January 1, 2011

The New

Well, I thought I had better check in before the new year really got rolling and it would be too late to recap everything from the old one.

Wedding shawls are over.   Thank god.

They were done in time, they were lovely, the ladies loved them, enough said really. It came down to the wire with blocking done at someone else’s home on the way to the airport. But when we got on the plane, they were all safely tucked in the carry on bag.

The wedding was a wonderful blur. It was like a mini vacation with lots to do and lots of running around. Highlights include snow (!), getting my hair done in a salon in Kentucky where the d├ęcor was half angel figurines and a half tiger posters, and of course getting to be there when my best friend got married.

I learned things about wedding dresses I had never known. Like just how intimate you must be with the bride to get her into said dress and to tie up bustles. It was an informational good time!

In the end it was a blur of good times. I did manage to knit on the trip, finishing my mother’s Christmas socks in record time. It helped that there was lots of travel and down time with little to do but sit. Also, a lengthy delay on the way home helped. 004 (16)

I felt good getting home with the one thing I said I would knit done. That freed me up for other knitting projects. I had a short time of knitting free fall when I realized I didn’t have to knit shawls any longer. It was like a yarn candy store! I’m afraid I got around quite a bit that first week back, working on so many projects at once.

But I mostly settled on Keith’s mother’s sweater. I took to heart his urgings recently about working on it and told myself it was like another knitting Christmas present to him. Not something I could give him to wear, but making him happy by finishing it. I am happy to say that I am on the final sleeve piece. All that remains is acres upon acres of seaming which I am absolutely terrified of. That will be an interesting adventure for 2011.

I also managed to cram in some quick projects before Christmas, like a great bulky circle scarf knit from all scraps in shades of reds and oranges. It felt amazing to knit bulky yarn on size 10 needles. It flew!

After the not so stressful Christmas knitting, there was a week of amazing downtime until New Years. I didn’t do anything I had planned, but I think I’m ok with that. I knit some, I set up the new laptop that I ended up buying myself when my old one bit the dust over Christmas, and I relaxed.

I went to knit night for the first time in a long while and thoroughly enjoyed seeing everyone and relaxingly knitting the sweater arm instead of frantically focusing on shawls. 036

I even planned, cast on, and knit up a last minute gift for a second Christmas with Keith’s family tomorrow in a single day. The Anthropologie scarflet is cute and blocking downstairs as I type. I’m even going to get a second one for Bret out of the single skein, which will be a great little extra gift for her.

The single greatest Christmas gift this year was a yarn ball winder from Keith. I have been wanting one for so long. Last Christmas, someone at the lovely Cast Away talked Keith out of a yarn ball winder! He told me later that he had gone in intending to get it for me and they had convinced him I could always have them wind yarn for me and didn’t need it. I love all of the ladies at the store, but boy were they off the mark!

I never plan things that far in advance. More often than not, I find myself casting on at 11 p.m. with an unquenchable desire to knit this exact thing RIGHT THEN. So there is a lot of wasted time as I wind up a ball with my improvised swift and the pvc pipe nostepinne. It takes forever, especially when the yarn is lace weight, as in the case with all 5 shawls!

So the new ball winder is the best gift of the season in good company with a whole bunch of other useful things like boots and a bike computer.

Our New Years was very fun and relaxing. Good friends, good food, several dogs, and a lovely home located on a knoll in the Dry Creek valley overlooking vineyards. It was kind of like a 24 hour retreat. And there was even another knitter. Nothing like a warm house filled with good company and yummy food with foggy, gray, rainy countryside outdoors to make me feel like knitting.

So it’s a new year, and I am happy to let the rain rinse away the remains of the last one. It was good in many ways, challenging in others, but ultimately it was a year in which I felt like I had finally gotten the hang of being me. Not that the ups and downs and bumps ended, but that I think I was able to cope and handle them with grace and calm that was not possible before.

It is the last new year of my twenties. It was the year I finished the largest personal work of my life, my thesis. And the achievement of my staff position. It was the year of personal career growth for which I am immensely grateful.

For 2011, I don’t have really specific goals. The little evil self image gnome in the back of my head says I should put a number to the weight loss I want to continue this year. He even wants me to tack on a date to lose it by (hint it’s a round number divisible by both 3 and 10). I ‘m not sure if I want to set that goal, but I do resolve to keep doing what I have been, staying active and pushing myself harder. It is an energizing and motivating way to keep myself going by realizing that every year since 2005 has been better, I have been lighter every year, and most importantly, I have been the happiest I have ever been as a result of good health and a better self. So I will keep that going.

I will strive to be me (sometimes challenging, often confusing) and to meet what the year brings with strength. And knit on through the rough times.

Happy New Year!