Ah well, as usual best laid plans went awry, so you get another recap. It's still crazy busy around here, with my time being taken up mostly by goings on at the barn. I'm on the Board of the Conservancy, and up until now our duties were mainly to raise money for capital improvements and other items the County (who owns the property) can't or won't provide. But now, due to budget considerations, the County is asking the Conservancy to take over day to day running of the barn. This means hiring new staff, setting new stall fees, and just generally figuring out how to keep things going while not losing money. The takeover hasn't happened yet, but you can bet that many of us are very involved in working on committees, making recommendations and decisions, and helping move things in the right direction. Of course, I still find time to ride every day but Sunday, volunteer with the theraputic riding program, and helping with barn tours and other Conservancy fund raising events. In the midst of all that, I do manage to get some knitting done. Since I've been here, there has also been several holidays and a big moment in my married life - my 40th anniversary. And now, here's the rundown.
We've been in this house since September of 2006, and this was the first year I hosted Thanksgiving. We usually go to my son's in-laws' house, but they were out of town this year, so I got to make the turkey and all the fixings. Now, this would not normally be such a big deal, but I have a stove/oven I hate with the passion of a thousand burning suns. It's a beautiful red Viking that came with the house, and it and I have yet to see eye to eye. The oven just doesn't ever seem to want to cooperate, and things either take much longer or much shorter than I think they should. This time, it was much shorter, which all things considered is to be preferred. I did a dry salt rub on the turkey, instead of my usual brining, and it was delicious - despite the damn oven. Everyone agreed that I did good!
That was really the only big event in November, which I appreciated after all the traveling I did in October. And it meant that a lot of knitting was started and finished, too.
First up, Hitchhiker. I started this in October, to have something mindless to work on while traveling. I used some Rowan Harris 4-ply that has been sitting in my stash for quite a while, and that turned out to be perfect for this project, which is really a medium gray, not the blue that came out in this photo.
While at SAFF, I bought a beaded knitting kit to make a necklace. I thought it would be the perfect Christmas gift for the wife of my riding instructor. She loved it! This was the first project of this kind I've done, and while it was a bit fiddly, I am intrigued by the idea of knitting beaded jewelry, and had Santa bring me a book on the subject for Christmas.
The next finish was the Fields of Wheat cowl. I used Patons Wool for this, and while it worked up nicely, I thought it a bit crunchy. I'll most likely make this again with a softer wool.
I haven't blocked the next two projects yet, so I don't have a photo of mine. Follow the Ravelry link if you want to see what they look like.
Lacy Tube was a fun knit and I just need to block it and kitchener the ends together so I can wear it. The weather here is certainly cold enough for it. I used a set of Unique Sheep Gradient yarns that have been in the stash for a while.
Flurries Cowl. I love this cowl, and need to get some buttons to finish it off. I used the suggested yarn, and am really pleased with the feel, color, and look of it.
I guess it isn't December if there isn't a lot going on. The month started off with a fun day at the barn on the 1st. We had our annual Holiday Market and Quadrille Performance. This was my second year performing with the team, and I had a blast. My usual horse came up lame three days before the event, and I was sure I was grounded. Unhappily, the woman who leases my favorite horse was riding him in the pasture and took a bad fall, breaking her shoulder. She was out of Quadrille, of course, but that meant that I was not only able to participate, but was able to do so with Chino, my sweet baboo!! He and I had a blast! Sadly, she is still laid up, so when we start practice again in two weeks, he and I will partner again. I'll be happy when she is able to join us again, but will certainly miss my boy. The marketplace did very well this year, too. I had a lot of my knitted items for sale, and made a nice amount of money, a portion of which went to support the Conservancy.
December 8th was the barn Christmas party, and on the 9th, I hosted the knitter's at my house. The Knitter's Holiday Party has now become an annual event here, and by the time it's over, I'm already looking foward to next year. We have such fun! One of the things I've gotten into lately is iPhoneography - taking pictures with my iPhone. Here are some of the party. One thing I learned - turn on the flash - so these are a little shaky because I didn't, but I like them anyway.
My first completed December knitting project was the very popular Color Affection. I'm very pleased with how it came out, but it's sitting in the big pile of "I really need to block this" stuff. One of my resolutions for January is to get the blocking done!
