Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 - A Year of Great Change

If you know me in person, you know that I am not very good at change. I’d like to say that I was once good at it, but the truth is that I need routine. I crave routine. I very nearly cannot function without routine, and if my plans are interrupted, I will adapt…but it may not be pretty.

I’d also like to say that I have learned how to adapt better over the years, and that I am always eager to try new things…I’d like to say that, but it would clearly be a lie. What I will say instead is that I am willing to put aside my schedule and preferences and try new things (much of the time), and I can generally keep smiling through just about anything (including clenched teeth). Through my clenched-teeth smile, I tell you the truth: 2015 has been quite challenging for me.

However, even with the change and interruption, there are lots of wonderful things going on in my Pretty Knitty Life…

Even though my boss died in July, and the church I work for and belong to lost its minister of 28 years, we now have several pastors in place, and the church is growing! People are coming to see what we are all about, and they are sticking around to learn more about Jesus!

And even though my dear daughter was divorced in October, she is doing well. And my son and daughter-in-law gave us another precious granddaughter this year, who will soon be a year old! In fact, if all goes according to plan, I will attend her first birthday party, and that’s a pretty great thing when the baby lives several states away!

And even though my job has changed drastically, from the way I record prayer requests to the way I sign correspondence, I have learned lots of new things! We have new software that really challenged me in the implementation process, but now that it is up and running, I am looking forward to getting all the right people plugged in to use that software and keep all of the staff on the same page!

And even though I have had strained and broken relationships, as we all do, I have continued to make and cultivate new friendships while maintaining contact with many long-time friends! These friends, old and new, near and far, have carried me through heartache, surgery, grief and confusion in 2015, and they have also celebrated joy with me. My life is enriched because we call each other “friend.”

So, yes. 2015 has been a challenging year. There has been much change, and I have often been stretched in my cope-and-deal skills, but overall I am coping and dealing fairly well. However, be warned: I plan to knit on New Year’s Eve, whether alone or with friends. If you try to change that plan, I may not cope and deal so well…

How has 2015 stretched you and made you grow?

Whatever your answer is, I hope that you are looking forward to 2016. I will be welcoming the new year with open arms, even if I have trouble writing it on my checks for the first 3-6 months! If I don’t see you before the ball drops tomorrow night, thanks for stopping by the blog and Happy New Year!

Oh! And Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Before Next Christmas Rolls Around

Our Christmas was good. I hope that yours was also, and that you are looking forward to a bit of selfish knitting in January. :) I was thinking about the first things I would knit in January, and I realized that they would be shrugs for my granddaughters. This made me remember my annual Christmas ornaments that I do for them each year, and I got an idea. 

You see, each year, I fill a clear, glass (or plastic) ornament for each kid with oddments of yarns I have knit with for them. For 2015, they looked like this:

Of course, up until just a few days ago, I hadn't even started them...which meant that my process was to find the ornaments, and the yarns, and make sure I had everything I needed...which looked a little like this... (I see a checkerboard, a family of dolls, and many, many alphabet blocks!)

This is easy if you've just finished items that have good yarn for showcasing, but difficult if you have not knit something very recently for the recipient! Since I will be starting January with knits for the girls, I've decided to leave the ornaments out, and just fill them as I go for 2016! 

Hmmm, all of a sudden, I am brilliant! (Well, if I actually keep the ornaments close at hand, and actually fill them as I go...then I'm brilliant...we shall see what!)

What fabulous ideas do you have for 2016?

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health right up through your new year celebrations!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Under Glass

Merry Christmas, Blogland! I have one last ornament to share with you, and here it is:

Every knitter needs an emergency kit at the ready for every situation, even at Christmas! This is one of my faves because Michelle and I actually made the same thing as stocking stuffers that! Well, not exactly the same...mine is a shelf sitter that I keep at work...

In case of emergency (ie - no yarn or needles when you need them most, to calm your soul while you share "holiday joy" with extended family), break glass. 

I hope you don't have to break any glass at your Christmas celebrations and family events. But even if you do, I understand. And Merry Christmas anyway. :)

Knit in Good Health!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Festivus for the Rest of Us!

Happy Festivus! The knitters had their annual Festivus celebration last night, and we had a blast! We put out the Festivus Pole, 

wear our jammies, 

air our grievances, 

and perform feats of strength (mine were crochet this year)...

plus, there are snacks! 

Festivus fun for all...even the littlest guy there!

How will you celebrate Festivus this year? 

However you celebrate, and even if Festivus isn't your thing at all, I'm glad you stopped by today. Knit in Good Health, because there are only 2 days until Christmas, and I'm sure you still have that one last thing (or 2 or three...) to finish, right? 

Happy Festivus!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Another Beaded Ornament?

