Category Archives: scarves

The most wonderful time of the year.

I can say this to you because we’re friends: I love Thanksgiving with the fire of a thousand suns, and Christmas floats my boat, because who doesn’t love a thoughtful gift? But this time? After Christmas and before I return to work, when it’s okay for me to sit in my pajamas and a handknitted sweater looking at knitting on the internet and thinking about spending the day knitting? That might be my favorite time of all.

Noro Striped Scarf, finished I have rallied from baby knitting disasters and am prepared to finish 2009 in a big way, so I have a few things to show you. First up, perhaps my favorite FO of 2009, my Noro Striped Scarf. Tubular cast on, sewn bind off, about 3/4 of two different balls (S245 and S87; details here) of Noro Silk Garden sock yarn gave me a scarf that was 74 inches long. Honestly, I love Noro yarns (so all you haters of Noro can stuff it), but I think making socks out of Noro Silk Garden Sock is a fool’s errand; they would last about 5 minutes, because it’s not exactly a hard-wearing yarn, you know? So a scarf is perfect.

Next up in the “parade of FOs in delicate yarn” is a pair of plain vanilla socks in Handmaiden Casbah, colorway Ruby. I was not Casbah Socks completely swayed by the lure of a merino/cashmere blend, because it’s kind of splitty and slightly tempermental, like it will pill or fuzz if you look at it funny. But these were for my mom, because you do not turn 70 every day, and even though she’s a knitter, she is not a sock knitter. I originally started these as a pair of Wendy Johnson’s Trilobites in Arucania Ranco Multi (or Multy). I was not a happy knitter; this was the last skein of yarn I bought before embarking on 9 months of Cold Sheeping, and it was knitting up suspiciously like kitchen cotton: not soft, not mom-worthy. So I gave it away, and broke my Cold Sheep streak after 290 days (I checked) with Handmaiden Casbah, the yarn equivalent of dating a supermodel. They fit beautifully, and Mom is happy – this is a craft project that’s way better than a macaroni necklace. As an aside, this was the first pair of socks I did two-at-a-time on one needle, and after completing my Nancy Bush mystery socks two-at-a-time on separate needles, I am completely in love with knitting two socks at once – that is perhaps 2009’s biggest discovery: the banishment of second sock syndrome (except for one tiny exception – I’ll definitely take care of that).

Newfoundland Mitt minus Thumb My final project for 2009 might give you a clue as to what 2010 holds: this is the Newfoundland mittens, queued in Ravelry October 7, 2007; one skein of Brown Sheep Shepherd’s Shades and one skein of Noro Kureyon (color 170, still a favorite). I have 280 things in my Ravelry queue, and it’s time to knit some of them up. I mentioned here that I’d like to try 10 new techniques in 2010, including installing a zipper in a knitted garment (#32 in my queue) and thrumming (#4 in my queue, and I have a pile of thrums waiting). I might even finish a pair of baby booties before my littlest cousin’s arrival. So happy new year to you and your needles – here’s to knitting on with confidence in 2010, just like Elizabeth recommends.

April was the cruelest month

Punctuated Rib AttemptsThings were going so well. And yet, after a bang-up period in March that included two FOs and more than 1,000 yards knitted, I entered some kind of fugue state; just like Groundhog Day, I started the same socks over and over. I was willing the Punctuated Rib socks to work out with every fiber of my being, but yarn choices and stitch counts conspired against me. In the Large size, my chosen yarn behaved beautifully, but the sock was too big. In the Small, I fretted over pooling and flashing, but a sock I feared would be too ugly to look at fit just fine. So I changed yarns, and the dance started all over again. I started these socks a dozen times if I started them once, and in the end, I felt it’s not right to hold a grudge against your knitting. So I moved on – sort of.

Instead of finishing the Oak Ribbed Socks I bragged about almost having finished in my last post, I started another sock two times over, the Crossing Cables sock by Danny Ouelette, which I love, and which is also not working out to my satisfaction. Crossing Cables Comparison My problem is that the photo here is probably the worst photo I could take of the blue sock on the right, and the best possible photo of the green sock on the left – in reality, they’re both “meh” for different reasons, and in danger of becoming one of those projects I myself might look at and say “How could she have chosen that yarn? it doesn’t go with that pattern at all.” [People who knit lace socks with self-striping yarn, I am looking at you – ed.]. I think it’s back to the drawing board for these…

Sea Lettuce Scarf ProgressOn the bright side, I started another long-stashed project recently, Lucy Neatby’s Sea Lettuce Scarf – it’s charming, there’s no pooling or flashing, and though it’s going slowly, I’m enjoying watching it develop rather than dreading what surprise the next turn of the needles might bring. If you’re going to cast on, you might as well have something to show for it.

