As soon as my Christmas knitting was finished, I went straight back to my half-finished Boho Shawl. This was my first big mosaic stitch project and I loved making it. The color work is made with slipped stitches, only working with one color at a time. It mimics fairisle knitting but is much easier. As for the yarn, I used what I had here in my stash: 

The charcoal was Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted--a hard-working, easy-to-knit, basic worsted.
The brown was Berroco Blackstone Tweed--a soft and easy-to-knit tweed but now discontinued.
The pink was Pacific Yarns Zephyr DK--a blend of USA grown wool and cotton, but more like a worsted than a dk. Has a dry, rustic handle and is a beautiful shade of deep pink.
The white was Rowan Hemp Tweed--a very lovely blend of hemp and wool. Lovely sheen and handle.

The yarns were all the same weight and gave me the right gauge and together was a good color choice for me. The pattern, Boho Style Mosaic Shawl by Irene Lin was very well written and an easy pattern to follow, with both charts and row-by-row written instructions. Your finished shawl will benefit from a good wet-block. The pattern makes an extra large wraparound-your-entire-body type shawl. I love it! I wore it last night and my friends gave it a big thumbs up and my husband gave it a 10. And now for some pretty fuzzy computer pictures of me wearing it:

Now I'm a big mosaic fan and searching high and low for other projects to add to my queue. Have you knit a mosaic pattern that you have loved? I'm particularly looking for a pullover with a mosaic pattern on the yoke. I PMed Isabell Kraemer through Ravelry and suggested that she should design one. 😉 She seems like a very nice and approachable lady, but I imagine super busy. I haven't heard back from her and the worst that can happen is that she will ignore me.  In the meantime, happy knitting!

Here's my Ravelry project page for my Boho Shawl.

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tidy up!

I went on a magnificent cleaning, sorting and tossing-out rampage in my knitting room. This is something I usually do after the holidays; I get in this mood and nothing can stop me. But this time it was different. I had recently read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing  by Marie Kondo and Emily Woo Zeller. I thought I could use her tips on my knitting supplies. I wanted to LOVE my stash again instead of feeling queasy when I thought about it. She did that for me, and gave me the confidence and strength to go through every bag and basket, touch every skein and ask questions. How did this skein make me feel? If I loved it and it made me feel good, I kept it. If I felt anxious about it, I let it go. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. After reading it I even bought the audible version and listened to it twice while I was cleaning. It's so inspirational and to me, made total sense. I am naturally a tidy and organized person, but this book takes all that to the next level. Using the book's philosophy, I was able to let go of things I didn't love, and felt it was OK. I'll be donating some things, but I may put some for sale on Ravelry as some of it is new and lovely, just not right for me.

The above pictures are of my knitting room; I also have a sewing room and that will be next. But as for this knitting room, I love it so much. It was once my son's room and has been reimagined into a guest room that is decorated with yarn! It's where I knit and either watch TV or listen to an audible book or music. I organize my many knitting projects with baskets. Half of the baskets hold works-in-progress projects or yarn and pattern slated for a future project and half of the baskets are empty. I like that. I have organized my oddballs into a DK weight drawer, another drawer for worsted weight and one for fingering weight, and a separate one just for Kidsilk Haze--that is my favorite drawer. Below is the tiny closet that holds mostly empty baskets (I was ruthless) but some are filled with a few chunky weight yarn projects. The closet is a bit of a catch all, with old toys and games, wrapping paper, etc. In her book, Marie encourages you to throw out all that stuff, that the amount of space it takes is not worth it. I haven't been able to do that yet as I just really wanted to concentrate on my knitting supplies, but I can see myself going through the entire house using her mindset. I think you'd like the book. Many people are calling it life-changing, but I would say it's more...freeing. Tidying up and clearing out made me love my stash again. I'd be curious if any of you have read the book and what you think of it.

Empty baskets!

The art work on the closet walls hasn't changed in 30 years.

And this baby...this baby...loves loves loves to sit on his daddy's shoulders and walk around the garden. He loves to poke his head up into trees and smile down at people. He was fascinated with a walk through our local park, Redwood Grove, which was also his daddy's favorite hang-out when he was a tot. Mommy has started work today and the grandmas are doing the child care, so I imagine we will be going to Redwood Grove quite a lot. He comes to my house tomorrow. I can't wait to have him all to myself.

 by Marie Kondo and Emily Woo Zeller.

The furniture is from Ikea and no longer available.

The baskets were bought at a discount home improvement center a few years ago.

The sofabed was from Costco.

The baby is from my son and his wife :)

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Peace On Earth

I woke up extra early this morning, set the table, lit the candles, then took these pictures just as the sun started to appear. The light was faint and gorgeous. Today, December 23rd, is my prep day. I'm heading off for my last trip to the grocery store, then I'll be in the kitchen doing as much ahead as I can--washing, chopping, grating, mixing--my menus were planned with as much do-ahead as I could possibly squeeze in. The family comes tomorrow afternoon and I want to spend time with that baby!

Christmas Eve Menu
Arugula Salad
Coffee Gelato with Salted Caramel Sauce
Christmas Cookies

Christmas Morning Menu
Muffins with Jam

Christmas Day Snacks
Potato Chips and Veggies with Onion Dip
Christmas Cookies

Christmas Dinner
Peppercorn Filet Mignon with Burgundy Mushroom Sauce
Green Beans with Almonds
Herb Popovers

I sing in my church choir and for the last two year's Christmas Concerts we have sung Longfellow's, "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day".  This is the beautiful version we sang. I hope you have time to have a listen. I was so afraid I would sob through it (I did not!), and it has been caroling in the background of my brain for the last week. Here's the heart-wrenching story behind the beautiful words and how Longfellow, even though living in great pain, found a place in his heart to feel peace on earth and wish good will toward men. Amen. I wish you all the best during this holiday season and through the new year. Thank you for coming by, I appreciate your readership and your comments so much. xo Kristen

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Woodland CAL

I decided to join Lucy over at Attic24 for her Woodland Afghan CAL (crochet along). It looks like a nice and relaxing way to start 2018 and a way to gobble up some stash. I didn't dare purchase her yarn pack and populate my already overpopulated stash, but instead rummaged around to see what I already had. I printed out her colors and was able to do a pretty good job replicating them with my oddballs. It's all DK, mostly wool, mostly Rowan, and look how much stash it's going to consume! Yay for afghans!

Attic24's Woodland Blanket CAL

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family of Merry Christmas hats

Last weekend I took pictures of the kids for their first family Christmas card. (Be still my heart!) To get the baby to look up, my husband was behind me madly waving a little toy and making crazy faces. (I'm sorry we didn't think to play peek-a-boo because he thinks that game is totally funny.) And all this had to happen at top speed of course. After an exhausting 5 minutes we managed to get a slew of adorable pictures to commemorate Carter's first Christmas.

The kids love their little family of hats and the pattern is FREE!
Mrs. Claus Boxy Hat by Stephanie Lotven.
I would say it runs a little large, and as you'd suspect, it's a very fast knit.

I used the soft and lovely (and widely available) Rowan Handknit Cotton.
I make perfect pom poms with this pom pom maker.
Here's my Ravelry project page

I'm wondering how you're all doing with your Christmas knitting? Besides these hats I've finished three other gifts and still have two to go. They're both started and I feel pretty good about the deadline being 1 1/2 weeks away but still wish I had started earlier.  I always wish that!

Thank you for stopping by. It's so nice you're here!
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