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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 - A Year in Retrospect (in pictures)

Go get yourselves a coffee, donut, and a butt cushion for your chair. You're going to be here awhile.

Let's start with the knitting content shall we?

2008 FO list
12 sweaters
5 cowls (1 is not pictured)
3 balls of fiber spun
1 pair of socks
1 shrug
1 shawl
1 christening gown set
1 baby hat
and 1 birthday cupcake

Not bad at all. Oh note, that the UFO picture of Rogue at the far right bottom is in there b/c, folks, it's FINALLY done. In fact, I finished the last sleeve last night. It's blocking and waiting for it's photo shoot on Jan 1,2008. After 2 long years, many fights, in and out of love, and many bouts of not being on speaking terms, I've ended the 2 year relationship and kicked the UFO status out. Yay!

Some notable knitting accomplishments for 2008:

  1. I bought myself a Schacht Ladybug and learned to spin with my partner in crime, Sairy, thanks to Jessica (Zarzuela)and Christine CheekyRedHead!
  2. I went to Rhinebeck for the first time and lost most of my self control with THAT much fiber/yarn.
  3. I started my first large shawl project, the Goddess Knits Mystery Shawl.
  4. I am back in love with socks (thanks to Sairy).
    I won the Ravelry Olympics for 2008 and 2006. I will compete in 2010.
  5. I did more gift knitting this year. I finished sweaters for both my Mother and MIL.
  6. I did some more detailed cabling this year.
  7. Learned to start a toe-up sock (12/30/08, hey it still counts)
  8. Noticed my knitting skills and speed have greatly improved compared to last year.
  9. Joined Plurk back in October and has expanded my ties with even more knitters outside of Ravelry.

Two of the most notable accomplishments for me this year, knitting-wise, is finishing an intricately cabled sweater, Silver Belle, for the 2008 Ravelympics. I also made a fun YouTube video to accompany the Ravelry camaraderie on this.

Secondly, learning to spin was a big deal to me. I have been bitten by the spinning bug and I love it. In fact, I am in (Jessica's) Zarzuela's Fibers Fiber Club and joined a spin-a-long for the same fiber. I think spinning has inspired me to bring my knitting/crocheting to levels. I'm proud of continuing my quest to learn old crafts and make them new. I love the idea of renewable resources and not necessarily being forced to rely on things commerically available. If I want laceweight in a specific color, by golly, I'll spin it. Maybe I want chunky, I'll do that to. The possibilities are endless, not to mention, I have a lifeline of talented spinners right at my fingertips. That beats the gym shorts off of having to take a class with an instructor I don't know any day.

For 2009, I am writing down goals this year, rather than post projects I want to knit. Since my crafting as evolved so much this year, I don't want to limit myself to things I may not want to make later on down the road. I don't think these goals are unobtainable or lofty either considering my accomplishments for this year.

2009 Crafting Goals
  1. Cast on for St. Brigid (Alice Starmore) on January 1, 2009
  2. Do a substantial colorwork project with steeks
  3. Finish my lace shawl
  4. Learn to spin lace weight and also learn to Navajo ply
  5. Must.knit.more.socks
  6. Knit a sweater out of handspun fiber
  7. Attempt to make one of my design sketches a reality
  8. Knit more from stash. I need to get my books/magazines under control also.
  9. Knit Roland his first pair of socks. He picked Malabrigo sock. That's mah boy.
  10. Get a little crocheting in. It the first craft I learned when I was 8. I miss it

This year has been a whirlwind. There's always the good and bad. The bad may seems the worst at the time, but you know what, the good stuff was what came to mind first. I think that's got to tell you something.

I got a bit of travel back in this year also, both work and personal. I went to my godson's christening in Iowa, went back o Ireland, the highlight of my year, I went to Disney TWICE, I went to Puerto Rico and lived through an earthquake on the 16th floor, visited my BFF in Florida, and got a chance to explore San Francisco while away for work.

I still don't have my stress level under control as I would like it to be, but that's an ongoing process. There were more things tossed onto my plate this year making the latter half of the year difficult. I really fell off the wagon of regular blogging and blog-reading, although Plurk has allowed me to stay in touch with folks. I am considering joining a 365 day project to get myself back into that. Unless I'm on my deathbed, there should be no reason that I can't pop in and say boo on a daily basis.

