Archive for December, 2010

Favorites of 2010

Inspired by a post I read on Jacey’s blog, I thought it would be fun to take a look back on 2010 by choosing some of my “favorites” from the year.  It was fun for me to compile, so hopefully you enjoy reading them too. Here goes:

Favorite knit: Carp

carp front

This knit took me so long to do, I can’t say it was my most favorite to knit but once completed I was so pleased with the result and really felt like I accomplished something challenging that was actually wearable.

Favorite meal: Shake & Sweet Potato Fries

I know this doesn’t sound like a meal (or a healthy one for that matter) but when I am trying to eat right and I need a little shake and fries fix I blend up my favorite shake (1 cup light chocolate soy milk, 1 small banana, 1 TBSP peanut butter, 8 ice cubes) and serve it with Alexia Sweet Potato fries (which can be found in the Natural Foods freezer section).  It is divine.

Favorite blog post: Erin in the 10’s

I had so much fun writing this decade-in-review post. When I read this blog I am reminded of how fast things change and of all the great experiences and blessings I have been given.  Both good things for me to remember.

Favorite purchase: Kindle

I was raised a reader and for most of my life have been a voracious one.  Admittedly, the last few years I have read less and less and had been missing reading (although obviously not enough to do something about it.) Enter, the Kindle.  I bought mine this fall when they came out with the new model and I couldn’t be happier about it.  I can take my Kindle everywhere and always have something great to read.  The battery lasts forever.  I can easily read in bed without needing to hold open a book with my hands.  When I hear about a book I just download a sample and never lose track of a recommendation.  In short, it is perfect for me and has brought reading back to my life.  For that alone I will forever love my Kindle.

Favorite sewing project: Twinkles

Ellie presents Twinkles

If I was picking my favorite end result I might have chosen my dress but in the end I had to go with this perfect day of sewing with my niece.  The day we made Twinkles was so blissfully creative and fun.  I can still remember her joy over our creating something together and hold that day among my most favorite ever.

Favorite home project: Living room chairs

Living Room Chairs AFTER

So what if I didn’t recover these myself.  I am so in love with how these chairs turned out.  I could only hope that the fabric I picked worked with the style of the chairs and when I saw the chairs for the first time when they were being delivered to my home I couldn’t have been happier.

Favorite arrival: Margaret (more commonly known as Maggie)


My brand new niece is pretty much the cutest baby ever.  Have you seen her cheeks?!?  I love her. So much.

Favorite TV on DVD: Prison Break

Thanks to Netflix I watched the entire series of Prison Break this year and became completely obsessed.  AWESOME show.  The first 2 seasons are the best, I didn’t love the 3rd, but the 4th and final season was a satisfactory end–plus, it has an ending which I always appreciate.  (There is nothing I can’t stand more than a show with a narrative storyline that is canceled and not allowed to wrap up.)

Favorite TV Show: The Good Wife

I wasn’t sure I would like The Good Wife when it started but it has grown to be the show I always choose to watch first when a new one records on my DVR.  I love the style of it and the complex characters and think the acting is perfect.  I do have to give a shout out to Parenthood though as my second runner up–it stands to reason that I would watch anything Lauren Graham is a part of but the sibling dynamic and the real (read: not soap opera-y) family drama makes this a must-see regardless.

Favorite trips: Chicago, Middle East

Us at the Bean

Us and the camels

I had some pretty amazing trips this year and am so grateful for these opportunities.  I am picking two trips (because I can)–one domestic (Chicago) and the other international (Middle East).  Chicago was the perfect long weekend trip.  I met up with long-time friends and we toured and walked and ate our way through the city.  It was perfect.  Then there was the Middle East.  I know I didn’t talk about this trip on my blog (Kara summed it up beautifully here and here and here and here) but this was two weeks and 4 countries with my parents and sister and was a trip I will remember for the rest of my life.

Favorite book: The Hunger Games

I didn’t want to pick The Hunger Games and even considered picking a less trendy book so I would appear well read and cool but in the end I have to be honest.  I delayed reading this book for the same superficial reasons that keep me from wanting to own it as my favorite.  Everyone had or was reading it and thus I wasn’t interested.  (It is for this same reason that I didn’t start reading Harry Potter until the 5th book was out.)  I ended up reading all 3 books in the series and enjoyed them all but The Hunger Games stands apart as the most compelling.  It is creative, shocking, and emotional and I loved it from the start.

