Saturday, April 8, 2017

2 New Knitters

I've taught a lot of knitters over the years, but my recent knitting lessons were my most special.  I gave two of my grandkids their very first lesson.

Makayla is 4 and wanted to learn.  Her attention span is short at this age and that's fine, and she's a lefty so it was a bit harder for her.  It doesn't matter.  I'll continue to teach her as long as she wants to know how to knit.

Braydon caught on very quickly and said that he liked knitting so much!  I started by casting on a few stitches and knitting a couple of rows for both of them.  They can learn the cast on later.  For now, I just wanted them to learn and practice the knit stitch.  Braydon, who is 7, wanted to do it himself after he was shown how...and he did well.

Both were happy with their little knitting kit which included a set of 4 mm plastic needles, 4 colorful balls of DK weight yarn, a little Gromit the Dog instruction book and a red plastic bag with yellow handles to keep it altogether. I bought these little kits a number of years ago - I don't remember where.  I'll have to keep my eyes open for another kit for granddaughter #2 who is just 1.

I've often heard people say that they learned to knit from their grandmother.  At the time I never thought that someday I would be that grandmother, but I am so happy that I am.

Way to go, kids!  We'll be doing more knitting soon.  xoxo   Love, Grandma Jo

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sock Mojo & Podcasts

My sock mojo is in full gear right now.  I finished up my March socks with the 2016 colorway from The Loopy Ewe for the little knitalong that my friend, S. and I are doing.  Then, last night I cast on for another sock that I've called "Verb" using the leftover yarn from block #15 of my Travel Afghan.  The sock went very quickly and I finished it today.  With the "From The Ashes" sock, I now have two single socks that need their mate.  I'll be working on them as my main projects this week because next Saturday is cast-on day for the April socks and I don't want 3 single socks.  I'd like to have full pairs!
While knitting I was watching a couple of video podcasts on You Tube.  One is Fruity Knitting that I've mentioned before and is my favorite.  I also watched Sticks & Twine.  The host talked about a Brooklyn Tweed knitalong that he has started as well as a visit to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival and a side trip to Amsterdam and Stephen West's shop, Stephen & Penelope.  The Edinburgh Yarn Festival is on my bucket list.

Here are the Clickety Clack socks for March:


Pattern:  Cast on 60 sts, stocking stitch leg and foot,
short row heel, shaped toe.

Needles:  US #0/ 2.0 mm

Size:  Medium

Color exclusive to The Loopy Ewe:
"Clickety Clack"

Ravelry Link:  Clickety Clack

Notes:  The colors come from the picture, below.

I was pleased that there was no real pooling.  The yarn looked like it wanted to pool but the stripes helped to break it up.  While these aren't my favorite colors, the socks will get lots of use.

Next month:  Dancing Dandelion

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Voting Has Begun

Earlier this year I joined the Jamieson & Smith "Fire Festival KAL".  It was great fun to decide what to make using the colors that were required.  I made a cover for my hot water bottle.  There were so many creative projects from sweaters to scarves and cowls to hats to gloves to socks....the list goes on and on.

Now Jamieson & Smith has created a link on their website where you can see all of the finished creations in one place.  It's time to vote for your favorites.  Of course, I voted for my own.  How could I not?  And, I voted for one of the sweaters.  If I'd had more votes, I would gladly have picked some others items as I like many of them.

If you want to check out the finished projects, the link is here.

Now, I'm not asking you to vote for me, but..... if you do (and anyone can), this is what my entry looks like on the site... and, thank you for your support!

I wonder what goodness J&S will come up with next.  I hope it's nothing too tempting as I have a couple of sweaters to finish.  So much great knitting to do, so little time.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Fair Isle Workshop

The reason for my trip to Berkeley was to take a workshop with Janine Bajus and it was fabulous.  I learned so much about color, design, techniques, hints and tips.  I was totally blown away with how much knowledge she has about fair isle knitting.

The workshop was held in her home and limited to 5 students.  We were made comfortable from the moment we walked through her door.  Introductions were made and we gathered in the kitchen to start each day with bagels and coffee and tea.  Then, we settled around the table and Janine gave us detailed information about fair isle, what it is, where it's from and what distinguishes it from other techniques.