All this waiting is ridiculous.

I was recently tagged for the perennial “7 random things about you” meme by the lovely Kat; I soon realized that if I didn’t get off my butt and post, my 7 things would be FOs, such is the knitting production in these parts. So, off we go. [For those who can’t get enough lists, I give you ten knitterly things you don’t know about me – ed].

Sunset Fancy Socks Complete 1. My 60 GB iPod is almost full. I love music, all kinds – even bluegrass (which took some getting used to), and my dream job might be “producer who picks incidental music for Marketplace. They have excellent taste, and I consider it a point of pride that I have found and liked songs that have later appeared on Marketplace. Looking for good stuff? Try KCRW’s Today’s Top Tune. This item brought to you by Nancy Bush’s Gentleman’s Fancy socks in Trekking 108, completed in October for me and perhaps my favorite pair of socks yet.

2. My favorite word is “intransigent,” because I am, occasionally. Particularly with people who say making their own pie crust is too hard. Just try it! It’s better. I also have a favorite punctuation mark, the semicolon, because I’m nerdy like that.

3. In my stashbusting quest, I am completely taken with the idea of finished knitted objects giving you the opportunity to shop for yarn guilt-free, and have decided that henceforth two FOs will earn me the equivalent yarn for a future project. Gloria Cowl, finished This Gloria Cowl was made out of the last 2/3 of a skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot which had been hanging out forever, and is now the newest knitted item for my loyal husband, willing to walk the dog on cold mornings because I provide a steady stream of handknits. [Yarn purchased as a result of these two FOs? Lamb’s Pride Shepherd’s Shades for the Bird in Hand Mittens. – ed.]

4. I always say that my favorite holiday is the start of Daylight Savings Time because we get an extra hour of sleep, but my real favorite holiday is Thanksgiving; all of the food and festivity and none of the stress of holiday shopping.

5. A few years ago, my husband and I were bored with cooking the same ten things over and over, so we decided to see how long we could go making something different for dinner every night. Turns out, the answer is “more than a year, even when you’re remodeling your kitchen.” We like Recipezaar because you can plug in ingredients (if you don’t feel like Googlecooking. The biggest thing we learned? If you plan and shop for a week’s worth of meals at a time, you save money and you’re a lot less likely to bail at the last minute and eat out because you have tasty choices at home.

6. I have at various times considered graduate school in social work, hospitality management, law, business, and library science. The itch for hospitality management lasted about 29 minutes; library school still seems cool to me.

7. I’d love to live outside the United States for an extended period of time, even six months. Paris, anyone?

In the non-random department, I am steaming ahead on the last sleeve of Cable and Rib, thanks to the company of Friday Night Lights on Netflix. I estimate that I’m about 86 percent done – when I reach buttonband territory, you’ll be the first to know.

My no-fail quick weight loss program.

I am good at a lot of things (word scramble puzzles, the SSK decrease, meal planning, writing thank you notes), but I am not really a good swimmer. I do it anyway, because it’s the best exercise I’ve found, but I will never set any records, compete in the Olympics or cut a graceful line through the water.

Surprisingly, for something at which I am so mediocre, it makes me very happy. I look forward to the first lap, gliding through the water quietly before I take my first breath. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment that each week, I swim a little farther – when I started, I swam just 120 yards before pooping out, and I thought I would die if I went further. Now, I swim a third of a mile – 600 yards – each time – and a half mile seems within reach.

As I was catching up on vintage episodes of Cast On, Brenda mentioned a women’s shelter in Philadelphia that was looking for knitting supplies and needles – I checked out their knitting blog, and the projects on display seemed to me to be full of the same kind of joy I experience when swimming: occasionally rough around the edges, always worthwhile, beautiful in their own way. So I filled a box with bits and bobs, needles and skeins and sent it on its way to the city of knitterly love.

That, my friends, is my no-fail quick stash weight loss program. Much of the yarn that went in the box was odds and ends that had not been added to my stash inventory, but seven (seven!) things came off that list. Ravelry tells me I have about 20,000 yards of yarn in my stash; now that I’ve divested myself of much of the yarn I didn’t bother to inventory, I think that number’s pretty accurate. I blame Jenny and Nicole of Stash and Burn for my sudden need to know how much I had; frankly, I expected it to be much, much more, but ten metaphorical sweaters’ worth is not peanuts (not Salt Peanuts, though, since I destashed her last year – ha!).

