There’s one in every crowd

This year’s winter was long. Long and cold and snowy, and spring feels like it hasn’t bothered to arrive. Sure, the flowers are starting to bloom, there’s crocus up in my garden (though it’s snowed on the poor little things a few times) and my neighbours have scilla and in a few glorious and sheltered spots there is evan a daffodil or two, but they are blooming in chilly temperatures and grey weather, barely above freezing. Spring isn’t a warm and lovely thing this year, at least not yet. (I hear from Torontonians that the weather changed the minute I left. That feels a bit personal.)

As I was waiting for the bus last week, freezing my arse off because I’d done that spring thing where you put on a spring jacket because you can’t stand to wear a winter coat for one more day even though it’s only three degrees out… I snapped. It suddenly seemed to me that if it was still going to be cold and maybe snowing and definitely not spring or warm, that we (Joe and I, he was the willing victim of this last plan) should give up and dive in. If it is going to be winter still, then dammit, winter it shall be, so we got on a plane and headed to Banff.

It is definitely still winter here – complete with a snowstorm and perfect skiing conditions and Joe and I are working in the evenings and early mornings, but spending our days on the slopes, and maybe when we get back home, it will be *(%$^&&ing spring, but that’s not what I came to tell you. I thought you’d care more about the knitting I packed, so here’s a quick tour. I brought four (4) projects for a six (6) day trip. (Two of them are travel days though, so you know. Reasonable.)

  1. My May socks. They’re Saxe Point, knit in French River from Gauge Dye Works – the yarn’s dyed just for the pattern. I knit the first one on the way here, casting off as we left the house, and grafting the toe shut as we sat down to dinner here in Banff. I’ll knit the other on the way home, I think. (I documented that knitter trip on Instagram, if anybody wants to see the blow by blow.) We leave in the morning, and I’ll cast on then and see if I can repeat the trick.

2. We’re taking the bus to the hill everyday, and I needed some plain knitting for kicking around the ski hill, so here’s another one: Just a plain vanilla pair of socks the basic pattern I keep in my head, yarn is Gauge DyeWorks again (huh, just realized I grabbed two of those) in Azurite B.

I don’t think I’ll finish these on this trip, they’ll probably kick around my bag for a few more weeks, being the socks I knit when I’ve only got a minute, or it’s dark out.

3. When I was at the Knitter’s Frolic last week, I had the strangest experience. You know, I really like to knit and wear pretty plain clothes. I like classics, my taste runs in the direction of Amish, and I like tame colours like brown so much I need to occasionally check that I’m not dressing like I work for UPS. You could have knocked me over with a feather then, when I was at the Fair at the Feisty Fibres booth, and she had some yarn that she’d worked up in collaboration with The Yarn Therapist.

Neat, right? The self-striping yokes come from The Yarn Therapist, and then Feisty Fibres makes the co-ordinating solids, and voila. They’re a lot like the self-striping sweater yarn from Gauge Dyeworks, except separate, so I really am rocking a theme this week.) I picked up those skeins there, and then was absolutely stunned when someone next to me asked who I was making a sweater for, and I said “Me.” The colours are a bit bright for me (if by “a bit” you understand that that these are a bit bright the way that Pepe Le Pew is a little bit of a poster child for sexual harassment) and I’m not sure I can wear the resulting sweater, but I’m going to try. I really love it. Since the yarn is bold, the pattern is very plain. Knitting Pure and Simple’s Neckdown Cardigan for Women. Nothing to it.

I’m at the bottom of the body, just about to do the ribbing (or maybe garter stitch, I’m a wild animal, it could be anything) and I think I’ll likely finish this sweater pretty fast. It’s all coming together. (It remains to be seen if I can wear something this bright, but it turns out I can knit it, so that’s step one.)