Color is an important first step, so we looked at the inspirational pictures that we had brought with us, discussing the way colors work together, or they might work in a photo but not in a garment.  The only way to be sure about your colors is to swatch.  Next, we were shown the "playpen" which contained at least one ball of every one of the 225 colors of fingering-weight Spindrift that Jamiesons makes.  Janine dazzled us with how she can remember the name and number of every one of the 225 colors and recognizes them on sight, even those that are close together.

We learned about values, color families, speed swatches, mirroring, color placement and the color tool.  Then we swatched, first a simple swatch and then more complex swatches.  We discussed, we analyzed and we learned from our own swatches and from each others.

It was a good group and, along with the knitting, there was lively conversations.  Sometimes we strayed a bit off topic but were gently guided back to project at hand.  It was all very enjoyable.

From there we started thinking about the motifs we'd like to try out and looked through books and magazines to find inspirations and to do some planning.  Janine taught us how to think about color and how to work it into our designs to best advantage.  She showed us her vast collection of sweaters and explained why the colors were chosen and placed as they were.  To me, the design process is fascinating. One of the techniques I'm going to use right away is how she does her steeks with a crochet much easier and better than using the sewing machine, in my opinion.

As a bonus, we met Janine's family, including Mason, the dachshund.  He charmed everyone!  Janine spoiled us with freshly-baked, warm cookies every afternoon.

On the last day, I excused myself just a bit early.  As I had such a short visit to the Berkeley area, I wanted to get in some sightseeing.  Janine planned out a route for me to take through the Napa Valley and the scenery was amazing and beautiful.  I even found time to take a detour to Fairfield and visited the Jelly Belly factory.

This is just a very small amount of the Jelly Belly candies that I saw.
I learned so much, had a great time, loved seeing palm trees and leaving the snow in Calgary behind.  I would not hesitate to recommend Janine's classes or workshops or designs to anyone.  She is an expert and this Master Class was everything I hoped it would be and much more.  I've only talked about a small fraction of the curriculum of the workshop.  I would definitely take a class with her again.

Oh, and yes, some wool followed me home.  I don't normally wear vests or a lot of pink but when I saw the Rosebud Vest "in person", I knew that I had to make it, so I bought the kit.  I'm looking forward to starting.

Janine, if you're reading this..... A huge THANK YOU from me.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Avenue Yarns and Lacis

Avenue Yarns is a wonderful shop in Albany, CA with lots of tempting yarns and supplies and friendly people in the shop. I enjoyed talking to Ray and Jody. I was surprised and impressed that they had copies of the book about Shetland Wool called "Oo". 

This is only some of what I saw in Avenue Yarns.  I'd be happy to pull up a chair and start knitting with the yarns on the left and work my way around the room. 

They had some gorgeous garments on display and ended up buying a pattern for a sweater for The Ropes by Graeme Knowles-Miller.  It's a fairly plain pullover with some cable accents - a practical and pretty design. 

If I lived in this area I would probably be visiting this shop often.

Visiting Lacis was a must while in Berkeley. I'd heard about this store for many years.  It's not a yarn store but a museum of lace and textiles as well as a retail store.  

If I ever find myself in need of the understructure for a hoop skirt I know where to come.  They are hanging from the ceiling like lamp shades. 

As well as lace making supplies, everything you can imagine, they have a huge selection of books for a wide variety of craft and textile interests. 

You can spend a lot of time just browsing in Lacis, and I did. I'm finding this shoos in the area to be varied and eclectic. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017


It was a good first day in California. I saw trees. I saw flowers. I saw flowering trees. The weather is beautiful, sunny and warm and not a flake of snow to be seen anywhere!

I did lots of sightseeing and, of course, I had to visit a yarn shop - well, I actually visited two. The first one I visited is in Oakland - A Verb For Keeping Warm.


They carry yarn, dyeing materials, fabric, magazines and more. 

Dyeing is a big part of what the store is known for.  It's done in the yard behind the shop.

I believe that the owner is the dyer.  She dyed all of these swatches using cochineal.  It's hard to believe you can get so many variations in a color.

One of the main reasons that I wanted to visit this shop was to get a skein of their  hand-dyed yarn for my Travel Afghan.  I always try to pick something that is unique to the place I'm visiting and this is an ideal choice, and a very nice yarn..  

