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Knitting for the Soul

Monday, December 27, 2004

A knitting Christmas

It's been a knitting Christmas in my house this year. I didn't realize that I'd gotten as far as I have on my sweater. I've only got about an inch more to go on the back. The front should go a lot faster now that I know what I'm doing and now that I've converted the tricky little chart in the pattern book to a full-blown 120-row/42-column pattern in Excel! It's so much easier for me to recreate the entire pattern, then use a highligher to cross off the rows as I knit them. It's also where I put my notes on where I started the armholes, and other really important stuff.

And just in case you wanted a closer look...

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Next up on the needles and other ramblings on a sad day

Whew! Now that Christmas gifts are out of the way, it's all about ME again. I don't mind knitting an occasional gift for a friend or loved one, or even something that I know I'm going to donate to a charity, but there is something wickedly delicious about knitting for myself. I've been pining over this sweater for months now and I'm finally getting down to business.

It's called "Lea" and it's a cropped mock turtleneck from Jamieson's #2 collection. I tried taking a picture of the pattern to post here, but it really didn't do the sweater justice (small picture, wrong color, too far away. etc. etc). So, you'll just have to trust me on this one. It really is awesome. And since this is a contemporary twist on "traditional" Aran knitting, I'm finding that the pattern has some very challenging and unique details.

For example, the entire front and back of the sweater is in what I'm calling a leaf pattern. You can barely see the beginning of it on the left side of the picture above the moss stitch border. But what's really cool is that there is a thick double cable winding up both side seams. The way the get this affect without a giant seam running right up the middle of the cables is to knit the cable onto the right side of the back of the sweater and on the left side of the front of the sweater, so when you sew it together, the cables run right up the middle, but the seams (which you don't notice anyway) are off-center. The sleeves are mostly moss stitch, with the same double-cable running up the middle. The cable continues from the shoulder of the sleeve up to the neckline (a strap, I believe they called it). So the shoulder "seams" are not where you'd expect them to be, because the beautiful cable is there.

The neatest detail though is the neckline. It's a mock turtleneck. It's a cable that's knit separately and sewn on at the end. But what's interesting is that you knit the neck piece twice the required width. One half is the cable and the other half is straight stockinette. When it's done, you fold it in half and sew it onto the sweater. For those of you who sew, it's actually knitting a self facing on the turtleneck so that when you look at the inside, instead of seeing the back of the cable pattern, you see a nice, clean, neat strip of stockinette stitches. Cool, huh?

On a sadder note, I'd planned to do some work on my book tonight, but it's been a very sad day. One of the sweetest people I've ever met in my life (seriously!) was killed in a tragic car accident early this morning. We think she had a stroke while driving to work. She ran through red light into an intersection and hit a State Trooper that was rushing to another accident or crime scene or something. The cars collided with such force that the trooper's car rolled three times. Witnesses at the scene said that she was slumped over the wheel before the accident according, but that she was going close to 60 mph. Last I heard, the trooper will be okay. I'm thankful for that. I can only hope that she was gone before the accident and that she didn't suffer. My heart goes out to her family and her many friends. She was truly an angel and will be sorely missed.

I'm not in the mood to work on my book tonight. I need to be in a positive and uplifting mood for that, and I've been either crying or on the verge of tears all day. So instead, I've fixed a cup of hot tea and I'm going to curl up in my knitting chair and do the one thing that's sure to make me feel better... knit.

Tim McGraw sings a wonderful country song that's popular right now. It's called "Live Like You Were Dying". It's a great song and it is so true. Days like today remind me of how much time I spend getting all worked up over things that are so insignificant in the big scheme of things. I'm constantly telling my husband that I hate going to bed angry or leave for work in the morning without saying "I love you", because you just never know. I think he thinks I'm a sap when I say that, but I really believe it. And... I keep telling myself that there are things I want to do, and places I want to see while I still can... and it's about time to start doing them.

