working on a long post...

...I haven't disappeared. So here, have another Carmel Mission picture:

Carmel Mission

I'll be back with the longer post when I finish it.

quick hits for Monday...

...because it's been a pretty busy work day! So just the important stuff:
  • We had a great time in Monterey. On Saturday the rain held off enough for us to walk to the wharf,

    View from the Wharf

    tour the Carmel Mission,

    Mission shadows ... Prickly Pear

    walk on the beach at Carmel,

    CarmelBeach.JPG

    and do a little window shopping in Carmel proper (Souvenir yarn...yes!!)

    Souvenir Yarn from Carmel

  • I had great plans to work on the arm warmers and leg warmers, but instead I started my Lenore socks:

    Lenore Socks, in progress

  • When we got home, there was a notice that I had a package at the Post Office. This morning I picked up a box that held this:

    Pigeonroof Studio Fiber and Mini sweater card

    This adorable little sweater was knit from Pigeonroof Studio's "Kalypso" sock yarn. The fiber is also from Pigeonroof and is Wensleydale in "Plumthorne." This gift came from Terry, who won my blog contest. Unfortunately, you can't see the wonderful purples in this fiber...and it's so soft!! Thanks, Terry! I just love it!

  • When I got to work, the first 2008 installment of the Rockin' Sock Club was waiting for me! If you want to see what it looks like, click on the tiny thumbnail:

    Rockin' Sock Club for January

All in all, it was a great weekend and I feel recharged!

quick post from Monterey...

...we're here and all checked in. Our room has a fireplace and is quite wodnerful. The pool is a few steps aways. If only it wasn't pouring rain!

We have reservations for dinner at a tapas restaurant. It will be a nice, relaxing weekend.

Back on Monday. Have a great weekend!

room with a view

falling under the Ravelry spell...

...now I understand what everyone has been saying! It's not just the fact that you can load your info, look up patterns and yarns, and find people with like interests—it's one fabulous piece of software! It's very well thought-out. Yes, it is still evolving, but it is quite impressive.

As a result, my lunch-time crafting has taken a backseat to Ravelry project loading and just plain wandering around in it. Since I haven't made any progress on the WIPs, I'll show you some old needlework projects instead.

If you've been following along, I've been working on this seahorses needlepoint project (latest picture in this post). I've mentioned that the canvas was printed wonky and that I much preferred counted canvas work. My favorite designer for counted canvas work is Susan Portra. I have done three of her smaller pieces and have a bunch of her designs in my stash. Her designs can be difficult to find, but I was smart enough to buy as many as I could find in 1998. Currently, I have 50 of her designs in my stash.

The thing I like about her designs are the different types of fiber that she uses. She uses a lot of Rainbow Gallery threads (rayon ribbons, metallic braids, suede threads), overdyed threads, and some DMC threads. Her color combinations are wonderful.

The first one of her designs that I did is called Navajo. I bought this as a kit from the now defunct store, Running Thread. This is done in an alternate color scheme:

Navajo counted canvas

This is the second one I did is called Taos, part of her City Series.

Taos counted canvas

The third one is Vegas, another City Series design:

Vegas counted canvas

Pink, isn't it? I nicknamed this project the "Pink Nightmare." You know those projects that just go wrong from the start? This is one of them. It took forever to finish because I had to frog a bunch, there is a lot of plain stitching, and the metallics caused lots of problems. Plus it's really pink. I think I've mentioned that I don't like pink. This picture is why you won't catch me doing very many pink projects.

Anyway, that's the end of your counted canvas work tour! Until we go away this weekend, I probably won't get any knitting done. I'll be busy playing in Ravelry! (I'm needleloca if you want to come say hi!)

spinning again...

...feels good! I spent a good portion of Saturday spinning with Sirena. (She had been sitting in the corner for far too long!)