They've named this weight and fiber combination "Annapurna". This particular skein is a limited edition colorway, dyed with cochineal.  Even the dye date is on the label: 2.19.17, a recent vintage.  

The details are:  80% Superwash merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon. 385 yards/4 oz, fingering weight. I'm looking forward to adding it to my travel afghan. 

The second shop that I visited today is Avenue Yarns in Albany, CA., a very nice shop that I'll write about another time. 

Tomorrow is Day #1 of three of the workshop with Janine Bajus.  I'm looking forward to it.  

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Monday, February 27, 2017

Fair Isle Knitting/Designing/Learning

If you want to know more about Fair Isle knitting and designing, where do you go?  Well, Berkeley, California, of course!

I'm lucky enough to be attending a 3-day workshop with Janine Bajus, also known as the Feral (Fair Isle) Knitter.  I've heard so many glowing reports about her workshops that I was sure that I'd learn a great deal from her.

Her book, The Joy of Color, is proof of the breadth of her knowledge.  I reviewed her book here.  It's excellent, a text book that will not "go out of style".

As much as I hate to leave winter and snow behind (I say, sarcastically), I'll be in California, learning the intricacies of the knitting of Fair Isles.  I think I'm up to the task!

Excerpt from The Joy of Color
Click to enlarge
I'm also going to do some sightseeing while I'm there and, of course, visit a yarn store.  I'm intrigued by one that I've heard about called A Verb for Keeping Warm.  It sounds like it is somewhat similar to another shop that I visit often in Denver, Fancy Tiger.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

It Started With A Sweater

I've been drawn to Shetland and Fair Isle for many, many years....even decades.  I still remember my first Shetland sweater as it was a favorite.  It was a plain cardigan in a nice shade of yellow.  I was 15.  At that time, Shetland was just a word to describe a certain type of wool for a sweater.  I don't know if I even realized that it was place then.  I probably didn't think about it one way or the other.

I don't remember a time when I didn't knit, and over the years my knitting included more and more colorwork:  lots of intarsia in the 80s when I was knitting children's sweaters, and then I discovered Kaffe Fassett,  Jean Moss, other Rowan designers, Rowan yarns, and Alice Starmore.  It was a thrill to meet her in the fall of 2015.  I knitted her Marina pattern as a pullover and it still looks new today even though it's been about 25 years since I made it.

Sometime in the 90s I bought a Croft.  Okay, it's a miniature of a Croft, 2-inches tall to the top of the chimneys, made by Lilliput Lane.

I now knew about the Shetland Islands, but mostly I knew that I liked this little house and the fact that there were sheep in the back:

Then, sometime in the early 2000s I dropped into the gift shop at University of Colorado Hospital and saw this and had to take this cute sheep in the fair isle sweater home with me:

By this time I knew about the Shetland Isles but never dreamed that I'd go there, not once, but twice. I've always liked fairisle knitting, but it's been my main focus and interest since visiting.  There is nothing like being in Shetland where textiles are a way of life - visiting the museums, Jamieson's, Jamieson & Smith, and meeting some of the local people, including knitters and designers.  

Another story that I smile about now:  in about 1990 or 1991 I went to a computer show.  Home computers were pretty new and I knew very little about them, and nothing about the world wide web.  I was talking to one of the exhibitors and he said that you could "visit" other countries and companies.  I found this fascinating and rather hard to believe.  He offered to show me and said that I should name a company or place and he would see if they had a website.  I asked for Jamieson & Smith, and he found it.   J&S was the first place I saw on the web.

And now, I'm building on my interest (some might call it an obsession).  More in the next blog post.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Fire Festival Knitalong - Finished

I've been moving right along with my projects lately.  Undoubtedly things will slow down once it starts to warm up outside and life gets busier.

My latest finished project is a cover for my hot water bottle.  Late in 2016, Jamieson & Smith announced that they were hosting a knitalong.  The deadline is March 20th.  The theme is Shetland's Fire Festival, Up Helly Aa.

