Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

2009 has been a very good one for me.

I had many adventures...
  • in Maine where I camped in Arcadia National Park and was rewarded with a night of swank accommodations in Portland.
  • in Vermont, where I hiked a full 2.5 mi of the Appalachian Trail.
  • in Michigan, where I spent a day climbing on trains of all sizes, shapes and provenance.
  • in Ohio, where I bike-camped our own Cuyahoga Valley National Park and watched far off fireworks from a secluded campsite among tall grasses.
  • on Kelley's Island, where we chartered a boat ride around the island and watched the sun set with friends and family.
  • in Washington D.C., to see all the houses in the Solar Decathlon.
  • back to Michigan, where I rode a steam engine with my parents and caught up with college friends.
I learned many things...
  • how to rewire a boat trailer.
  • how to install a trailer hitch.
  • how to make an origami crane.
  • how to use a GPS without throwing it out the window.
  • how to install a new stereo in a Prius.
  • how to trust the process.

I knit a fair number of things, too... (seriously, a 10k of yarn!)
  • 6 adult sweaters
  • 1 baby sweater
  • 2 kiddo hats
  • 1 sleeping tank top-ey thing
  • 3 pairs of socks (including one lost forever to the east side... *sniff*)
  • 3 cowls
  • 1 pair of convertible mitts
  • 1 pair of perfect mittens
  • 1 original design hat
  • 1 shawl
  • 1 pair of ballet flats (my first ever felted project!)
  • 1 set of christmas stripe elf hat/mittens for the sweetest baby in the world

I tried my hand at sewing again...
  • 1 half-finished dress
  • 1 pair of half-finished pajama bottoms
  • 1 half-finished skirt of quilt pieces (are you seeing a pattern here?)
  • 1 iPod case
  • 1 knitting bag
  • 1 knitting needle case
  • 1 nightgown (recently ripped apart to adjust... not happy with it, so I guess 'half-finished' as well)

Then there was all that other great stuff...

Having my best friend around for the first time in almost a decade and getting to spend oodles of time with her and her family (although it still feels that I don't get enough time with them).

Meeting the Physicist.
There's almost too much in that to go into - and frankly, it's so good, I want to keep most of it to myself (sorry...)
But good.
Lots and lots of good.

Biking around more.
Getting pretty far with the boat restoration.
Seriously considering the Tiny House concept.
The quality of what we're producing at work and the new projects I've gotten to help create and launch.

So, it's been a good year.
I'm sad to see it go, but hoping 2010 will at least as good.

Monday, December 28, 2009

My total damage (yarn-wise) for 2009

I input my knitting projects from the past year by meterage and learned that I knit up 9834 meters of yarn in the past year... that's >6 mi. of yarn.

I almost knit a 10K... actually, I may have since I have not yet input a pair of socks... (or 2).

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Grand Plan (Addendum)

I keep forgetting my rebellious streak.
As in, I often rebel against myself.
Not long after I set my grand plan, I started dreaming of projects well outside the land of the Knitter's Almanac.

A lovely dress...
A sweet summer skirt...
A big squooshy cardi...

I restarted a pair of socks for the third time sometime a week (or so) ago and they are going very well.

And then there is the matter of the squooshy cardi - just translated from French (I'm very proud of that feat - now I just need to learn how to say "boast" en francais) - and a perfect cranberry yarn just purchased on a whim at JoAnn's.

I'm done for...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Grand Plan for 2010

Ok, so I knit.

We've established that.

And I knit alot. It's become the thing I do when I want to do nothing.

Or what I used to call "Doing Nothing."

I'm relatively new to it - having learned in fall 2007 - and I can honestly say it's the one thing in my life where the Expectation of The Thing and the Experience of The Thing have met neatly at the same place.

A rarity in life, I'm sure you will agree.

In the past 2 years of acquainting myself with knitting and it's associated techniques, materials and community, one name comes up again and again: Elizabeth Zimmermann.

To an outsider, seeing the whole of a community rise up in adoration of an individual strikes chord of intimidation in the heart.
"Who is she?"
"Can she really *be* that good?"
And the inevitable urge to rebel.

But a good friend lent me a book, The Opinionated Knitter - I took my time getting to it, but what I found inside was a world of welcome.

I can't really explain it, but everything about EZ is warm. She's witty yet pragmatic and full of mirth. You know she would offer you a cup of tea (or home-brewed beer), something sweet, and let you paw through her stash with abandon. Of course, she'd ask to see what was on your needles, offer supportive suggestions and tease out some concern that would be allayed with appropriate words of comfort.

And I got all of this from a knitting book.

This same friend also gave me a copy of The Knitter's Almanac, which is at the core of this post.

Two things happened in the past 24 hours to direct me to this course...

Thing 1: I got to reading the almanac last night and, upon waking up, saw that a new friend on Ravelry had noted the hat that begins the year of knitting.

Thing 2: Mrs. Zimmermann was born in 1910, and we are on the cusp of a centennial (very exciting, truly).

Putting two and two together, I am going to embark on the realization of the Knitter's Almanac in celebration of EZ's 100th year. I am very excited to try her techniques and get to know her through her books and - if I can find them - her videos from PBS. I do plan to veer off course, as there are a number of projects not in the almanac that interest me, and I think EZ would approve of going off the path when called into the wilderness.

It will serve as a Primer Year for me - I dove into knitting with the zeal of a convert and am afraid of my sophomoric urges. I look to EZ to set me straight and start me at the beginning, where I rightly belong.

We begin, of course, in January.

Knit on.

Monday, December 7, 2009

2009 Christmas

I have just not been in a blogging mood lately. Mostly, I've been knitting gifts and watching NetFlix on the laptop.

But tonight, I came back from Lorain with my boxes of Christmas cheer and decorated for the holiday season.

As usual, my feather tree takes center stage. After years of trying live trees, pink trees, and no trees - the sparse, quirky feather tree has simply won my heart (plus no sap or spiders to fight off).

A sampling of some of my favorite ornaments - most from late 70s or early 80s craft fairs.

I updated the knitting basket with my own yarn leftovers... (and how much do I love the calico sailing Santa in the background).

I remember the year I begged my parents for this ornament from Mrs. Claus' Closet - they used pantyhose to make the cookies - which is kind of gross, but endearing. Check it out, the peanut butter has embroidery criss-crosses - brilliant.

Ah yes, cardinal - with blue-painted beans for eggs.

I love love love this ornament. It's German and had a thin piece of balsa that went over the Claus' with a minute mistletoe hanging down. Years in the attic - and an over-zealous me - left it cracked and in the "Broken Ornament" box - so I had to save it.

My newest accessions - made at a party last year and inspired by Victorian ornaments we made years ago when I was working at the Historical Society.

A proper French Bulldog Angel. I feel her name must be Manon.

...and the two angel geese who helped me decorate. Just surreal enough to help me get through the sugar-shock of the season.