Or is the more relevant question: How many knitting days until Christmas?
There are 37 days until Christmas, but far fewer knitting days until Christmas...
Sweaters are usually one of my go-to gifts for the family, but this year, there will be no sweater for the husband. In fact, I am not sure there will even be a beanie under the tree for him. (Sorry, Honey!)
This is what I have before me:
What is this, you say?
Well, if you look closely, you may be able to make out two would-be sweaters and a shawl.
Logic would dictate instead of knitting on the shawl, my time might actually be better spent working on the sweaters; however, I cannot seem to step away from the shawl. Just a scant few days and I think it will be done.
In fact, if we cancel Thanksgiving all together I may have enough time to finish everything by Christmas...
Three years ago, I knitted a sweater for the lovely older daughter. The pattern was Audrey in Unst by Gudrun Johnston, and I used the luscious Madelinetosh Sport in Curiosity.
The sweater went off to college with the daughter and returned some time last year. While it was not abused or neglected, it had a bit of snag damage or possibly moth damage with a hole at the top of one shoulder and down the front left side.
My reaction was one of disappointment, not in the daughter at all because she took care of it as well as she could, but in the nature of the thing.
Moths like wool. Moths lay eggs in wool. When the eggs hatch, the larva eat wool.
Then I asked myself: "Why do I bother to knit at all?" Because in South Texas it really does not get cold enough to wear the two dozen sweaters I have knit for myself and the likelihood of the time and expense (as I really love the high end stuff) turning to ruin is far greater than any of the sweaters actually wearing out. Just why bother?
Linen, silk, hemp, and cotton are fine to knit with, but there's something really nice about the feel of wool in my hands.
As I did not think I had any of the original yarn remaining from the Audrey sweater, I simply tossed it into a bin with the thought I would cut off and save the buttons and be done with it.
A couple of months ago, I offered to teach knitting at noon on Wednesdays at the office for anyone who was interested.
Fortunately, I had a few takers. There are two lovely young ladies who have taken to it like they were born to knit, which has made it a wonderful experience for me.
One of the two is slightly smaller than the older daughter. I thought if I could repair the sweater in some way, she might enjoy wearing it. I mentioned it to her, explaining that there were a couple of snags in the fabric and if she were interested, I would attempt to repair them. She was delighted. Bless her.
Rooting around the stash, I actually came up with a quarter of a ball of yarn that was all that remained of the MadTosh sport I had originally used to knit it.
It would be more than enough.
After repairing the hole on the front, I thought it looked okay, but not great.
If the plan had been to hand it back to the daughter, I would probably have left it alone, but I wanted it to be a bit nicer hand-me-down, so I decided to make a pocket to cover it.
I began by picking up stitches for the bottom part of the pocket. Then I knit the pocket, ending with a few rows of ribbing, just like the bottom of the cardigan.
Once I was done, I simply seamed the sides of the pockets to the front of the sweater, then weaved in the ends.
I like the pocket better than the patch. I am hoping once washed and blocked, it will even out.
Here is a view from the inside, as I forgot to take a photo of the hole to begin with. It was rather large and gnarly.
You can also see I back my front buttons with additional buttons for stability and also to keep the weight of the button from pulling exclusively on the fabric. I just think they are far more stable that way and much easier on the fabric itself.
On Thursday, I shall take it to the office and send it on its way. Hopefully, she will be pleased and allow me a modeled shot!
It is now November...have we thought about Christmas knitting yet?
They were even nice enough to include several color choices in their selected yarn: Shibui Staccato:
While normally not a follower, I totally bought into the pattern, the yarn, and the colors featured.
Monday of last week, the yarn and pattern arrived. It was then I noticed the pattern actually called for MadelineTosh Merino Light, not the Shibui Staccato.
Moreover, the pattern called for 420 yards of each color. Two 50 gram skeins of the Shibui Staccato totaled no more than 382 yards per color. Checking the original email again, I noted the following caveat:
consulting with the designer, we believe 2 skeins of each color will be
sufficient to make your Lilli Pilli Shawl, despite the printed yardage
requirements being greater. However it will be close, and important to
match gauge. For surety, 3 skeins per color may be preferable.
As a tight knitter and having failed to notice that little warning before ordering, I decided to take a chance and continue on.
Last night, a week after casting on, I finished the shawl.
Good News: I had 2.5 grams of the grey (Fog) and 4.3 grams of the Ivory left.
Bad News: I was about 5 yards short of the Raspberry.