4. This one’s a bit of sad story. I had every intention of knitting Sea Tangles (that’s Habu’s stainless steel/wool thread) but it’s not working out. I still love it, the pattern is great and I’m still going to knit it, but I have to admit (after knitting the whole front and part of the back – knitter optimism is a terrible thing) that I am definitely not knitting the right size, and I need to start over. I brought this one along just to rip it out, but there’s one project on every trip that I never touch, and this one is it. All the attention it has had is this photo, poor thing.

Maybe next week Habu. Maybe next week.

A Theme

Here we are, the first of May, and last night I squeaked my April socks in under the wire.  The Self-Imposed-Sock-Club continues to go really pretty well – I stuck the landing in January, February, March and now – boom. April’s socks were finished on time too. A small confession though – I didn’t pull a bag from the Sock Club for these ones.  I’d done that, gone and gotten a bag – I wound the yarn and everything, and then I was at the DFW Fiber Fest and I was in the Must Stash Yarn Booth and I saw the Ready Player One yarn and then…

Yup. Lost it. I dropped that first yarn like it was moth-ridden trash, and these babies simply fell off the needles. I adore them, and they match my current favourite (store bought) sweater perfectly – which upsets me to no end, because I didn’t knit them in my size.  They’re too big – I have really tiny feet, and as much as I wanted these to be for me, I knew that it wasn’t a good fit. That colourway has 32 stripes, and I know I don’t have enough foot length to showcase it. They’re in the long-range planning box now, and someone will be rather happy come Christmas, I predict.

I didn’t use a pattern, just banged them out as a plain tube, with a half round of waste yarn knit in where I wanted the heel to be.  When I was done knitting the foot, I went back, unpicked the yarn, and knit a heel in. (Well, technically I knit in a toe. They’re the same.) I’d call it an Afterthought Heel, but I feel like if you plan one then maybe you can’t say that. I did rig the heels and toes a little bit, pulling out a bit of yarn here and there to keep the stripes equidistant as the number of stitches in a round changed, because I can be picky like that, and I’d rather weave in extra ends than not have them stripe perfectly, all the way to the ends.

Also, I knit the leftovers into a frock for the bunny and I love it almost as much as the socks. I don’t see this bunny clothes thing really wearing off.

That will be all.

(PS. It took almost as long to take those pictures – dashing from the camera to the chesterfield while trying to keep things in focus -as it did to knit the dress, except for the collar. That was %$&ing fiddly.)

(PPS. There’s a few spots suddenly free at our Strung Along June Retreat.  June is the one we call “Knit, Play, Cook” and it’s a day of knitting classes with me and Debbi Stone, a day of dyeing with Judith MacKenzie, and a day of cooking classes with Chef Dan and his team. There’s details here – drop us a line if you’d like to join us. This is, by the way, the only retreat we do each year that’s for knitters – no spinning skills required, and knitters (and cooks) of all levels will do just fine.)

Maybe it’s the tail

I like to think of myself as some sort of higher-order knitter.  I know, as I type it, that this is quite vain. I can feel that – the little tingle in the back of my mind urging humility and saying “Oh, well now, don’t you think you’re all that and a bag of chips.” Understandably, that voice sounds exactly like my mother, though I don’t think she ever said that to me, I’ve just posthumously assigned her the role of judge and jury. Like I said, I know that it’s vanity, but as a woman who is perfectly well aware that she is neither stunningly beautiful, nor smokin’ hot, I am perfectly willing to invest my personal dose of egotism in this one area and say that I am a good and proper knitter – top notch really.

As this sort of knitter, I am occasionally surprised by what captivates me. Enter – the bunny. As Elliot’s second Easter approached and I realized it was the first Easter he would really care about or maybe remember, I decided I would knit him a bunny.

Let me be clear. Things were normal at this point. It was Easter, I have a grandbaby, I would knit him a bunny… super normal. I proceeded to search for same (it was not hard, this bunny was already in my queue.)

Halfway through the knitting of the bunny, I realized that I wanted the bunny gender neutral. Elliot should decide if the rabbit in question was a boy or a girl, so I swapped out the legs and feet with this boy bunny.  When I was done, the bunny was neutral. Not a boy or a girl, but decidedly bunny (see attached photo of bunny bum.)