If I were to really take Tim's advice, here's 10 things that I'd do before I die:

1. Go on another cruise - a long one - maybe through the Caribbean.
2. Publish a book and make enough $ to fund my retirement.
3. Have a big closet full of sweaters that I've knit.
4. Buy a baby grand piano and play the heck out of it.
5. Write letters to a few people from my past and tell them what they really meant to me.
6. Buy a house by the ocean, sea, lake, river, pond - even a little house would be okay, as long as it had a water view.
7. Visit the Mediterranean, especially Italy and/or Greece.
8. Donate a lot of money to charity - maybe fund a foundation of some sort.
9. Rent a villa somewhere warm and wonderful for a week and take my closest girlfriends on a vacation - like a week-long pajama party.
10. And the last thing I want to do just before I die is to go to sleep, quietly, and just not wake up.

Okay, enough. I'm gonna go knit. Take care. Be safe. Go hug someone and tell them that you love them. Even if they don't say it back.

Multidirectional Scarf

At last, I'm finished my multidirectional scarf and I LOVE it!!! Actually, it's my 3rd, but this one is the charm. I found out about the pattern from my LYS, bought the yarn and took in about 10" 2 days later. The shop owner liked it so much that she asked me to make one for the shop. Then I got the brilliant idea to make my DH one for his birthday which was on 12/20. He collects African artifacts and loves African-inspired prints. So, together we went on line searching for mudcloth patterns and designed a pattern that was predominantly black, with random stripes of beige and white. In theory, it was a good idea, but changing colors on a two-sided scarf is NOT a good idea. Once I realized that the yarn that I carried-over for my color changes would show, I knew that drastic measures were needed. I can hardly believe that I actually did this, but I ended up making another scarf, solid black classic cotton, then sewed the 2 scarves together, so the black one would be like a lining.

He says that he loves it. We'll see. The test will be whether or not he wears it. Personally, I think it was a disaster, but it's the thought that counts, right? Technically there's nothing wrong with it, I'm just not "feelin' it" as my teenager would say.

But now, back to MINE. After knitting DH's, I couldn't wait to get back to this little beauty. I used Gedifra Stripe , color #4606. The yarn is 51% wool, 49% acrylic, but it's soooo soft and the colors striped beautifully. I LOVE this yarn! I used most of 3 hanks in order to make it nice and long.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Boyfriend Sweater Curse

Since Prudent Purl asked about the boyfriend sweater curse which I am a victim of, I thought that rather than try to explain, I'd try to find a definitive explanation. There's a pretty interesting "editorial" about it at knitty.com. I'm not normally superstitous, and I pooh-poohed the thought of the curse when I decided to knit my former fiance a sweater.

The really ironic thing was that we'd been best friends for months before we started dating. He'd been going through a difficult time and went "home" to Canada for Christmas. I made a blue and white striped scarf for him in honor of his favorite hockey team - the Toronto Mapleleafs, and shipped it to his parent's house. He says (and his parents confirmed) that it was receiving that scarf that made him realize the depth of his feelings for me, and when he came back, well... let's just say that we were no longer just "best friends". :)

He loved that scarf so much that the next Christmas I decided to knit him a sweater. It was a navy blue wide-ribbed mock turtleneck. Pretty cool, I thought... and so did he. He wore it all the time. Of course, I was thrilled. So much for curses, right? Four months later he dumped me! It's a bit more complicated than that, of course, but that's the gist of it. So, I don't need any more convincing that the curse is true! As a matter of fact, I won't buy my husband shoes or a watch either. Has any one heard those (i.e., buy a man shoes and he'll walk all over you)? Any other curses I need to know about?

Friday, December 17, 2004

The Interview With God

This is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. If you haven't already seen it please take a look. Click on the link above and then click on "View Presentation". You'll be blessed.

