before i get going on today’s post, i just want to say THANK YOU! for all the kind and enthusiastic comments you sent along about the leaving sweater in twist—it’s been a trilling week, thanks to you.
most years, i don’t even think about christmas knitting til thanksgiving (or later), but for some reason, this year is different; i’m actually getting organized a little early—and i’m excited. because i recently had returned to me a box of samples from a LYS that closed and in it, there are a couple of items that will make perfect gifts.
like that sweater above—i knit that a number of years ago, for our own “baby trousseau”, but we never had kids, so i lent it out to the yarn shop as a sample. it’s knit in delicious natural wool from green mountain spinnery, one of my all-time favorite yarn producers (i have a soft spot for producers i discovered back in the 80s, when good wool yarns were just beginning to make a comeback). i have fond memories of pouring over sample cards and shop newsletters, trying to choose which colors to order by mail (if i was really torn, i could call and chat with someone to get advice). between 1988 and 1990, i knit a sweater for each member of my family from their yarns, many of which are still in use.
the sweater needed a bath pretty badly, so i washed it the other day and it came out wonderfully soft and glowing; now it smells like clean wool with a hint of patchouli. it should fit our 16-month-old nephew this year and probably next year too, so it’s going to him. my SIL nan has taken up knitting with a passion since our visit last summer, when micah was a newborn (he has since grown at an astounding rate and is quite large for his age). she will love this yarn.
twelve thirteen nieces and nephews now and i don’t knit for all of them every year any more—it’s too much. but they do love and appreciate their handknit gifts, so i enjoy thinking of items that they’ll be able to use for a couple of years, til their next turn in the rotation.
i might try to knit a similar raglan pullover for our 3-year-old nephew; better to do it now when he’s smaller, right? that shouldn’t take too long, once i know his chest measurement.
arjun asked my mom for mittens and i told her i’d make some (haven’t started them yet, but the yarn is wound).
i thought anika, who wears only dresses, would like some legwarmers—it’s very cold where they live. she loves pink and purple, so my eyes lit on a skein of STR mediumweight in colorway ST-2 that i received in my goody bag at sock summit last year. these jewel tones are right up her alley; they are colors she wears a lot of.
i’ve never knit legwarmers, but how hard can they be? i wanted a pattern that was fairly solid, but i don’t think knit/purl textures are her style—she seems to be attracted to fancier motifs. she also has extremely thin legs, so i wanted something a bit ribby, but not too stiff (in case she wants to slouch them down). i swatched the motif in the keukenhof sok and decided it was perfect.
i cast one on in the smallest size with 2.5 mm needles and knit some ribbing, then changed to 3.0 mm needle to knit the leg in pattern pattern (i’ll switch back to the small needle to work some ribbing at the top, too). and omigish, it’s knitting up faster than fast—in just a couple of hours it was eight inches long. i took it to a meeting on monday night and nearly doubled it again.
i think maybe an 18-inch length will be good; long enough that she can pull them up over her knees and short enough to wear below. i’m sure there’s enough yarn for that length, if not longer. they should fit for a few years, too.
since i’ll be traveling next week to teach over the holiday weekend at the montreal knitting guild (click here to see class offerings and registration info), projects like this will be just the thing to take along. i’m going to try to get those mittens on the needles next—if i can figure out what size to make (arjun is 6, i think).
another thing i’m tackling for christmas is a jacket for 6-year-old amad. since he adores uncle david, i thought it would be fun to knit a whitfield jacket in his size (and i think it’ll be very handsome on him). i’ve been wanting to knit this for a while, but didn’t have time to do it last year.
chris from briar rose recently sent me a new superwash merino yarn that she’s thinking about carrying—it’s not in her shop yet, but you might see it at her shows. it’s an incredibly smooshy 4-ply worsted yarn with a soft sheen a great color saturation (as you can see!). good yardage too, with 700 yards per 8 ounces. this deep, dark colorway is so whitfield.
i’ve knit a couple of swatches with the same number of stitches and rows on size 4.5mm and 5mm needles and guess what?? when i finished knitting them, they were nearly identical in gauge and size. then i soaked them and it’s just like they say—it all comes out in the wash. they are each showing their true characters now.
they’re not the same size any more (mostly in the row gauge) and the tighter one seems to pop right back to shape no matter what i do to it, while the other one has less spring and recovery. the looser one is lighter, which is nice in a jacket. and it will grow with the boy a bit, though it’s hard to predict how, so that may not be a plus.
considering the time this garment may spend on the playground, riding a bike, or playing ball, and the fact that there is a brother waiting in the wings to inherit it some day, i think i’ll go with more fabric stability.
the winner is needle size 4.5mm. the pieces for this jacket knit should be quite portable in boy size, so i can cast on and gather everything i need to take it along on our trip next week as well.
my second bougainvillea mitt is also progressing too, though i need to get back to it tonight, i think (i haven’t touched it since sunday).
i started the hand and gusset section, so it should go pretty fast from here, with more stockinette in the mix. if it’s not done before we leave, i’ll throw it in my bag, too. these will be another gift for my oldest niece, along with the curling mitts.
if i can come home from our thanksgiving trip with three or four gifts finished, i’ll be a very happy camper (not that we’re camping—not my thing anymore, really).
speaking of gifts and yarn, deb at fearless fibers is offering a simple value yarn club subscription that might make a great gift for a special friend or a dear, knitterly relative—or even to add to your own wishlist. the colors are a secret (not the ones shown here, for instnace) but will be in deb’s signature dye style. i’ve used deb’s yarns many times and the ones offered in this club are terrific—soft, yet strong, and beautifully dyed, they are perfect for socks and accessories of all types. to purchase or view more information, please click here
meanwhile, i’m still working on wasp and rose a little bit every night. the rows are getting longer, so visible progress is harder to detect. i think this weekend i should set aside one day to just work on that all afternoon. with all we have in the freezer and the fact that we are leaving mid-week, i could skip the weekend cooking and do knitting instead.
last night i sat down with my own sweater and made great progress in just a few hours. honestly, there’s nothing like knitting with worsted weight yarn—the briar rose pilgrim knits up so fast and smooth that the inches stack up quickly. mmm, aren’t the colors warm and inviting?
i went with the tighter fabric on this one as well, which makes it a little stiff during construction. it’s hard to get used to on the needles, but this yarn grows like crazy once it’s soaked, so i know it will be very soft and light after washing. and i can keep my laundered swatch nearby to remind me of its future snuggliness.
my delicato scarf is almost done—just a couple more repeats and it’ll be finished. i just couldn’t stay awake any longer
last night this morning to do them. soon i’ll be blocking it, yay.
i decided to name it aria delicato because it’s a long and beautiful extension of another design, the way an aria is a tangent to an opera story.
as if enough things weren’t going on here this week
our new railings and fencing arrived on a big truck on monday. david has been unpacking everything and preparing the holes for the fence posts, to get those in while the ground is still warm. but he discovered they sent the wrong posts for the fence. arrggghh.
but, maybe that means our porch railings will go up first . . .
i consumed the absolute, very last garden tomato today for lunch, a cherokee purple i saved from going into the weekend pot of pizza sauce.
i’m so glad i did.