Now here’s where it got odd. I decided I should knit the bunny some clothes, so he/she/it may cover itself in the manner of its (or Elliot’s) choosing, and as I decided what clothes I should knit, I felt an odd bit of knitterly obsession take hold.  As I cast on for a pair of bunny short pants, it happened.  You would think that this sort of knitting would be captivating, would you? It should be entrelac that gets me, intricate lace, cables that twist and turn all over a pair of socks, but instead here I was, obsessing over the hem of a tiny skirt and only wanting more. Should the bunny have pants? Should it have a sweater? Should there be a dress? A skirt? A CAPE? I rooted through the stash for appropriately tiny buttons. I cackled as a I finished the wee sweater.  I BLOCKED IT.

I started equipping a bunny for all possible life choices.  Is the bunny a girl in a dress? A boy in a sweater and short pants? A boy in a dress? A girl in trousers? The bunny needed options. The bunny craved choices.

In the end, Elliot was the one to decide.  It is a bunny.  It wears clothes. It is genderless, and simply likes to go for walks, and to look good while doing it.

He was clear, I think, though he’s still not much for wordy communication.

Me? Here I am, a knitter proud of my skills and abilities, and I’m trying not to knit a bunny a bear costume.*

*Only difficulties with the ears are holding me back.

Ok Fine

Today is the first training ride for the Bike Rally.  I’ve been watching this date creep up on me, trying to get my head around it.  I’ve even been at the meetings where we talk about when training will start, and what the schedule will be, and yay verily it was even me who approved the schedule, and I did so super calmly, and like I thought it was a good idea – which I do, intellectually.

Emotionally? Well, here’s the thing.  I have not been back on my bike since the accident last fall when I broke my wrist.

I can feel now, as I look at my bike in the hall, pump up my tires (wipe the dust off the bike) that I have made a mistake.  What I should have done was get back on my bike the exact moment that I was allowed to. Instead, when my allotted time was up, I told myself that the weather was too cold, that I was too busy…  I even kitted up a few times – putting on my cycling gear and telling people I was leaving, then standing there, not quite able to go.  I should have forced myself, because now here I am and I have given nervousness time and fertile ground to turn all the way into fear and dread.

Ken reminded me that I have ridden thousands of kilometres, and never hurt myself, except for that once. (Ken has a very analytical mind.)  Those are good odds, he reminds me.  He’s right too, getting hurt once doesn’t make it more likely I’ll fall again, that’s not how odds work, or learning, or luck.  I am, in fact – less likely to get hurt this time, and last night at a party, a cycling friend said that it would take “two strokes on the bike” and I’d remember everything that’s great about it. (I am hoping he’s right, but think that maybe he underestimates my ability to be properly neurotic.)

In any case, now I’ve got no choice.  I’m the Chair of the rally, I am simply going to have to ride my bike, and today is the day I have to start, so in 15 minutes I am going to *&^%$#ing leave here, and ride my bike and it is going to be fine and then I’ll be over it.

Right?

Anyway, if you want to- it’s a good day to send me a ding.

Dear Elliot

My darling Elliot, you are two now, and though I did not think it possible, we all love you even more than we did on your first Birthday – which is really saying something, because several of us cried that day out of sheer joy.

While I could wax poetic about your many fine qualities, and you are indeed one of the most charming people I have ever met, allow me to state here that you posses a miraculous trait, one we haven’t seen in our family for three generations – you are not picky in any way. You will try almost anything, if you can be reassured that it is safe. You will eat almost any food, if a royal taster eats it first, you will try any game, if someone else looks like they’re having fun before you, and you will go anywhere, if someone is going with you.

This isn’t to say that you don’t have preferences and opinions – you would, for example, rather die than eat mashed potatoes, and this is a position that I can respect. A reasonable amount of suspicion is warranted. You will learn as you grow older that mashed potatoes are a very fickle food often not worth eating, but other than that, you’ll happily give almost anything else a try, and this has led to some wonderful discoveries, like that your favourite vegetable at present is radishes.