100 things about me

I've seen several other bloggers try this, most recently my new buddy over at Prudent Purl. So I thought I'd give it a try. Believe it or not, I found it really interesting reading what other people have written about themselves. I don't know if anyone will find 100 things about me interesting, but that's okay, I think it's a useful exercise for me anyway. If you think it's silly, just skip it... hopefully I've posted something more profound elsewhere on this blog.

Anyway, here goes...

1. I was born in Washington DC and lived there until 1997.
2. I've lived in 3 states and another country (Canada) since then. Okay, so I'm a nomad.
3. Of all the places I've lived, I loved Tampa-St Pete the most.
4. I've traveled to Canada (lived there for 9 months), Jamaica, Nassau, Barbados, France and Spain.
5. I spent the summer in Spain between 7th & 8th grades.
6. I'm not Catholic, but I went to an all-girls' Catholic high school.
7. I'm a Christian.
8. I wish I'd been a pediatric nurse.
9. I love to knit and read.
10. I like lots of different types of music, including classical, jazz, gospel, and "easy listening".
11. Although it would surprise all of my friends, I LOVE country music.
12. I'm the only Republican in my entire family - ever.
13. I love puppies, but don't like dogs, unless they're really little.
14. I'd love to have a kitten.
15. I'm a "fall" person when it comes to clothing colors - I look best in "vegetable" colors.
16. I've always secretly wanted to highlight my hair. I finally did it when I turned 45.
17. I took classical piano lessons for 13 years.
18. I've always wanted a baby grand piano. I plan to have one before I'm 50.
19. I want to retire to a small waterfront town and live like an eccentric artist.
20. I've wanted to write a book for years. I've finally started it.
21. I own my own business.
22. I put the earpiece of my cell phone in my ear when I'm driving in the mornings so I can pray out loud and people won't think I'm crazy.
23. I love to watch movies - especially good dramas... the ones that make me laugh and cry at the same time.
24. I just saw "Under the Tuscan Sun" and now I'm ready to move to Tuscany. I bought the DVD on ebay as soon as I finished renting it from Blockbustser.
25. I read self-help books all the time. I still need help.
26. I'm usually reading at least 3 books at any given time.
27. I love a neat house, but I hate to clean.
28. I love to cook for dinner parties, but hate to cook just for myself or my family.
29. I'm much more introverted now than I was when I was younger.
30. Orange is my favorite color.
31. I once went horseback riding in a foot of snow in the mountains.
32. I had a fairy tale romance with a tall, dark and very andsome Jamaican man raised in London. His accent was to die for! I definitely got my groove back, at least for a little while.
33. I had a miscarriage. My daughter would have been 22 this year if she had lived.
34. I still miss her.
35. I knew I was getting "old" when I realized that I knew the words to most of the elevator music.
36. I want my next car to be a convertible.
37. I was my class valedictorian in high school.
38. My first boyfriend was a hoodlum, but he was very, very cute!
39. My ex-husband was a minister. I didn't like being the Preacher's Wife.
40. I love flowers.
41. I thought I'd like gardening, but I hated it.
42. I wish I could paint.
43. I can read any music, but I can't play by ear at all.
44. I wish I could sing, but I can't.
45. I sing in my car anyway - loud.
46. I love being near water, especially the beach.
47. Being in nature makes me feel closer to God.
48. I don't like living in Richmond, but it looks like I'll be here for the duration.
49. I'm very emotional. I even cry for commercials.
50. I can be moody, but I try not to be.
51. I'm very impatient around incompetent people.
52. I'm a sucker for love.
53. I've had major surgery twice in 2 years, and both times everything turned out fine.
54. I was diagnosed with lupus when I was 34 and didn't expect to live to see 40.
55. I'm almost 46 and I've been in remission for years.
56. A boyfriend broke up with me because his mother had lupus and he said he couldn't stand by and "watch me die".
57. I cry at weddings, even if I don't know the couple getting married.
58. I'm afraid of bugs, snakes and heights.
59. I'm terrible at saving money.
60. I sometimes shop at designer consignment shops.
61. I try to tithe. I wish I could give more to my church.
62. I'm not good at keeping secrets.
63. I have a terrible memory - I blame it on early menopause.
64. I want to travel more.
65. I'm afraid to fly, but I do when I have to.
66. I've had insomnia off and on for 10 years. It used to terrify me. Now I try to use the extra time to get more done.
67. I like to pray while I'm falling asleep.
68. I try to knit every day.
69. I usually read (fiction) at night before going to bed.
70. I love chinese and thai food.
71. I'd love to live on an island in the Caribbean.
72. I haven't saved for retirement and I'm getting scared.
73. I've been unemployed twice in my adult life and it's an awful feeling.
74. I was a whistle-blower at the last company I worked for. That's why I'm no longer there.
75. I voted for Bill Clinton twice, then voted for George Bush twice. Go figure!
76. I thought I'd be a much better mother than I've turned out to be.
77. I don't like talking on the phone. I used to be able to do it for hours.
78. I wish my husband and I talked more.
79. I love dressing up and going out to dinner.
80. I want to learn latin dancing. I think it's the most romantic thing.
81. No matter how hard I try, my home office always looks like a hurricane just passed through.
82. I hate liver and brussel sprouts.
83. I've made some wonderful new friends this year.
84. My teenaged daughter would be very surprised if she knew some of the things I've done. She thinks I'm so conservative.
85. I can't dance, but I like to anyway.
86. I love to blog
87. I've wanted to write a book for the last 10 years. I finally started.
88. I like to spoil myself.
89. I'd love to win the lottery, but that would be kind of difficult since I don't play.
90. The curse of the boyfriend sweater is true.
91. I have fibromyalgia.
92. I feel much better when I follow a healthy diet, but it's hard for me to do. My favorite foods aren't good for me.
93. Public speaking is one of my biggest fears, although people say that I do it well.
94. I'd love to go on a cruise - maybe on the Mediterranean.
95. I hate cold weather, but I wouldn't mind going on a knitting cruise to Alaska.
96. I wish I were taller (I'm 5' 1-1/2")
97. I want to lose 12 lbs. I feel best when I weigh between 108 and 110.
98. I think communication is the most important thing in making relationships work.
99. I played the piano at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC with the DC Youth Orchestra when I was in high school.
100. I'm happiest when I'm being/doing something creative.

