The End of January

January has always been a weird month for me.

February and March contain very special birthdays and usually mark the beginning of spring here in South Texas, although an occasional frost is not unheard of.

April is when Spring Fever hits, everything is fresh and green, and I want to spent every moment outside.

May is the last month before the heat engulfs us, but Memorial Day weekend is something to look forward to.

June is my birthday month and the beginning of summer.

July is simply too darn bright and hot to do much outside.

August sneaks up on me, as the end of summer approaches far too fast and the beginning of school looms large.

September provides a nice break from the stifling, soul sucking heat.

October presents a nice change in the weather, but it also marks the beginning of the holiday season with lists to make and tons to do.

November and Thanksgiving are make or break times for me. My goal is always to have my Christmas done by Thanksgiving, so I may enjoy the season.

December, oh, December. It seems as though this is the month we most look forward to and dread at the same time. My favorite week is actually the one between Christmas and the New Year.

Which leads me back to January.

While most are ramping up and energized for a fresh year of expectations and goals, I just want to decompress and recharge. My weary brain and body just desire sleep, really.

Of course, I should resolve to eat better, exercise more, and lose weight, but I am far more interested and motivated to sort my crafting goals.

At the end of July and early August, we have planned a vacation to Creed, Colorado.

While I am considering taking the spinning wheel with us, I anticipate knitting will be the primary endeavor, as I can engage en route, and not just after we arrive and get settled.

Weaving would be limited to the 10" Cricket rigid heddle, and that does not thrill me.

So, in these gray January days, I have been searching for the perfect projects.

The first is another pattern by Andrea Mowry of Drea Renee Knits called Rose Gold.

Now I rarely use the recommended yarns in a pattern because I continue to have a substantial stash to supply my needs; however, in this instance, I did not have anything suitable in the yardage necessary.

While Black Trillium is a favorite brand of mine, I did not automatically seek to purchase the yarn from them, as I also do not like being told what to do (which is my interpretation of automatically going with the yarn suggested in a pattern). 

Do not scoff. I have always envisioned myself as an independent thinker, one completely capable of coming up with things on my own.

I searched gradient yarns on Etsy and all over the web. I found dozens of contenders, but the issue was finding the color gradients in the yarn quantities called for in the design. Specifically, that was 675 yards in each color gradient. 

This, of course, led me back to Black Trillium, and I gasped when I saw these colors:

I know. I should have started my search there, it would have saved me quite a bit of time.

For the first time in ages, I splurged and went with the recommended design yarn, albeit in a different base and colorway. This should arrive tomorrow.

As tempting as it may be to cast on immediately, I will hold off, at least for a little while, because last night I started a new Fair Isle project.

This is Elephant Cowl by Jenise Hope. 

A Fair Isle cowl has been on my list for a while. With the Polar Vortex descending upon us this week, I thought it might be a fine time to work one up.

Of course, instead of using a dozen different colors, I decided to go with two contrasting skeins of Freia Handpaints Ombre Shawl Ball Merino Fingering in Pt. Reyes and Ice Queen.

There are 299 rows to make this 10" wide x 30" around cowl. The 10 inches is a bit deceptive, as the pattern calls for knitting a tube 20 inches in the round, but lying flat, the 20 inches of double fabric is only 10 inches wide.

After a couple of hours, I am on Row 24.

Thus, I anticipate this will be finished before summer and well ahead of our vacation in July.

Which also means, I will probably go ahead and cast on for Rose Gold before we leave.

In turn, that dictates I needed yet another project to squirrel away for our trip.

While mindlessly killing time on Pinterest late one night last week, this appeared in my feed:

A bit of research revealed it is Lerwick by Marie Wallin.

I had not heard of Marie Wallin, but she has a website with some of the most beautiful Fair Isle designs anywhere.

Lerwick was the design for her Third Fair Isle Club, which closed in November 2017.

Her Fourth Fair Isle Club closed in November 2018 and sported a similar design:

Undaunted, I continued to search for something similar. I was not only drawn to the beautiful stranded colorwork, but the relaxed nature of the jacket, especially as worn by the lovely lady in the original photo. Oversized and casual over a pair of jeans, I fell in love with it.

My search uncovered Ms. Wallin's November 2017 book: Shetland.

Thanks to Ravelry, one of the twelve patterns in the book is called Yell:

Of course, I ordered the book from the UK.

Now hold onto your hand knitted socks.

The pattern called for twelve different shades of Jamieson's of Shetland Spindrift. 

Schoolhouse Press carries Jamieson's in the US. 

Relying on the information provided in Ravelry, I made the snap decision to just use the same yarn in the same colors as called for in the pattern.

I know. I know.

It was not my proudest "Lil Miss Independent" moment; however, as the fiber fates would have it, the main color (dictated by the one color requiring the most skeins) Shaela 102 was on back order. 

At least, after studying the photos, I assume this is one of the two colors comprising most of the top of the jacket, as well as the upper sleeves.  

This is the color (Sholmit 103) that was to compliment it:

In a moment of rebellion, I decided to switch those two colors with these (710 Gentian and 1390 Highland Mist):

This was truly rebel behavior, no doubt. 

In fact, I almost selected a deep red, instead of the dark blue, but I decided I was not that much of a maverick, after all. Besides, I avoid wearing red. It looks great, but I have never been one to draw attention to myself. 

Thus, my knitting plans for 2019 should carry me through August, at the very least, especially, when I consider all the weaving, spinning, and needle pointing I would like to complete. 

Now, I am energized and motivated to greet the new year!

Anyone else have big plans?


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