have remained the same: I was still a blogger, I was still knitting, and I still had my cat. I plan on doing this again so it will be interesting to see what 2 more years down the road will look like.

This weekend was very busy as I traveled to Columbia, SC for my cousin's wedding. I had a little time in the car to knit on the last Christmas present of '09 but for the first 2 hours I was in the car by myself so there wasn't a way for me to knit. I did give Brandi her mom's Christmas scarf that I blocked the previous week.
The first picture gives a more accurate color but the second really shows off the stitch pattern. The yarn is some of the alpaca I brought back from Peru. I can't remember what the stitch pattern is called but I'm sure it was something about leaves. It turned out nicely and it looks very classy. I hope Brandi's mom will enjoy it.

On Monday I spent the day finishing my Christmas shopping and picked up buttons for the Baby Surprise Jacket. I spent way too much time deliberating but I finally settled on plain chocolate brown ones.
I really wanted some yellow-y honey colored ones that matched the contrasting stripes but, of course, nothing looked just right. I found these adorable bear ones but they were a little too big and I figured that the mother of a 5 month old does not want to spend more than about 20 seconds trying to button a jacket. They were crazy cute though. With these last few projects almost wrapped up I'm already getting ready for the post-Christmas knitting. Bring on the festivities!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I have one incredibly cute FO to show you...
The Baby Surprise Jacket is finished! It's so cute! I still need to sew up the shoulder seams and weave in ends and find buttons but for all intents and purposes it is done. The last little bit where you are knitting 200 stitches or so isn't the funnest thing I've ever done but as soon as it came off the needles I was squealing over the cuteness and wanted to cast on another right away. Not tonight though. Tonight I'm baking some cookies for a holiday party tomorrow and washing pants for work. I'm exhausted so as soon as this second batch comes out of the oven I'm off to bed.

Thanks to everyone who left comments on the book and the scarf. I'm glad that others have enjoyed reading the book and I appreciate all the kind compliments on the gift. It is nice to knit for those who really enjoy it!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Well Received

Saturday night I had a church Christmas party to attend and got to give my first gift of the holiday season.

Remember this July when I went to Peru? And then I came back with this yarn:
My friend Jonathan actually found the stall where this yarn was. As soon as he found it I knew I had to make him something, if nothing else than to thank him for finding me the yarn. I started making something for him back in October when I was in a knitting rut and needed a mindless project. Ever since we've gotten back from Peru, Jonathan has been dropping not so subtle hints that he wanted me to make him something. And then asking me when he was getting his sweater, mittens, hat, scarf, etc. And I just played dumb. Saturday though, he finally got what he was asking for...
He knew what was coming...
He said he could smell the alpaca...
And he loved it! Jonathan is the type of guy who can appreciate a well made scarf. He said it was soft and warm and then spent 20 minutes making everyone pet it and pointing out the finer details of the construction. I'd say that he gets to stay on the knitted gifts recipient list :)

The last of the Christmas gifts are coming along. There is one gift that I can't show on the blog but the baby surprise jacket is kicking it.
I'm about 15 rows from being finished which is spurring me on through the rows and rows and rows of garter stitch. Now, as for the gift buying part of the holidays...that's another story...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Finish Line

That title may be a bit misleading since there are only a few things that have actually reached the finish line and there are still more that are on their way there and maybe even one that hasn't left the starting gate yet (gulp). Did I mention the deadline was Christmas? Double gulp. But on to the finished stuff.

Last night I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning finishing Spinning Forward.
This was the book I purchased a few weeks back when Terri (the author) came to out Wednesday night knitting group and did a talk/signing. The book was great and I couldn't wait to see how it turned out so I stayed up extra late finishing off the last few chapters. Several things I really liked about this book: Easy read but still pretty well developed, nothing seemed too contrived. Also, the chapters were short. In another fiction knitting book I started (hmm, hmm, Friday Night Knitting Club I'm looking at you...) the chapters were so long and involved I could only get through about one a night and I was trying so hard just to slug my way through so I wasn't truly interested in seeing what was going to happen next. With Spinning Forward I found that the chapters were just long enough to pique my interest and make me want to keep reading to see what was going to happen. Was there anything I didn't like? Not flat out. I thought one of the story lines was a little bit far fetched but then, that's the fun of fiction, the mostly improbable can happen. I also wanted more knitting but then again, I live and breath knitting and can never get enough. I think a non-knitter would actually like reading this book because it wasn't overtly about knitting. Overall, a really great read. I can't wait for her next one!

Next done thing: Warm Woolies! I sent in my box the Monday before I left for Thanksgiving and I knew the prizes were due to arrive any day now. Yesterday I found this in the lock box by my mail slot:
The top one was a "Ravlery Prize". I wrote a little paragraph (I'm post #23) about why I like(d) knitting for Warm Woolies and they sent everyone a thank you gift. The bottom box was for the 10 for 10 challenge. Here's what was in the Ravelry prize box:
10 skeins of Rowan 4-ply Soft in a pink/salmon color
1 skein of Blue Heron in rayon and metallic in hot pinks, oranges, and reds. It reminds me of a recycled silk yarn.
6 skeins of Artyarns cashmere
A yarn requirements booklet (which I have been wanting/looking for for over a year...), 2 copies of The Big Book of Knitting (I will be giving one away, don't know when or how...maybe a contest or something...?), Finishing Techniques and 2 sets of bamboo circulars.

