I managed to finish two more projects before the end of the year, though it took me awhile to photograph them. The first was a Spring Beret in a yellow skein (I bought and wound it over a year ago, and can't remember the exact colorway now!) of Madtosh vintage, on size seven needles (rather than the larger needles used in the pattern); I didn't have any of the larger sizes handy, so instead I knit an extra pattern repeat to maintain slouchiness, which I think worked out okay. I was never in love with this yarn color, which is why it took me so long to use it, but I actually like it a lot more in hat form now - it's a bright, sunny color that goes with everything, so I think it'll get a lot of wear.
I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that most of this hat was knit during an eleven and a half hour long Lord of the Rings (extended version!) marathon with some family friends. The hat took me the better part of one movie, I'd guess from between Gandalf's arrival in the Shire through the one where they were hanging out with Galadrial, if that's the sort of thing that makes sense to you. I really should have brought a bigger project along. Seriously, eight hour of tv watching without knitting was painful. But then, so was eleven hours of tv watching, period. Good to know that there are limits to my ability to be sedentary after all, because sometimes even I worry. (Raveled here)
My Mara shawl, on the other hand, was knit in slightly less nerdy adventures, mostly in hostel rooms and buses while traveling through South America. I brought three skeins of Madelinetosh DK in Sugarplum (a gorgeous, sugary violet pretty enough to make me forget my usual aversion to purples and pastels). I joined the last ball a few rows after starting the ribs and still ran out of a yarn a maddening twelve stitches short of a complete bind-off. I was so desperate not to have to frog (I love the ribbed section best of all and didn't want to shorten it) that I was actually cutting off the loose ends to see if I could scrounge up enough yarn, but nothing worked. In the end, I found a spectacularly helpful Raveler who was somehow able to sell me a spare skein of the suddenly hard-to-find colorway and ship it to me in the midst of all the holidays. At four skeins, this shawl ended up costing a sweater's worth of yarn, but I'm okay with it because I love this shawl. I wore it all the time in Seattle, and it's amazing, like being allowed to go in public with a blanket wrapped around you but without the social stigma against going out in public with a blanket wrapped around you. I got compliments from cool grad students and my 91 year old grandmother alike. I may never take this thing off, seriously.