2013 in review

2013? That is so 12 hours ago.

After last night’s festivities, I did the unthinkable. I slept until noon! Crazy, because I am a creature of the sun, rising early even on the weekends.

I thought I’d do a quick review of 2013. I’m a sucker for lists after all. So here are a few of my highlights from the past year.

7069The best book I read this year was The World According to Garp. It happens to also be the first book I read in 2013. It was first published in 1978 and is, in my opinion, an American classic.

This is an amazing account of a fictional writer’s life. I won’t go into too much detail, but whether you’re a writer or not, this is a beautifully crafted story. Well-written and easy to read, I just loved it.

Honorable mentions on my 2013 reading list include Maggie O’Farrell’s Instructions for a Heatwave (pub. 2013) and Hal Higdon’s Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide (pub. 2000).

Early on in 2013 I started a new job as a writer and researcher covering the resource and energy sectors in Australia, Africa and the Indo-Pacific. I have learned so much about industries essential to the Australian economy, and met some great people.

This past year I also finally got my Australian permanent residency. It’s a long process and Matt and I are so happy it’s settled at last.

Me and Mom at the finish

Me and Mom at the finish

As for experiences, the definite highlight for this year was running my first marathon. I won’t go into detail since I’ve already written about it in the past, but working toward and achieving that goal was incredibly fulfilling. To then share the race with my mother was a dream come true. I’m planning to run my second at some point in 2014.

Perhaps the best thing about this year has been my reunion with knitting. It’s been nearly a decade since I first learned, and it’s been wonderful picking it back up and immersing myself in the hobby. I’ve learned heaps and developed my skills at an exponential rate.

Overall 2013 was a great one. It’s also ended with a bang. My childhood friend Lauren has been spending our Christmas holiday with us over the last two weeks. I’ll gather up the best photos of her trip and summarize it in another post. It’s been amazing having her here.

I look forward to the year ahead. Most exciting is my upcoming marriage to the love of my life. Since we first met in 2009, it’s been a whirlwind and I can’t believe I’ll have been in his country 4 years this July. It’s gone by in a blur, and I’m so lucky to be with him.

Here’s to a fantastic 2014, Happy New Year everyone!

A+ for service

Of late I have had the pleasure of dealing with Quince and Co‘s customer service rep. I ordered a sweater’s worth of Puffin yarn in the Twig shade a few weeks ago, and while I’d received a confirmation email when I placed the order, I never got a shipping notification.

I emailed the ladies at Q&C, and not only did they confirm that it had indeed shipped, I got a personal message saying they had tracked it down and my package had already reached Australia! I was given the tracking number and an apology.

Honestly I wasn’t too worried about my yarn arriving quickly. Ordering things from my homeland usually takes time. I just wanted to make sure my shade wasn’t back-ordered or something. But as luck would have it, my package came Tuesday, soon after our correspondence. I was absolutely thrilled.

Puffin in Twig

Puffin in Twig

I’ve been dying to try Q&C, as mentioned in previous blog posts. I’m very much looking forward to making several of the new designs that have come out featuring Q&C Owl, which is a worsted weight yarn (50% wool, 50% alpaca) with a lovely halo to it.

But I’ve also had my eye on Kate Davies‘ very popular Owls sweater pattern for quite some time now. It suits my personality completely, and I needed the perfect chunky/bulky weight yarn to go with the pattern. I’ve never knit with a single-ply bulky yarn before, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

I hemmed and hawed over color choice, finally settling on Twig since I wanted the owl design, rather than the color, to be the “hero” of the piece. Turns out my decision was a good one.

Tonight I did a circular gauge swatch (Hannah Fettig has just released a great little guide to doing so on Knitbot), and soaked it to see how it came out. I didn’t get perfect row gauge, but my stitch gauge was right on, and I’m confident that I can make any necessary adjustments.

photo 4

Swatchya doing?

The yarn doesn’t retain much water, making it very quick-drying. What was already soft and ever-so-slightly fuzzy material is drying beautifully as a swatch. I couldn’t help but rub it against my check and implore Matt to do the same. It’s 100% American wool and knits up with beautiful stitch definition.

Knitting up nicely

Knitting up nicely

Back to my excellent customer service experience…I wrote back my thanks and appreciation. In response, I was told that oh by the way, did I know that Suzy Hausfrau sells Q&C yarns out of Canberra? Um, NO! I didn’t. But now I’ve got a great new yarn resource within Australia! How exciting. Suzy offers free shipping within Oz, as well as 10% off purchases over $75! What could be better?

In an age when we get pretty much anything at the click of a button, it’s such a great feeling when a company goes above and beyond to help you out. Bravo Q&C, I’m in love!