Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snowbound for the Holidays!

Here is a slanted image of George and Maverick across the street from our house and a rather blurry view of our front yard. While I love to think we are snowbound in the snug, warm and cozy sense, we have been able to get where we need to go. George got a terrible cold last week, and mine followed this week (although mine is less intense and shorter lived than his) so we really aren't going out sledding and truly enjoying the snow. I love that it is not Seattle's usual wet, heavy snow, but lovely powdery snow and frozen dry air.

I was feeling stressed and not interested in putting up a Christmas tree until George took a day off last week to help. We got a smaller tree than usual and I got the lights on it - no pressure to see if we feel like decorating further. We switched to using LED lights outside, and we're very pleased with how festive they look - the snow just adds to the holiday feeling.

Gift knitting has gone fairly well this year, although I chose to knit a couple of larger projects that meant I knitted fewer gift items. I have some 3rd and 4th quarter knitting to share!

Our Build Your Skills class KAL of the February Lady cardigan was so much fun - Village is beginning one on January 1, 2009! I am especially pleased with mine after finally finding the right buttons (I finished the sweater at least six weeks before I was happy with buttons for it). I have been justly described as something of a button nut after trying over a dozen different buttons for this cardigan, but I really believe the right ones were finally found! Okay, there is other evidence of button nuttiness in the shopping bag of buttons from the Beppa Button Sale... but I'm sure to be ready next time I'm looking for just the right button for a yarn or fabric!

I hope to include photos of other February Ladies from class; we have had an inspiring variety of colors and style points. Mine has bracelet length sleeves and I delayed the decrease to the final row before the garter cuff, and the length of the body is just below my hip bone. It's a surprisingly warm sweater!

Next, I was inspired by Melinda to knit the Shaped Lace Tee from Knitting Lingerie Style. Although getting gauge was a challenge since I chose Cascade's Pima-Tencel instead of the specified 100% cotton yarn, the texture of this knitted product is sort of dreamy. It was my first project with my new Harmony interchangeable circular needle set from Knitpicks, and I love how the wood needles complement the yarn color. I stopped 3/4 of the way up the back to begin Christmas gift knitting, and am excited to get back to it in January.

During one of our BYS classes, each member brought stash yarns we don't know what to do with. The recommendations were inspired by Rebecca and by each other - one of mine became the Twilight Lace Wrap for my friend, Cheryl. It's not really lace, but it did give me a sort of lace lesson in reading the pattern and the stitches as it progressed, as well as beginning with the provisional cast-on and picking it up to finish the other direction. AND it was my first time blocking with wires having to catch each lace point for the border - Emily helped me lay it out. Next time I would go up in needle size, as I don't think the "stars" really show up enough. This is another example of fabric with holes being warmer than one might expect.

I was inspired by Amy's Melody's Shawl from Moorehouse Farms, so George came to Village with me and bought JoJoLand cashmere to knit one for his mother. It was a dream to knit with, and the gauzy results are everything I was hoping for. I used 3 oz since his mom is petite; the final measurement after blocking is 18" x 78" exclusive of the fringe. I want to knit one for myself. The best part is when people reach out to touch it and "oooh!" of surprise at the luxurious softness. My own mother is allergic to many fibers, so I'm using Plucky Knitter's Silk-Merino in red to knit the same wrap for her. Since Amy used the same Plucky yarn, I'm hoping my mom's will be as beautiful as hers!

I surprised myself by deciding to knit a scarf for my brother. He recently bought a bright yellow sports car and I've noticed his style of dress has stepped up a notch. I chose Karen Alfke's Linen stitch scarf, which was supposed to be from three different scrap yarns... but of course I had to get him just the right colors. The linen stitch takes time to knit, but the results are so elegant, and I hope he'll enjoy it. At least we're having the right weather for him to wear it.

Last week I completed a new Chevron Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts for my friend, Jennifer. The book was a gift from her last year, and as we looked through it together, the scarf was something she liked a lot. I struggled to find a good pairing for the Koigu yarn in my stash, and wasn't at all certain about what I'd found at Weaving Works until I began knitting. I think the finished product is very pleasing, and will be perfect for Jennifer.

Finally, I decided to try the Purl-less Monkey socks from the Dragon Fibers Comfort & Joy yarn I bought last year. I LOVE how the hand-painted yarn makes them look like a candy cane... then I turned the heel found that I have a pooling situation. There are those who say that it looks cool - it shows that the socks are handmade, and it does look like a candy cane after part of the stripes were licked off... I want to like it this way because I don't really want to frog all the way back to before the heel, but I haven't felt like knitting another row since trying them on. I've never done a short row heel and am thinking this is what this project may be meant to teach me. So, I'm thinking that the new Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn book may be a future purchase, and I'm likely to be frogging first thing in 2009...