You are in fact so adventuresome, such a little keener – so unlike so many other two year olds, we have dubbed you “The Yes Man.” Would you like to read a book? Yes. Would you like to go for a walk? Yes. Would you like to try this dinner? Yes. Would you like to go with Poppy to the store? Yes. Would you like to have a cuddle with Grammy? Yes. Would you like to taste this tofu? Yes. Yes, the answer is almost always yes.  Even when it’s bedtime and you’re decidedly not into that scene, your protests are pretty weak, for a two year old. If the heartless tyrants trying to make you lie down sweeten the pot with a story, you’re in.

You are patient, not just for a two year old, but a human, and you have a wonderful (if somewhat un-evolved) sense of humour. (We are still getting a lot of mileage out of bonking trains together.) You are a very, very good listener, and it boggles my mind that a simple “no thank you” is enough to redirect your mistakes, most of the time. You are sensitive, and very kind, even if you still wake your mother to nurse through the night. (She is very patient too, still – I don’t know how much longer she wants to party through the night with you. Think over your choices, will you? I know she appreciates your success in the potty department, but it might not buy you that much time.)

You are the absolute light of our lives, the best thing that’s happened around here in a long time, and I would do anything for you, even kill a spider, and I don’t think I’d do that for anyone else.

It is all this, my darling boy, that means I can forgive you this week’s one transgression, which was your absolute refusal to put on your Birthday sweater at your party. I’m no fool, I understand that a sweater can’t compete with a train, but note for next year, it’s good form to pretend.

Thanks for modelling it the next day – and thanks to your Mama for the snaps.

Pattern: Dog Star.  Yarn: Alpha B Yarn Bluefaced Leicester DK. Colours: Candygram (grey) Hey , Sailor (the blue) and Two Olives, Please. (The olive.) Size: a slightly shrunken version of the 2-4.

We love you, and I wasn’t serious about the night nursing. You do it as long as you want. Your Mama will miss it someday.

PS. Your hair is coming along nicely. Don’t listen to your grandfather. He’s just jealous.

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful

I tried really hard to write a post where I was all La-dee-da about something that happened today, but I just can’t gaslight you all that way. I’ve got to be honest, it’s just not fair otherwise. Last night I took a guess at a needle size, and knit a swatch for Elliot’s sweater. Then I washed it (because unwashed swatches are total lying arseholes) and because it’s colourwork. (Remember from a post or two ago? I want to see dye problems now, not in the finished sweater.) Then I laid it tidily out to dry, and went about my life.  I returned, not too much later and measured it.

Knitters, I have both stitch and row gauge on the first try.  Like I said, I was going to try and pretend to be all casual about that BUT I CAN’T BECAUSE IT IS LIKE FINDING A FRIENDLY SPARKLE UNICORN IN YOUR BATHTUB.

That’s a Week Excuse

It snowed again last night, which is not at all unusual for March/April, and is still inexplicably heartbreaking. I got up, took one look at it, thought about what this all means to spring and hope and then I thought “What do I care. I am going to Texas.”  In three days I will get on a plane and I will go somewhere that the sun is shining and it is warm and flowers are blooming (maybe even the bluebonnets which is very exciting) and I will walk outside and not once while I am there, will I think of knitted accessories in their capacity to prevent frostbite.

I thought this, gleefully and happily, as I drank coffee – cheerfully raising my cup to the snow in as much of a of “screw you” gesture as one can manage with coffee in one hand and knitting in the other. (I have been practicing this particular gesture with those exact items in my hands for some decades now, and it’s actually pretty solid.) I thought about how nice it will be to see my Texas friends and some of my colleagues, and reflected that this event is one of my favourites every year, only made more perfect by the fact that this year, I’m home in time for Elliot’s 2nd birthday, which is the Monday after DFW.

