Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top Memories for 2008 (in pictures with commentary)

I have to give the nod to CrazyAuntPurl for the idea to sprinkle my 2008 memory blog with pics of favorite folks and furries.

So far, my top memory for this last day of the 2008 is that I do not have to wait up tonight for fireworks. I just saw the celebration in Auckland, New Zealand this AM while they were shooting off fireworks to mark their midnight. Ain't technology grand?!

In May, I had my first official knitting class with students. It was lots of fun.

In June, I was in Georgia to see the Evil Elf meet Loopy in a yarn store before my folks and I began the road trip home with their new-to-them van.

At Bancroft Park in Old Colorado City, I joined a great group of knitters for Knit in Public Day. I plan to be there again this year. The official date for 2009 is June 13th.

Pedro and I spent many summer afternoons with our favorite neighbors and friends.

And I knit, and knit while I watched the Summer Olympics. In the end, I medaled with seven completed projects, or FOs, over the course of two weeks.

And Loopy and I went off to Taos in October for the Wool Festival where we met up with CatwithCats for a fun-filled weekend of fiber and critters and a huge Ravelry meetup.

And through all the good weather, we had a constant visitor that came for nuts and for Pedro to have his own entertainment in the front window.

And I knit and knit.

And then we cooked and cooked.

And, afterwards, we rested.

And through it all, I had the constant companionship of my bestest bud, Pedro.

He and I wish for you all the best things for the New Year! We will be starting tomorrow to build our memory bank for 2009, won't you join us?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Planning for the New Year

My goals list is just beginning for the new year. I usually have it all mapped out by now however, with all the Last Month of the Year hubbub, I am running behind schedule.

Years ago I gave up the whole resolution thing, I found it a was a way to set myself up to fail. Now I call it goals and work to show progress on those specific goals during the year. So, with that said, I present my goals for 2009:

  1. Schedule and teach two classes a month.

  2. Sell more items on my store.

  3. Design and submit four patterns to the knitting calendars for 2011.

  4. Attend Sock Summit 2009 in Portland.

  5. Have all holiday gift knitting finished by November 1st.

  6. Attend a knitting group once a month.

    I hope everyone has big plans and dreams for this New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2008

As Promised: The Knitted Gifts Gallery

After five months of concerted effort and diligent knitting I can present the holiday knitted gifts gallery. I started my planning in March with a list of folks for my holiday knit list. Then I reviewed patterns, chose the ones I wanted and shopped for yarn with specific people in mind. Once it was all gathered, I began knitting the small stuff first. Then life got in the way and I got slowed down.

By August I was re-evaluating my list and had joined Ravelympics. My plan was to get another batch of gifts finished and I managed to do that, seven projects finished in seventeen days.

I have knitted beaded hats and scarves** for all four nieces, plus hats and tudoras for the parents.

I also designed and created a nightcap** for the self-proclaimed oldest living elf in captivity. I am waiting for the report from him about how it works when he wears it to bed.

There are some gifts that failed to get photoed because of the last minute rush to get them finished and wrapped. And there are still a couple on my needles, plus the one for my mom that got wrapped as two skeins of sock yarn with a note - Let there be socks TBK - that will get started next week.

As you can imagine, I am working on my list for 2009 beginning this week. First I have to clean my knitting shelf so I can find the patterns I wanted to do for the 2009 Holiday season. And I have requests from the Evil Elf in Germany that there are needs for more knitted items for his family.

**The beaded hat/scarf and nightcap patterns will be available soon from my blog and linked to Ravelry for anyone who needs to treat the special people in their life to fun knits.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I hope your Christmas is filled with all the things that makes your life special!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve: It's Not Just for Shopping

For those of you who waited until the last minute to shop for gifts, I wish you good luck, lots of patience, and a relaxing evening afterwards.

I have spent my morning gathering the last of the items to transport to my folks house for this evening including my favorite sleigh buddy, Pedro. He loves to go to Gramma's house where he can snoop to his heart's content in a much larger house. It makes his Nascat racing longer and more fun.

As we got ready, he discovered that he has a Christmas stocking (a great gift from my co-worker) and he ripped open a gift from Florida that I will wear for Xmas Day. And I discovered some great recipes for a my quiet New Year's celebration in the New Mexico magazine.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve Eve: News from My Elf Central

Since my "creature" was stirring, not chasing a mouse, but nowhere was safe for the wrapped gifts in my house.

I had to resort to a new gift holding bay, aka my laundry closet, to hold all the packages that were left to wrap for the big day.

The bandit succeeded to rip holes in the packages and sneak through the house to wreak havoc in my ribbon bag access.

He meowed not a word but went straight for the finished items and struck without warning, my reprimands gone unheard.

