Category Archives: KAL

Garland Shawl cast on options

I’m planning my cast on for the Garland KAL. My prototype shawl is very wide and shallow. I’d like to make my next one deeper, like test knitter Rachel’s, but also as wide as it can be with the amount of yarn I have. I was conservative with Rachel’s test knit to make sure the deeper shawl would be wide enough with about 400 yards of yarn, even though the Cashy Lite was 495 yards.

How do you know if you should make the wider, shallower shawl, or the narrower, deeper shawl? Part of it depends on how you like to wear your shawl.

If you have about 400 yards of yarn, your deeper shawl will probably be most comfortable worn centered on your back. The ends don’t provide a lot of overlap for wearing this like a scarf. Rachel’s shawl took 390 yards at 6 st/inch.

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Photo May 13, 3 26 34 PM

If you use those 400 yards to make a shallower shawl, you’ll get more overlap at the ends.

If you have 450 yards or more, the shallower shawl will be super wide like my prototype. This one took 455 yards at 5 st/inch. (I’m planning to aim for 5.5 or 6 st/inch next time, for a slightly firmer fabric.)

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It’s luxuriously wrappable, but I don’t know that I’d wear it centered on my back. Maybe if I were taller…

I’m planning to split the difference this time and go deep *and* wide. How?

The pattern instructions tell you how many repeats wide to make your shawl, but you can easily customize this for the amount of yarn you have. This is because the shawl is knit from side to side. You start at the right end, increase towards the center back, and then decrease to the left end. With a little math, you can easily adjust the size of your shawl without fear of running out of yarn.

You’ll need a kitchen scale, one of my favorite knitting tools. Weigh your yarn before you begin. Half of this yarn will go to the increase section of your shawl, and half will go to the decrease section. Weigh your yarn after every 24 row repeat. (Weigh your yarn in grams, because it’s a more precise measure on the scale.) This will show you how much yarn each repeat takes. The amount increases gradually with each repeat, because you’re increasing the number of stitches with each repeat. You’ll need to figure in enough yarn for the center repeat, which has no increases or decreases, but the center repeat will weigh about as much as the repeat before and after it. When you are halfway through that center repeat, you need to have at least half your yarn left for the decreases! (You don’t really need to start weighing your yarn until the 7th repeat, but it doesn’t hurt to know the numbers.)

If you don’t want to do any figuring or customizing, go ahead and knit according to the pattern directions.

So, deep or shallow? What’s your Garland going to be? Beads? No beads? I’m going for beads! I like the bling, and the little bit of extra heft and drape they give the fabric.

I’m looking forward to getting my yarn, Knitted Wit’s Cashy Lite in Peacock. She’s dyeing today! Did you order yarn from Knitted Wit, or are you using your own? If you ordered from Lorajean, I’m tucking in a little goodie for you with your yarn.

KAL stitch markers

Looking forward to casting on, June 10!

Cast On Party June 10, and Bead Aid Winner

I am so looking forward to casting on for the Garland Shawl KAL. And I’m pleased to announce that we’re having a cast on party on June 10, from 5-7 p.m. (PDT) at Twisted in Portland. I’ll bring some wine and some munchies. Hope you can make it!

And if you’re not local, it’s a virtual cast on party, too. I’ll bring my iPad and see if we can use the chat function in the PDXKnitterati Ravelry group. I haven’t tried it yet, so it’s a whole new adventure.

Locals, let me know if you can make it. And everyone, please join us on Ravelry for ongoing conversation and let us know who you are, and what yarn you’re planning to cast on.

I’m using Knitted Wit’s Cashy Lite in Peacock. :swoon:

Don’t forget there’s a discount code for the KAL. If you don’t have a pattern yet, check the Garland pattern page for details. If you order just the pattern from me, there’s a $1 discount code through cast on day, June 10. If you order yarn through Knitted Wit by June 1, there’s a $2 discount code for the pattern. Only one more day to order from Knitted Wit! Due date is June 1, so she can get yarn dyed up for you in time for the June 10 cast on.

And! Drum roll please: The winner of the Bead Aids is Melinda, who said, “A BeadAid could make me enjoy the process which at the moment I don’t.” Melinda, I’m hoping this does the trick for you! It really helped me. Send me your snail mail addy and I’ll get it right out to you.

If you’re not Melinda, but you still want to try the Bead Aids, you can order them from Sarah, the maker, at her website. I know they’re also at Pearl Fiber Arts in Portland.

