Christmas Knitting Retrospective

I meant to post before now, but things have been scattered and hectic over the holiday (I consider it ‘the holiday that wasn’t’ because I worked for most of it, but what can you do, right?  It’s the nature of the beast when you knowingly continue a career path that includes features shift work).

So, since I didn’t really post any of the things I was knitting for Yule *as* I was knitting them, I will do so here!

Project #1 began as this lovely combination of fluff from FatCatKnits fiber club. The theme was FairyTales, and the two colourways are “Angry Dwarf” (oranges) and “The Prince” (blues).

Angry Dwarf & The Prince

I turned it into these mittens, which went to my Dad. They’re Jared Flood’s “Strago” pattern, only elongated to account for my Dad’s really long fingers.

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Next, I discovered the Inspira Cowl. I went looking for the right yarns, and came up with a ball of Noro Silk Garden that was looking for just the right project, and a ball of Noro Kureyon that I despaired of ever using because it was hard on my fingers while knitting.  Turns out that it was perfect for stranded knitting, as I could carry it a little looser in my left hand (I knit stranded two-handed).  These went to my Other Mum, Sheila (for lack of a better term, my Common-Law Mother-in-Law 😉 )

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And because I was still on an Inspira kick (honestly, I’m surprised Robin wasn’t sick of seeing me knit the same thing for weeks), I dug into my stash and found a bit more handspun that would suit my own Mum. She’s the only person I know of who can, and will, wear these colours together. At the same time. And not make it look crazyhorriblebad. If you ask her why this is, she’ll tell you that she’s a “winter”.

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My nephew Milo’s mittens were next, but we’ve already seen them. I knit them in Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light.

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Off the needles next were my niece Georgia’s mittens.  They’re a mishmash of “Wibbly Wobbly Mittley Wittley” by Therese Sharp and the Warmer on the Inside mitts, and knit with Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light and Brown Sheep Lanaloft Sport Weight yarn.  There’s a long story of angst and frustration behind them, but I will spare you only to say that they were a work in progress for the better part of the year, including 3 or 4 changes of yarn, pattern, and other things causing the wailing and gnashing of teeth (such as a yarn store owner who insisted on “helping” Robin find what I needed when I’d already given him instructions.  Note to yarn store owners: Don’t do this.  Please).

mosaic originals1

Last but not least, mittens for my Common-Law Father-in-Law, Don.  They’re my Magnum Mitten pattern, only in full mitten form. I knit them out of Paton’s Kroy in Flax and Black, and they came out quite nice and warm.

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I really like patterns and projects that give me very little grief.  Seriously.

Speaking of which, at some point I had started Rose Hiver’s Quaternity (actually, during the KAL), and wound up putting it on the back burner while I completed the Yule knitting.  I finished them off as a palate-cleanser after Yule.  Koigu Premium Merino in a nice silvery grey and royal purple. These went to Mum the other day because she had mentioned earlier that she needed a new pair of mittens.  Hint recieved! 😉

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And yes, that’s a copy of Mark Danielewski’s “House of Leaves” in the background. My Christmas gifts this year were mostly books, so I have a lot of reading to do!

Inspira’ed

It started innocently enough. I saw a pattern and thought it looked intriguing. I had a couple of balls of Noro sock yarn that were languishing due to the fact that I have some known issues with Kureyon, and got curious as to whether they would look good together.

The answer to this, by the way, is yes. Yes, they look very nice together, and I didn’t have to worry about my usual problems with Noro Kureyon as I was carrying it in my left hand where it wouldn’t pull too roughly on my fingers. The other yarn is Silk Garden Sock, and it popped against the Kureyon really nicely. Someone is going to be very warm this winter.

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You’d think that would be it and I’d move along, but no. I was looking at the “suggested yarns” section of the pattern on Ravelry and noticed that they recommended Lion Brand Amazing. It’s not as expensive as Noro, and it’s just as soft and warm.  So I picked up a bit of yarn at Michaels. I may have to revisit it to make some alterations for fit, but it’s sure snuggly!

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That’s it, right?  Um….no. I went stash diving for yarn that would be appropriate for someone in particular and came up with some handspun.

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What do I love about this pattern? It’s playful. You can be vastly entertained by the excitement of the colour changes and the ongoing cliffhanger as to whether there’s enough yarn to finish. There are unlimited combinations, unlimited possibilities.

I’ve been liking the “Steampunk” version, but that’s mainly due to the familiarity of it after the first one. Again…unlimited possibilities.

Now I have to decide which of the other projects on my needles to work with!

Ramping up for Yule

First things first!  Let’s get the pattern-wise info up & over with so we can get on to the real rambling! 😉

Every year I participate in a Ravelry group called “Super Sock Scarefest”. It starts in September and rolls right on through to October 31st. The goal is to complete as many of the sock designs released to the group within that time period, and to photograph them in the scariest way possible. Sock designs are inspired by some of the great B-movies of all time. The past two years, I’ve shared patterns with the group. The first pattern, “Baskervilles“, is available for free on Ravelry.  The second, “Graboids“, is now available for $6.

Graboids
Graboids in Koigu and Lorna’s Laces

For a limited time (the end of the month), I have extended my offer for Movember to include Graboids.  Sure, you could give me 6 bucks — or you could donate a buck or three to Movember and get Graboids AND Magnum for free with your donation. Just sayin’.

As it stands right now, I’ve made about $46 in donations to myself, and one donation to my team (which was a happy surprise for all of us).  While my team really does appreciate the donation, I don’t know if it triggers the coupon code message. If you want the code, please donate to me personally. You can donate anonymously, but I do like to see who is contributing (and it helps me in case you have problems downloading the pattern(s)).

As always, I’m thankful for everyone who participates and donates. 🙂

Inspira Cowl
I made myself an Inspira cowl. They’re addictive.

I know, I was hoping to write more this month, but I’m right in the middle of knitting for Yule, and I’m never too sure what I should post and what I shouldn’t.  I’m going to be honest and say that I sometimes grumble and mutter over some projects more than others, and I’d hate to have someone think that their gift wasn’t made with all the love and affection that I can muster.  I would be sad to think that someone felt their gift was inferior or substandard, even though I obviously liked it enough to continue knitting on it.

I admit it…I’m a grumbler. Life would be so boring if it were sunshine and bunnies all the time.  Sometimes you need an ill-tempered cat to come along and hiss and swipe at things to remind you that things aren’t always easy all the time.

I’m also a worrier.  I don’t want anyone to compare materials and think that someone else’s gift was more special or precious than theirs because I used a store-bought yarn vs a handspun yarn.  Let’s be honest, my handspun is fun for me to make….but it’s not necessarily the same as some store-bought yarns. I choose yarns mainly for their properties, not the sentimentality.

Noro
I didn’t make this yarn myself and I love it. Madly.

Actually, working with Handspun can cause more problems than it solves. I’m actually knitting a project using my Handspun and I’m worried I won’t have enough yarn to complete it. See?  Definite drawbacks. Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen, because I’m really enjoying working with it!