Christmas Yarn Haul

Knitting in the New Year

Out with the old, in with the new! Well at least that’s how I feel about going from 2013 to 2014. But before leaving 2013 entirely behind us, I wanted to share with you a few knitting projects I finished up over the holidays.

Baby Sophisticate Knit Sweater

This free pattern on Ravelry looked like the perfect gift for my rapidly-growing nephew. The little love bug (as I like to call him) would be going on nearly 11 months by the time Christmas rolled around, so the idea was to make something big enough for him to grow into.

My friend Caroline from over at De Mailles et de Mots made this sweater for a friend’s baby and she warned me that the pattern tends to run small. To compensate (and, knowing that I have a very tight stitch), I chose a machine-washable (very important!) Berroco Vintage Chunky yarn in a gorgeous sea-green-blue color.

I was pretty pleased with how it turned out:

Baby Sophisticate in Vintage Chunky
The result!

To make sure it was big enough, I compared the smaller and larger sizes in the pattern and using the stitch proportions, I made it one size larger.

Three Little Hats for Three Little Chaps

On the Spanish side of the family, Chico and I have three nephews ages 13, 10 and four. Though Spain hardly requires the same cold-weather gear that North America does, I thought they would each enjoy a little knit or crocheted hat.

Three Little Hats for Three Little Chaps
I say “little” but the two oldest nephews really aren’t that little…

Again, I went with Berroco yarn, this time just the regular Vintage (worsted weight). Berroco Vintage is my current favorite because it’s affordable, pleasant to work with AND machine washable (it’s an acrylic-wool blend).

I can’t find the pattern for the little blue and yellow hat, but the other two are a crocheted reversible pattern by Nancy Smith on Ravelry.

Though sadly I don’t have a photo, I also made my lovely sister-in-law this knitted headband in the same gray used on the two older boys’ hats.

Traditional Knitted Dishcloths from VeryPink Knits

For the Stitch n’ Bitch Christmas gift exchange, I picked up some 100% cotton wool in lots of fun different colors to make these traditional dish cloths.

Photo courtesy of Ysabelh at Métro-Boulot-Tricot

For the second year in a row, my friend Eva from OuaKi Dou (a fabulously talented knitter and crocheter!) got my gift.

Knitting in 2014

It would seem that my family is enjoying my newfound passion for knitting, because I got two beautiful gifts of yarn from my parents and from my sister-in-law.

Currently, I’ve gone back to crochet and am working on an afghan for my boss’s little girl (pattern from Afghans for All Seasons from Leisure Arts – sadly not available to link to online).

On the list I also have a cabled hat and what will be my first attempt ever at a sweater! I’m looking at two patterns to use with the luxurious yarn from my parents, so I’ll keep you posted!

Christmas Yarn Haul
I still have a lot of this yarn to knit…


Don’t forget to check out TheBrainInJane on Ravelry to see my queue of projects!

Calvin & Hobbes Resolutions

The Case Against New Year’s Resolutions

Statistics New Year's Resolutions

Like many folks out there, you may have written up your list of 2014 resolutions: New Year’s resolutions that will shake up your life, make you a better person and generally bring you luck and success.

Also, like most people (according to the website, you will probably fail to stick to your resolutions. In fact, only about 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s goals.

But hey, that’s okay! Why? Because making resolutions is a completely unproductive way to go about initiating change in ourselves! Here’s why:

1. New Year’s Resolutions Are Unrealistic

Most of the New Year’s goals we set are based on a desire to become an idealized version of ourselves.

Calvin & Hobbes ResolutionsAccording to a quick Google search, the most common New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight, get in shape, learn something new, quit smoking, and eat better (or diet). Usually, by the month of February these good intentions have been forgotten and we’ve reverted to old habits. As a result, we probably feel bad about ourselves.

That’s because, in the absence of real motivation, desire or need to improve our quality of life, these resolutions reflect a want to look and feel the way society says we should.

Losing weight, for instance, is a long, involved and often trying process (trust me, I went through it in 2012). It’s easy to think, “Sure, I can lose 10 lbs this year,” but without real motivation or a reason to work for that goal, it’s unlikely that we’ll actually get there.

If you really want to make a resolution, think long and hard about what it should be, and how willing you are to actually work for it.

2. We Make Too Many Resolutions at Once

I LOVE making lists! I make them all the time! Packing lists, grocery lists, to do lists, lists of the reasons I’m awesome, etc…

But the one time (and perhaps the only time because lists are the best) when a list is inappropriate is when it comes to your New Year’s goals.

Honestly, do you really think you can learn a new language, read 500 books, quit smoking AND lose 20 lbs all in one year?! Yeah, there may be people out there who could, and they’re called over-achievers and they probably have no social lives.

But most of us regular Joes can barely handle one of those commitments, let alone all of them. So tone it down a notch and stick to one thing that you can really focus on. For instance, learning to knit! (It’s just a thought…)

3. Resolutions Are Overwhelming

According to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, part of the reason we fail at our New Year’s resolutions is because we set ourselves abstract goals.

Absurdly Unattainable New Year's ResolutionsDuhigg writes that the most effective way to think about resolutions is to frame them as baby steps for us to take to improve or change our habits. By making small, manageable modifications to our behavior, we should be able to achieve the larger goals we set for ourselves.

Thinking of a resolution as project can help. Last year, my project was to design and launch my own website. I did some research and determined the baby steps I needed to take to get to that point. Voilà! You are gazing upon the result! (Thanks!)


Like giving up something for Lent, New Year’s resolutions are fashionable and like most things à la mode, they’re often meaningless. Don’t set yourself up for failure by making these classic mistakes. Set yourself a realistic goal, then outline the baby steps you need to take to get there.

This year, I want to take a creative writing class. My first baby step? A simple Google search…