Turtleneck Shrug On Of course, the other way to destash is to knit up all that yarn; in that spirit I have finished Teva Durham’s Turtleneck Shrug from Scarf Style. It’s a wacky little project, but I loved the shrug for its cleverness. Details: 7.3 skeins (1.3 more than I expected) of Classic Elite Waterlily in Goldfish, a pumpkin so pretty it makes me want to knit with wool in June. Mods, none, other than binding off the turtleneck a little early. Firsts: I have now cast on with the backwards loop – why I waited so long, I have no idea. It was exceedingly hard to get a good FO photo of the Turtleneck Shrug – I tried 43 times. Most attempts showed too much me, not enough shrug, and at one point, I felt fairly certain I was flashing a gang sign. I feel those who make the TS are honor-bound to wear it, to a. show off its greatness, and b. keep it from looking like a pair of knitted chaps. If I can get a better photo, you’ll be the first to see it.

Some bonus links: I feel fairly certain this is not breaking news, but here are project slideshows (look in the sidebar on the right for more knitting pron) for two new books in Interweave’s Style series, Folk Style and Bag Style. I like the projects in Folk Style, because Mags Kandis’ sense of color and detail is exquisite, but I want to knit that bag on the cover of Bag Style so much, it’s as though my life depended on it. Seriously, November can’t come soon enough, and not just because it will be sweater weather. Hurry, up, Interweave!

P.S. I have 70 yards or so of the Waterlily left – ask nicely, and it’s yours.

[P.P.S. For those of you hoping this entry contained actual weight loss tips for humans, I can’t recommend the No S Diet enough. So simple, even I can do it. – ed.]

Lines of deliciousness.

TurtleneckShrug I think I am officially forgoing any claims of knitting simplicity for the duration of the Turtleneck Shrug project: I didn’t reclaim the yarn from a thrift store sweater or swap for it, I didn’t buy the yarn on sale, I didn’t go with my first choice, less-expensive yarn…and I am now buying more of the ridiculously decadent Classic Elite Waterlily to finish the shrug off.

Guilt-free knitting right here, baby! I am under the spell of Waterlily in a big way because it’s a. soft, soft, soft, and b. the slight variations in color totally ring my chimes. I have a complicated relationship with multicolored and variegated yarns, so pretty in the skein, often fugly knit up. This is just the right blend of lights and darks; combined with the texture the multiple plies give the finished fabric, it’s swoony. Veritable lines of deliciousness.

Why did I order more yarn, do you ask? Well, the Turtleneck Shrug calls for 600 yards of worsted-weight yarn, which I had. While I did swatch, I didn’t do so aggressively (when they say “ribbing, stretched” that gives a knitter a lot of leeway), I just tested needle sizes until I got a fabric I liked. Rowan Kid Classic (the yarn called for) and Waterlily are ostensibly worsted-weight with the same ball band needle size. So, in the end I’m simply using more yarn than the pattern asks for because my fabric must be more dense, er, more lush and sumptuous. I had planned on shortening the sleeves, but it was clear that keeping the sleeves short enough to use just 600 yards of Waterlily was going to compromise the wrap-around-the-neck scarf-like qualities of the garment. I want a warm winter scarf above all else, so more yarn it is! TurtleneckShrug-twosleeves

I’ve knitted the two TS sleeves in two weeks, which is surely a record for me; just one shoulder and the turtleneck to go before I tuck it away for winter (or begin wearing it with my bathing suit). Since we’ve last seen each other, I’ve also swatched for Lizzy from Naturally Noro and Ariann from Chicknits – I’m very close to gauge with Ariann, and bang-on for Lizzy, so there is evidence that I don’t just plunge into knitting projects willy-nilly without regard to fit.

Before I embark upon a new sweater for fall, I’ll be making five (count ’em, five) hats for Dulaan – I took the “10,000 or bust” challenge because what could be better than making the wooliest of items for people guaranteed to appreciate them? I loved the idea of the Dulaan-a-thaan, but since I am thousands of miles away from Ryan and will be at a wedding on June 2, my “thaan” will be from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 3. I’m looking forward to it – after all, how often does a girl get to use three strands of worsted wool held together? [If that hat really does take just an hour, you can bet there will be more than five at the end of the day –ed.] I will, of course, document the entire freakin’ thing for the blog. Because it’s knitting, and because if the world needs a little more of something, it’s pictures of me in my pajamas splashed all over the Internet.

