Christmas knitting revisited

I can finally show you my Christmas knitting and related gifts. First of all, here is something I kept for myself and something I shared:

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Those are yarn bowls I had made by a local pottery artist. The potter makes all kind of amazing items, so I almost felt bad when I went to her with this simple request. She did an amazing job! They turned out better than I could’ve imagined. I only have one note for future requests, and that is that the hooks face the same direction so that if you’re using two skeins the yarn is pulled evenly when the bowl is set in front of you. They still work wonderfully, though. One was for me, one was for my mom and one was for my mother-in-law (hi Ann!). Both moms are crocheters.

Here’s a photo demonstrating them in use. They keep your yarn from rolling all over, and they also make your projects look like art while they’re in progress:

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Here’s the Flower Basket Shawl I made for my mom from BMFA Laci while it was blocking on my bathroom floor:

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And I just realized I didn’t take a picture of the Felt Clogs I made for my dad. (This was an Evelyn Clark kind of Christmas.) His clogs needed a little more felting, so they weren’t 100% done because I wanted to be sure they fit perfectly. I even bought some FiberTrends soles for them! I went for the two-piece because I knitted the bottoms this time.

My Christmas was great! I got lots of neat toys, books and amusements. My next post should be a list of the knitting-related gifts I received! What was your favorite gift given or received?

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When you have no words

It’s taken me awhile to come to write this. I feel like I have nothing new to say. Grief is a universal fact, and my share is no worse than anyone else’s. In fact, it’s quite light compared to some. It’s a particularly sad time for those of us who love journalism. The news paradigm is shifting, and newspapers are scrambling to find their place in the brave new world. Coupled with that persistent underlying stress in the American Press‘ newsroom are two very recent, very poignant deaths.

When Brian Guilbeau, award-winning sports columnist, passed away on Nov. 13, everyone who ever encountered him felt the loss. Cystic fibrosis is a hell of a disease, and he beat the odds to make the life he had: living long past doctors’ predictions and fathering a beautiful daughter. It doesn’t make it easier, though. Those who worked so closely with Brian felt like he was family. I remember Brian and his laugh very well. He was a wonderful person and a great co-worker.

And now Hector, our award-winning investigative journalist, passed away on Tuesday from leukemia. I worked more closely with Hector, and I remember his thoughtfulness and his love of his craft. He could write a detailed front-page story with half the words it took his peers. In the midst of his personal mission to keep City Hall honest, he almost always found the time to pick his kids up from school. He was the fastest walker, the fastest talker I ever knew, and he personified the stereotype you see in the movies of newspaper people, down to the sharp wit.

I treasure my memories of both Brian and Hector, both too young to say goodbye to. I have incredible sympathy for their families, as I can’t imagine the pain they feel. Included in that is their American Press family. My heart is with all of you, and it’s full of grief. Both men are irreplaceable in our hearts and in the newsroom. Their deaths are a blow to the art of journalism.

Year End .. almost

Socks That Rock’s Rockin’ Sock Club has ended. I got my sixth and final shipment about a week ago. At first, I was disappointed. I thought the yarn was just black. It was OK, but not exciting. But when I took it upstairs to wind it, I saw what a difference lighting makes. It’s a beautiful dark yarn with red and green and purple and navy blue throughout. The Cookie A. pattern that came with it is easy to memorize, so I’ve been breezing through it. I’m working on the heel flap of the first one. This in addition to improvising an argyle sock pattern while finishing up the right side of my Auburn Camp Shirt. Lots of work getting done here!

I won’t be rejoining this sock club. It’s expensive; I had problems with yarn pooling with almost all of the patterns. I think there are other clubs out there I’d like to give a go. I’m still a huge fan of Socks that Rock, though.

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