You could make anything you wanted as long as you used at least 5 of the 8 colors they listed, and no others.  Also, you had to include some fairisle knitting.  I thought about different items - scarf, mittens, sweater, hat, but finally decided that what I really wanted to make was a cover for my naked hot water bottle.  At first I thought I'd design something myself, but on looking through some free patterns on Ravelry I discovered what I was looking for was available and there was no need to re-invent anything...except for the fish at the bottom, which are mine.


hot water bottle cover used as a template.

Needles:  US #2.5 / 3.0 mm
and US #3 / 3/25 mm

Size:  One size

Yarn:  All Jamieson & Smith 2 ply Jumper Weight

I'm working on another knitalong project, this time from the island of Fair Isle.  I'll have more time to work on it now.  The deadline for it is in March.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Bebop Socks

I'm getting caught up on posting about finished projects.  Here's another, my Bebop Socks.  This was the exclusive monthly colorway in February, 2016 at The Loopy Ewe.  The yarn was dyed to compliment this photo.  The original is titled Car_0807.

February 2016 - Color: Bebop

My friend, S, and I are having a little knitalong - details are here.  We can make whatever we want as long as we use the color-of-the-month and finish before the month is over.  So far, I'm sticking to socks.  I'm not a fan of pooling, so try to come up with a patterning that will break up the clusters of similar colors.


Pattern:  Cast on 60 sts.,Waffle stitch on leg, stocking stitch foot,
short row heel, shaped toe.

Needles:  US #0/ 2.0 mm

Size:  Medium

Color exclusive to The Loopy Ewe:

Ravelry Link:  Bebop Socks

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Kiwi Socks

At work we've declared Mondays to be "Mad Socks Monday" and several employees wear their wild and crazy socks.  Since I like wild socks anyway, this appeals to me, especially since it gives me an excuse (as if I needed one) to knit less-than-subtle footwear.  This time I made socks that stripe like a kiwi.  Why not?!  I've already made socks in other colorways from the dyer, Abi, e.g. Watermelons and Mardi Gras.  There will be more in the future, I have no doubt.  Bacon & Eggs, perhaps?


Cast on 60 sts., K2, P2 ribbing for 12 rounds, 
Stocking stitch leg for 75 rounds, Short row heel,
 Stocking stitch foot for 50 rounds, Shaped toe.

US #0 / 2.0 mm


Yarn:  Kiwi Fruit Self-striping Sock Yarn
Artistic Yarn By Abi

Ravelry Link:  Kiwi Socks

Friday, February 17, 2017

Recent Finds


It's been a very long time since I listened to a podcast.  I used to listen to 3 or 4 of them, gradually ending up with just one.  I think I finally drifted away after David Reidy discontinued his in, I think, 2012..  Now, just today, I've discovered a video podcast on You Tube that I'm enjoying quite a lot.  I found Fruity Knitting, episode 16, with hosts Andrew and Andrea Doig.  I discovered it because of the Google key word "fairisle" and "podcast", but there is much more than fairisle in this and other episodes.

I'm only halfway through it and I'm already planning to check out the others.  I like the tone of the podcast, the quality of the filming, and the content:  I've just seen what's on their needles in a segment called Under Construction and a visit with knitter/designer Jenn Steingass of Lovewool-Knits, on Ravelry, in their Knitters Of The World segment.  Afterwards, I'm going to check out the pattern that Andrea is knitting:  League by Veronik Avery.  I love the black sweater that she is wearing on the show and I wonder if there is a pattern available for it.


I get email updates from the yarn company Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts, a local-to-me (Calgary), company that dyes yarn in the most fabulous colors. I first discovered them at the Olds Fibre Week in Olds, Alberta a few years ago.  A bit of yarn followed me home then.  A new, limited edition colorway spoke to me recently and I had to order a skein.  It's called From The Ashes:

80% Superwash Fine Merino 20% Nylon 3 Ply Fingering / Sock
525 meters / 578 yds per 150 gram / 5.25ox skein
gauge:  27 - 32 sts / 4 inches (10 cm)  US 1.5 - 3 or 2.5 - 3.25 mm

It's a large skein of yarn, more than enough to knit a pair of socks and then to share with my friend, S.  I haven't chosen a pattern yet.  I want something that will really show off the colors to best advantage.  I'm wondering if just a simple stocking stitch leg will work without any serious pooling of colors.