I actually have several beaded ornaments on my tree. I told you about one in my Ornament Number Three post last week, and beads really are a gateway craft. I have several beaded ornaments that I have made, and several made by others. This one is not only beaded, but, that's love!

As you can see by the tag, it was knit by Connie in 2012, and it was a stupendous stocking stuffer! We were all amazed that she knit nearly 20 of these for us that year, and probably more...if anyone has been taken in by the bead drug, it's Connie. And Annie. And Brenda. And Corrie. Gosh. I guess it's all of us really! Beads and knitting just go together so well.

So this is ornament number...number...oh, bother! I've gotten lost, maybe it's 8 or 9...I guess it doesn't really matter. lol! How many ornaments are on your tree? How many lights? How many cats are underneath? 

So far, our cats haven't bothered the tree (too much). There's been some branch nibbling, but mostly they want to be under this afghan I've been crocheting, and on my lap! 

(I know you can't see much of it, but it's a gift, so it's a secret...shhh!) Since it's pretty chilly today, I think I'm going to give in and make a place for them to lounge while I crochet and watch Christmas movies. I hope you have some time to sip tea (or coffee or cocoa or something else warm and soothing) and just enjoy some really great yarn!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

*NEW* Ornaments on my Tree!

It's been all about the ornaments around the blog lately, so let's start with these:

Two new Olafs on my tree, made by 10 of the prettiest tootsies in the land! My granddaughters' feet were (of course) the models for these beauties, and Mommy tells me that Peanut painted hers all by herself...she did a fine job, don't you think? These are some of our Christmas gifts from them this year, and knowing that there were gifts to exchange, we took a quick trip to see the kids! Look how big they're getting...

This is Sweet Pea's first Christmas, and she loved the shiny paper and ribbon on her first gift. 

At age 5, Peanut knows what it's all about! She does not, however, know what checkers are all about. I tried to teach it turns out, apparently "dat's NOT da way you play, Gwamma!!!" Who am I to judge?

Besides present opening and gingerbread eating,

and getting as close as we can to the Christmas tree,

there was also playing outside! Pop Pop ordered a hamburger, fries and a coke...Peanut got right to work (after she told Pop Pop to "take a number, please!").

"Number 9, zero, zero! Pop Pop! You're food is ready!"

According to Pop Pop, it was a pricey meal, but delicious!

There were quiet snuggles,

play time and giggles, 

and dancing to the musical lamp.

I tried to get a video of the dance, but the baby was suddenly upstaged...

Pop Pop was also trying to get Sweet Pea to say Pop Pop. (By the way, he did...

and he had to give up his stylus for just a!) We also learned on this trip that Snowflake the elf is quite a good knitter.

She can (apparently) knit hats and sweaters and shapes and a little blanket for herself! None of that stuff was around when the family went to bed! "Just thinking about all that knitting," Gramma told Peanut the next morning, "is going to make me tired ALL DAY!" (wink!) Another great visit with the kids, and some super secret knitting that I can finally reveal...a checkerboard, double-knit

Have you finished your holiday knits? Are you close? I hope so, but if not, maybe you should find yourself an elf to help! I wish I could have brought Snowflake home with me, that's for sure...Christmas is a busy time for knitters!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Party Time!

I know that you have enjoyed the ornament posts, and I promise you three ornaments today even, but first let's take a break to talk about the annual

I know, right?!? I can hardly believe that it's that time again! But judging by the decorations, it is!

The knitters' annual Christmas party is my favorite party of the year! (Well, Festivus with the knitters is a close second, but there are no presents at Festivus...)

The stocking stuffers are a hit, not just with the knitters, but also with our families! I heard that my Dollface was not the only one who said to her knitter, "So, show me the haul! What'd you get?" And this is part of my haul...

But the best part of the party is the company

Well, the company AND the food! These gals know how to put out a spread!

It was rumored that the hot cocoa was spiked, but Mr. Brenda's wifi passwords are...ummm...complicated, so we all connected our electronics before that first trip to the kitchen! (This is an important step when someone decides to put in an impromptu group order to Simply Socks Yarn Co during the party!)

Then it was knit, knit, knit!

And laugh, laugh, laugh!

Since some of us have been knitting socks all year long, 

of course there was the annual sock picture!

And opening stocking stuffers!!!

(Here comes the ornament part...)
The stuffers you can't see in the photo of my haul are three new ornaments for my tree! A snowflake...

A new sheep...

Another new sheep!

Three new ornaments, numbers 4, 5 and 6 for the blog, on my tree! I am such a lucky knitter! But you know, even as much as I love the ornaments, the edibles and all the other stuffers, one knitter blew us all away this year...

Jenny gave us WORDS! (Even some adult only words...which, truthfully, embarrassed me a little, so I put them away...but not until we all had a really good laugh watching Diana and Alice make silly sentences!) 