There is not much more entertainment than a cat after ribbon, even more hysterical when the holiday is looming. **

**I never told you I was a poet. I hope everyone is having a Holly Jolly Holiday Season!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

And in My "Go" Section...

Today my sister and I went to meet our folks to attend the Christmas theater event at the Butte Opera House in Cripple Creek, staged by the Thin Air Theatre Company. This is first class theater in a beautiful mountain setting.

This year, I believe, is the best holiday play they have staged. As stated in the program it "is a re-imagining of the classic Christmas story, Miracle on 34th Street." It is set in Cripple Creek at the turn of the century with Teddy Roosevelt visiting the mining camps where he has an accident and becomes anmesiatic.

There are two villians in this melodrama, however one was booed on a more regular and heartfelt basis than the wicked widow. We must have known that she was redeemable.

The play was written by Chris Sorensen, who has been writing for the Cripple Creek stage since 2001, providing us with such original works as The Vampire of Cripple Creek, The Angel of the Christmas Mine, Frankenstein of Cripple Creek and another adapted Christmas classic, Cripple Creek Christmas Carol.

The play continues it run through a special performance on New Year's Eve. Tickets can be purchased online from the Butte Opera House website. Tickets are very reasonably priced at $11.75 for adults, $9.75 for adults and $7.75 for children 12 and under.

It is well worth the drive to Cripple Creek and the price of admission.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The "Piece de Resistance" of Last Minute Holiday Knits

This is the shining-moment piece of knitting for this season.

It is a nightcap for my dad. He mentioned that he has been wearing his beanies to bed on the cold nights and quoted the poem - "Ma in her kerchief and I in my cap". With that said, I went looking for a nightcap pattern to make him one for Christmas.

A pattern for this is not plentiful or popular. I did find a lovely one (far to fancy for regular wear for my dad) at It is worth looking at if you are interested. Then I found one that is reminiscent of The Christmas Carol and similar to the one you see Scrooge wearing. This one is plain and utilitarian, mostly what I was looking for.

Of course, it was designed for yarn I could not find, so I rewrote and knit this one as an experimental model. I hope that it will fit him. But, since the pattern was done in plain colored yarn, I decided on December 13th, when I was writing the new pattern, that it needed some dressing up. No pressure, let's design a fair isle snowflake pattern to add to it. I had it knit by the 17th, record time I think.

I am very excited for him to open this gift and try it on. There will be pics posted once that happens. I have plans to make him another one once I am certain that it fits the way it should.

I hope all of you have moments of shining accomplishment this year to reflect upon!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Final-Push Knits

This is it! The final push to get my gifts finished. As you see, there are still several skeins in the pile to be turned into some special for my recipients.

Loopy has been helping by sitting on my desk, reminding me that every minute counts. In that pile are four gifts so that is not as bad as it looks.

I have to admit that these projects are additions to the list I made last June in preparation for this Christmas. As promised, finished projects have been photoed and will be up on the blog on December 26th.

I hope everyone is to the enjoyment of the season point in their world!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Last Month of the Year

If anything can get in the way of deadline gift knitting, it will. That is Murphy's Law and I have tempted its limits this year so I am not surprised that it snuck in and presented itself in all its complicated glory.

It started right after Thanksgiving with Pedro getting so sick that I decided it was not going away on its own and had to take him to the vet. After all the tests and xrays he was pronounced with a bacterial infection and put on 3 weeks of antibiotics. The vet also said I needed to quit feeding him Purina and go to a higher grade dry food and add a once-a-day wet food feeding. Well, if Pedro thought he was king of the castle before, he knows it now.

I managed to continue knitting while this was going on, taking it with me to the vet and while I watched over him after he got home to make sure he was done heaving.

While this was going on I was experiencing an abscessed wisdom tooth and waiting for the infection to subside because most dentists will not work on you until then. So I was taking lots of OTC pain meds and plugging through each day at work and then knitting at night for as long as I could. I finally gave in and went to the dentist to find out that it was much worse than I imagined and required emergency oral surgery that hour if not sooner. I drove to the oral surgeon and he had me out within the next hour.

After that, all I could do was sit and knit, so that was the upside to that event. I actually finished two other gifts and designed and started a third while I worked from home the rest of that week. It was amazing what I could get done, in between naps, once I was not battling the pain 24/7. And, yes, the dentist and surgeon both scolded me royally for being stubborn and assured me that a couple more days of that I would have been dead. So I am most grateful to my neighbor who referred me to her dentist and to the oral surgeon who did such a great job and follow up with me. If anyone needs the names of these folks in Colorado Springs, let me know and I will get them to you.

Pedro and I have blown our Christmas wad but are grateful to be on the road to recovery. And grateful to our neighbors who have decorated their windows and trees so I can see them when I get home from work (in the dark). That is the other thing that got bypassed this year because I just ran out of time.

I hope your world is filled with twinkle lights, good health, family and friends!