2009 Personal Goals:

  1. Find the gym again and become more heart-healthy
  2. Change eating habits to help my existing GERD issues
  3. My work-life balance will always need work, although I have gotten much better
  4. Return to Ireland in October and get Roland on vacation to the Grand Canyon in February
  5. Try to keep my office a little more organized
  6. Find a better sleep schedule and find a way to kick my insomnia
  7. Get my vegetable garden going again. I miss it.
  8. Renovate my office space. It needs a new, happy color and modern furniture
  9. Get my pictures into organized photo albums
  10. Volunteer and rescue another dog
  11. Make it to Maryland Sheep and Wool
  12. Finish some of my quilt tops that just need quilting
    I guess we need to round out my last post for the year with a year in pictures.

2008 began with baby christening gowns....

...and much anticipated babies.

Special February birthdays...

...resulted in special surprises and lifetime memories.

The return to Ireland to see old friends....

...also resulted in new ones.

Life bonds were strengthened....

...and work bonds were weakened

Another healthy happy year past in human years...

...and in dog years.Knitting misbehaved... ...and was recklessly remedied.

History was witnessed.... and made just the same.We had angry pirates.....

And yarn ones....

...And very, very drunk ones.

We had knitter's weddings....

And knitter's festivals...
With lots of fiber friends....

....fiber craziness

...and more expensive fiber craziness.

There were Rhinebeck fiber hauls...

...SnB friends....

...and Ravelry friends ... ....that are also life friends...
....and the ultimate blackmail photo of the century.

There was more Disney in October.....and more fun in Tampa for Halloween

There were distant bridges....

....and bridging the distance.

And willing, I'll continue down my path for another year. Thank you all for your friendship and support, your camaraderie and laughter. I wish you all the peace, love, and health in 2009.

Yule Saying

A Bayberry candle burnt to the sprocket,

Brings warmth to the heart and wealth to the pocket.

Happy 2009 dear friends.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thank You For Flying Wicked Witch Airlines

Wicked Witch Airlines Safety Speech
by HolyKnitballs!

Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers

Thank you for flying Wicked Witch Airlines. Our cruising altitude today will be 10,000 feet. Prior to take off please ensure that your cat is securely strapped in to the rear of your broom.

Should you lose altitude, please ensure you don't fall off before your cat. Remember, they ALWAYS land on their feet and you do not.

Your broom is equipped with low level lighting should you not be able to find your way in any dense Boston fog. This flight will also be guided by winged-monkey air marshalls should we experience any turbulence.

We offer several lunch boxes on today's flight. Choose from Dragon's Blood Pudding with a Cat's Claw Beurre Blanc, Toadstool Tartar, or Cream Of Rose Hip Soup. Please use caution when eating, as exposure to steam may cause spontaneous melting.

Please use caution when writing any smoke messages in the sky to your arch nemesis from Kansas with the blasted gaudy ruby slippers from your crazy ah, please sit back and enjoy the wind in your hair.