In the other box there were these goodies:
Domiknitrix and Little Treasures
14 skeins of Alchemy Synchronicity in denim blue, grey, and white
10 skeins (not all shown (obviously)) of Rowan kidsilk spray in a fuchsia/purple color
3 more sets of circulars
And, hidden in the bottom, 3 more books! Fabulous Felted Handknits, Wrap Style, and Miss Bea's Band (a kid's knits booklet). Overly generous, in my opinion, and warmly welcomed. I plan on using some of this yarn to knit a few things for charity, in the spirit of honoring Warm Woolies. I've been trying to find other organizations that collect clothing for orphanages or even orphanages that will accept donations of clothing directly. Specifically in Russia and Eastern Europe. I've found some pretty good leads but do you have any idea how many orphanages there are in Russia?!?! And every other time I click on a website it has a link to another website that has links to 10 other websites. Before I know it I've lost myself down the rabbit hole. But it's also a lot of fun imagining the possibility of connecting with one of these groups and seeing clothing distributed to kids.

A final FO, Harrison's sweater.
2 down one to go...and here it is! I had started a Baby Surprise Jacket for Britt.
This was from yesterday night. Notice I said, had started. See, I knew that Elizabeth Zimmerman was notoriously vague and this pattern is notoriously awkward for people who have never done it before and the pattern is old and some other adjectives involving notorious and...well, I threw caution to the wind. I didn't read the wiki. I didn't join the group. I didn't sweat it because I figured, hey! if Elizabeth Zimmerman doesn't think it's important enough to include in the pattern then I can just muscle my way through it. I'm a competent person. Right? Right?!? Um, well, 14 rows in and it just didn't feel right. I mean, it looked ok but it wasn't consistent enough for me. So, I found a row by row counter chart thingy, came home and poured myself a hot cuppa and sent that baby to the frog pond. After working on it for the first 45 minutes of The Nightmare Before Christmas, the first hour of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (I got bored with Nightmare and switched it to LoTR), the better part of A Charlie Brown Christmas and (finally) Prep and Landing (cute, btw, hope you caught it) I have this:
18 rows of much better looking BSJ. The only thing that will keep me from getting further tonight is if I lose my battle of wills with the heater (it is staying set on 69 until snow falls and that is final!) and go take a hot bath.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

'Tis the Season

Today my mom and aunt came over to help me put together a set of bookcases I got for my birthday in June. They turned out awesome!
Now my shelves don't sag under the weight of 20 books. The old bookcase is in my room. I'm going to stock it with my stash.

They also helped me set up my Christmas tree.
Since graduating from college I've found it to be harder to get into the holiday spirit. This year, however, I'm determined to get into the festivities. It helped having someone to help me get out my decorations. Usually I have to do it all by myself which is fun but a bit lonesome. It didn't take much time for us to get the tree and a few knick knacks out but it was still nice to have the company.

The other night at guild I was able to knit almost the entire second sleeve on Harrison's sweater but I haven't touched it since then. I feel like I've got the Christmas knitting under control so I've been thinking ahead to my knitting for next year. I love knitting for charity but I've been pretty bummed that Warm Woolies was ceasing operations. I've started researching charities and orphanages in Eastern Europe and Russia that might be looking for contributions. I found H to H International about a year ago and they will accept hand knits of any type and made with any type of yarn. I've got a few more groups that I'm looking at contributing to and I'm trying to get a group together on Ravelry (see here if you are interested in joining in). I would love to start my own group and hold contests and KALs. If it doesn't come to be then I'll still keep at it :)

The other night Penelope helped me enter some new yarns into the shop.
I think she missed me over Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm Late, I'm Late!

I'm late in blogging about Thanksgiving. If you follow me on Twitter you know I had a somewhat valid reason. I was in the happiest place on Earth, Disney World!

My mom and dad took me, my brother, and my future SIL Brandi for Thanksgiving since we didn't get another family vacation this year.

We stayed at the lovely Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa.
I think we all kind of wished we had been able to spend a little more down time in this awesome hotel room but our days were jam packed. We did all the quintessential Disney things:

And were there for every park opening except Epcot. And we usually stayed until after the evening fireworks/light shows.

This was my favorite part of the trip:
I'm a huge Muppets fan. I've even thought about trying to work for the Muppet Studios. When I was in high school I was even on the puppet team at church. I took it very seriously. I was a little sad that there were no Rizzo the Rat t-shirts. He's my favorite character.

The week was very busy so I actually had very little knitting time (even though I spent 130 minutes in line waiting for Soarin'...oops, big projects, not wanting to break needles riding rides...meant I was going nutters standing in line) but I did manage to finish one stealth Christmas project and got to the first sleeve on Harrison's Christmas sweater.
Hope you had an enjoyable holiday! I know I'm thankful that I got to spend it with family.