Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Reading, Work in progress

WIP Wednesday: The end of the Tunisian Terror is in sight

Remember the Tunisian Terror?  The blanket I started for my mother in April 2014?  I finished all the crocheting in April of this year and then started the embellishments.  Behold!  All the cross-stitching is done!

Mom's Tunisian 28

Here it is laid out in the order in which it will be assembled.  Now all that remains is the sewing together of the squares.  One row is sewn, eight rows remain to be sewn, and then comes stitching the rows to each other and putting a border on it.  Stitching the squares together doesn’t really take long: I can do one row in an evening of TV watching, but truthfully, I’m so sick of looking at this thing that the blanket is lucky if I even pick up one row in a week.

Aarons Baby 1 Chinook 1Also in progress, two new projects — first, a baby blanket, the tried-and-true giant granny square of many colors for a colleague who is expecting a boy.  All the leftover yarn from the Tunisian Terror is coming in handy for this one.  I have another colleague also expecting a baby, but gender is unknown at this point, so that blanket will wait a bit.  Also, I started another Christmas gift, the Chinook scarf, out of the drapy-est silk and cotton blend you ever felt, in a color called Sea Glass.

In book news, I just finished A Sudden Light by Garth Stein and started Seveneves by Neal Stephenson.  Review pending of the Garth Stein book but it will be a favorable one.  I’m less than 100 pages into the Stephenson and completely enthralled.

100_4341 (2)Bonus picture:  Here’s Phoebe, who keeps me company when I’m here in my craft room writing or winding yarn or planning projects or simply goofing around on Facebook.  She’s getting older these days and doesn’t have any teeth left, but she’s still a good dog.  Aren’t you, sweetie?  Of course you are.

This post is part of Stitch-Along Wednesday.  Click on that badge below to see what other folks have been up to this week.  Also, go check out Shadow’s Knit Knacks Link-up post and add your link at the bottom.

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Posted in Finished object, Knitting

FO Friday: It’s a shawl!

Gingko Crescent 10PatternGingko Crescent Shawl by Jade Keaney (free pattern on Ravelry).  For Ravelry members, here’s the link to my project page.  Omigod, this pattern.  I had to completely rewrite it because when I knit it as written, the shawl came out with a camel’s hump that would never ever ever block out.  Even after rewriting it using top down short rows, it came out with a hump, but not nearly as bad as the original, so I let it go.  Gingko Crescent 3Here’s a thumbnail of the shawl after I rewrote the pattern, with the hump, before blocking. You can click the pic to see it larger. Humpback issues aside, the lace pattern is nicely charted and easy to follow.

Yarn:  Surf by Mondial.  298 yards.  As far as I can discover, this yarn is discontinued, so here are its vitals:  100% cotton, says it’s sport-weight, but personally, I think it’s fingering.  Plied construction.  Feels nice in the hands, and knit up with a lovely drape.  I wouldn’t mind having more of it if I could find it.

Gingko Crescent 11Needles:  Addi Click Turbo circulars in sizes 6, 7, and 8.  Size 6 for the actual knitting, size 7 for the very last row, and size 8 for the bind off.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Buying those Addi interchangeable needles was worth every single penny.

Satisfaction with end product:  I like it.  It’s pretty.  It’s intended as a gift, so I hope its recipient will like it too.  The pooling of the yarn was nicely distributed, giving it an impressionistic feel with the pastel colors.  And it’s a bit of a chameleon: the standout color varies depending on its surroundings, so the shawl may seem predominately yellow/orange in one view, but the blue and pink may be more obvious in the next.

Now, about this pattern.  The original called for casting on with a garter tab, then knitting in stockinette with increases until you reached a certain number of stitches, then beginning the lace pattern.  Sounds pretty standard, yes?  The problem is the increases were both poorly placed and insufficient to create a real crescent shape.  Instead, we got a pointed ovoid with a camel’s hump on one long edge and pretty lacy leaves on the other.  (I really should have taken a photo before frogging my initial effort.)  So here’s what I did to fix it:

Gingko Crescent 12Begin Pattern

CO 99. Knit 2 rows.

Row 3: K2, YO, K1, YO, [K2tog, YO] to last 4, K1, YO, K1, YO, K2. (103 stitches)

Row 4: K2, YO, P to last 2, YO, K2. (105 stitches)

Row 5: K2, YO, K1, YO, K to last 3, YO, K1, YO, K2. (109 stitches)

Row 6: K2, YO, P to last 2, YO, K2. (111 stitches)

Repeat Pattern Rows 5 & 6 twice. (123 stitches)

Begin short rows:

1. K2, YO, K1, YO, K to 10 before edge, wrap and turn
2. P to 12 before edge, W&T
3. K to 5 before gap, W&T
4. P to 5 before gap, W&T

Repeat short rows 3 and 4 until 12 stitches remain between wraps.