Going to Colorful Yarns in Centennial, CO is always fun.  I drop in whenever I'm in Colorado and I almost always leave a few dollars behind in the store.  Tiffany (the owner) has many unique, one-of-a-kind yarns that you likely won't see elsewhere and she is always on top of the latest trends and up-to-date on the classics as well.  She is wonderful at supporting indy dyers.  The last time I was there I came across a new-to-me gadget used to keep your stitches on your circular needle when you're not working on your project.  It's called a Needle Keeper.  

It's a light-weight metal tube, open at one end.  At the other end has a rubber (or plastic?) stopper with a slot in which to insert both ends of your circular needles.  They won't come back out unless you pull them out.  I bought a red one.  Sometimes (actually, often) I have more than one project on the needles so I've now added a blue one to my collection of gadgets.  I've learned that these are quite widely available.  Now I know and I'm happy to have found them.  I wonder what I'll find next when I'm in Colorful Yarns in June?


Jamieson's of Shetland (no connection to Jamieson & Smith, by the way), has a short video on their website about how raw fleece is manufactured into yarn and cloth.  I like both companies so much and glad to have had a chance to tour both.  At Jamieson's I bought a lovely sweater, gloves and, of course, yarn.  Here's the link to the video:  Jamieson's.  Given the opportunity, I would be glad to visit both companies again and I would especially like to join in on the knitting get-together at Jamieson & Smith, sitting around the table in the store and knit with the others.

Watching for:

My friend, A, gave me a heads-up about the late winter issue of Vogue Knitting.  I've checked, but it wasn't in the Chapters Bookstore yet.  They had the winter issue, but not the late winter magazine.  I'm told that the issue has quite a bit of Canadian content.  I also like the sweater on the cover.  It's nice to see a new Kaffe Fassett design.

Okay, time to go back to watch the remainder of the podcast and knit my sock.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Knitting A Galley

Jamieson & Smith are hosting a knitalong, the Fire Festival KAL, and I couldn't resist joining.

Here are the parameters:
  • You can make anything you like.
  • You must use at least 5 of the 8 colors that they have listed - no additional colors are permitted. 

  • There must be some Fair Isle in what you're making.
  • Once the Fire Festival knitalong was announced you could start knitting.  The finishing deadline is March 20th.
I've been following the posts on the Ravelry group and the pictures of finished projects are coming in almost daily.  It's amazing what everyone has come up with:  hats, scarves, sweaters....and more.

For my project, I decided to make a cover for my hot water bottle.  To me, there was a sense of symmetry between the Up Helly Aa/Fire Festival event and a hot water bottle - a merging of theme and purpose.

I was going to try to come up with something totally original, but I had come across various patterns that I could combine for mine - and all were free.  There was no need to reinvent the wheel, so to speak.  For the hot water bottle cover I used the Three Seasons in Scotland (Ravelry link) by Hanna Weibye as my template.  The flames were from a pair of socks, Hot Rod Socks and the Viking ship is a graph that I found on the Tricksy Knitter site.

When I put them all together and created a pattern in Excel, I ended up with this:

I decided to add the words -- UP HELLY AA -- in gray, the color of smoke.  I had planned to use 7 of the 8 colors in the version you see, above.  Since then, I've decided to add some fish in the water at the bottom with color #8.  The back and front are the same.

The cover is knitted from the top down and, as of today, I have the top half of the ships knitted so I'm getting close to finishing.  My ships have sails!  I'm really enjoying this.  It's so different than anything I've made before.  Shortly, I'll be back with pictures of the FO (finished object).

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Ready For Mardi Gras

One of my goals for 2017 was to knit socks, as many as I have time for.  I've got lots of sock yarn that I like, and I wear my handmade socks often.  I ended January with two pairs.  Here's the lastest pair.


  Generic.  Cast on 60 sts., K1, P1 Rib for 12 rounds, Stocking Stitch leg for 75 rounds, Short row heel, Stocking Stitch foot for 50 rounds, Shaped toe.

US #0 / 2.0 mm


Yarn:  Mardi Gras Self-striping sock yarn
Artistic Yarn By Abi

Note:  Abi's yarns are colorful and fun to knit with.  I've already made socks with her Watermelon and I have Kiwi on the needles.  I love these Mardi Gras colors.  Here's my Ravelry link.