Whew. That was tough! :)

What's up with me...

Here's a *slightly" better picture of my Christmas present to my friends. I think I waited too late in the day to take it because my flash is showing, but oh well.

I was up at 5:30 this morning (insomnia). So I decided to put up my little tree. I gave up on the big ones years ago. It was just too much of a hassle for me, especially since no one seems to want to help. But after visiting my girlfriend's house Wed night and seeing how beautiful and Christmasy it was, I decided to give in and do a little something. My compromise was to get a tabletop tree. I found this one, already decorated and lit, AND 50% off. You can't beat that.

So, I have it in a corner in my office and it's merrier around here already!

I've been suffering from a variation of NKSD (Non-Knitting Stress Disorder) the past few days. I'm knitting, but it's feeling a lot more like work. I'm making a scarf for my DH which is turning into a nightmare. It's a multidirectional scarf, mostly black with some taupe and creme. But because of the color changes in the pattern (based very loosely on an African mudcloth print we found online), I knew that he wouldn't be happy (and neither would I) with the underside of the scarf showing where I carried the colors. SO.....

I thought about taking some fabric and making a lining, but didn't think that would look too cool either, so now I'm actually making a SECOND scarf - solid black - which I'll sew onto the other one to form the underside. Well, with two-scarves in one, at least he'll be warm! I'm also making a scarf for my little 2-year-old cousin too, but I'm not having much fun with that one either. I guess it's just too plain. I think I just don't like knitting for men (of any age). Maybe it's that old curse of the boyfriend sweater thing. It's true, you know.