In that exact moment -two things happened.  I imagined how cute he was going to look opening his presents and wearing his new birthday sweater, and suddenly realized that if I was looking forward to seeing him when I got back and that I was also looking forward to DFW in just a few days, that this actually meant whatever idea I had about there being buckets of time to get his sweater knit might be crazier than a bag of wet weasels.

I have been looking at the yarn for his sweater for about three weeks now – and I keep thinking about what a little sweater it is, and how it’s going to be so fast and I don’t have to worry, and now, suddenly, I think I have to worry, or at least start knitting. I’ve got seven days to whack together a sweater.

I should at least make a swatch today.

And then she said

I don’t know if all of you know this, but the comments on blog posts (at least here) are, generally speaking- better than the post itself.  I don’t know how it happened, but there’s a lot of cleverness and entertainment going on in there. Over the years, I’ve come to believe that if one person types it, at least 20 people were thinking it, so let’s see what’s happening down there, shall we?

Elizabeth wrote: I confess that even though I teach stranded knitting, I’ve never knitted a pair of stranded socks. I guess I’m concerned that they won’t have the necessary elasticity.

I think lots of sock knitters (me included sometimes) more than occasionally rely on stretch in a knit to achieve fit, and get used to that. For example, short row heeled socks are often a poor fit for people with a high instep, simply because there’s less fabric present than with a flap heel. That’s just a fact. When I say that though, a whole bunch of knitters line up and say “nuh-uh. I have a high instep and I ONLY knit short row heels and they fit bloody great actually.” Then I look at those (very nice) socks, and low and behold, they’re knit at a looseish gauge that allows for heaps of stretch and that’s how they’re getting fit in the instep – the fabric is often quite stretched through that section. Nothing wrong with this as a strategy, except it stops working when you’re knitting stranded socks. Elizabeth is right – there is less stretch in a pair of colourwork socks like these, so you have to make sure that they actually fit – and it helps to consider a flap heel. (Insert lecture here about gauge. I won’t type it, you already know.)

Jeremy writes: I am going to get that pattern. I always sweat out the amount of yarn I have when I knit socks because I have US size 12 feet. (11.5 inches). 

Smart -I’ve got loads left, so this is totally a good big foot strategy. Ken’s feet aren’t quite as bit as yours, but I have 68/100g left of the grey, 60/100g of the white and 25/50g of the red.  I could make a whole other pair out of my leftovers.

Tracy B (and Charissa echoed her) said ” I’m just wondering though – would the decreases on the bottom of the heel bother a person? It’s almost like a seam right there.”

I don’t think so.  It’s not big at all, and after a wear or two will fade into the work – plus it falls right into the little arch of your foot, so it’s not like you’re really standing on it.  I freakin’ love it.  Plus, we’re all not as princess-and-the-pea as we think we are.  All commercial socks/hose/tights have a seam or two, and most of us wear them every day. (Well, not me.) Ken’s as fussy as they come that way, he’s the type of guy who’s had to excuse himself from a meeting to cut the tag off a shirt because he simply can’t go on, and I’m not worried this will bother him in the slightest.  I’ll let you know though.

Victoria (and Bridget) and probably a bunch of you because knitters are obsessed with this say: ” I just wish you had posted a picture of the inside of the socks so we could see how you stranded them.”

What, I ask you, is with knitters wanting to see the inside of stuff. I mean – I always want to see the inside too, but why do you think we are so weird about it? I’m not convinced it’s about construction – how we stranded them, or whatever, because I’ve heard knitters judge their work by the inside as well as the outside – like whatever amazing thing they’ve wrought on the public side doesn’t count unless it’s just as nice in secret.  We are an odd bunch, I tell you that, but I am with you – so here:

This should answer the question from Jan who said “I’m wondering about what you did about the floats? Did you catch every single stitch? I could see catching every 3 or so stitches on a hat, but in a sock , especially at the foot, it seems even short floats would catch toes and add to the general discomfort–”

As you can see, I certainly didn’t catch every one – that’s a recipe for a lack of stretch,  and a dimpled, inflexible fabric.  I only caught the floats once in the repeat – there’s a spot where the float goes seven stitches, and I caught it in the centre of that – and at the time I knew I didn’t have to do that either, but felt compelled.  You’d need freakishly tiny toes to worry about catching them.  The floats lie flat, and aren’t loops at all.