5. K to last 3, picking up wraps, YO, K1, YO, K2
6. K2, YO, P to last 2, picking up wraps, YO, K2. (129 stitches)

 Begin pattern again.  Repeat pattern rows 5 and 6 10 times. (189 stitches)

Gingko Crescent 7Begin second section of short rows:

1. K2, YO, K1, YO, K to 20 before edge, wrap and turn
2. P to 22 before edge, W&T
3. K to 10 before gap, W&T
4. P to 10 before gap, W&T

Repeat short rows 3 and 4 until 23 stitches remain between wraps.

5. K to last 3, picking up wraps, YO, K1, YO, K2
6. K2, YO, P to last 2, picking up wraps, YO, K2. (195 stitches)

 Begin pattern again.  Repeat pattern rows 5 and 6 once. (201 stitches)

Begin lace chart as written.

Gingko Crescent 8After allowing the shawl to relax after blocking, we have a better crescent shape, although still not perfect.  The cotton yarn just wouldn’t hold on to that straight edge.  I think a wool yarn would do better.  Overall, though, I’m pleased.  Truth time: this is the first time I’ve done such a major rewrite of a pattern.  If anyone else tries this, especially if you use a wool yarn, let me know how it turns out!

Freshly Finished FridayThis post is part of the Freshly Finished Friday round up. Click on the badge to see what other crafters have completed this week.

Posted in Knitting

Work In Progress Wednesday: Blocking It Out

Mondial SurfAfter experiencing cross-stitch burnout, I set aside the Tunisian Terror for a while to work on a shawl.  I had two skeins of this discontinued 100% cotton variegated “sport” weight that had been given to me a few years ago, and it had been whispering in my ear recently.  (I say “sport” in quotation marks because that’s the weight Ravelry gives for this yarn.  Personally, I think it’s fingering, and that’s the weight I filtered for when looking for a pattern.)

The pattern I settled on was the Gingko Crescent Shawl by Jade Keaney because I loved the lace edging.  The path for this shawl was rocky.  I knit it to completion, hated the result but still loved the lace edging, so I ripped it all out and rewrote the pattern, then knitted it again.  When I write up the finished object post, I’ll give you all the gory details.  For now, here’s a photo of it blocking.

Gingko Crescent 5I’ve taken the week off work and, by the time this post appears publicly, I will be on my way to Hilton Head Island.  A friend and I are leaving our respective spouses behind for a few days and running away to the beach!  We’re taking the convertible, our knitting (of course), our cameras, our bathing suits, and very little else.  According to The Weather Channel, thunderstorms are expected during the few days we’ll be there, so that should be entertaining.  Maybe I can capture some dramatic “lightning over the Atlantic” photos.  Or maybe we’ll just sit on the balcony of the hotel room and revel in the windswept ocean vista.  Regardless, it’s going to be a fun time, no matter the weather.

Stitch Along WednesdayThis post is part of Stitch Along Wednesdays hosted by Gracey’s Goodies.  Click that badge over there to visit Gracey’s blog and see who else is participating.  This is also part of the WIP Wednesday link roundup hosted by Shadow’s Knit KnacksClick here to check out other linked blogs and add your own!

Posted in Crochet, Work in progress

WIP Wednesday: Cross-stitching the Squares

I finished crocheting all the squares of the Tunisian Terror on April 20, 2015 — one week shy of one year since starting the project.

63 squares in 21 colors.
63 squares in 21 colors.

The cross-stitching of the squares began immediately.  Thus far, 12 squares are completely finished with all embroidery and the weaving-in of ends; two more are partially done.

12 down, 51 to go.
12 down, 51 to go.

The cross-stitching moves quickly. The multi-colored designs make the plain squares lively, and solid color stitching anchors the multi-colored squares. I ran out of the black acrylic worsted yarn purchased for this project before finishing the crocheting but had some black acrylic worsted in stash which works just as well. There’s some slight difference in texture, but no one will notice it.

Stitch Along Wednesday

“Worsted” is a curious word.  Note to self: check origin as it relates to yarn.

In other news, rehearsal continues apace for Harvey.  We open a week from Friday.  Woo hoo!

This post is part of the Stitch-Along Wednesday round-up.  Click that badge over there to see what other folks are working on.

Posted in Crochet, Finished object, Knitting, Life in general, Work in progress, Yarn stash

It’s A Thrilling Thursday Throwdown!

The above blog post title came about because I’ve missed WIP (aka Stitch-Along) Wednesday and Freshly Finished Friday for the last few weeks, despite my best intentions.  This evening I found some time to take a few photos and do a little mental composition; thus, a blog entry!  Ta da!

Said blog entry (that would this one, the one you’re reading, right here, right now) will contain:

  • Photos of an unfinished project!
  • Photos of a finished project!
  • Photos of a project that has yet to be commenced!
  • Yarn p04n!
  • And a flimsy explanation for the recent lack of activity (plus a bonus excuse for a future lack of same)!

Isn’t that thrilling?  Get it, thrilling?  Because it’s a “thrilling Thursday throwdown”?  Oh, never mind.  Let’s get started, shall we?

