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'Cause sometimes I even surprise the knit out of myself.

Monday, December 31, 2007

2007- A Year in Retrospect

Where to start? Where to start? Go get your coffee warmed up, folks. This will be a long one.
Go on...I'll wait....
Back? Ok then...
So let's start of with the knits, shall we? It wasn't as productive of a year in number of FOs perhaps, but I learned some new techniques, did little pattern improvisation, and even a personal design (the simple knit hat). I would say I had a bit on my plate this year personally and professionally, and in a way, a bit jaded that it bit into my knitting time. More on that topic further down.

1. Tilted Duster, 2. One Skein Wonder, 3. Sandra Waistcoat in Lime, 4. "Because he only allows me to knit hats" HAT, 5. Baby Crossover Jacket, 6. Phildar Cropped Cardie, 7. Knitting 2006 010, 8. Doctor's Bag - true color, 9. Puff-sleeved Feminine Cardie from Fitted Knits by Stephanie Japel, 10. Fetching II, 11. Tammy's Simple Knitted Bodice, 12. Argosy, 13. Garnstudio alpaca bolero14. Not available15. Not available16. Not available

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.
In January of 2007, I joined my first SnB group, the Skein Mavens. That brought the fun of knitting to new heights for me. What a fabulous, talented, bunch of ladies and inspiring at that.

So we started April 19th with a string of water-related incidents that seem to plague us. We had a nor'easter in April that brought us about 9 inches of rain in less than 48 hours. Let's just say that those of us that never had water in our basements before did. The sump pump quit because it couldn't handle the volume of water. Our newly finished basement room, styled with a Moroccan/Indian flare....destroyed. My husband would lose interest in the house for months because much of his beautiful work was damaged. This is after the carpet was ripped away and that is a rather large puddle of water there. Insurance covered it, thankfully.

There is crap strewn everywhere and all my stuff pulled off the walls except the flat screen. It was the most back-breaking experience of my life to use two wet/dry vacs every 30 minutes and empty two full containers. I would stay up for hours of the night to continue to suck up water so it would reach any further than it did.
I am happy to say the basement room is re-carpeted and back to new as of September.
I had the opportunity to visit Germany twice on business this year, once in February by myself and then again in May with a slew of US co-workers. The second time we took advantage of high airfare to stay until Sunday and catch some sites and shopping. This is Castle Neushwanstein on the border of Austria. It was built by the Bavarian King Ludwig II.
It is magnificent on the mountain top overlooking the Alps. It was also Walt Disney's inspiration for Cinderella Castle in Disney World.
I was very lucky to catch some scenery before a very stressful business trip was over.
In August, my godmother, pictured left, celebrated her 60th birthday. It was incredible to get the whole family together again. (Liz, me, Roland "the pants", and grandpop). Hi Liz! Waves furiously. I hope you don't mind you made it to the blog if you are reading this. *ducks for cover*

I met an aunt of mine for the first time who was originally from Stuttgart, Germany and met my uncle during WWII. She's a prolific knitter too. She said to me, I knew you were a knitter the second you walked in with that top. ( I happen to be wearing my Lotus Blossom tank here).

This is Dad and I hanging at the party.
I was blessed with the ability to take my parents on a cruise of a lifetime for their 40th wedding anniversary and 60th birthdays. I promised them when I was 18 and in college, that someday I would like to take them on a nice cruise since we never had a family vacation together growing up. They were a little emotional when Roland and I presented it to them for their anniversary in April. Once we got to the restaurant, it hit them and they both started to cry. I suppose it was overwhelming having been married since they were 19 and struggled to make a mark in the world. My parents are the most hard-working people I know. I couldn't think of any two people who deserved a nice trip to the Mediterranean more than them.
The highlight of this trip for me was docking in North Africa, a dream of mine. We ported in Tunis, Tunisia. My friend and I, pictured left, were gushing when we got our passports stamped and stepped foot on African soil. It was a surreal moment for me.
Here I am pictured with my four girlfriends on top of a building in Tunisia overlooking the grand mosque in town.