Thank you for flying with Wicked Witch Airlines.
© 2008 Holy Knitballs! All Rights Reserved
So how do you like my funny? It all started today over a discussion on Plurk with my dear friend regarding high winds in Boston and broom-riding. It turned into me being silly and pulling this out of my hat. BTW, I love the Wicked Witch of the West. Margaret Hamilton rocks and always will! Judy Garland is my thesbian idol. I even paid my respects to Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, and Jack Haley's graves in Hollywood. Ray Bolger was a favorite musical actor of mine along with Judy. I am a BIG FAN of this movie so I just HAD to share! There are a ton of memories of me sitting on my grandpop's lap tied to this. To this day, he calls me to let me know it's on TV so I can watch it too. Very sentimental for me.
Happy 70th Anniversary
Wizard of Oz!
My most beloved childhood movie.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Yes, again another bout of blog silence, but for good reason. There was so much secret knitting going on....crazy, marathon, manic knitting sessions. There was some frogging involved. It wasn't pretty, but it's done. I hope you all had a fabulous holiday.
So now you must be scratching your head wondering what the heck that has to do with my post title. Please observe.
Suspect Profile #1: Clarabelle Cow-l Bandita:
She will rock out and then steal your Disney pins. This one has such a Disney fetish for pins, you had better lock your doors. Note the Tinkerbell purple cowl she is sporting. (BTW, if you call yourself a Disney fan and don't know who Clarabelle Cow is, then shame on you. Do your Disney homework).
Suspect Profile #2: Mommer Bandita:
This one can clean your house and render it spotless, blind-folded....literally, in a matter of minutes. She has a lot of that meticulous, Italian mother blood in her. Your laundry and any dust that exists in your abode should tremble in fear. She is also known to feed dogs lots of treats and has an affinity for a certain son-in-law, she aptly calls "son". The Mommer Bandita has a sidekick. The suspect's profile is a black and white Japanese chin/Yorkie mix with a ferocious appetite for alpaca and specifically handmade socks, much to the chagrin of a "certain" knitter. Some consider this yapper to be the brains of the bandita operations as he has the Mommers and Dadders wrapped around his paw for cookies.
Ok enough of my silliness. The first cowl is of my own design, just a simple garter on the top and bottom with stockinette in the middle. I did this because I know Tammy does not like tight things around her neck. BTW, that is my SIL, KubusKrafts in disguise there. It's made out of a lovely Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky in Tinkerbell Purple, of course.
The cowl on my mother...oh yeah, that is my mom hiding in the blue cowl and then modelled by her sidekick, Ozzy. The pattern for this is the Cherry Garcia Cowl by HelloYarn done in a mixed berry colored Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky.
Also, you might not believe this but neither of two human pictures were posed. They were both random and done on different days, but I could not resist the criminal profiling spoof on count of the bank robber style we have going on here. BTW, I loved knitting cowls this year and it was instant gratification abound.
Next up, Dad got a pair of slippers that I decided to whip out at the last minute for no reason other than he complained his feet were cold. I haven't broken down and done another pair of socks yet after the dog ATE a hole in the alpaca socks and slippers I made for him WHILE they were on his feet and his was dead ASLEEP in the recliner. I kid you not. I couldn't make this crap up.
This pattern is called "Aran Isle Slippers" by Jennifer Lang from the latest Interweave Knits. I don't really care for the look of them, not the pattern, but more my yarn choice. The heathered olive Cascade 220 muddles the cables quite a bit. They fit Dad though and he liked them so that's all that counts.

I did finish my MIL's cardigan, which is posted to Ravelry, but I want to get pictures of it on her. It doesn't look good on me b/c it wasn't meant for my size. She is tiny and likes loose clothing so it looks much better on her. Hopefully, I can get those pictures tomorrow.
One last thing, today is 4 years that I've been knitting. Granted, I crocheted since I was 8 and my foray into knitting is really not that old, but I feel I've accomplished a lot in that time. So with that, my first FO was a seed stitch scarf out of a pure wool I can't remember. We decided to dig it out tonight and take a new picture. This was an FO prior to any Ravelry or blogging years so we actually needed a photo anyway.
We decided to compromise the dog's dignity since Mom was not feeling photogenic tonight, as evidenced by the bank robber pose above.And last but not least, Whistler's mother. Dont' worry, Ozzy will get a cookie for his dedicated services in the interest of my art. (read Mommer Bandita profile above on the cookie part).

Ok well, hopefully, I will have more tomorrow and then my year in retrospect on 12/31. Where did the time go?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Drive-by blogging (picture heavy post with *gasp* knitting content

Well hello! Ready for your next installment of a blog post cleverly disguised with pictures from a crazed, busy, horribly bad blogger? Alrighty then, grab yourself a cup of java and cozy up to the flat screen.
After Thanksgiving and house-hopping, I got down to making my second turkey...EVER. And that bird was tasty. Molasses-pecan glazed and fairly moist, for a turkey. While I was doing this, I had to avoid stepping on or tripping over a small fuzzy house guest for the weekend.

Meet Daisy. Prior to her grooming appoint, might I add. She is so soft and fuzzy. She was my constant shadow for 5 days and, quite frankly, I miss her little ninja-dog pitter-patter at my heels.

We were playing on my futon up in my office. She was pretty funny. I guess she's about 8 months old and is part Japanese Chin, Maltese, and possibly Yorkie. Nevertheless she's cute.

A few days after her Mommy and Daddy came to take her home after a trip back from Chicago, she came to visit fresh from the groomers. She's so freakin' cute. Her face reminds me of a Schnauzer here.

