I started writing this blog post a month ago (originally titled ‘Happy January’). So, yeah, it’s February, and for once, the only thing I had scheduled today, was Vorlon’s piano lesson (done) and the assembly of lentil soup for the crockpot (also done). (To clarify: I usually work at the choir office on Tuesdays) So here I am. I’m going to edit this and post it today if it kills me! Though there is laundry that needs folding and report templates that need editing.
I hope you all had good holidays (I know, ages ago, but humour me). Mine were very good – we went to Ottawa and Montreal for a week, which we haven’t done for a few years. Christmas is definitely much more fun with lots of little over-excited kids running around! It was very nice to have the whole family assembled in one house. The two weeks leading up to our trip were crazy, but the trip itself was very pleasant. I need to hang out with my family more.
I managed to finish Zebula’s cardigan during the frenzy. Turns out, though, that the yarn really irritates her neck, so she doesn’t wear it that much, unless she has a turtleneck on. Still, it’s pretty. I might make her another cotton one later.
I got most of the way into a pair of socks from Sock Innovation (Eunice). Even though I knew I’d be in trouble when there were literally 10 cm of yarn left after making the first sock with one of the skeins, I pressed on. Sure enough, I’m about 10 rows short of the end of the second toe, and out of yarn. I’ll substitute with something from the stash (that part will be trapped in a shoe most of the time anyway), but, knowing me, that’ll take six months. Because, while I’m always ok with going downstairs to get some yarn for a new project, the thought of going down there to get a small bit of yarn (or measuring tape, or darning needle, or what have you) is too daunting. In the meantime, I’ve started a pair of socks of my own design, using mitred squares for the legs.
They look good so far. We’ll see what comes of it.
I finished a pair of longies for Ecomonkey. They are ludicrously large. I wish I had a picture. She’ll be able to use them for at least another year, maybe even until she’s 12. In the meantime, I should make her another, smaller pair, but the inertia is mighty.
I got a lot of knitting done over the holidays. So much so that I screwed up my left shoulder. I was working on an Aran sweater, commissioned by a friend of mine for her mother-in-law. Said mother-in-law bought the yarn and pattern on a trip to Ireland many years ago, and made most of the back, but is unable to finish. The gauge is really tight for an aran-weight yarn, so it’s not comfortable knitting (the pattern calls for an aran-weight. I guess you just get an extra-warm sweater that way). I was stuck on the couch, icing my knee, for a large portion of my time away, so what could I do but knit? I should have taken more breaks. But before I started on it, on the car ride out east, and for my stay in Ottawa, I knit up this sweater for Vorlon:
He likes to ham it up, Vorlon does:
I used Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Percentage system to make it, but I left the instructions at home and kind of winged it. My first attempt had a yoke that was too small (and consequently, sleeves that were too short). I reknit the yoke. The sleeves are still a little short, but Vorlon insists that it’s fine. He picked out the yarn. At first, I thought the variegated he chose was too crazy. So I tempered it with the red (which is also crazy-bright). I think the result was pretty good. And I have lots of the multicoloured yarn left, so I’ll be able to make something else.
I managed to make the entire back of the aran sweater mentioned above, and one of the fronts, before I decided that I needed a break from it to make my shoulder heal a little. So… I finished the Urban Aran for Clevermonkey. Yes, I did! I blocked it. I made it a collar, I applied a zipper (there must be a better way!).
But Clevermonkey hasn’t received it yet, so here’s a closeup, as a teaser:
(Edit. I gave it to Clevermonkey! He liked it! I hate the way the zipper looks, though, so after a little research, I’ll probably grab it from him and resew it in. You know, in two years when I finally get around to it. Aside: he’s tough, Clevermonkey. I find this yarn kind of itchy – he wore this sweater over a t-shirt for an entire afternoon at my house. I guess that’s what growing up in Winnipeg winters does to a person! Or maybe he was making a comment about the temperature at which we keep our house in the winter.)
I whipped up, in three days, an Annis. Before blocking:
For some reason, my camera has utterly failed to record the actual colour, which looks like this. I really like this yarn. Plus, the yardage is awesome! I bought two skeins of this. So far, I have made a Citron and this Annis out of it, and I still have enough for another small shawl/scarf. And I have a whole other skein. I don’t know why I thought I needed so much of it.
I made the rash decision to make everybody socks for next Christmas. I figure a pair a month will get me there. Though we’re halfway through month 1 and I haven’t started. Late already. (And now, in February, I’m still about 4/5 done one sock. I need to rethink my plan!!) These are improvised Leyburns (I reverse-engineered the stitch pattern from looking at other people’s renditions of it before I realized the sock pattern is free. I’m doing them backwards, as it turns out) Colour choice is the recipient’s. They certainly make the winter greyness a little brighter…
I sold my spinning wheel! I was very happy with my Lendrum, but if I want to spin faster to get finer stuff, I need it to be double-treadle. And I couldn’t justify just buying a new one before I sold off the old one. I didn’t think it would happen so quickly, but it sold within a day of posting a notice on Ravelry, to a very nice beginning spinner. So now I get to shop for a new one. I’ll probably get a Lendrum again, as I like the fact that you can get super-duper fast speeds on it, but I’m really tempted by this one. Or maybe this one, if I find a suitcase full of money buried in the back yard. Really, I need to try a bunch of them out, which means a road trip to somewhere else. I miss it sitting in my living room.
The last thing I tried to spin on my wheel was a bunch of dyed silk hankies I got ages ago at one of the annual Knitters’ Fairs. I am *never* spinning with pure silk again. It’s like spinning with cobwebs. It’s lumpy. And it sticks. To everything. I got it really fine on my wheel, but I found it really unpleasant. So I switched to the spindle, which was far better. I never got it as fine, but I got it all done in a couple of marathon sessions. I think the resulting yarn was horrid, but ecogrrl said she liked it. So I knit up a little cowl (Kink, from Knitty), which I might foist on her. I dunno. What do you think?
I started an afghan for a friend, in exchange for an assortment of stuff she preserved in the fall (best dill pickles ever!!). Just granny squares, and she gave me license to make it as bright as I wanted. This is it so far:
There was also a brief foray into cross-stitching, a sewn nightie for Zebula and a yarn club, but I’ll save that for another post – maybe it’ll encourage me to write one up soon if there is actually a topic waiting.
Go out there and enjoy the sunshine! Stay warm!