Favorite movie: Pass

I didn’t see a lot of movies this year and of those I saw I didn’t really fall in love with any.  Although I am not willing to choose a favorite, I did enjoy Inception, The Social Network, and Tangled.

Favorite new period piece: Lark Rise to Candleford

I think this would be my favorite regardless but the fact that I watched all episodes of this gem of a show with my Mom and sister Kara helps solidify its status.  The show is light, emotional, funny, romantic, and sweet.  We laughed, we cried, we mimicked their country English accents…watching this show with Mom and Kara is among my favorite memories of the year.

Favorite picture: Standing in the Sea of Galilee

Me and Sea of Galilee

First, I think this picture makes me look really tiny so obviously that is one reason I love it.  Second, every time I look at it I can feel the cool, clear water from this sea with such a storied history.  Being there was a powerful experience for me and this picture reminds me of how I felt.

So there you go folks.  My favorites of 2010.  As you can see, it was a very good year.  I hope you all have a wonderful New Year!

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Checkerboard Hat

A few weeks ago I saw this awesome hat on Jane Brocket’s blog that she made up one weekend.  Immediately I wanted to make it but sadly, she did not post a pattern.  The part of me that is lazy and wants someone more clever than I to tell me exactly how to achieve the results I want was very bummed.  The other part of me shrugged it off, said “challenge accepted”, and began to plot the making of what was sure to be my new favorite hat.

A couple of weeks and one trip to the yarn shop later, meet Checkerboard Hat (more commonly known as my new favorite hat):

Checkerboard Hat

I worked it out the pattern using a few different hat patterns as starting points.  The hardest part for me to get right was the crown–figuring out how to keep the pattern going as well as how to shape the top of the hat so it had the right amount of (but not too much) ease.  I had to rip it and redo the crown once but I think I really like what I ended up with.

Checkerboard Hat - Back

This hat is so super easy and held my interest while knitting because of the fun color changes.  Plus I finished it in just one weekend.  I really love the way it turned out.

Just so you can see how cute this hat is on different people, I asked my sisters to model it for you too.  They of course said yes (they are cool like that.)

Checkerboard Hat - BriBri rockin’ the Checkerboard!

Checkerboard Hat - KaraKara’s turn!

Side note: My sisters are really pretty.  (Just saying.)

Now, I really can’t claim this as my pattern as it is a blatant copy of someone else’s knit but in case you desire your own Checkerboard Hat I am including what I did.  I really hope it makes sense.  Enjoy.

Yarn: Dalegarn Falk (24×30=4″, sport weight), I bought one skein each for the main color and the 5 checkerboard colors. I think it would also be fun to try one solid color and a hand-painted yarn that changes color for the contrast yarn.

Needles: US 4 & 5


Ribbing: With main color and US 4 needles, cast on 112 stitches.  Join to work in the round and knit in 2×2 rib for 1 inch.

Main body: Switch to US 5 needles, join first contrast color, begin checkerboard pattern (knitting 2 stitches in the main color and 2 stitches in a contrast color) and at the same time work one round of *K4, M1* repeat until the end of the round. (140 stitches)

Continue in checkerboard pattern (first two rows identical and second two are switched) switching out the contrast color after a full repeat of the pattern (in other words every four rows).  Knit until hat measures 6 1/2 inches.

Crown: Begin decreases while keeping stitch pattern. (Note: In order to keep the look of the stitch pattern, sometimes the decreases result in one stitch for that color.  Give it a few rounds and those single stitches will meet up with its partner again.)

Round 1: *Knit 12, K2tog* repeat to end. (130 stitches)

Round 2: Knit one round in pattern.

Round 3: *Knit 11, K2tog* repeat to end. (120 stitches)

Round 4: Knit one round in pattern.

Round 5: *Knit 10, K2tog* repeat to end. (110 stitches)

Round 6: Knit one round in pattern.

Round 7: *Knit 9, K2tog* repeat to end. (100 stitches)

Round 8: Knit one round in pattern.

Round 9: *K2tog* repeat to end. (50 stitches) Note: The pattern now switches to a one color each stitch repeat.

Round 10: *K2tog* repeat to end. (25 stitches)

Round 11: *K2tog* repeat to last stitch, Knit last stitch.  Cut tail and pull through remaining stitches.

Weave in ends.

Checkerboard Hat - Close

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