Anyway, I just got back from Blockbuster. I got 2 movies that I'm going to watch back to back tonight. I'm determined to have a knit-a-thon until I can get these scarves finished and then I can get back to all of the wonderful WIPs for ME! Yes, I'm very selfish when it comes to my knitting.

Yesterday, I decided to completely re-do my home office. It needed some feng shui action in here because the energy was AWFUL! Anyway, part of the task involved reorganizing my stash. I discovered that I have yarn/patterns for 12 sweaters, 2 ponchos and a shawl. Wow! I knew I had it bad, but I didn't realize how bad. The good news is that I've listed the rest of the yarn that I didn't absolutely love on ebay and I'm so ready to get back to knitting the yarn that I have. I'm really pleased with it. Besides... I have to make room for more in the spring!

But first, I have to finish my multidirectional scarf which is absolutely awesome. I'll post that one soon. I want to wait until it's done before I show it off.

Okay... I've procrastinated long enough... fade to black (scarves that is!)

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Christmas with the Sock Sisters

Well, last night was girls night out and we had an absolute blast! Instead of going out to dinner like we usually do every other Wed, we decided to have a big Christmas pot-luck party at Carolyn's house. Her house always looks beautiful, but last night it was spectacular - she had all her Christmas decorations up, the tree was lit, Christmas CDs were playing, and she had candles burning everywhere. It was so beautiful that I almost started crying when I walked through the door. (Yes, I'm a wimp!) She can find a piece of furniture in a dumpster and turn it into something you'd see in a home decorating magazine. It's no wonder that we call her "Martha".

We ate so much of the "finger food", that we barely had room for dinner. We had spinach dip, cream cheese w/pine nuts, carponata (see my previous post... it was excellent, if I may say so myself... and I just did!) And then there was Corlis (the Southern Belle) of the group, who brought her brand new recipe for pepper jelly. It sounds disgusting, but believe me, it was TO DIE FOR!!! She used some weird kind of pepper that I've never heard of. It must be really hot because she said that she ignored the warning to wear rubber gloves while mincing the peppers and her hands were on fire for the next 24 hours! Anyway, the peppers must be yellow or orange, because the jelly was pale yellow, with little tiny specks of orange (the peppers). She served it over cream cheese. To my surprise, it was very sweet. It wasn't "peppery" at all, but it had a surprise little *kick* at the end. I LOVED it! Corlis is so sweet. I told her that my dad is a gardener and that he loves to grow his own fruits and veggies and then can them or make jelly and that he would LOVE this. She asked if I was going to see my Dad on Christmas. I said yes. Then she told me, in her beautiful southern drawl, that since she couldn't spoil her Daddy anymore (he died a few years ago), that she'd help me spoil mine. She promised to give me a jar to take with me when I go to see my Dad. Of course, I almost cried again.

Carolyn had all her fine china out, with more candles and poinsettas on the table. We all took turns praying, thanking God for all of the blessings that He's brought us, for the challenges He's faithfully brought us through, for our families and our health, and especially for our friendship and the ways that He showed His love for us through our love for each other. Then we pigged out some more!

For the main course, Martha (I mean Carolyn) fixed a huge salad with her signature secret recipe salad dressing which is AWESOME - no kidding - she's started selling it! Then she served lasagne which was also great. For dessert, Corlis brought "Cherries in the Snow" which is a dessert that as I child, I swore that my Aunt Mag made up just for me. It seemed as if she made it every time she heard a rumor that I was crossing the VA state line on the way to her house! I don't think I'd had it in 20 years!

After dinner we exchanged gifts. Although we didn't plan it that way, we all made gifts for each other, and each had a special significance to the group. It was pretty awesome.

Here's a picture of 4 of the 5 of us. Carol's taking the picture, so she's not in this one. :( I'm the goofy-looking one in the green sweater. As you can tell, these women, not cameras, are my friends!

