Posted by: christinelaennec | January 7, 2016

Happy 2016!

Hello again!  Life is moving along at a clip here.  We saw in the New Year with two friends of the Dafter’s, so it was in fact a party!

The Dafter in the last few hours of 2015.

The Dafter in the last few hours of 2015.  Doesn’t she look fantastic?  The makeup is 90s grunge, she told me.  She rested up very well the day before and all afternoon to have the strength for celebrating.

We all gathered around the tv to watch the countdown to midnight and the fireworks in Edinburgh.  As is our tradition, we opened the front and back windows of the house to let the old year out and the new year in.  (It’s really supposed to be doors, but Tilly wasn’t easily locateable just at that moment in time.)

Edinburgh fireworks on the tv, just after the bells.  1 January 2016.

Edinburgh fireworks on the tv, just after the bells. 1 January 2016.

We clinked our glasses of fizzy fruit juice, and all kissed each other, and then Michael made a small fireworks display for us in the back garden!  On New Year’s Day, the Dafter decorated Michael’s trifle.  Every year he makes a New Year’s trifle.  Due to her having so many digestive problems, this year we had a dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian trifle.  It was delicious!

Delicious New Year's trifle, made by Michael and decorated by the Dafter.

Delicious New Year’s trifle, made by Michael and decorated by the Dafter.

We put Christmas away on Monday and Tuesday, and wrote our Christmas Wishes as we do every year, to stick inside the boxes.  And Wednesday it was back to school!  The Dafter was so happy to see her friends again.  She managed to go for three and a half hours, which is really good going.

This morning Michael left very early to travel to England.  The West Coast rail line has been out of action since floods knocked out a bridge near Carlisle, so he had a long bus journey.  But these minor hardships are nothing compared to those faced by people whose homes have been ravaged.  We have been watching clips of familiar places on Deeside such as Ballater, Tarland and Aboyne through our fingers, hardly daring to peek at the raging waters going past.  Aberdeen airport has been closed this evening because part of the landing strip has collapsed.

The reason for his trip was, sadly, to attend the funeral of his young cousin who died at Christmastime, leaving his teenage son behind.  As dreadful as the flooding is, it is no comparison to the devastation of a family who has lost a young father, son and brother.  I was very glad that Michael was able to go today.  As he was picking out which tie to wear last night (he opted for a navy blue Harris tweed tartan), he said, “I feel as if I’m going home”.  “You are,” I said, “because you’re going to your family”.

In the meantime, I have finally begun a project that has been waiting in my cupboard for two years now:  the Oregon cardigan (Autumn colourway) by Alice Starmore.  I bought the kit with birthday money that my mother and father had given me and I’d saved up.  It’s taken me a long time to swatch and prepare to knit – because I cannot match the gauge, I will have to make some adjustments.  But I’m finally on my way, knitting the edging at the bottom.  And I have my faithful helper:

From left to right:  A big bag full of wool, knitting in progress, Tilly disturbed mid-wash, swatches, colour card, instructions.  All for the Oregon cardigan by Alice Starmore. 7 January 2016.

From left to right: A big bag full of wool, knitting in progress, Tilly disturbed mid-wash, swatches, home-made colour card, instructions. All for the Oregon cardigan by Alice Starmore. 7 January 2016.

This is my sixth Alice Starmore sweater.  I’ve made two cabled sweaters, two colourwork jackets, and one colourwork pullover.  The wool she sells for her kits is spun and dyed on the Isle of Lewis, and the colours really are gorgeous.

I have some other knitting to show you from before Christmas, but that can be for another post!  I hope you are all having a very good start to the New Year.



  1. Beautiful picture of the Dafter!!! So glad she managed to get to school for that long. I’m sorry about Michael’s cousin — glad he could “get” home for that even though a bus journey does not sound fun. Oh I can’t wait to see progress on your next Alice Starmore!!! I would have loved that trifle because I could have eaten it too!!!!