I’m not quite done with my Webfoot Shawl. But a blog post isn’t a blog post without a picture, so here’s one I found in my camera. I forgot to download it after my Orlando trip last month. I knew this view would be coming up, so I was at the ready with my camera!

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Mount Hood, on a slightly hazy day. Yes, I turned the camera on for 30 seconds, even though it was suppposed to be off. I’m such a rebel.

Back to my knitting!

From scarf to shawl: Filigree and Webfoot

I’ve been knitting, knitting, knitting. I re-figured the crescent shaping for Filigree so it can be a shawl in addition to the original scarf. It’s sweet.

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I had 22 grams (80 yards) of yarn left after this, and I wanted to see if I could tweak the design to use a little more of the yarn. There was enough to make it two repeats wider, but that same crescent shaping brought me perilously close to using the entire skein of yarn. I don’t want to be that close, because we all knit differently, and I don’t want you to run out of yarn just before finishing. Do-over! I ripped out the crescent shaping and changed the rate of decrease to make the curve just a little shallower. Both shawls are about the same depth at the center back. I finished with 18 grams (64 yards) of yarn left after this wider shawl. That’s the biggest I can get without making it shallower than I want.

ETA: Just cleaned out my knitting basket, and found a second bit of yarn left from the smaller shawl. It was really 32 grams (116 yards) of yarn leftover, which was why I wanted to make a larger version. I remembered it as being about 30 g left, but I didn’t see that extra bit when I went to weigh my leftovers to write this post. Carry on.

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The new Filigree pattern will have instructions for the scarf, the narrower shawl, and the wider shawl.

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Now I’m knitting a shawl version of Webfoot. I’m knitting the wider shawl for this pattern. Since the narrow and wide shawls are about the same depth and take close to the same amount of yarn, you may as well make it wider for better wrapping around yourself! But here’s my question: If you were purchasing the pattern, would you want the instructions for both shawls, even if there were no picture for the smaller shawl, in case you have a more limited amount of yarn? I really don’t want to knit a smaller one, but I’ll already have the numbers for it since it’s the same shaping as Filigree. Is it better to have more options, even when they’re not pictured?

I should be finished with both patterns next week. A few more photographs, and the patterns will be ready to roll. Remember, if you’ve purchased the previous Webfoot and Filigree Scarves pattern, you’ll receive both the Webfoot and Filigree shawl/scarf patterns as updates when I re-publish these as separate patterns.

And then we’re on to the cast on for the Garland KAL on June 10! How many of you KAL participants are local? Maybe we could have a knit together moment…

Don’t forget to leave a comment on this previous post if you want a chance to win a set of Bead Aids.

Just knitting over this holiday weekend. It’s rainy and cool. How about you?

Planning a KAL; knit Garland with me!

Thanks for the warm welcome for my new Garland Shawl pattern! It was even on Ravelry’s Hot Right Now list on launch day. I happened on it late that night, so who knows how high it went? It was a special thrill to see this!

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I’m really looking forward to hosting the Garland Shawl KAL. I’ve picked my yarn color. I thought I’d be knitting a narrower version of Garland in the same Spring Green as my wide version, but I changed my mind and will be knitting with Knitted Wit’s Cashy Lite in Peacock, another lovely green with blue undertones.

I’ve shopped for beads. There was an impromptu trip to Shipwreck Beads in Lacey, WA (quite the mothership of beads) last week. I was hoping for size 6/0 or 8/0 Delica beads (they’re little tubes), but they only had size 11, which are too tiny for this project. I bought 6/0 Czech seed beads instead. I’m hoping one of these two colors work. And I bought a few other things, too…

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I’ll be using my Bead Aid to place beads in my Garland. I like this method so much better than the crochet hook method because I don’t accidentally split my yarn while pulling it through the bead. Here’s a chance for a lucky someone to try Bead Aid: Sarah gave me a set of two to give away on the blog. If you’d like a chance to win them, tell me in the comment section. I’ll pick a random winner on May 31. If you don’t win, there’s still time to order some from her; we’re casting on June 10. You don’t have to be part of the KAL to enter, but I’d love it if you’d knit along with me!

I’m planning a blog post on how to get the most mileage out of the yarn yardage you have. And I’m hoping you’ll join my PDXKnitterati Ravelry group; it will be easier to have back and forth discussion over there rather than on the blog. We’ve already got the ball rolling over there. Come join the fun! Not a Raveler? I’ll still answer questions here, too, but it feels like a party on Ravelry.