Here's a picture of us in our Christmas socks that Corlis gave us last time we ate out. She made everyone promise to wear them, but of course, she was the only one who didn't. She elected to wrap her Christmas scarf around her ankle instead.

And last, here's a picture of my gift to the group. I took this picture outside of my house and it's not very good. I couldn't quite get the lighting right. I'm going to keep trying (the fact that I haven't figure out how to use my new digital camera isn't helping), but at least it'll give you an idea. I know it's corny, but I kinda liked the shadow of the tree that's superimosed on the image. Believe me, it wasn't intentional.

I knit the scarf on #3's, I think. Which is the approximate size of the needles, which I made myself. The writing says "Live. Love. Knit." I made 6 - one for the 4 girls last night, one for my other knitting buddy who I'll see next week, and one for me :). They're all signed and numbered like the real artists do. I really enjoyed making them, and my friends seemed to love them, so that was great.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Holiday Cheer

Tonight I'm off to an informal little Christmas dinner party with "The Girls". We really must come up with a better name for ourselves. It's 5 of us (all 40-somethings with teenage kids). We get together every other Wed night for dinner out. On alternate Wednesdays, 3 of the 4 others have joined the knitting group at church that I started.

Tonight, in celebration of the holidays, we decided to dine in. We're having dinner at one girl's house and we're all bringing dishes. I made a giant cheese ball (because that's what they wanted) and then I made my very special caponata, which takes 3 hrs to make. Needless to say, I don't make it often anymore, but the minute I tasted it today, I remembered why it was worth the trouble. I'm assuming "caponata" is italian... it's got eggplant, onions, black olives, tomatoes and pine nuts, all sauteed separately in olive oil, then together in red wine vinegar and seasonings. I serve it with triangles of toasty pita bread. Yum. I'm making myself hungry! I'm glad I get to leave in 20 minutes. :)

After dinner, we get to exchange gifts. I'm making them open my gift tonight because I can't wait to see their faces when they see what I made for them. I'll take a picture tonight or tomorrow and then post it for the world to see!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

I'm a Guru!

I finally gave in a took the What Kind of Knitter Are You? quiz. I must admit that I was pleased with the results! It's true.... even the part about the vacation would be true if I ever got to take one!

Knitting Guru
You appear to be a Knitting Guru. You love knitting
and do it all the time. While finishing a piece
is the plan, you still love the process, and
can't imagine a day going by without giving
some time to your yarn. Packing for vacation
involves leaving ample space for the stash and
supplies. It can be hard to tell where the yarn
ends and you begin.

What Kind of Knitter Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Prayer Boxes

Looking for a wonderful gift for a young girl or woman on your Holiday list (or a great for yourself for that matter)? How about a prayer box? Apparently these have been around for a while, but I just discovered them last night at Kohl's. I bought one for myself and for my teenage daughter. They had the charms on either a silver bracelet or an 18" necklace. We both chose the necklaces in order to keep our prayers close to our hearts.

When I got home, I wrote 4 very special prayers, in the tiniest writing that I could still read. I cut the paper into little strips - one prayer on each, and folded them up and put them in my prayer box, which I'm now wearing. What an awesome way to enhance your prayer life or that of someone else!

Click on the title link for a picture of just a few examples. I'm not recommending this particular site, but the pictures were good examples for those who haven't seen them. I know Kohl's carries them and I believe Target does too.

A Christmas Letter

This morning I was reading my favorite book, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort & Joy, and the topic of the day was Christmas Letters. I was reminded of an old boyfriend, Derryl, who's parents were kind enough to include me in an old family tradition of sending an annual letter to their friends each Christmas. Being a military family, they moved around a lot and made friends around the world. This was their way of keeping in touch and sharing things that had transpired throughout the year.

