My sister has returned from Alaska and she brought a some neat cross-stitch patterns she got in Anchorage. She's asked me to do one of a Sea Otter for her Christmas present. That's like getting two presents (for me). I get to stitch a great piece and I check her off my Christmas list. I like this! It is a darling design, but I can see that it has a lot of floss that is of a similar color. I'll have to hope for good weather so I can stitch in natural light. I've found that even the new Ott lights don't work as well as being outside, although they are a vast improvement.
We picked her garden and my daughter-in-law's and managed to get a lot of tomatoes, so we spent all day putting up stewed tomatoes, chili and salsa. It was so nice to spend the day working together and just visiting. I feel such a kinship with the women of the past. Our modern world doesn't make room for a lot of the ties that sustained our grandmothers.
She also brought me some wonderful hand dyed wool for making socks. This has been the focus of this year's knitting goals. I wanted to master all the skills you need to make socks and the only way I could figure to do it was to just makes socks and more socks until I was totally comfortable making them. A friend of my mother's taught me an easy way to graft the toes of the socks and that was a real key. That's the hardest part of making socks, at least for me it is. My sister also got some sock yarn for herself too and wanted me to show her how to make them. There's another thing that hearkens back to an earlier time...in two ways. First, women handing down traditional crafts and second, spending time together. When you add that to how hand knit socks feel, you can see why they are so popular.