  2. Happy New Year Christine – my your lovely daughter is growing up isn’t she. One delightful young woman in the making.
    Good luck with the new knitting project – it’s always interesting to look back and see how things progressed from the beginning to end and we have that to look forward to as I’m sure you will document it as the year goes by.
    Take care

  3. A very happy New Year to you all, may it turn out to be full of blessings. Thank you for popping in to see me and for leaving kind words. Beautiful pictures of your girl, and such lovely smiles. The trifle looks soo good, I love trifle! Your tree looks magical, mine is coming down this weekend, just didn’t want it to go this year. We all got sick with stomach flu over New Year and had a rather rough start to 2016. All feeling much better now though. Interesting to hear that your girl has to be careful of what she eats, I have just discovered that sugar and flour exaggerate my headaches many times over. I’ve had my first headache-free day in 5 months. Interested to hear about your knits, looking forward to see more. Sweet Tilly, she looks so cosy in your chair. Blessings, from Pam in Norway

  4. A lovely photo of the Dafter, she has a beautiful smile. God that she was able to participate in the celebrations and attend a few hours of school. Best wishes for you and yours for 2016.

  5. I’m loving the Dafter’s 90s look, and glad she’s had a good start to the year! Sorry to hear about Michael’s cousin, and hope he has a safe journey. The flooding in Aberdeen has been scary, even in the city. The rain has stopped for now, thankfully, although we woke up to various levels of snow – just quite slushy for me! The Oregon jacket pattern is gorgeous, and I’m looking forward to seeing yours gradually grow!

  6. It was so heartwarming to open your blog and see the dear Dafter looking so lovely and smiling in her photo. I’m so happy that she is doing well and enjoying all of life’s happenings. Sorry to hear about the death in your husband’s family. I was so intrigued with your post about steeking that I received Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting as a Christmas gift. But, after looking at it, it’s a bit overwhelming. I SO admire your knitting skills and the new sweater you are starting looks so beautiful. Maybe one day I will try my hand at this type of knitting. One last thing, I watched International House Hunters on TV last night and a couple of the US were moving to Aberdeen. It was so fun to see the homes they viewed and see the beautiful countryside. I hope the weather is OK in your part of the country. Stay safe and warm. Hugs, Pat

  7. Dafter is looking well, long may it last and lets hope 2016 is a good year for all of your family. Have fun with your knitting. x

  8. Lovely photo of the Dafter, and I like the 90’s grunge look.:-)
    All the best in the New Year, and happy knitting the cardigan. ♥

  9. De belles photos de votre fille qui font plaisir à voir ! J’aime beaucoup la tradition qui consiste à ouvrir une porte pour que l’année terminée sorte et une autre pour que la nouvelle entre (tradition inconnue en France) ! C’est ce que nous devons faire également dans nos têtes. Je vais m’y employer ! Toutes mes condoléances à l’occasion du décès du cousin de votre mari. Mon grand-père est mort un jour de Noël, mais il avait 90 ans. Aussi triste que ce soit, ce n’est pas la même chose que la mort d’un jeune-homme. Je souhaite beaucoup de courage à toute sa famille.

  10. Happy New Year, Christine! A couple of lovely pictures of your daughter, looking very happy, and I love the cardigan you are making!

  11. A very happy new year to you and your family. The Dafter is looking fabulous, as indeed is that trifle. Looking forward to seeing more knits in 2016.

  12. I’m very much looking forward to seeing pictures of the Alice Starmore knitting in progress. Oh, and Happy New Year to all of you!

  13. The Dafter with the trifle is precious! So sorry to hear of Michael’s loss.

  14. Thank you all very much for your good wishes, and your lovely comments. It means so much to me that you take the time to leave them! Michael thanks you for the condolences. Although it was a sad journey to make, he enjoyed reconnecting with his family and he was able to be a good support to them. The Dafter thanks you for your appreciative comments, too!

    Pam, I’m so glad that you’ve discovered some dietary changes that help with the headaches. I remember years ago my shiatsu lady said something about how diet can help things, and I said something a bit dismissive. I’ll never forget her gently scolding response: “Christine, people have *risen from wheelchairs* after a change in diet!” And I have since learned the great power of finding the right foods…

    Lilly’s Mom, I will endeavour to post frequent updates on the Oregon cardigan, so that you can see how do-able steeking is. It won’t be as tricky a project as my New Leaf jacket was. If you want to try steeking out, try making a fair isle cafetiere cosy. Here’s one I made:

    Annie you are so right about “out with the old and in with the new” being something we need to do, mentally, on a regular basis!

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