I enjoyed being a part of the Christmas letter that mentioned Derryl and I as an "item". Sadly, we broke up before we could spend a second Christmas together. The next Christmas letter didn't seem quite as wonderful when I read that Derryl had married another woman named Pat with a daughter named Lindsey (my daughter's name). What are the odds of that?

Anyway, that was another lifetime ago, and in the spirit of that wonderful tradition, here's my version of A Christmas Letter for 2004:

Dear All,

It's hard to believe that another year has come and gone. Is it just me, or does time seem to by passing much more quickly as we get older? Seventy degree weather in December in Richmond doesn't help remind me of Christmas, but holiday traffic and long lines at the checkout counter certainly do. I haven't heard as much Christmas music on the radio this year, and decorations seem more subdued, but in my heart I know there is much to celebrate this year. First and foremost, I am thankful for the most precious gift of all... the gift of Jesus and the ability to call him my Saviour.

A lot has happened this year... It's been a year of wonderful of news... new friends, new business opportunities, a new school for Lindsey which has made all the difference, and a new church, including a new Knitting Ministry which I started there. It's also be a year of renews... a renewed commitment to an intimate relationship with Christ, a renewed passion for knitting, a renewed appreciation for my family, both immediate and extended, and a renewed attitude of gratitude for things I often take for granted.

Sadly, we lost my Aunt Alice suddenly in August. We will miss her beauty, her grace, and her quiet but strong presence. She was the "clothes horse" of the family, and I was honored to receive several of her beautiful outfits which I will proudly wear in her honor. As sad as Aunt Alice's death was, God saw fit to bless us in our time of grief in a very special way... again. Unbeknown to us at the time, a baby boy was born exactly one week before Aunt Alice died. Less than 3 months later, that beautiful little boy was adopted by Aunt Alice's only child and her husband. Our times together are now filled not only with tears of sadness, but tears of joy as well. This is the 3rd time that God has blessed our family in this way. The day I brought my adopted daughter home, my only sibling was murdered. He never had a chance to see his niece and most of my family met my daughter for the very first time at my brother's funeral. Then, two years ago, a cousin who had been like a brother to my brother was killed in a horrific car accident. Within a month, another cousin and his wife gave birth to a beautiful son who is quite the star.

Then there were several months that I lived with the fear of breast cancer, but miraculously things turned out fine. My father was thought to have prostate cancer, but he's fine too. My mom got re-married (obviously, my parents are divorced) and another cousin's husband got an 11th hour reprieve from deployment to Iraq.

All in all, it's been a great year. Our family has a lot to be thankful for. Of course, it hasn't been perfect and we've all had our share of disappointments, but how can we know to appreciate the sunshine without the rain?

Now, as we look forward to another new year, it's time to start thinking about priorities and goals for 2005. I've decided this year to keep that list short and focused. With God's help, 2005 will be my personal best year yet. More to come on that one soon!

In closing, I hope your year was safe, productive and happy. I pray that you have been able to weather your disappointments and your triumphs with equal grace and gratitude, and that you have become a wiser person because of them. For the coming year, I wish you all the love, happiness and peace that your heart and soul can handle.

God bless,

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

2005 Knitter's Calendar

My 2005 Knitter's Calendar just arrived and I must admit, it's even nicer than I'd imagined. I know I'm biased (I took the picture and the needles were handmade by my husband), but the quality of the print and calendar are wonderful and it's a good quality glossy paper stock. The dimensions are abou 11x17".

I ordered 15 for family and for my knitting buddies. I think they'll make great gifts. And they're very reasonably priced (even more so if you buy them in quantity). There's still time to order for delivery in time for Christmas. If you're interested, you can purchase the calendars at my shop at Cafepress.com. There's also a neat little knitting journal there for keeping notes on projects, patterns, design ideas or whatever.