Rather than starting something new, I decided to finish the Josie roving that I started on the spindle in July (!). I'm spinning it on the thin side and it was taking forever on the spindle. I swapped over to the wheel and while it's faster, I still didn't finish it over the weekend. Here's the first bobbin with a dime for comparison:

Josie, bobbin 1

I split the roving into 8 lengthwise strips to get longer lengths of color. I'd like to make it a 2 ply, but a lot depends on how much I want to fiddle with the spindle spun stuff that's not already on a bobbin. I may end up with a Navajo-plied yarn. We'll see...

When I wasn't spinning, I was working on the needlepoint pillow. This is also slow, but I feel like I've made progress (even if you can't tell from this picture).

Seahorses Needlepoint as of 1/21

I didn't do any knitting over the weekend, as I'm finding the black leg warmers to be a little boring. (Maybe it's because they're black, rather than a color.) Anyway, I need to start a pair of red Voodoo arm warmers. The Daughter promised a friend of hers that I would make her some, so I need to get moving.

I purchased the yarn for them at Purlescence right after Christmas. Unlike the Daughter, her friend is not allergic to wool so I could get something other than acrylic or cotton. I bought some squishy Cash Vero in a wonderful red:

Cash Vero yarn

I plan on casting on for these during the week.

Another thing I did this weekend was bake Terry's biscotti. It felt a little strange to be baking a small batch of biscotti! They are all packed and ready to go out in the mail to her.

This will be a short week for me
. The Husband and I are taking a long weekend to celebrate our 22/27 anniversary (22 yrs married/27 yrs. together). We decided to go to Monterey instead of Bodega Bay for our ocean fix this time. We haven't been to Monterey in a while, so it will be a nice change. Since the Husband likes to drive, I get to knit all the way there and all the way back. Yay!

Eye Pr0n Friday...

...you know, a combination of Eye Candy Friday and Yarn Pr0n Friday!

I donated a bunch of yarn to a charity knitting group and we met at Purlescence Yarns for the hand-off. Of course, I can never leave the shop without buying at least one thing! So, new to the stash...

Smooshy yarn!

...Smooshy in Beach Fog. This is definitely petting yarn! Not sure what I'll do with it yet, but I love the color.

One of the things I love about living in Northern California (well, California in general) is the weather. During yoga class yesterday morning, we remarked how loud the birds outside were singing. When I left class, I saw why. There were lots of birds, lined up on the tops of all the buildings, sunning themselves and singing away. I couldn't get a good picture of all the birds, so here's one:

Birds enjoying the morning sun

See how blue and clear the sky is in this picture? Bay Area, California in January. LOVE IT!

Up this weekend, a little biscotti baking for my contest winner, a little needlework, some spinning with Sirena, and playing with Ravelry—I just received my invitation this morning.

I'm kind of late coming to the Ravelry party; I signed up not long ago (about 5,500 people were ahead of me.) I actually wasn't going to sign up at all because I'm pretty happy with posting about my projects on my website and blog and tracking my stash on a FileMaker database that I created. But, lots of bloggers are now talking about patterns and groups and project details that they have on Ravelry or linking to stuff they have there. Unless you're a member, you can't see any of it right now. (Once it goes public, that won't be a problem, but it might be a while still.) So...I asked for an invitation.

There is no question that it is very cool; I just need to decide how much duplication I want to do. In any event, I'll be doing some exploring this weekend!

How I bake 295 biscotti in 5.5 hours [long]...

...or how to use 15 cookie sheets for one baking run. Here's a little bit about biscotti and my process. Oh, and that 5.5 hours up there? That doesn't count the time needed to dip them in chocolate.

Biscotti is plural of biscotto, an Italian cookie. Biscotti roughly means "twice-baked" and they are. First you bake them in slabs (loaves), cool the loaves before slicing, and then bake the slices. Typically when you buy pre-made biscotti, they are very hard and must be dipped into coffee, tea, wine, etc. to made them easier to eat.

There are tons of recipes available on the Internet and, of course, in cookbooks. I adapted a really great recipe that I found in a Usenet newsgroup in 1992. It's one of John Trinterud's Intercalary Day Tea recipes and it's a consistent performer. The best part about this recipe is that it produces a biscotti that is firm and crunchy, but not hard as a rock. And, it tastes great! (I found a copy here, but be aware that it is not exactly the recipe I use. Also note that this page has some formatting problems in the ingredients list. I found a better version.)