I hear crochet comes in handy.

Today is my birthday – shh, I haven’t told anyone else. I like the wild rumpus as much as the next person, but I am enjoying the 38th version of my birthday, low key and mellow, as much as the 29th (at which I threw myself a party) and the 21st (at which I convinced an entire movie theater full of people to sing “Happy Birthday” to me – and I have the pictures to prove it).

All of this is prologue to telling you about my day with Lucy Neatby – I had to keep reminding myself of that saying “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” Everything is okay, but I blame the imbroglio in between on crochet.

You see, I consider myself an intermediate sock knitter – but I do not crochet, in any way, shape or form. Yet. So when Lucy started her “Even Cooler Socks” class by saying “Crochet a chain of 20 stitches,” I knew I was in the weeds. Lucy was gracious, kind, and helpful; I was chagrined, and felt like I should have been wearing a t-shirt that said “I hear crochet comes in handy.”

Even with my non-existent crochet skillz, I still managed to find the class mind-blowing; Lucy is the kind of knitter who invents a new technique because she’s bored with the old one or suspects that the same old thing we always do can be done more efficiently. Who could not love that? If you have a chance to take a class with her, I highly recommend it – just make sure you’ve got a handle on the provisional crochet cast on first, and you’ll be all set.

I feel like I walked away from the class with homework: 1. Practice the provisional cast on for 15 minutes a day, and 2. Make a pair of Fiesta Feet socks, which feature two of the stitch patterns we covered in class. Thankfully, Rob and Matt were able to set me up with supplies, so those socks will be making an appearance soon enough.

Turtleneck Shrug sleeve But in the meantime, I’ve started some birthday knitting: the Turtleneck Shrug from Scarf Style in Classic Elite Waterlily, a merino with multiple plies that give a lot of texture to the finished fabric. I was hoping to have it done by now, but the best-laid plans only gave me 14 inches or so. Next week, just in time for summer!

I was going to say a propos of my humbling experience in Lucy’s class that there are two kinds of knitters, those who stay wiith what they know and those who keep pushing themselves to learn – but I think it just means that as many times as I return to projects that feature my beloved ribbing, I’ll want to venture beyond what I know to new and different territory. First stop: the crochet hook.

Finished object equals happy knitter.

Hmm. Some people appear to have committed to a three-month YNBA – for me, that would mean buying no knitting anything until…March 24. Yikes. An extra 23 days. Let’s see how the next forty-nine go, shall we? It’s actually not so bad so far, although you only realize how many yarn shop e-mail lists you’re on when you have to delete the e-mails without reading them. But in shockingly happy news, I have won sock yarn from Susan by correctly guessing the size of her sock yarn stash without going over. When she admitted she was keeping yarn in her desk drawer at work, I knew I had a good shot. Thanks, Susan! [Note that there is no injunction against winning yarn during the YNBA, just purchasing it. Thank goodness!]

I wanted this to be the post in which I showed you completed pictures of the Multidirectional Scarf. Though I had my doubts, a head cold and a fierce bout of knitting Sunday produced something lovely. Project specs: About 380 yards (most of two 200+ yard skeins) of DZined worsted weight wool/hemp/mohair blend, knitted on size 5 needles (ball band calls for sizes 6-8, and I knit loosely) produced a six foot Multidirectional Scarf. I used the alternate ending provided in the pattern that makes the last triangle symmetrical, and I wove in my ends using duplicate stitch, more or less. Fun fact: I gave away my pattern not once but twice because local knitters admired my scarf. Hee.

So that makes four things still on the needles for those playing along at home (Lush sweater, Cabled Rib Cardigan, Cherry Tree Hill socks and Age of Aquarius Hat); I’m tempted to pick up the hat or the cabled cardigan, because the hat would go quickly and Knit One Purl Too’s stash distribution staff (aka my husband) wants a sweater (now!), but I may do something radical. Ready? Read on.

The project that has languished the longest on the needles is the Lush sweater; swatched for on January 27th of this year. Longtime readers will note that I first started this sweater after I decided that I did not like the top-down raglan in Ballybrae that suffered from my ahem developing knitting technique (read: I made a heap of mistakes I could sort of see, but wasn’t yet savvy enough to fix). Unfinished sweaters? 2 Completed garments? 0. Zero! This is the great embarrassment of my knitting life, that I’ve yet to complete a sweater. I have most of the back and a sleeve done, but I am again having quality control issues – the Lush sweater has some “operator errors”. I have no desire to give in to my perfectionist tendencies, but could I make the sweater better and have a learning experience at the same time?