Laissez les bon temps rouler - Let the good times roll.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Up Helly Aa 2017

I've just finished watching Lerwick, Shetland's Up Helly Aa procession online and it was amazing.  I would have loved to have been there in person.  Here are a few pictures captured from the screen. You can click on any picture to enlarge it.

For those of us who couldn't be in Shetland, it was great that it was streamed live online.

The marchers are gathering, preparing for the procession.

The procession.  There are around 1000 marchers, almost 900 of them are carrying torches.

The torches are thrown onto the Viking galley.

The galley is burning.  A new one will be made for next year.

The parade ends when the ship's mast is down.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Shetland Fire Festival

Have you ever been to Shetland?  Yes?  No?  Would you like to go tomorrow, Tuesday, January 31st?  The cost is free - no airfare, no hotel cost.

The annual Fire Festival, "Up Helly Aa" is going to be streamed online and I, for one, will be watching.  There are various activities during the day with the highlight being the parade and the burning of the Viking galley at night.  It all starts at 7:00 pm, Shetland time.  For me, in mountain time, that's noon.

I'm taking some vacation time in order to watch.  While watching, I'll be knitting my Fire Festival knitalong project, the hot water bottle cover:
I'll be adding some fish in the water when I get to that point in the knitting.
There is lots of good background information - here.

To watch the festivities online, the link is here.  It's brought to you by 60N magazine on Channel 3.

Get out your knitting and your Viking garb and have fun!

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Butch Trucks

RIP Butch Trucks, one of the drummers in the Allman Brothers Band.

If you don't recognize the musicians, that's Butch wearing the blue Moogis t-shirt.  His nephew, Derek, in the plaid shirt, is playing slide guitar.  So much talent in one family, and there are other family members who are also musicians.

I was fortunate enough to see the Allman Brothers Band twice:  first in Columbia, Maryland in 2012 and then in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2013.  Both shows were fabulous.  I wish I could have been to more shows before they disbanded in 2014, but, thankfully, the music lives on.  Watch the video in full screen, turn up the volume, and enjoy.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Let 2017 Begin

I still haven't blogged about all my finished projects from 2016 and there is one from 2015, but I thought I'd start the year off on the right foot, so to speak.

Last year the yarn store, The Loopy Ewe, offered an exclusive sock yarn colorway each month along with a matching notecard.  The yarn was dyed by Blue Moon Fiber Arts, the Socks That Rock people.  The cards were based on photographs by Image Words of Fort Collins.  The picture this month is called Frosty Ridge.  The colors are beautiful and I collected the colors of all 12 months, as did my friend, S.

By the end of the year, neither of us had knit anything with the yarn so we decided to have a little knitalong in which we would make something with the yarn.  Starting on January 1, 2017 we would knit something with the yarn from January, 2016 - and so on throughout this year.  The goal is to finish by the last day of each month.  S. is making a hat.

January 2016 - Color: Frozen Valley
I've decided to make socks every month and would look for a texture pattern that would break up any potential pooling of the colors.  For January I chose the Herringbone Rib pattern for the leg and on top of the foot, worked over 60 stitches:

Round 1:  Knit.
Round 2:  *K2, slip 1 purlwise, K1, yo, pass the slip stitch over both the yo and the K1 stitch.

I was happy with the results and would use this pattern on another pair of socks.  However, for this knitalong, I'd like to try out a different textured pattern each month.


Pattern:  Cast on 60 sts., Herringbone stitch on leg and top of foot,
short row heel, shaped toe.

Needles:  US #0/ 2.0 mm

Size:  Medium

Color exclusive to The Loopy Ewe:
"Frozen Valley"

Note:  I had quite a bit of yarn remaining so I've decided to make another pair of socks, Bonus Socks.  I started with working the cuff of each sock with the January yarn.  Each month I'll add a stripe with the remaining yarn until, at the end of the year, I'll have a pair of crazy striped socks.

Bonus socks - cuffs

The name for next month's color is Bebop.  It's bright and colorful and I'm looking forward to knitting with it.  Now, to find a good pool-busting pattern to use and then wait patiently for the Feburary 1st cast on.