On vacation.  Actually consumed by pre-holiday preparations and work responsibilities, THEN on vacation.  January as well bodes to be a bit hectic, so postings here may be sporadic in the new year.  We can report these accomplishments:

  • 11 kinds of cookies baked, and distributed or consumed by the family
  • 2 panforte, complete with dried cherries, toasted hazelnuts and almonds prepared, one brought to a group party
  • Sumptuous small Christmas eve dinner prepared for the family, featuring squab in juniper berry sauce
  • 2 bouche de Noel cakes prepared, one filled with hazelnut pastry cream, one with raspberry jam, brought to a group party


  • Latkes, latkes and more latkes
  • Blintzes, too – home made of course (my recipe’s in Elizabeth’s The Knitting Bloggers Cookbook)
  • New Years cassoulet, including the duck confit we put up back in the spring
  • Holiday shopping for friends and family
  • Tree decorating (and un-decorating)
  • Wrapping (and un-wrapping) presents.  Mine included a small silk pouch for knitting accessories, a nifty new driver (too bad I can’t golf until spring), a thermos jug teapot, Yiddish with Dick and Jane, and a hand-made calendar. 


  • Hannukah candles, songs and games duly performed
  • Attending the midwinter Revels performance in Cambridge, MA
  • Kicking off three huge life-consuming projects at work
  • Four additional pairs of socks knit, mostly from very much appreciated gifts of sock yarn I received over the past year (thanks again guys!)
  • Family time spent messing around with the kids, playing PS2games, watching InuYasha DVDs, going to a movie, cooking, doing holiday preparations, and playing games together
  • FINALLY shelving the books that have sat in boxes since we moved in last year, this event triggered by the delivery of our much anticipated library bookcases, and receipt of our Vance Integral Edition
  • Major behind-the-scenes work on a facelift, feature expansion, and functionality upgrade of wiseNeedle

So even if I was away, the whole String family and I weren’t exactly idle.

As far as this year’s gift knitting, I can report an excellent reception all the way around.  Both shawls I knit this year went as gifts, and both very VERY appreciated.  The screaming school bus yellow scarf was loved by it’s recipient – the cheerful and watchful school crossing guard who is in the middle of her 23rd year on our corner.  My annual flock of socks was greeted well.  The luxuriously soft and lush curly mohair scarf and Juliet cap were loved by the person I gave it to – someone for whom texture is paramount.  And my kids’ teachers enjoyed the various scarves I knit for them.

On the sock front, I can report that I don’t really like toe-up socks in self-stripers when they’re done with heel flap variants.  I much prefer the look of a neatly mitered short-row heel with those yarns.  I’ve reverted back to my old stand-by heel for socks for me, especially if I’m using Regia or one of the other auto-patterned sock yarns.  The only exception will be if I make socks for someone who requires the looser fit of the heel flap heel.  In that case should I want to use a self-striper, I’ll pick a complementary solid color for the heels and toes, and reserve the printed yarn for the parts that remain stable in width.

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