Here is my plan:

1. Cast on front and back stitches; mark the side seam placement after
ribbing is complete.
2. Knit to the armholes; make phoney seams.
3. From armholes to shoulders, knit front and back separately, back and forth, casting off for armholes.
4. I think there’s minor casting-off for neck shaping at this point.
Cast off stitches for front and back neck, but leave shoulder stitches
live for 3-needle bindoff.
5. In original pattern, sleeves are knit cuff up and inserted into
shoulders; I could do it up or down, I suppose.
6. Bind off shoulders. Pick up stitches around neck edge for turtleneck; knit turtleneck.

Can you tell what I’m doing? That’s right – reworking the pattern so the sweater is knit from the bottom up in the round. I’ve had a hankering to do a sweater in the round since I started knitting, and this plan lets me do that while still checking something off my list of unfinished objects. It’s like two steps backward to take a leap forward, but I feel good about re-starting a sweater I know will turn out better in the end.

Significantly, after re-reading Knitting Without Tears and The “I Hate to Finish Sweaters” Guide to Finishing Sweaters this past week I realized I just plain understood more of it. Amazing what a year of knitting experience will add to your brain. For reference, here are part one and part two of Jenna Wilson’s excellent series for Knitty on the vagaries of sleeve shaping. making sure the sleeves fit properly will be the most challenging part of this plan – and I think I’m ready. Can I finish a sweater – any sweater – before March 24?

The bonus link is back: For future reference, here is an Irish Hiking Scarf pattern, seen at Trish’s place.

64 days isn’t that long.

ynbaluarie_1.jpg What would life be like if I bought no yarn, no patterns, no knitting books until February 1? Is there a hobby where you don’t spend your time overloading acquiring things for the hobby? If so, let me know, and the hobby better not be “the practice of Zen”.

It’s not like I would lack for things to read, or knit. I have four five six projects on the needles (the Cabled Rib cardigan, the Age of Aquarius hat, the Cherry Tree Hill socks…the Lush sweater and the multidirectional scarf. That’s kind of embarrassing. Without the distractions of new acquisitions, I might actually finish something. At least the multidirectional scarf has gotten significantly longer.

I’ve acquired a stack of knitting books recently, but I should go back and re-read my very first two: Knitting Without Tears, and The “I Hate to Finish Sweaters” Guide to Finishing Sweaters. That might help as I confront the fact that despite my best efforts, I’m actually making progress on the Cabled Rib Cardigan.

I am still struggling, however with the heel for Michelle’s Basic Socks. After deciding simply to forge ahead and do a “regular” short row heel, I was unsatisfied with the results. Sloppy wraps to the left in that photo, and a big lump at the base of the heel to the right. I could ignore it and continue with what I’m coming to suspect is a substandard sock, but no. First, the YNBA is a reflective thing, a period in which can consider my techniques and improve upon them with current projects, rather than starting something new to get away from a problem with something old. Two, and most important, I can already buy socks that don’t fit properly at any store on the planet except for AutoZone. I make socks that fit.

I returned to Simple Socks Plain and Fancy, and have re-read the short-row heel instructions. They are sinking in. I am prepared to have a growth experience with my knitting. I am prepared to learn and grow as a knitter rather than rush headlong into something unsatisfying. Either that, or I’ll do an afterthought heel.

Peak experiences (and I’m not talking about the sock pattern).

It seems to be a pattern – I buy just a little more yarn, then I review my existing stash and feel the need to have a lie-down because, as the world’s slowest knitter, I easily have more than a year’s worth of projects waiting. Maybe two years’ worth. Then I buy a little more yarn. Usually sock yarn, because it’s cheaper, and after all, how long can socks take? Well, for my birthday last May, my mom took me to the yarn store and I bought some Mountain Colors and some Meilenweit Cotton Fun…both still stashed, seven months later. I lamely proposed a rule to my husband that I should not re-shop at a yarn store I’ve visited until I knit up something that I purchased there. [note: Technically, I’ve already broken this rule by returning to my LYS to purchase Magic Looping stuff and yarn for swatching, even as the felted tote I so wanted to make languishes]. Thank goodness for KnitFest.