If you’re ordering yarn from Knitted Wit, you should know that orders are due by June 1. We’ll ship on June 5 for a June 10 cast on. I’m planning to make some stitch markers to send out with those orders, just for fun.

Not sure about knitting shawlettes? Mary Mooney gives you seven good reasons to knit one. Hey, we’re a trend!

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you’d like a chance to win the Bead Aids. Or comment on anything else you want to discuss. Knit on!

Garland Shawl and Knit Along

Presenting my newest design, the Garland Shawl!

Garland is a crescent shaped shawl, knit from side to side. The lacy border is knit at the same time as the garter stitch body, which increases from one end to the center and then decreases to the other end. Optional beading along the leaves’ center veins adds sparkle and weight for drape. This shawl can be knit as a wide, shallow crescent, or a deeper, more traditionally shaped crescent. Knitter’s choice!

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The wider shawl is like a big hug. This one is knit in Spring Green, a special order color for the upcoming KAL.

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Photo May 13, 3 26 34 PM

The narrower shawl sits comfortably on the shoulders when centered, and looks good at a jaunty angle, too. This one is knit in Golden Delicious, and was test knit by Rachel Nichols. Thank you, Rachel!

The shawls are knit with fingering weight yarn. I used Knitted Wit‘s Cashy Lite, a wonderfully squishy blend of 80% merino/10% cashmere/10% nylon, 495 yards/115g/4 oz. Charts and line by line instructions for the lace edging are included.

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To celebrate Garland’s release, Lorajean (Knitted Wit) and I are having a knitalong. Place yarn orders with Knitted Wit by June 1st; orders will ship June 5th in time for the June 10th cast on. You’ll receive one skein of Cashy Lite, 80/10/10 Merino/Cashmere/Nylon, 495 yards, and a coupon code for $2 off the pattern on Ravelry. Visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/knittedwit/sets/72157633152678746/ to see all the yarn colors available, write in the color name when checking out. If you want the same color I used for the wider shawl, ask for Spring Green. It’s not in the flickr set; it’s special for this project because I love it so much, I’ve convinced LJ that we should do it. It’s a great color, fresh and lively, and not too neon or acid. Think happy new growth green!

If you’d like to participate in the KAL with your own yarn, use the code GarlandKAL and you’ll receive $1 off your pattern purchase, now through June 10, 2013. Note: In order to use a coupon code, you need to go directly to the Garland Shawl pattern page on Ravelry to make your purchase.

Let’s knit! Leave a comment and let me know you’re in!

I’m Blocking in Sunshine, oh oh

Apologies to Katrina and the Waves. But that’s the song that popped into my head as I was blocking test knitter Rachel’s shawl this morning. Another gorgeous day here.

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Rachel’s is the Green Apple version lower in the picture. My original wider shallower prototype in Spring Green is above it.

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I met with Rachel at Pearl Fiber Arts last night for the pickup. Cindy, PFA’s owner, loves the extra length on the shallow version, but she’s a lot taller than I am! Photography is set for Monday. I was hoping to do both Garland and Filigree, but see where I am in my Filigree knitting?

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Frogged the whole thing and started over. I forgot one of my self-imposed rules for crescent shawls: I always want an odd number of repeats, so one motif will be at the center back. As I began working the crescent, I noticed that the center was *between* motifs. D’oh! Do you think I can be done and blocked by Monday afternoon? Knit like the wind!

I’m enjoying these Signature circular needles. The tips are nice and pointy, which is great for lace. The stitches flow smoothly over the join between cable and needle. I usually knit with wood, which is a bit more grippy, so I’m concentrating on not losing my stitches off these slick metal needles. The cable is more flexible than I’m used to; I may have to give magic loop one more try. All in all, it’s been an enjoyable experience, and I get to do it all over again on my frogged shawl. Good thing I’m having fun. The needles were a gift from Sarah when she was here in town. Sarah is one of the fastest, most prolific knitters I know. She’s very talented. I was floored by the gift, but I’m not giving them back!

What are your favorite needles?

Coming soon: Garland Shawl and KAL

Spring has arrived in PDX. The trees have gone through their pink and white blossomed glory, and are settling nicely into green. My knitting has, too.

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This is a sneak peek at Garland, my upcoming design. I was inspired by my awakening garden, and by Sivia Harding’s Sideways Lace Shawl Design class in March. Put the two together, and the result is a leafy lace border on a sideways crescent shawl. Optional beads along the leafy ribs add a bit of bling.

