Sunday, December 31, 2006

My year of sweaters

In these final hours of 2006, which Mr. Strange and I are spending quietly at home, I find myself sitting on the couch (with my laptop!!!), sipping on a fine brew (Sebago Brewing Company's "Frye's Leap IPA") and struggling to write my final post of the year. For some reason, I feel this pressure to say something meaningful.

Being a future-oriented thinker, I rarely spend much time looking back. That's not to say that I am immune to nostalgia or introspection. I just am constantly thinking about what's next. That said, I have to confess that if I were to characterize this past year, I would call it my year of sweaters, or rather I should call it my year of sweat, because, in the past 12 months, I have finished:

  • 17 Sweaters (all made for me, but one given away)
  • 7 Hats (5 for me!)
  • 5 Pair of Socks (all for me!!)
  • 1 Kate the Kitty (for a friend)
  • 1 Nautie (for a friend)
  • 1 Pumpkin (yeah, me)
  • 1 Vest (me)
  • 1 Dog Sweater (Zippi)
  • 2 Sheep Ornaments (one for a friend and one for me)

(I'm feeling more than a bit selfish.....)

Notice that I am not counting things that I have cast on and abandoned or frogged, like the Sunburst Pullover, Ivy or Pomatomus.

With the exception of the Titilating Tam that I knit for my MIL, the Fair Isle Pullover, and the Yoke Pullover from Vogue Knitting Winter 2005 (which I am wearing right now), they all appear in my newly updated knitting gallery. Speaking of the gallery, I've finally posted the pattern for the Casco Cabled Cap (see sidebar). Please let me know if you knit it - I'd love to see pics!

It comes as no surprise that I'm a little sweatered out and have been floundering for something to knit these days. Unfortunately, the only thing I really want to knit is the Land's End scarf, which has become a Dead End scarf.

It all started when I used some stash Malabrigo to write out the pattern and fell in love with the color and drape of the fabric it made (top swatch in photo below). Since then, I have started and stopped this scarf with 5 different yarns, all of which just don't measure up to the Malabrigo. Unfortunately, both of my LYS's that carry this yarn are out of the color I want ("Natural") and I can't even order it online because everyone (yes, I checked eBay) is out of stock. That said, the instant gratification factor has been driving me to seek out a readily available substitution. After the botched Encore attempt, I spent over an hour at Korner Knitters before Christmas, and after much fondling and deliberation, selected and set aside 8 skeins of Laines du Nord Dolly Maxi in a lovely cream color which Mr. Strange was kind enough to give me for a gift. Excitedly, I cast on, and row by row decided that it wasn't right. Too stiff. Too thick (second swatch). No drape. I know it looks fine, but trust me.I sampled some Patons Classic Wool and a no-label 2 ply merino/cashmere blend from my stash. Nope. All wrong. So yesterday, I took the remaining 7 skeins of the Dolly Maxi back to Korner Knitters and spent the next hour and a half hemming and hawing over the Malabrigo in "Shocking Pink" or "Geranio" vs. Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in a lighter than desired cream color. My friend Lori met me there and, after recovering from her own fit of yarn lust/color indecision, very patiently watched me waver and quaver and repeatedly change my mind. Finally, I chose the Debbie Bliss and as soon as I walked out the door knew that I had made the wrong choice!! It was so WHITE!! Oh No! Too embarrassed to go back in the store again, I brought it home, thinking that maybe it wouldn't look so WHITE in different light. Well, I got over the white thing, but I don't like the way it knits up. Contrary to what I expected, it's like knitting with cotton. It has no bounce. No stretch. It's stringy. It's mean yarn! My scarf looks malnourished! Waaaah!

I am so embarrassed! This is like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, only my locks are artificially enhanced and I had the one that was "just right" to begin with! Now I have to go back to the shop and get something else. I have temporarily put the dead end scarf on hold until I can get my hands on the "Natural" Malabrigo. (If you happen to notice that your LYS has 3 or 4 skeins of this color, please please please e-mail me!!!)

I'm thinking that I'd like to knit the "Here and There Cables" scarf from Scarf Style with the Reynold's Odyssey. I've been itching to knit with that yarn for ages and I have Christmas $$$ burning a hole in my pocket....

I have plenty of other things to keep me busy in the meantime. Behold my Christmas/Birthday knitting bounty:

Knitting books! A Boye Needlemaster Set! A Stitch'n Bitch Calendar! Vera Bradley zippered pouches for my little knitting notions! Yeah, I'm a lucky girl and yes, I did say birthday. It was Friday. Pooh. Glad it's over. You may notice that there are some needles missing from that set...

While casting about for something other than a sweater or scarf to knit, I remembered a felted sheep pattern I had:

I thought that this would be my last FO of 2006, but it looks like it will be the first of 2007. I know it's not the month of March, but I am hoping that it will induce January to arrive like a lamb.

I wonder why I keep knitting off-white things? How strange...

Despite always looking ahead, I don't make New Year's resolutions, but I do have a few changes I'd like to make next year:

  1. Blog regularly (hmmmm. I seem to remember starting every diary I ever had as a girl "Dear Diary, I am going to write every day....").
  2. Stop lurking and start commenting on other people's blogs (yes, I do it too).
  3. Use up stash (fabric and yarn).
  4. Read more (I used to read all the time before I took up knitting!).
  5. Knit for others.
  6. Pay off some stupid credit card bills.
  7. Get rid of stuff I don't use (yarn and fabric excluded).

Not very meaningful. Here's the real deal: I'm in the midst of my annual post-holiday birthday blues, which are bad enough all by themselves, but throw in the fact that Chloe's cancer has grown back and she is having surgery on Tuesday morning, and I'm not sure if it's the right thing to do, but if we don't it's only going to get worse, but it's going to get worse sooner or later no matter what, so it's hard to get excited about a new year when I know that sad things are going to happen, and I can't even decide what movie to rent at the video store, so it's no wonder I can't pick out yarn or what to knit.

Big {sigh}.

Really, truly. I would like to take a long winter's nap. Please wake me when it's over.


jacqueline said...

17 sweaters in one year! you my dear lady are a knitting machine!

happy new year. may 2007 be a year of joy! (and lots more knitting!)

Anonymous said...

Wow! Looks like you got a great bounty for the holiday and your birhtday! I'm so glad I waited for your final package cause I definitely had one of those books on my list.

Enjoy all your presents you sweater knitting machine!


elly said...

You kept that very quiet, happy belated birthday Tarilyn!

So sorry to read about Chloe, and of course wishing her all the best of luck for Tuesday.