I won't list all the details because this is already going to be a long post, but here are some of the keys to my process
  • Multi-task
    When I'm baking for Christmas, I use every available minute to prep, clean-up, or start the next batch. For example, when I'm melting the chocolate for the bark, I am either toasting the nuts for biscotti or have cookies queued up to bake.
  • Preparation
    I get as much ready as I possibly can before I start, allowing me to concentrate getting things made rather than searching for stuff. That means that the butter is out of the fridge and at room temperature; the nuts are toasted, measured and chopped, and in bowls ready for use; the other ingredients are on the counter; the mixer, mixing bowls, measuring spoons, measuring cups, and sifter are on the counter; the oven is preheated; the cookie sheets are clean and lined with parchment paper; and the cooling table is covered with cooling racks.
  • Assembly line
    When I'm making biscotti, I make one double batch, get the first cookie sheets in the oven, and make the second double batch of dough. I make all of the doughs and have the loaves queued up to bake, two sheets (four loaves) at a time. When I'm done making the doughs, I start slicing the biscotti loaves from the first batch. I continue to slice biscotti, queuing up the cookie sheets to wait their turn. By the time half of the slices are baked, I can wash the mixing bowls and put things away. Then It's just baking the remaining slices.
  • Concentration
    At Christmas baking time, my family knows not to invade the space I'm using for cookie staging and to pretty much let me do my thing. (As we all know, things go faster when you are not interrupted 50 million times!) I plug my iPod into some speakers and play Christmas music, which makes me happy.
Each double batch makes 4 loaves, which result in 60 to 80 biscotti slices. At the loaf stage, two loaves fit on one cookie sheet and two sheets can bake at one time. At the slice stage, the slices of two loaves take 2 cookie sheets, so 4 cookie sheets for a double batch. 4 double batches need 16 cookie sheets. Since I only have 15, I reuse one from the earliest batch. Now I could wait until some of the cookie sheets cooled and reuse them, but see Multi-task and Assembly Line above—I don't want to waste time. Washing cookie sheets is no big deal...

As for the timing, I started the 4 double batches (Coconut, Espresso, Pistachio-Cranberry, Chocolate Hazelnut) at 2pm and the last two sheets of slices finished baking at 7:30pm: total count was 295. I had already made a double batch of Grand Marnier biscotti earlier in the week, bringing the grand total to 355.

Lest you think that one day I went out and bought 15 cookie sheets, I didn't. They have multiplied over the years. Once upon a time, I only had 4 cookie sheets and had to wait for them to cool in between batches. When I replaced old ones, I'd some times get a deal and buy several or get 3-packs. As the number of cookie sheets increased, I discovered that things went a little faster because I didn't have to wait. I can probably get all the baking done in two weekends; it used to take the better part of two weeks.

As my cookie sheet count increased, so did my cooling rack count. I have 13 of racks (4 extra large)
and I use them all for the biscotti madness! (We won't talk about the number measuring spoons, measuring cups, and rubber spatulas I have...)

More than you wanted to know, right?

And the winner is...

...Terry, with her answer of 11 cookie sheets--she was the closest. Congratulations, Terry!

So how many cookie sheets do I own? (click to enlarge)

Blogiversary Contest

15!

As you can tell by the picture, some of these are well "loved." I usually cycle out one or two each year, and by the looks of this picture, there are at least 2 that are ready to go. Now, the bottom two sheets are the oldest cookie sheets I own. They are at least 15 years old and they've seen better days. However, I plan on keeping these two because when covered with foil, they are the perfect size for my chocolate bark.

For those who are curious about how/why I use all these cookie sheets for my biscotti, I'll do a "How to Bake 295 Biscotti in 5.5 hours" post some time this week.

Thanks to everyone who entered! I'm looking forward to another blogging year!

(Terry: send me email so we can figure out how to get your prize to you! Biscotti baking this weekend!)