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Heat Is On! 27 Days Until Christmas - Eeek!

And I am not speaking of the weather in this instance. I am talking about the imminent deadline for my holiday gift knitting. So far, so good!

I am on schedule to finish all and on time. I have organized my list in conjunction with the mailing deadlines and then ones after are local gifts I can deliver as late as Christmas Day itself.

My greatest thanks to Ravelry for the Ravelypmics event in August for getting me kick started with knitting some gifts and organizing the list. It has made a huge difference in my lower stress level associated with wanting everything done on time. I admit that I have added a couple additional projects to the list however have warned the recipients that it will not be delivered until after the first of the year. One is a nightcap for my dad. He has been wearing a stocking cap to bed more nights than not since the cold weather has set in. I found a simple pattern that can be made from a superwash and I think he will like it.

I hope everyone enjoyed their Turkey Day: food, family, fun!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Be Thankful!

Even when it seems that the sky is falling, the world as we know it is collapsing and life is crumbling around us, there are still many things to be thankful for.

In that spirit, I am thankful for:

Family and friends, the good health of my parents and their continued desire to get out and enjoy life. The cutest, most lovable cat buddy in the world. Making money doing what I love. Plenty of yarn and patterns to keep me busy, productive, creative and calm. And the beautiful place that I live, I never get tired of the view. And lower fuel prices! (yes, that does say $1.43 for unleaded)

On this day I encourage you to take a few moments and be thankful for all the things in your life no matter how small. Stop, take a breath, observe and be thankful for all that you have and all that you are. We are all special and blessed!

Pedro has discovered that momma's boots are a fun thing to wrassle.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ode to Joy: The Knit Picks Catalog Has Arrived!

The Knit Picks catalog is a thing to behold. I have kept every one since I started receiving them two years ago.

Not only do they showcase their products nicely with excellent photography, but they also have the best tips I have seen in one place.

This month they concentrated on holiday ideas. This includes great selections for last-minute knitting projects for your list and gift ideas for the knitters in your life.

I think my favorite thing is the sampler sets they are offering. The yarn samples are in a color theme complete with patterns and ideas of how to use them.

Each edition has its own theme; like July 2008 and socks. Everything from how to dye naked yarn to ideas for patterns to make unique footwear.

You need to get on their mailing list to join the fun of receiving your very own catalog to treasure.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Knitting Group

We met for the first time this evening, however, I feel a connection to these women who bravely come out to meet in a central location in the effort to find like-minded people. The quote of the evening was related to the relief of finding others who understood what she was saying about knitting. We noted it has its own language and when spoken with passion to non-knitters it can cause the glassy-eyed look that reminds one of deer in the headlights.

We met at an independent coffee house off of the main drag. The place is cozy and the staff energetic, happy and very interesting. I had the privilege of meeting the #1 barista in Colorado Springs of independent coffee establishments, as awarded by The Independent. She is lovely, quick to please, and, as I found out, very creative in her concoctions.

She is even creating a Coffee Tour for her regulars that may soon become a club (or cult of sorts). I plan to visit during our holiday-imposed hiatus to try the Cranberry/White Chocolate mocha drink. She says it is a holiday favorite. When I asked for a printed menu, I was told that they can and will do anything even if it is not on the large chalkboard of choices. A specialty of the house is creating just about all of the fancy drinks in a sugar-free format.

I am looking forward to sharing my passion for the craft with this lovely group of ladies!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

November Days to Celebrate

November arrives with cooler autumn weather and promise of fun days to celebrate. Finding ways to enjoy each and every day is part of the goal of being present for your life. Let's see how we can enjoy the month of November.

On the 6th it is National Men Make Dinner Day, followed by Chaos Never Dies on November 9th. We celebrate the reason for our national freedoms with Veteran's Day on November 11th.

The 13th is World Kindness Day and on the 14th let's take advantage of Lighten Up and Laugh Days. By the 17th we need to get ready to enjoy Make Homemade Bread Day. Then we can enjoy a break from all the fun with Have A Bad Day - day.

Creeping up on the end of the month we have World Hello Day on the 21st, followed by Eat a Cranberry Day on the 23rd and a reminder on the 25 that there are 27 days left before Christmas.

The big feast is coming this year on the 27th, (known as the fourth Thursday in November) and we are all ready for turkey and the trimmings for Thanksgiving.

Then we finish up on the 30th with Stay At Home Because You Are Well Day.

I hope there are plenty of days for all of us to celebrate this month!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What Motivates Me?

On my last post a faithful reader asked me a tantalizing question about my knitting. "Do you find that having "special" projects waiting helps with the motivation to finish up works in progress?"