Diving into my stash, I came up with MadelineTosh Merino Light in Coquette (the very same used in the original sample...if I had only known...). It was not a perfect match, but for 1.5 rows and a bind-off, I was satisfied.
I realized I could have shortened the pattern by two rows, but that would have cut short the Diamond Lace pattern on one edge, and I was hesitant to cut off the lace design.
While noticeable, I have decided it adds character and charm, so I am pleased.
The true test of a winning design?
Once done with one, you immediately want to cast on another!
This time; however, I am going with Wollmeise 100% Merino Superwash in Ein Klein Wenig Verrucht (dark blue purple) and Blue Curacao for the stripes and Pistaziz (green) for the lace or the Blue Curacao and Pistaziz for the stripes and Ein Klein for the lace? Each skein is 574 yards, so I think I have more than enough.
In weaving news, I finished a blanket on the new (to me) Leclerc Aristat 36" floor loom I acquired a couple of months ago. According to it's metal plaque, the loom was the 9th one made in 1973.
Here is a photo of it the day we brought it home:
Originally, the blanket was not to be a blanket. I began with the center panel and used Wollmeise 100% fingering in Ebenholz for the warp and Miss Bab's Yowza in Origami for the weft. I was thinking of making a poncho, but the Yowza is a light worsted weight and the finished fabric was a bit too heavy for what I had in mind.
Looking through my stash, I realized I had some of the same weight (light worsted) in a gun metal blue that I had dyed myself, but I was all out of the brown Wollmeise fingering. A second pass through the stash uncovered a few hanks of undyed fingering weight yarn.
Setting up my dye pot, I dyed the warp I needed in the fingering weight.
So, the side panels are actually made of yarn I dyed!
The actual weaving took no time at all, but the project languished, as I tried to figure out how I wanted to seam them together. A good half a day was devoted to seaming and hemming the ends.
Wee One has claimed the blanket as her own, and I could not be more pleased!
Many years ago, my mother-in-law was an avid needlepointer. She made beautiful things. Within a year of their birth, she made stockings for each of the girls.
This picture is from Christmas 2004.
Unfortunately in 2006, our house was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. We lost everything, including those stockings.
Shortly after the fire, as in a few weeks, we also lost my mother-in-law.
While once-upon-a-time, I was also into needlepoint, I had not taken on a project as serious as a stocking. But, following the death of my mother-in-law and the loss of the stockings, I thought I would make each of the girls a new one. This was in early 2007.
As of early July 2015, neither was complete.
The younger daughter returns from a summer college program at Truman State University this evening. Before she left, I asked her if she wanted me to work on her personal cross-stitch piece.
"No, Ma'am. What I would really like you to do is finish that Christmas stocking you started when I was five."
She will be fifteen in December.
Well, but for a bit of sparkly snow under the little girl's feet (I ran out of thread and it is currently on backorder), I would be completely finished with this stocking.
Let me say this was no less than a Herculean task with nearly every spare moment slaving away on this project the whole month of July.
Ordinarily, I would be elated and completely over the moon right now, but I have another one to work on for the older daughter:
The needlepoint shop in Austin advises that the last day they will accept completed work for guaranteed Christmas finish is September 15.
While I will give it my very best effort, I am not sure I will have the second one done by then.
The loom has been standing bare and idle for over a week.
I had an idea of what I wanted to do, and it did not involve another simple weave.
While I had some time today, I prepared my warp and dressed the loom. I used a blue gray fingering weight I had in the stash, and I wanted to use a lovely deep tonally dyed red (Stricken Smitten in Favorite Things) for the weft.
(The pictures are horrible, I know, but short of dragging the loom outside for lovely natural light, I am not sure how to make them better.)
While I loved the gray and red, the pattern did not show up that well, and the waste yarn (MadTosh) revealed the pattern so much better. Unfortunately, that was all the MadTosh in Mineral I had or I would have just woven the whole thing in it.
There was only one thing to do...cut out the red and look for something else in my stash...
Yes, I literally cut it out, albeit, carefully!
Part of the problem appeared to be using fingering weight weft on fingering weight warp, so I searched my worsted and Aran weight stash. A good contender was Malabrigo Merino in Tuareg. The Malabrigo is single ply and not as shiny as the MadTosh, but because this will hopefully become an infinity cowl (if I have enough yarn!), I thought the single ply would be infinitely more comfortable around the neck.
Despite the poor photos, the Malabrigo appears to show off the pattern as well as the MadTosh.