Emerging from the depths of cross stitch hell...

...finished the Just Nan Christmas ornament. Take a good look at it, because it is being filed away in my Finishing portfolio to stay there until I can face it again. (And it's d@mn lucky that it's not being thrown across the room like I wanted to do last night!)

Christmas Ornament, Just Nan

Normally, I love Just Nan's designs; they are usually easy to work up and enjoyable to stitch. This one? I just wasn't feeling the love, from start to finish. There was just something about it. And then there was the stitching for the charm...I know I don't like stitching one-over-one (one thread strand over one linen thread for those who don't know). See what looks like an empty space at the bottom of the charm picture? That's white stitching, people! White (I hate stitching white), one-over-one! ACK!

This piece proved one thing: I don't just dislike over-one, I hate it. So why did I even bother with it? Because the picture frame charm was not cheap and the design needed it to look complete. So it's done and after a little clean-up (clean off any lint and stray threads), it's getting put away so I don't have to look at it any more.

[end rant]

I did manage to work on the needlepoint piece a bit, so it's coming along. And the Star Trek ornaments were put away. However, I'm sad to report that there was no spinning or knitting over the weekend.

The big thing that happened this weekend was replacing the lights in the kitchen. 4 of the 5 fluorescent fixtures stopped working, so we had to do something. After pulling out the fixtures, we replaced them with inexpensive track lighting. If nothing else, it gives us an idea of how recessed lighting might work when we redo the kitchen. Let me tell you how thrilling it is to have ample light in the kitchen! Wow, I can see my counters!

So I lied on Friday when I said that was the last mention of mt
Blogiversary contest. This is the last mention! (LOL!)

You have until midnight tonight (Pacific time) to make your guess. You have a choice of
Blue Moon Socks That Rock yarn in Grawk or Yarn Wench BFL roving in Royal 2, plus Grand Marnier Biscotti. If you don't want yarn or fiber, I'll double up the biscotti! Your chances are good as there are only 4 guesses right now!! The winner will be announced tomorrow and I'll post a picture of the cookie sheets as proof of the answer.

Come on, enter...you know you want to!

It's Eye Candy Friday again!

...when we were moving things away from the windows before the installers came. I took down a quilt top I had been using as decoration. Hiding behind the top was a picture that I'd forgotten we had. Originally, when I hung the quilt top, it was "just to see what it looked like" and it stayed up on the wall for 2+ years. (LOL!)

So here is the beautiful metal and wood art piece/picture called "Fern."

Fern by Jim Willis

The artist is Jim Willis; this one is #5 of 25 created in 1998 and copyrighted in 1999. Here is a detailed shot of the metal portion:

Detail of Fern picture

Beautiful, isn't it? We moved it into the living room where it looks right at home with the wood windows and Mission furniture.

Up this weekend, the final holiday cleanup. The Daughter left on Wednesday, so I can get my office (AKA her room) back in order and put away the Star Trek ornaments. I'd like to finish one of my needlework WIPs to get it out of my hair, but I hear Sirena calling me...I need to do some spinning! I'm going to try and restrain myself from buying any yarn or fiber until Stitches West—it's a little more than a month off. Hope I can hold off that long!!

This is your last
Blogiversary contest reminder! Now, if you are not a knitter or spinner or don't want any more stash (?!), go ahead and enter anyway. I'll give you more biscotti to compensate!

WIP-it Wednesday...

...I've started a rotation plan for my needlework Works in Progress. Plan is a somewhat loose term. I work on whichever project catches my attention! Currently, I'm cycling through the cross stitch projects during my lunch time. I can get about 20 or 30 minutes of stitching after I eat. I can only work on the needlepoint picture at home because of its size.

Here's the current state of my needlework WIPs...

Just Nan Christmas ornament from the 2002 Just CrossStitch Ornament issue:

WIP: Just Nan Ornament

Peacock Majesty sampler (retired design) by Just Nan

WIP: Peacock Majesty

Violet Needle Roll by Shepherd's Bush:

WIP: Violet Needle Roll

Seahorses needlepoint pillow kit by Janlyn (I think).