At knitting, on Thursday, I had a go at organizing my words...turns out that magnetic words are harder to manage than the ones in my head. The most difficult words to manage, however, are always the ones coming right out of my mouth! 

These tiny magnet words are So.Much.Fun! I can't wait to start writing my next book with them! As the Christmas party wound down, we laughed and ate until most of the food was gone...

Then we all went back to regular life, with the usual "hustle and bustle" of the season. But every time I look at my tree, I see three new ornaments that remind me that life should be a party!

I hope that you have at least one holiday gathering that you look forward to every year, and that you have good friends that make you laugh. I know that I do, and I thank all of you for your generous gifts and for the time we spend together. As we head right into the heart of the season, I wish you joy and love and knitting without any dropped stitches! (But if you do happen to drop a stitch, Jenny has given you some words for that!)

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Ah-One! Ah-Two! Ah-Three!

Nope, not counting the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop. (The answer is three, by the way, if you ask the wise owl!) Today, I tell you about Ornament Number Three on my tree (which is fun to say, because it rhymes)

Since I seem to be going back in time and sharing kids' ornaments, let me share one given to me when I was a child...well, a young teenager. I was in the seventh grade when I received this one...

In all it's handmade goodness, this ornament was not made by me. It was a Christmas gift from Eric Troutvine. He was the first Eric I encountered in school, and he was very cute. I may or may not still have a polaroid of him...from 7th grade...he was sitting on some kind of motorized bike, wearing a red jersey. And I once called the popular-with-the-teeny-boppers radio station to request a song for him on a Saturday night, because that's what a girl did when a girl liked a boy when I was in 7th grade. (We didn't have iPods or smart phones back then, kids.) He must have liked me a little, too. After all, he gave me a gift for Christmas that year. But in the end, nothing really came of it. 

Perhaps it was just that 7th graders really can't "date." Or maybe he just wasn't that into me. Some have suggested that his mom made the ornament for him, and I suppose that could be. I think she really liked me...even though my mom goobered her name pretty good at a band concert. Eric played the saxophone, and I played the trumpet...and our moms met each other for the first time at that concert, where my mom exclaimed, "Oh! You're Mrs. Troutfish!" I was MORTIFIED!!! Really, Mom?!? I'm still a little embarrassed for her (and me)!

I think there were a total of 4 or 5 Erics that I went through school with. I've totally lost touch with my seventh-grade swoon, but I am Facebook friends with a couple of the other Erics...and that last one? Yeah, I married him. (Lucky me!) And every year, when I put up the tree, I put this ornament on it. It's like a first love, kinda...or a gateway craft. After all, I have made my share of beaded things! To this day I cannot easily pass up a kit for making beaded Christmas ornaments. I don't always buy them, and I rarely work on or complete them (how could I, what with all the knitting?), but I love and linger over every one, just the same. 

So thank you for an awesome Christmas gift, circa 1980-something, Eric Troutvine. I'm sure I said that in 7th grade. I'm sure I did, but I'll say it again...thank you! I'm sure that ornament is part of the reason that I am so very crafty today! Just think, if I had not "like-liked" you in the 7th grade, I might have turned out quite differently. As it is, I'm pretty happy with the me I've become, and I think of you for a moment every Christmas when we decorate the tree. I hope that you have all you need, and that life is treating you well. Oh, and how's your mom? :)

That's my wish for all of you in Blogland, too! I hope that you have all you need, and I hope that life is treating you well. As I look at Ornament Number Three on my Christmas tree, I pray that your blessings outnumber your trials, and that you find contentment and joy in both today and in your own fond memories.

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health! 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Ornament Number Two

After the Santa ornament, I was pretty excited for today's post! I was so excited, that I started to write it yesterday even...leaving me more time for knitting at the Knitters' Christmas Party today! It's an annual event, and as this post goes live, I will be in the heart of it all...eating Christmas food, knitting Christmas gifts (that are still super secret) and listening to Christmas music! What a fun time it promises to be! I promise to tell you all about it, once I recover, that is.

But I digress. On to ornament number two on my Christmas tree...

This one is an angel, which you can see, of course. It was made by one of my little angels in 1994, which means her age was still in the single digits. Dollface has never fancied herself much of a crafter, but I've known differently all her life. I keep telling her that it's just a matter of time before the yarn (or something else) draws her in completely! As a matter of fact, this is a project that she and I put together in October, for her wall...

A little fabric, a little glue, a few trinkets and a few small, blank canvases, and BAM! Arts and crafts for grown ups! See? She IS a crafty girl! This makes her mom very happy.

What makes you happy in December? I hope you are enjoying the season, staying warm (unless you live in OZ, in which case, stay cool!) and enjoying the prep for the holidays.

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!