This question gave me the big AHA moment. Yes, it is the carrot on the stick for me. And a version of delayed satisfaction. I find that I am a production knitter at this time of the year as I plow through my gift knitting list. Since I have some to mail, I design a schedule that fits with the mailing deadlines and I work on those pieces first. Then I work on the local giving items after. that.

I start my gift knitting in the Spring with a review of patterns, my proposed recipient list and the supplies needed to accomplish this. Then in July I review all, finalize the list and cast on my first piece. Of course, Life gets in the way after that and I find myself in October gasping at the calendar and putting myself in deadline mode.

During this time I have found some fun projects I want to knit for myself, aka been to the Taos Wool Festival and brought home the lace scarf and mohair locks from the previous post. Well, I knew when I bought them they would not get cast on right away because I had projects going at home. So they sit patiently waiting for me to finish my list. They are the grand prize at the end of my gift knit marathon. These projects will feed the process knitter in me. I will be learning a new pattern and using my creative design side when I set mohair locks into a fun scarf.

I have become disciplined to only have two projects going at one time. I have a house project that I knit on early AM with my coffee and morning news, and after work with an evening movie. Then I have a project that rides in the car with me for knitting at lunch and in the parking lot in the AM when I have arrived at work early. That is getting harder to do as it gets colder. I am now knitting with fingerless mitts on.

The idea of having those special projects to start at the end of the year is the way I celebrate the completion of another successful year of knitting.

Thank you, dear reader, for putting a finer point on what, until now, was a subconscious motivator in my knitting world.

I hope all of you have special treats planned for yourselves as we approach the end of the year!

Note: all pictures used in this post are from previous knitted gifts. You will still have to wait for the current ones until after Dec. 25th.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Previously on my blog...

we talked about knitting, and I am sure you have been waiting for a comprehensive update from me. As you can see, the guy with the glowing eyes has convinced me it is time to share the news.

The best news is: yes, I have been knitting, a lot. The bad news is: I cannot really tell you about it.

I know, you think I am teasing you. Well, I'm not. Since Ravelympics I have been trying to finish my gift knitting for this year. Most of the things I am working on I cannot show you pictures of or discuss.

So, now you ask yourself, why should I continue reading this post? Because I am going to share with you what is on the top of the knitting list when I finish the gift list. It is my Taos project purchases. First on the list is a lovely lacy scarf pattern with an unusual shape and some fabulous yarn from Plain and Fancy.

The shape is more ellipictical than rectangular and has a beautiful lace edge. The yarn is fingering weight in a multi-color with brown, gold, teal, peach, and lavendar. It looks like it will go with anything. I had help from my friend CatWithCats picking it out. There were too many choices and it always helps to have another pair of eyes.

My other great purchase was dyed mohair locks from Kai Ranch in Texas. They had them lined up in bins in every imaginable color. I was baffled by what you might use them for. While I stood there pondering their use, CatWithCats had located Gale Zucker and Joan Tapper of Shear Spirit.

Besides convincing me I had to buy a copy of the book (Shear Spirit), Gale showed me a great idea to use the mohair locks. She was wearing a scarf that she had made in a plain, dark color with the mohair locks incorporated into it randomly to get a very fun look. So I picked out the colors I liked and we decided that they would look great combined with a charcoal gray. I have not found the base yarn yet, but am looking forward to starting that project the first of the new year.

Well, it has been great getting caught up with all of you. Hope you are pursuing your passions and enjoying the start of the Holiday Season. I promise to share pictures of my gift knitting ventures after December 26th.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween! It's Spooky.

All I have for you is the beginning of a poem. If you would like to add a stanza or two, send them to me in the comments.

T'was the Nightmare before Christmas
And all through the hovel,
Not a banshee was shrieking,
Not even a Muggle.

Hope you a planning a fun-filled 'Ween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Saddest Day of October

Today was the saddest day in my world. Our good friends and neighbors packed up the U-Haul and headed east to Missouri. It is a good move for them to be closer to family and long-time friends. For Pedro and I, it leaves a hole in our world.

Pedro spent the afternoon going to their porch and waiting patiently for someone to open the door so he could go in and visit like he used to do.

Our best wishes to our friends, we will miss them!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

From Gussets to Glory!

It was a successful conclusion to my sock class in Woodland Park. I think everyone had a good time and did learn some basics of sock construction. I know we giggled a lot over the two afternoons we met. I blamed it on the high altitude, the shop owner referenced liquid refreshment. So if Diet Coke and high altitude are to blame, then we did good.

I returned to a beautiful sunset and an anxious pussycat who wanted to go out and watch the stars come out. Those days are coming to an end rapidly since it will soon be too cold and dark when I get home to go outside. He is enjoying these last mild days before it is time to build his kitty igloo.

Thanks to all the brave and wonderfully fun gals that joined me for the sock class. I have requests for more classes in the future and am working on those proposals this week. To all you fiber nuts out there -- Happy knitting!