WIP: Seahorses needlepoint pillow

This is an annoying needlepoint project because the canvas was printed wonky. It's off by several rows at the top. If you look at the top of this picture you'll see where I tried to even out the edge and then realized it was way off. This kit reminded me why I prefer to do counted needlepoint/canvas work.

And just because there can never be too many cat pictures, here are Sombra and Tica. I took this last night as they snuggled to stay warm, waiting [not so patiently] for me to go to bed. They don't like the needlepoint picture because it takes up all the room on my lap!

Just too cute...

Don't forget to enter my Blogiversary contest!! There could be Blue Moon Socks That Rock yarn or Yarn Wench roving in your future if you win. Not to mention Grand Marnier Biscotti! (Yum!)

between storms...

...the scene this morning as I left for work:

Between Storms

The next storm will come rolling in tonight or tomorrow morning.

I spent all day Saturday dismantling Christmas as putting away the decorations. We got the tree out of the house, vacuumed, and discovered our "new" living room. I really love the way the new windows look with our furniture. The only remaining Christmas item is my Star Trek tree. I still need to dismantle that and then get rid of its artificial tree. At some point during the holidays, the tree toppled over because the feet have become loose over time. Each year, I've had to fix the feet (read: duct tape), but it is no longer fixable. I'll have to get a new one for next Christmas.

Not much to report on the craft end. I've spent a lot of time working on the seahorses needlepoint, but you can't really tell that I've done that much. I forgot how much time needlepoint projects take. I also worked on the Daughter's leg warmers and one of my small cross stitch WIPs.

Don't forget to enter my Blogiversary contest! The winner gets yarn or fiber plus biscotti....contest ends at midnight on 1/14.

Blogiversary and a contest...

...my blog is Two today!

As I started my second year of blogging, it became clear that my original blog name (SolarCross) did not reflect the true state of my craftiness. While I still love cross stitch, it is no longer my primary craft. In March, I changed the name of my blog to something that was more me. Yup, Needle Loca, that's me! (Some days, the Loca part is much more evident!)

The last year has also seen an improvement in the quality of my photos and a move to Flickr as my photo repository. While the Blogger photo capability worked OK, Flickr makes it easy to track which photos are online. As a side benefit, a couple of my photos were selected for use in other web sites:
While I still use my web site to document projects, the most current information will always be on this blog. It's much quicker to post to the blog, especially when I'm deep into a work project. I update the web site when I have more time.

Anyway, I'd like to say thanks to all of you who read the blog! Let's see what year #3 brings!

The Contest

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I go all out for Holiday baking. (If you're not a regular reader, go read the December 2007 archive...we'll wait. Ready now?) When I made my big biscotti batch this year, I made so many that I used every cookie sheet and baking rack I own.

The Question
Post your answer to the following:
How many cookie sheets do you think I own?
(Hint: more than 2, less than 20)
The Rules
  1. Only answers entered as comments to this post will be accepted.
  2. In your post, indicate whether you prefer the "knitter" or "spinner" prize (see below).
  3. Post your answer by Midnight PST January 14, 2008.
    • If there are multiple correct answers, a winner will be chosen at random from the correct answers.
    • If there are no correct answers, the person closest to the correct answer (within 5) will win.
    • If no one comes close, a winner will be chose at random from all the answers.
  4. The winner will be announced in the blog January 15th.
The Prize
Good luck to all!

Eye Candy Friday / Yarn Pr0n Friday

...I've been craving some of this yarn ever since Blue Moon released the Raven series.

Grawk, Blue Moon Fiber Arts

This is Lightweight Socks That Rock in the color "Grawk." It has a base of black with touches of green and purple. While I really love it, I'm considering using it as a prize for my Blogiversary contest.

Yes, I am having a contest! I'll post the details tomorrow.

We have a huge storm raging right now. I had to come home because the power went out at work and then the Internet was down at home for a couple of hours. I'm keeping this relatively short and posting it quickly!

Back tomorrow with the contest!

Back to work...