Pamela says “Do you block your socks in sock blockers or just smooth them out?”

I just smooth them out. They get a nice bath in the sink with slightly warm water and the wool wash currently in rotation. (Usually Soak or Eucalan.) When it’s been in there about 20 minutes, I give them a gentle tug in all directions to encourage things to even out, and then I gently squeeze them, roll them up in a towel and step on it a few times, then lay them flat to dry, pushing them into shape. Usually I come back once or twice while they’re drying to move them around a bit and rearrange things so that I don’t get fold lines. (This is almost always a failure, and doesn’t matter.)

Everyone in the whole world “Warm water holy crap Steph what the hell is wrong with you and I would be totally worried those socks would turn pink when you soak them in water especially warm, what the ^%&^%$# is wrong with you risking socks that way?”

Here’s the thing – before I do any colourwork of any kind, even if I have absolutely no concerns about gauge – I always, every time, I swear…. knit a swatch. At the very least I do a little stripey one, with all the colours in it, and then (always, every time, without fail) I wash that swatch.  I treat it exactly like it’s going to be treated in the warm, damp environment of shoes or boots.  The thing is this:  Before I give it this much of my one wild and precious life to a project, I want to know ahead of time if that dye bleeds. If the swatch can’t handle life, then the socks won’t – and they won’t get knit, at least, not out of that yarn.  I can treat the socks the way I do, because I treated the swatch the way I did. I’ve got confidence, or at least what passes for the knitters version of it.

So there you have it, a little Q&A – now if you’ll excuse me, it’s Taco Thursday (I know, wrong day of the week, we do things our own way here) and I’ve got an almost two year old grandson waiting for me. (And the tacos.)

Three for Three or Four

This year’s self-imposed-sock-club continues to be a big fat win.  I finished January’s on time, as unlikely as that seemed, and then February’s were done before February was too. (Though I didn’t manage either time to post about them within the right month, so I’m giving myself two extra points for this one.)

March’s socks have slid along rather quietly under the radar. I didn’t post about them because they were Ken’s Birthday socks – though I’ve only just finished them now. (Two points deducted.) I was hoping to surprise him, but snapped on his birthday and gave him an unfinished sock – just before the toe.  I’d been knitting along at a pretty good pace, but as I got closer to the end of the sock I started to worry that they weren’t going to fit. This is an ongoing problem I have with socks for people with large feet. I’ve got small ones myself, and I’m accustomed to knitting for me, so when I cast on the appropriate number for a big guy, I spend the whole knitting trip spreading the work out on my leg every hour or so and saying “Really? That can’t be right.” I decided not to take any chances with Ken’s, and stopped knitting a day or two before his birthday so he could try them (it) on before I went any farther.

They (it) fit beautifully, so I pressed on.  The pattern for this elegant pair is Vägvarda (I had to google how to do the umlaut.) The yarn’s West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4-ply (again, I’m working through a stash of it I bought to do Cameron’s socks and some of Elliot’s ornaments.  It’s really nice, so I don’t mind) for the grey (Poppy Seed) and white (Milk Bottle.) The red’s Drops Fabel #106 (super sexy name) because WYS didn’t quite have the red I wanted.  For anybody keeping score – I used a 2.25mm needle, which is my standard for socks.

I loved knitting these.  What do you think it is that makes colourwork knitting seem to go so much faster than regular knitting? It can’t actually be faster, I know that’s not possible. I’m pretty comfortable knitting with one strand in each hand, so I do power through pretty quickly, but it seems to me that it comes of the needles faster than anything else. Is it because you’re following a chart? Ticking off one row after the other, with a concrete way to see how far you’ve come, and how far you have to go? And if that’s true, how come it doesn’t work for lace?