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I am so happy that I finally found the perfect use for this gorgeous skein of Cashy Lite from Knitted Wit. It had been through two previous design starts. The first was nearly done when I saw a nearly identical shawl at my LYS. The second will require two skeins, and I only had one of this very special color from Lorajean’s first CSY in 2011. Third time’s a charm! And the yarn has held up like a champ, even after two froggings.

The pattern is written and is going through a final test knit. I’m hoping to publish it next week after photographs. And best of all, Lorajean and I are planning a June KAL. I’ll have a discount coupon code for participants, and an extra special coupon code if you’re ordering yarn from Knitted Wit. More on that next week, when the pattern goes live.

Place orders by June 1st, orders will ship June 15th in time for the June 21st cast on. You’ll receive one skein of Cashy Lite, 80/10/10 Merino/Cashmere/Nylon, 495 yards. Visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/knittedwit/sets/72157633152678746/ to see all the yarn colors available, write in the color name when checking out. If you want the same color as mine, ask for Spring Green. It’s not in the flickr set; it’s special for this project because I love it so much, I’ve convinced LJ that we should do it. It’s a great color, fresh and lively, and not too neon or acid. Think happy new growth green!

I love the added sparkle that beads give to this design. They remind me of dewdrops on morning leaves. I started by using the crochet hook beading method that I learned from Sivia way back at the first Sock Summit. It’s pretty efficient, but I tend to split my yarn with the tiny crochet hook while pulling it through the bead about 20% of the time. My knit nite buddy Sarah sent over some of her new Bead Aids to try out. I am a convert! I have not split my yarn at all since moving to this new method. It’s a great tool, and I highly recommend it.

I’m looking forward to publishing the pattern next week. Do you want to knit along? Have you ever added beads to your knitting?

Winter Jam

Summer has always been jam season for me. A big boiling water bath canner, a hot kitchen, delightful summer fruits turning into jewel-like preserves to spread a little sunshine during the winter. But then I came across a recipe for Pear Cranberry Jam on the Food in Jars blog. Winter jam? Yes!

Not being one to leave well enough alone, I decided my jam needed some add-ins. This time, it’s cinnamon and bourbon. It turned out great.

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What? Your bourbon doesn’t wear a sweater? My son gave me this sweater for my Maker’s Mark bottle last year. See, this *is* a knitting blog!

Cranberry/Pear/Bourbon Jam

4 cups cored and chopped pears (I left the skins on)
4 cups fresh cranberries
3 cups sugar
1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1/4 cup bourbon

Combine chopped pears, cranberries, sugar cinnamon, lemon juice and zest, and water in a large pot. Stir to combine and let it rest until the sugar has begun to dissolve, about 10 minutes.

Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat simmer for 15-25 minutes or longer, stirring regularly, until it thickens. Add bourbon, and continue cooking until jam coats spoon without running off.

Ladle jam into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Makes 5 half pints. (If you need more thorough instructions for processing, go to Food in Jars! I’m assuming that you know how to jam.)

This is delicious. The bourbon is subtle, but there, for a little winter warmth. If I do this again, I’ll add 1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger, too, for a little kick. (I put too much ginger in last summer’s plum jam, so I’d be conservative this time.) I actually doubled the recipe, so the pot was really full, and it took quite a while to cook down to a nice jammy consistency (probably about 40 minutes?), but when it started to coat the spoon nicely, I decided it was done. This was also the first time I’d made jam without using added pectin, and I liked the process. It took longer, but I could better see how the jam is going to set up.

The best part of this jam session? Vickie invited me to cook at her house, so she made rugelach cookies while I made jam, and then we had some time to knit and catch up, too. Her cat Olive was very helpful.

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Good things come in jars! I came home from the gym this morning, and Tammy had dropped off some goodies for me. I was overrun by gifts of citrus fruit last winter, and offered some to her because she wanted to make marmalade and citruscello. A perfect trade.

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Back to knitting…Don’t forget, the Silver and Gold Filigree KAL kicks off properly on Friday at Twisted, or right now on the blog and Ravelry. Come knit with me! When we’re done, I’ll have a random drawing for a skein of fingering weight yarn as a prize. Finish a Filigree or Webfoot scarf by December 25, and you’ll be in the drawing.

What’s cooking at your house?

Silver and Gold…Filigree KAL

The holidays are fast approaching, so I’m having a Silver and Gold Filigree KAL during December. My Filigree scarf is a quick and easy project using one skein of fingering weight yarn (about 350 yards), perfect for gift knitting, or an accessory for yourself.