Joke not about Toledo – when it is the site of knitting classes and knitting vendors you would ordinarily not see in your neck of the woods, it’s a beautiful place. Things worth sharing:

1. I sat two feet from Nancy Bush for three hours. I watched her cut a steek, which is as cool as it sounds. She was smart and funny, and I managed to keep up with the class without having to admit I have never finished a knitted garment. She signed my book. She just finished a new sock book too, so keep your eyes peeled.

2. Marilyn from Blackwater Abbey Yarns is the nicest person ever – by the time I finish the Cabled Rib Cardigan, we will have tracked down the perfect wooden buttons for it. What’s more, I spotted a new pattern for a cabled cardigan with a healthy dose of bobbles and XOX ribbing by Beth Brown-Reinsel, one of a series of pretty stunning samples knitted up and featured in the Blackwater Abbey booth…and named after Marilyn herself. Very cool, so that came home with me [no picture yet here or at the BWA site – it’s that new!].

3. My first two-color knitting project will be a Christmas stocking kit from Arnhild Hillesland that thankfully, doesn’t have to be ready until next Christmas. She has a lifetime’s worth of beautiful Norwegian patterns, at least for someone who knits as slowly as I do. As I left, she said “You know where to find us!” Oh, I’ll be back, don’t worry.

Finally, there was Debi from Dzined; I had been stalking her since summer, hoping to feel and purchase some of her yarns in person, and I liked them so much I shopped there twice…in a two hour period (Please. What if someone bought the sock yarn I wanted while I was in class? You would have done the same thing). In addition to two completely different skeins of sock yarn, I got some worsted varigated in lovely deep fall hues to make a Multidirectional scarf because it’s officially cold here in Ohio now. I was so excited that I cast on Saturday and knitted (here’s a closeup) on the way to a wedding in Columbus. Was I working on charity mittens? That are due today? No, I was enjoying the yarn that, for me, was worth waiting for. As I said to Stephanie yesterday, the variation in color is not tacky and bad (like some yarns which shall go unnamed and keep us from enjoying variegated lace to its fullest), but subtle and good. I would buy Debi’s yarn sight unseen now [“Hi, it’s Donna – here’s the VISA, send more yarn, whatever’s good.”], and not just because we clearly like the same colors. It may be the one yarn I’d take to a desert island with me, and I’ve touched angora.

Now, about those charity mittens – do you think I can finish the mate (not started) by dinnertime? Clearly someone who puts her own needs before those of children who need mittens is a bad person. At least the scarf and I will look stylish in hell.

Merry gifting.

Zara Watch Cap
Can I just say it’s really nice to be a knitter at Christmas? All gifts, garter-stitch scarves and ribbed watch cap, were well-received, and they fit (or were the right size) – whew! As I’ve detailed, this took more work than I thought, and I was actually casting off for the last scarf in the car on the way to Christmas dinner. Nothing like a little adrenaline to make gifting more exciting.

The Zara watch cap was nice and stretchy; I liked the yarn, but couldn’t imagine doing an entire sweater in a yarn so springy. The hat led to my favorite comment, from my brother-in-law: “I’m in awe of people who can create things like that.” And I wanted to say “It’s just K2 P2 ribbing.” Hee.

The scarf in Quark Mondial looked lovely and was nice and warm. I could actually have done it on slightly larger needles for looser stitches, but there was no way I was re-knitting it a third time. Hands down, my favorite yarn was the one that seemed the fussiest at first – Artful Yarns’ Circus. I had to re-start the scarf three times to get a cast-on I liked, but the scarf had warmth, the yarn was both pretty and substantial, and the color was beautiful. Tragically, this was the scarf I finished at the last minute, so I don’t have a picture – the closest I could come would be a photo of the yarn and needles in the glovebox of my car.

Santa was very good to me – a ball winder, two, count them TWO, sets of Denise needles (I think I’m keeping them both – is that wrong?), and three great books: Knit Hats! by Gwen Steege, The Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book by Margaret Klein Wilson and perhaps best of all Men in Knits by Tara Jon Manning. There is not a sweater in that book that I don’t want to knit, but the cabled cardigan version of this vest made my husband go “ooh!”, so I’m ordering the yarn from Blackwater Abbey Yarns this week (Moss, I think). I’m excited to be getting to a project that doesn’t require fuzzy yarn or big needles – I must be a more traditional knitter than I thought.

Happy Holidays. and Happy New Year – after a brief break, I’ve already picked up the needles again, so I’ll have a progress report soon.