One last picture of this charming pair, this time of the clever and tidy gusset decreases, here positioned on the bottom of the foot. (A standard sock decreases by two stitches every other row on the gusset. Those decreases, as this sock proves, can go anywhere, as long as the sock gets smaller in circumference where the foot does.)

I lied, here’s one more –  this one that I snapped with my phone yesterday, before I finished. I’m posting it because here, one sock’s been blocked and the other – not. (That was so Ken could try on the first one.)  I hear so many knitters say that their colourwork looks shabby, and I’ve even seen people rip it out for looking shabby, and I just wanted to show you the difference a little swim and tidy up makes.  See? More than any other kind of knitting, blocking is important for colourwork. You really can’t tell if you suck before it hits the water.

Another bonus today – more socks, bringing this year’s total to four. I keep a pair of simple socks in my bag, knitting from the pattern I keep in my head. Yarn: Land Jawoll Color “Aktion” in the colourway fetchingly named 132.0265. Pattern: my own plain vanilla sock from Knitting Rules. (The only truly useful book I’ve ever written.)

 

I keep this knitting – plain socks, in my bag all the time – pulling it out when I’m on the subway, in a queue, at dinner, in meetings, walking down the street (when it’s not winter.) I beaver away at them here and there, and then every so often, when I’m least expecting it, a pair of socks falls off of me.

Peace out, see you in a day or two, and know that while knitting improves with practice, it remains really freakin’ tricky to take pictures of your own feet even after years of yoga and  trying.

Analepsis Is Not a Disease

Here I am, sitting at my desk, about to go properly deep into my inboxes. While I worked a little bit every day that we were away in Lake Louise it wasn’t enough to stop the inbox glacier from creeping ever larger, and today I’ve made coffee, set everything to “ignore” (including the house, which looks like a stampede of bison went through) and put my phone in a drawer.  Me and this inbox are going to tango till one of us drops, and it’s not going to be me. Before that particular dance starts though, a quick waltz with you lot. I keep saying to myself that I’ll blog as soon as I’m done with (insert absolutely unfinishable task here) so today I’m reversing it. You first, then once more into the breach, dear friends.

When last we saw our heroine, she was sitting in a hotel room, tapping out a blog post surrounded by skis and mohair, a combination that isn’t nearly as odd as it sounds, despite the infrequency of the mix.

My complete inability to demonstrate any sort of monogamy to a knitting project continues unabated, and so I’d taken five (5) projects with us for a seven (7) day holiday. Just think about that for a minute.  That means I thought I’d finish almost a project a day, while skiing six hours a day. I took two pairs of socks, a sweater (adult, only half way through the front) a cowl and a shawl. (The shawl and sweater never even made it out of the suitcase.) Both pairs of socks saw active duty (still in progress please stand by) and the cowl sort of turned into two cowls and I finished one on the flight on the way there, and almost the other.

Yarn: Canon Hand Dyes, Ombre Cowl Kit in Agatha Lace (70% mohair, 30% silk) Pattern, Ombre Cowl Hood.

Other than the part where I left a muppet’s worth of mohair fuzz everywhere I went, I loved making that cowl so much that the minute I finished (and despite having another two projects with me on the plane) I started another smaller one with the leftovers from the first one. It won’t be as big as the first, but still a proper cowl, I think.

It was bliss. Plain knitting, round and round, no pattern no fuss, 2 strands held together… It was knitting as comforting and cozy as a cup of hot soup.  I breezed through it completely, and it turns out it was perfect ski knitting.  The needles were big and blunt, and the yarn light as a cloud, so I felt fine about asking Joe to carry it in his pocket so that I had it to knit during skiing.  I worked on it at lunch, on the gondola, the lifts (if it was warm enough to take my hands out of my mittens.)

Upon reflection, it was this knitting/skiing combination that made it possible for me to finish any knitting at all, and I feel sure that if I cared less about the well-being of my husband, and worried less about the catastrophic consequences of him taking a spill down a mountain with Signature stiletto needles in his pocket, I probably could have finished the socks too.

Feel the love, Joe.