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(I just finished this one.)

Why silver and gold? I wanted the KAL to be festive for holiday knitting. I was thinking of Filigree, and metal, and suddenly “Silver and Gold” was running through my head. Do you remember this song that Burl Ives sang on the children’s classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?”

Now it’s running through your head, too. You don’t have to knit in silver or gold if you don’t want to; any color will do. Whatever makes you happy.

I asked Adam, KAL master at Twisted, if I could do a Filigree KAL there, and he thought Filigree would be perfect for their Selfless Knitting theme during December. If you want to knit along in person with me, the KAL runs on Friday evenings from 5-8 p.m. at Twisted. I’ll be there tonight just to say hi, but beginning December 7 I’ll be knitting my Filigree there.

I’m using Knitted Wit‘s Shine merino/tencel yarn, color Moon Shadow. Looks like silver to me!

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Are you interested in knitting along with Filigree? You can knit along and comment and/or ask questions through the blog, my Facebook page, my Ravelry group, or in person at Twisted. To further entice you, I’m having a sale on the pattern through Ravelry: Use the coupon code silverandgold for $1 off the pattern through December 24. Here’s a direct link for order plus coupon if that’s easier for you.

I’ll have a prize drawing for KAL finishers at the end of December. Come join in the fun! It’s an easy and intuitive knit, and a lovely gift.

A very fine Saturday at Sock Summit

Saturday was my favorite day at Sock Summit. It began with a delivery of more Zen Rain and Pacific shawl patterns to the Knitted Wit booth. Running out of patterns and needing more is a very good thing.

I then headed to Anna Zilboorg’s lecture on The Deeper Meaning of Sock Knitting. I could listen to Anna talk about anything; she’s warm and witty and wise. Some of her remarks: Sock knitting is intensely personal; once you know how to make a sock, you can put your favorite stitch pattern on it. Knitting is cooperative rather than competitive, and cooperation creates love, not envy. It is not hierarchical; anyone can knit a sock. We make necessary things beautiful. Knitting can be a spiritual exercise; we do it because we are searching for happiness, and knitting makes us happy.

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After the lecture, I showed her the Turkish socks that I made in 1997. I had taken a color knitting class with her at Stitches that year, and she taught me to carry two colors in my right hand. (Video tutorial here, if you want to know how to do it, too.) These are the socks I was working on then. They’re thick and warm, perfect slipper or bed socks. As she did 14 years ago, she commented on the pattern and background colors (she sees pink as the pattern; I see it as the background). She also signed my copy of her book, Fancy Feet. I was thrilled!

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I gave her my new Lantern Moon sheep tape measure (Lady Baa-Baa’s replacement). She seemed pretty pleased with it, having talked about “the sheep people” during her lecture. (That would be the knitters.) And Tina brought her striped sock cookies!

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Meeting Anna again just made my day. But there was more fun ahead. I went to the marketplace to stand in line. Rachel was first!

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What were we waiting for? A free preview copy of Larissa Brown’s new book, My Grandmother’s Knitting. I had seen a preview copy of this at the pre-summit luncheon, and really wanted a copy NOW so I could spend more time with it. It is gorgeous. I’ll tell you more about it in another post after I get a chance to sit down with it.

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Could my day get any better? Amazingly enough, yes! I had a PDXKnitterati meet-up in the Knitted Wit booth at noon. It was great to meet lots of people that I previously only knew online, including Stacy. Her international cat hats caught my attention several years ago, and I’ve been following her knit and food blog ever since.

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Pat from the UK brought both her Zen Rain and Pacific shawls!

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We had a Zen Rain photo op.

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These are some of the people who participated in the Zen Rain KAL, or test knit. I loved seeing all the versions of Zen Rain. Thank you, Lorajean, for hosting the meet-up!

I went home during the afternoon for a nap and skipped the flash mob. Too tired to even stay to watch it! But here it is, in case you need to know.

I gathered enough energy to help Glenna celebrate her birthday that evening! She finished her Peacock Feathers Shawl the day before and blocked it on the hotel bed.

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I also met Meg, who was knitting her wedding veil at the last Sock Summit, and had some of the teachers knit on it then, too. She brought it along to this Sock Summit.

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So why was this my favorite day? I think because of all the personal interaction. I’ve been enjoying my classes, but meeting up with people I’ve known from blogs and previous real life meetings is the icing on the cake!

If you came to Sock Summit, what was your favorite thing that made it special for you?