Tuesday, December 07, 2004


There are no random "coincidences"... no accidents. I believe that everything happens for a reason, even if we can't comprehend the reason at the time. Our daily lives are full of synchronistic events that defy logical explanation, miracles that don't seem possible, blessings that exceed our expectations. Large and small, they are happening around us all the time, yet because we are usually unaware of them, when we do recognize them, they somehow seem special or unique.

I've been praying recently for "miracle-mindedness", which I define as a mindset and an attitude of expectancy that I will witness, receive and/or be a vessel for delivering miracles. As I do so, I find that I'm witnessing them more every day. I do not believe that I am suddenly the lucky recipient of blessings that I wasn't getting before. I simply believe that I'm finally beginning to take notice and appreciate what's truly happening around me. And what a wonderful thing that is.

This afternoon, just as I was leaving for a dentists' appt, I noticed a message from my LYS that a pattern book I'd been interested in had arrived. As I was walking out the door, I made a mental note to stop by on the way home, but then remembered that my daughter's appt was first, then mine, and by the time we both finished, the yarn shop would be closed. We arrived at the dentists' office 20 minutes early. Our hygienist had just finished up with her previous patient - early. Another hygienist was also finishing up - early, so instead of having our appts back-to-back, we had them early, and at the same time... which left just enough time to go get into trouble at the LYS! :)

As I was walking into the shop, I nearly bumped into a woman who was leaving. When we stopped to apologize to each other, I realized it was a woman that I'd enjoyed knitting with on several occasions at the LYS over the summer. Although I'd tried to reach her several times since then, she'd lost my number and never returned the call. I'd thought of her often over the past few months and wished we'd gotten to know each other better. As it turns out, today was her first time back in the shop in ages and she said that she'd been hoping that somehow she'd end up running into me - and she did - almost literally!

She was in the process of leaving, feeling a bit overwhelmed, because she'd promised to make scarves for a friend's college daughter and her 2 friends for Christmas. All 3 girls happened to belong to a sorority and she was struggling with choosing the right shades of pink and green (AKA for those of you in the know!). Although I must admit that I haven't been active in years, I pledged AKA, which she vaguely remembered from our chats, so I spent the next half hour helping her pick the PERFECT yarns for her scarves. We both left thrilled that we'd connected again and that together we were able to solve her gift dilemma.

I know this seems like such a little thing to get excited about. But you see, that's the thing about miracles - there is no order of magnitude to them... Big or small, they all are reminders of God's love for us and acknowledgement that there is a much bigger plan than we could ever conceive or control. When I think about all of the events that had to coincide at just the right moment for me to run into Linda today - the message that the pattern was in, getting to my appt early, getting out of my appt early, traffic being exactly the way it was, Linda's schedule that put her there at exactly the same time... 5 minutes longer on any of these activities could have caused us to miss each other. When you stop and think about it, that's pretty amazing! At least I think it is.

When we focus on the huge, magical, almost supernatural-type miracles that don't happen often, we tend to miss the subtle but none the less powerful blessings that surround us each day. The more we exercise our "soul muscles", the stronger, more observant, and more powerful they become. Slowly, we move from living life to experiencing it. What a difference that makes.

Just think about it... I bet you experienced a miracle today too. If you didn't catch any of the ones that occurred in your life today, be on the lookout tomorrow!

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Somthing to live for...

Okay... it's been one of those days. I found a similar photo on another knitting blog, and followed the link to a site called Tombstone Generator where I decided to create my own. Just couldn't resist posting it here. Nothing like a little reminder that I can't go anywhere soon... I've got too much knitting to do! :)


Saturday, December 04, 2004

Vittadini Trina

It's not the greatest photo, but here's my Vittadini sweater that I made in the "Vittadini Support Group" at my LYS back in September (Click on the picture for a slightly better image). It's made with Vittadini Trina, in a beautiful chocolate brown. It feels wonderful and knit up quickly. I love the ribbed detail on the sleeves and neckline. I wore it for the first time on Thursday and got loads of compliments!