On December 16, Jim and I celebrated our 40th anniversary. Why yes, I was a child bride! I put together a photo album for him, complete with recollections of our 40 years together. He got me a watercolor done from a photo of us. The story behind the watercolor is that Cory's former girlfriend's mom is a fabulous artist. She did a watercolor of Jim and Cory back when Cory was dating her daughter, and it hangs in Jim's office here at the house. So, Jim found a photo of us he liked and asked her to do the portrait. I was amazed and so happy! I need to get it professionally framed and then it will hang in the living room. (ignore the reflections - it was behind glass.)
Here's a photo of us now, taken on the 16th.
We had a great Christmas, as usual. Santa was very good to me, and I deserved it! I cooked dinner for 8 people on Christmas Eve and then 6 people on Christmas. I DO NOT COOK as a rule, except a little bit when Jim is in town, so this was very unusual. On the plus side, the oven cooperated, and it all came out good.
Christmas got taken down on the 26th before Jim went back to Alexandria. I followed him up on the 28th so we could have New Year's Eve together. As usual, he keeps me moving the whole time I'm there. On Saturday, the 29th, we decided to take a drive to Middleburg, Virginia. The goal was a big tack store I wanted to visit. The drive up was beautiful. It had snowed overnight, and while we didn't have anything in Alexandria, and the roads were clear, there was 4"-5" on the fields. It's horse country, and we passed farm after farm. Although the cold and snow had most of the horses snug in their barns, we did see a few trying to graze through the snow. The bad news was that when we got to Middleburg, the store was closed for the holidays. Bummer. But we walked around the little town and had lunch. Lots of pretty buildings, including this historic inn.
After lunch, we decided to drive up to Harpers Ferry, W. Virginia. Jim had been before, but it was my first visit. The town sits at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, and is full of interesting old buildings and a pretty church, all on high hills above the rivers.
On Sunday afternoon, Jim took me to see the Basillica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, a Roman Catholic church in D.C. It was a truly amazing place, full of mosaics on ceilings and walls. There was a huge church upstairs, and another in the basement. We were there for a couple of hours, but it would take much longer than that to really take it all in.
On New Year's Eve, we went into D.C. to the Hirshorn Museum to see the Ai WeiWei exhibit. I had just read an article in the New Yorker about this exhibit, and was very excited to see it. I was not disappointed. While his photography isn't my favorite, his sculptures are usually interesting and thought provoking.
I had been looking forward to seeing fireworks at the Potomac at midnight, but after a nice dinner, I was just too tired. It was also really cold, so I camped out on the couch under a snuggly afghan and waited for the ball to drop in Times Square. Not so exciting, but definitely warm!
We walked around Alexandria on New Year's Day and had lunch in an Irish pub. I tried out the new "tintype" film and lens on my Histagram app as we explored.
That last is a horse that sits outside a bar year round. For Christmas, he's sporting a wreath and a flashing red nose, incarnated a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Too funny!
My last day there, we took it easy, and then bundled up to go to the National Zoo to see their "Zoolights" display. The animals were all asleep, although the place was full of people strolling and looking at the lights. I'm usually not too much for this kind of thing, but it was actually really pretty.
And thus ended the old and began the new years. My last December knitting projects were finished before I left for Alexandria. I made mittens for my two friends, Diana and Hali, because they both walk to public transportation to get to work and need to keep warm. Hali got her's in time for Christmas, but I wasn't able to finsh Diana's in time. They were done on the 28th, right before I left for the airport, and she finally got them this afternoon. Of course, it's going to be 64 here on Friday, but I know it will be cold again before too long.
Subway Mittens - pink for Hali and blue for Diana.
And now we are all caught up. If you've made it this far, here's my first finish for 2013...the Opul Infinity Scarf. I chose this project because it was easy to do while I was in Alexandria. I finished it yesterday and wore it today. Very easy and I love how it wraps around my neck.
You'll see that it is red. The project I'm working on now is red. My next project will be red. Sense a theme? I'm thinking I'm going to knit a color a month. January is red. I think February will be black and gray. That way, I can knit Jim the black stocking cap he's requested. March will, of course, be green. After that, I'll have to figure it out. We'll see how long I'll stick with this and how it works out. Something different to try, at any rate. So, what color do you think April should be??