...more or less. It's been a pretty quiet day, which makes for a nice transition from being lazy at home.

As I move towards my second Blogiversary (1/5), I'm considering running a contest to celebrate. I have a couple of ideas, so I just need to decide soon.

In looking back at the last two years, I noticed that January seems to be the stitchery month—lots of my stitching UFOs were finished in January. So I think I'll continue the tradition and work on some of those languishing projects. Of course, this means I have to find where I have "stored" them!

I'm not going to post pictures of the leg warmers until I'm further along. Instead, here is a mosaic of Sombra. I've mentioned before that it's hard to take pictures of the cats because they always nose the camera. This mosaic shows you the progression of this photo session. (As with all my pictures, click to see a bigger version. Mosaic courtesy of Big Huge Lab's Mosaic Maker.)

Sombra

Can you say "irritated kitty"?? I knew you could!

Back on Friday with more...

The 2007 recap [LONG!]

Let's say goodbye to 2007 with a recap.


Finished in 2007 (by craft, then alphabetical order)
Beading
  • Pattern row counters: 4
Cooking/Baking
  1. Apricot preserves: 12 12-oz jars and 10 1-pint jars
  2. Pickled green beans and carrots: 2 12-oz jars, 2 1-pint jars, and 1 1-quart jar
  3. Christmas baking: 355 biscotti, 125 truffles, 4 pounds chocolate bark, 6 pounds sugared nuts, 725 cookies
Cross Stitch
  1. Birdhouse needle roll
  2. Flip Flop Days
  3. Pea Pod scissor fob
  4. Snow Fall needle roll
  5. Witches Brew pillow
Knitting
  1. Alpaca Scarf in burgundy
  2. Blue Moon Corrugator scarf in Blue Moon handspun yarn (see Spinning below)
  3. Calorimetry 1 (for the Daughter)
  4. Calorimetry 2 (for the Daughter's roommate)
  5. Charcoal Hat in Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick yarn
  6. Claret Hat in Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick yarn
  7. Fawkes socks in Firebird yarn from Blue Moon's Rockin' Sock Club yarn; pattern from Socktopia
  8. Peekaboo mittens using Caron Simply Soft yarn in Gray; plus one sample mitten in brown
  9. Poppy socks from Sundara Yarn's Petals Collection
  10. Red hat in Caron Simply Soft yarn
  11. Summer of Love Lace socks in the Flower Power yarn from Blue Moon's Rockin' Sock club
  12. Voodoo Arm Warmers using Caron Simply Soft yarn in Gray
Quilting and Sewing
  1. Christmas Wall Hanging, named "Merry Little Christmas"
  2. Drawstring bag for my spindle and fiber
  3. Knit2 bag in butterfly fabric
  4. Knit2 bag in green batik
  5. Spindle bag for Jane's kit
  6. Traveling knitting case
Spinning
  1. Apricot Cinder yarn; 100% Falkland top (3.7 oz) from Yarn Wench; 3-ply; 272 yards; 15-16 WPI
  2. Blue Moon yarn; Corriedale Wool roving (4 oz) from Spunky Eclectic; 3-ply; 180.8 yards; 12 WPI
  3. Burning Bush yarn; 100% wool top from Northern Lights; traditional 3-ply, 390+ yards; Navajo plied, 50 yards; 15 WPI
  4. Cali yarn; 100% Falkland top (3.9 oz) from Yarn Wench; 3-ply; 242 yards; 14 WPI
  5. Cherry Cola yarn; 100% Merino top (4.1 oz) from Yarn Wench; 3-ply; 189 yards; 12 WPI
  6. Cream Corrriedale yarn, 10 yards of 2-ply
  7. Emerald yarn, Merino top (2 oz) from Chasing Rainbows; 2-ply; 105 yards of 2-ply;
  8. Grape Jelly yarn; 100% wool top from Northern Lights; traditional 3-ply; 388 yards; 15 WPI
  9. Lupines and Poppies yarn; 100% Merino top (approx 2 oz) from Yarn Wench; 3-ply; 184 yards;16 WPI
  10. Mermaid yarn; South African Fine Wool roving (4 oz) from Spunky Eclectic; 2-ply with thread; 167 yards; Bulky
  11. Moonstone yarn: 100% Merino top (2 oz) from Chasing Rainbows; 3-ply; 211 yards; 16 WPI
  12. Navy and burgundy sample yarn
  13. October Sky yarn; 100% Falkland top (4.1oz) from Yarn Wench 2-ply; 330.6 yards; 13 WPI
  14. Splendor yarn; BFL in (4.3 oz) in Splendor Variation 2 and Falkland roving (2.0 oz) in Purple 2 both from Yarn Wench; traditional 3-ply yarn, yield: 158.5 yards; Navajo-ply, yield: 50 yards; 12 WPI
  15. Yarn: spinning practice, 5 sample size yarns
Other
  1. "Begin to Spin" kit for my friend Jane
  2. Homemade Lazy Kate