My theory for living is and always will be to experience a culture through the music, dance, food, language, and textiles. I like seeing the historical tapestry being woven before me and actually experience rather than reading about it.
Malta was also a surreal place with so much history. I could easily return there just to experience the megalithic temples again.
We made friends on the ship. My friend, Wendy and I, are pictured here with our friend, Ariel, who worked in the Dublino Bar on the ship. His first encounter with me was me harassing him for not having one Irish thing to drink in the bar. LOL. We've been friends ever since speaking or emailing weekly.
Annie the doxie turned 12 this year and Cartman turned 6. We had a true scare when Cartman, the bulldog, was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor. He's good as new now, but this was a traumatic experience for such a dog-loving family. The dogs are family first and canine second in our eyes. This is like taking your child for cancer treatments to us. I am happy to report the tumor was removed and healing nicely. His coat has filled out and looked healthier than ever. I'll tell you, the prayers extended to me from my online friends will always be near and dear to my heart.
My friend in Iowa was finally blessed with pregnancy. Andrew, the soon-to-be kidling, is due on January 10th. I went to the shower in December and we had a blast. I hung with the old friends.......
And made friends with new ones from Belize and Michigan.
For the first time in 31 years and living in NJ all my life, I experienced NYC at Christmas. I made my friend Kelley pose for a picture so we could prove she was actually here!
See how jazzed she is?

I got to experience a little bit of history.....75th anniversary of the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular.

I learned a lot of things this year. I think I discovered more things about myself than I bargained for. The reality of my over-achiever personality mixed with a little work-a-holic were driving me to an early grave sadly. I am blessed with extremely supportive and nurturing superiors at my job so I appreciate the promotion this summer. I learned something though. I would sooner being a paper shredder than a higher paid corporate business person if it made me happier. I think I was doing myself a tremendous disservice, and for my company, that I am not doing something I am passionate about. With the support of family and friends, I stepped down to my former title about 2 weeks ago. It was instant liberation. I am no longer living to work. I have too many things to knit, too many places to explore, years to grow old with my husband and parents, and far too many things to experience to let work rule me. If this is inspiring to anyone else, than so be it, this is why I have shared this story. It was the hardest decision of my life.
I learned that nothing beats the power of knitters and crocheters. I was invited to Ravelry just after I returned from my trip in September. I made so many new friends through that site and my blog. I couldn't be thankful enough for all of the wonderful people I've met this year and how each of you has enriched my knitting world. If you are reading this....consider yourself part of this group. :-)
The support of a knitting community is amazing.
So what's in store for 2008?
Oh here's just a few inspiring designs I'm looking at right now.

1. Alice Staremore's Aran Knitting, 2. Anise, 3. autumn cardigan, 4. AutumnRose by Eunny Jang, 5. DROPS Cabled Cardigan, 6. DROPs icelandi sweater, 7. Fulmar from Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting, 8. glenalbyn by jade starmore, 9., 10. Made by myself, 11. Mod Coat, 12. Phildar Best of Irlandis, 13. Silver Belle by Debbie Bliss14. Not available15. Not available16. Not available

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.
I will be going back home to Ireland this year. I say "home" because it was the closest thing to home other than NJ that I ever experienced. I think I am planning to go to another enchanting place this year, but the cards have not unfolded yet. We shall see. I would love to somewhere like Iceland. (Yes, I never said it wouldn't be knitting-related).

I will have a fairy godchild in about 2 weeks to oogle over.

This year I want to experience some more intricate cabling, hence the Alice Starmore obsession. I might attempt my first steak and do some really detailed colorwork.

I think there are so many wonderful things to look forward to in my immediate life. As for the rest of the world, all I can pray for is peace. I think that would be the greatest gift we could receive right now.

So I send my abundant wishes for peace, happiness and health to all of you. Get out your Bayberry candles and repeat after me...

"A bayberry candle

Burnt to the sprocket

Brings warmth to the heart

And wealth to the pocket."

Happy New Year Everyone from your friends at Chez Knitballs!


At 3:36 AM, Anonymous circĂ© said...

great post!
happy new year to you!!!

At 10:22 AM, Blogger Bobbi said...

what a great post! I think we are a lot alike, I've had the same struggle with work life balance.

I'm glad to hear Cartman is still doing great!

Can't wait to see what's in store for 2008!

At 1:37 AM, Blogger Lesley said...

I can definitely relate to the struggle to find a good work/life balance. Kudos to you for having the courage to step back and re-evaluate, then do what is best for you.

Happy new year!

At 9:44 AM, Blogger Jessica said...

Great post! You had a really amazing year. And I'm very much inspired by your work story. Bravo to you for having that courage. I'm going to try and remember that as I deal with my current work situation.

Happy New Year! Hope to see you at an SnB real soon. :)


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