Unlike most years, we're hitting the holidays hard and fast this year.
I actually think I like it.
Most of our shopping is done (out of economic necessity, not good planning). I started my Christmas knitting last month, only to find that no one in the family will leave my side long enough for me to sneak in any work on their gifts. So I've started making these:
Korknisser! Are these not the most adorable things you ever saw? (I say this as a Christmas cynic who thinks Bad Santa was hysterically funny and who considers National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation high art.) But when you have to keep hiding your real knitting from gift recipients, these little guys can keep you busy for 20 minutes or so. The pattern is here in Ravelry, here on the web in Norwegian, and translated to English here. I changed up the hat decreases for a little variety. I think stripes might be next, but I'll have to drink more wine first. For the corks, I mean.
Since I can hardly find a quiet moment for gift knitting, I have been working on my own project. Remember this stuff?
It was something like 26 batts of fiber I carded and then dyed. I carded it again to blend it into this:
...which I then spun into a 2-ply bulky yarn:
I immediately knit the sleeves and then waited for inspiration for the design. I wanted a really basic sweater for the express purpose of keeping me warm at work, and since the blend contains a bunch of local alpaca and a bit of silk, in addition to a lot of Blue-Faced Leicester, warmth is practically guaranteed.
With help from Ann Budd and Elizabeth Zimmerman, I came up with a round-yoke neck with knit-purl patterning. With this yarn, however, the purls were invisible; it looked like someone had made a lot of mistakes rather than a cunning Norwegian design. So I ripped it out.
Next, I went with a seamless raglan and cowl/turtleneck. Finished!
Not so fast.
As it turns out, I can't stand alpaca near my chin and neck. I got so itchy just trying it on I knew I'd have to make some adjustments. (And you can't see it too well, but these garter stitch raglan decreases did not work at all -- too stretchy.)
So the finished sweater soon looked like this:
I went back to it and turned it into an Elizabeth Zimmerman seamless saddle-shoulder (with a little fudging around the armpits, as I was too lazy to rip out those last few rows). I need to get a good picture, but the out-of-focus one gives you the basic idea:
Plain. Effective. Comfortable. The sleeves are extra long to cover my wrists, key when typing all day in sub-zero temps. The length, while pretty long in comparison to my other sweaters, looks a bit short. I think the longer lengths and tunics currently in style make this look practically cropped in comparison.
Warm? Yes. Itchy? No, as long as it's not touching my chin area (an area that is getting lower every year...).
In fact, I wore it today on our expedition to ... get a Christmas tree. You heard me.
Tree cutting is an annual event that causes great stress at our house, usually some time after Dec. 12. Today we had an opportunity, sunny weather, and the inclination to at least tag a tree. But we decided to save another trip and just bring the damn thing home.
Two hours later, it's up and lit and, yes, decorated. Crazy. I make fun of people who put their trees up in November.
And yet, it feels pretty good. One less stressor in the limited number of weekends remaining before Christmas.
So that's where I am. Four Christmas projects and two baby projects under way, and ready to knit. Now that the tree is up, I've just opened up a whole Saturday afternoon and evening to knitting, as long as I can get away from Those People. My family. It's all good.
I only have two colorways available in Long Trail (wool/nylon sock yarn):Crisp:
And for spinners, two pairs of superwash sock yarn batts. Blue-Faced Leicester and nylon carded together for Hansel and Gretel:
and Autumn Leaves:
Here's to a smooth holiday season for all of us, from a newly converted early bird.