Works In Progress:
  1. Knitting black leg warmers in Caron Simply Soft yarn
  2. Knitting Montego Bay wrap in Walking on the Wild Tide yarn, using Montego Bay scarf pattern from Interweave Knits Summer issue.
  3. Spinning 4+ oz of Yarn Wench 100% Falkland wool top in Josie; 3 spindles-full so far
  4. Spinning 4 oz of Angora Cottage 70% Merino and 30% Silk roving in purple
  5. Spinning 2 Chasing Rainbows rovings together in the Heather colorway: one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz)
UFOs (Started in 2007):
  1. Sangria shawl (knitting)
  2. Twinkletoes slippers; just need to make one (knitting)
  3. Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)
UFOs, Long Term (Started before 2007):
  1. Cascade Fixation anklets (knitting)
  2. Central Air socks (knitting)
  3. Hopi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  4. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  5. Paint it Black quilt
  6. Flower Power quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  7. Jungle Songs quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  8. Just Nan 2002 Christmas ornament (cross stitch)
  9. Queen Mermaid by Mirabilia (cross stitch; still languishing in its stretcher bars)
  10. Seahorses pillow (needlepoint; one half done)
  11. Wright Stuff quilt; sandwiched, just need to quilt it!
Back to Square 1:
  1. Hydrangea socks (knitting)
  2. Knee High to a Grasshopper socks, Rockin' Sock Club in Walking on the Wild Tide; morphed into Tide Walkers (below)
  3. Toe-up Jaywalker socks in Blue Moon's Rockin' Sock Club yarn in Walking on the Wild Tide (AKA Tide Walkers); could never get the toe-up thing to work right; morphing into the Montego Bay scarf (knitting)
  4. Keyboard Biologist's Here There Be Dragons pattern in BMFA Monsoon (knitting)
    These socks and yarn have parted ways and will resurface in another incarnation.
NGFO/IDJ (Not Going to Finish/It's Dead, Jim):
  1. C is for Kitty Cat (cross stitch)
  2. Flip-top mittens (knitting)

Whew! That's a bunch!

So my New Year's crafty wishes
(not resolutions—wishes are things I want to get done, but won't beat myself up if they don't happen):
  • Finish all the stuff listed as "Works in Progress"
  • Finish all the stuff listed as "started in 2007"
  • Finish The Wright Stuff quilt
  • Do more cross stitch to work through some of those UFOs and queued projects
  • Learn to spin more consistently
  • Try to restrain myself and not buy Yarn Wench fiber every time she posts an update! (This will be my biggest challenge! LOL!)
As for non-crafty wishes? I'd really like to get back to my healthy habits and drop a few of these holiday pounds. I've been pretty good about going to the gym four days a week and taking a Pilates class once a week, but I need to be more consistent about going to yoga class. I don't want to lose my hard-won flexibility and I need the calming effects that yoga provides.

Anyway, it's back to work for me tomorrow. It's been nice having the week off and just being able to do whatever I wanted!

Eye Candy Friday...

...and heading into full-on baking mode! With the time change and shorter days, I have more opportunities to take sunrise photos. Here'...