I also accomplished a little spinning that weekend too. This is a single of Clover Leaf Farms combed merino top in the "Midnight" colorway that a snapped up in Rhinebeck this year. I found it really tough to spin being a newbie until I discovered spinning from "the fold". That helped a ton! Once I get the rest all spun up, I might try navajo plying it on the wheel.

I also went to a bulldog show the Saturday after Thanksgiving to see my friend's parents who are big bulldoggers. My parents, who had spent some time with them on the cruise through the Mediterranean last summer, came with me and we watched some of the judging. After that we met up with Sairy for lunch, who was home visiting her parents for the holiday weekend and hit a craft show at her former high school. We both scored several balls of Border Leicester fiber. I bought some balls in this lovely natural chocolate color and in an oatmeal color. My hope is to try out some colorwork with my handspun.
The spinning was set aside and used as a reward for milestone accomplishments on this beastie. This is my MIL's sweater coat. That's all you get though. (No more peaking for you, Mom. You'll see it on Christmas). The rest of you can check out the progress on my Ravelry page (HolyKnitballs). Otherwise, the unveiling won't happen until Christmas.

I did squeeze in a little cowl knitting to break the monotony and save my poor eyeballs from the black yarn. This is the "Unpurled Cable" Cowl. I used .5 balls of Woolbearers Sirena in the "Softball" colorway. Folks, if you are looking for quick, this is your project. Bulky yarn, size 11 needles, and 1.5 hours and you have a Christmas present. Voila! Instant gratification. I also hit Purl Soho a few weekends back, again with Sairy , for an Electric Six concert with her hubby and a friend from Brooklyn. I caved when I saw this lovely Lorna's Laces Fisherman's Wool. It has a killer 500 yards. I'm planning a Clapotis for me to match my black and white pea coat. I have been gobbling up yellow like it's going out of style lately. Now I just need to knit with it. I guess the solar plexus chakra needs some work since I am so bonkers for yellow anymore, a color that I hated for the longest time. Guess your tastes do change as you get older...and for more than just brussel sprouts and beets.

This colorful skein of sock loveliness is for my SIL's "Have a Magical Day" Mickey Mouse B-day socks. This is Knitivity Merino Fingering in the "Rodentia" colorway. Get it Rodent-ia. hehehehe. Perfect for the mouse-lover in your life. At 925 yards, I think I can squeeze out a pair of sockies for a certain Mommy-in-law as well, just in time for the next trip to "The Mouse". Now just to figure out a pattern. I am very open to suggestions if anyone has any.
We rounded out last weekend with a trip to Jessica's for a Fibery Goodness Gathering and Secret Santa swap. Kristy, Sairy, and I drove up together. HHWJ (otherwise known as "the boy") was Sant's Jolly Elf and did the Secret Santa matching so Jess could play too. Guess who I got? Sairy , of course. LOL. Our limit was $10, which can be tough, but I scored the cutest thing on Etsy and it didn't come by Friday as I hoped. So I had to go to plan B and will put the other gifty (that I can't talk about here) in her Christmas present. Starbucks card anyone? Yep. The perfect gift for your caffeinated knitter. It came complete with a plastic canvas snowman card holder I got from Tammy's craft show gig, which you can read about on her blog here.

Kim was my secret santa and scored me a new mod tape measure, which I needed since Mr. Sheepie tape measure needs to be retired in a big way. I got this awesome knitted sweater key chain and vintage knitting magazines. (Thanks Kim! Awesome gifts!) Have I ever mentioned I have a vintage magazine problem? I collect them. There are some lervely socks in there. I'll have to take some photos and show you later. We were cracking up over the turban pattern. I need to remind myself to take photos to show and tell.
I also bought some lovely BFL roving from Jess's fiber shop in a "Blueberry" colorway. I will start spinning this up after Christmas for Dad's handspun birthday socks with a firm threat to keep the "little beast" away from the handknits.

Isn't this just gorgeous? BFL practically spins itself. I now love the stuff. If you haven't been to Jessica's Etsy shop, you need to run, not walk right now to Etsy and have a lookie. She is also starting a fiber club, which I also plan to join.

And so I leave you with a pick of Jessica's cat, Simba, in a rather questionable pose. I think I may have interrupted some self-cleaning going on. She kind of looks guilty, no?

Ok got to get back to knitting the behemoth sweater. Catch ya later.