Mom's Tunisian 18First, the unfinished project.  The Tunisian Terror approaches the end of its crocheting phase.  I have one more solid square to finish in the coffee colorway, two to make in the cranberry colorway, and then eight striped squares.  Once the striped squares are completed, the crocheting is done.  Then will begin the cross-stitch component of this blanket.  Yes, each of these squares will have a cross-stitch design embroidered on it.  Have I mentioned I don’t do cross-stitch?  That’s my sister’s craft.  But, for my mother, I will do my best.

Bryony 5Next, the finished project.

Pattern: Bryony Cap by Tammy Eigemann Thompson; found in Interweave Knits Weekend 2010Click here for the Ravelry project page.

Yarn: Malabrigo Rios, colorway Marte, roughly 162 yards

Needles:  Addi Turbo circs, size 9 for the ribbing, size 10 for the cabled body, and size 10 DPNs for the crown

Satisfaction with end product:  Very pleased.  If this hadn’t been intended as a gift, I’d have gladly kept it.  I’ve never used Malabrigo before, and now I understand why fellow yarncrafters fall all over themselves for it.  It’s a dream to stitch: soft and squishy and satisfying, not to mention flat-out gorgeous.  Pure tactile pleasure! The pattern itself was well-written and easy to follow.  I made a few minor adjustments.  The pattern called for Bryony 6using a US 10.5 needles, but the ribbing in the 10.5 needle was far too loose for my tastes, so I switched to US 9s and cast on the same number of stitches that were required for the cable portion of the hat (rather than increasing after the ribbing as the pattern specifies). After the ribbing and a no-increase knit row, I switched to the larger needle (a 10, rather than the 10.5) and carried on as written. Using the smaller needles meant row gauge was short, so I did two and a half repeats of the cable section to get sufficient height before starting the decrease. The extra half repeat meant adjusting the decreases to get the same pattern effect at the crown, so I shifted the k2tog and ssk sections by…um, I think it was six stitches.

Purple Shawl 1The project yet to be commenced is also a gift.  I want to use the yarn pictured, which is Miss Babs Cosmic Handpainted Sock in colorway Swan Princess, because the gift is intended for a purple-loving person. The pattern pictured, Bellingrath, is the current champion of the Ravelry “what’s in my library?” search.  I’m just not sure it’s the right pattern for a colorway with such high contrast.  I’m afraid the lace will get lost in the color changes.  I have another sock yarn in stash that is a much lighter purple and much more subtle in its color changes, and now I’m waffling back and forth between the two, plus still stalking Ravelry for patterns. Thus, the “yet to be commenced” part of this project.  I suppose one could say that the only thing I’ve decided here is to make something purple for a particular individual.  Thrilling, yes?

And now, the promised yarn p04n.  I’ve been on a bit of binge recently.  Ready?

Yarn Acquisitions 1Wait, here’s another angle.

Yarn Acquisitions 2Some go-to workhorse yarn (the Cascade 220, along the back), some vibrant look-at-me sock yarn (four skeins at the front left), and that gleaming alpaca-rayon blend Folio in a deep charcoal on the right.  Heaven only knows when I’ll get to use any of it…well, that’s not true.  I bought the Cascade because I needed those colors for specific gifts.  The rest was whimsy.  It’s the whimsy that gets me in trouble.  I am quickly approaching SABLE status.  (That’s “Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy”, for the uninitiated.) I’ve already achieved BABEL status.  (That’s “Books Acquired Beyond Expected Lifespan”.)

Harvey 1Speaking of books, I’ve read several good ones recently.  No, I haven’t blogged about them.  Yes, I feel guilty.  But (here’s the flimsy explanation portion of this blog entry), I’ve been busy.  With this.

Yes, that is a script for a stage play.  After three years away, I auditioned for a local community theatre production and was cast as…

The female lead.  Veta Louise Simmons, sister of Elwood P. Dowd, he of the white rabbit fame.

It’s nice to know my acting chops have not failed despite their lack of recent use.  It’s not so nice to realize I have over 200 lines to learn and must be totally off book, not even calling for a line, by NEXT TUESDAY!!!

Harvey 2Just look at all that yellow on those pages.  It’s like that throughout most of the show.

Actually, I have a good grasp of about half of my scenes, and between now and Tuesday night will be spending virtually every moment that I’m not working with my nose buried deep in that script.  I intend to drive my husband insane by making him run lines with me every night when he gets home from work.  I expect I’ll make the other riders on MARTA think I’m insane by constantly muttering to myself while commuting back and forth to the office.

We open in May, so (and here’s the excuse for future absence bit) don’t expect much in the way of activity here for the next couple of months.  I hope to get back here and read some of your entries for Knit & Crochet Blog Week, but there’s no way I can take part this year. *sad face*

Hey!  I have one more photo for you, and would like a little feedback on it.  When I sat my camera on my desk to upload the photos I had taken today, I noticed something interesting in the viewscreen, so I quickly snapped a couple of shots.  After some judicious editing and cropping, I came up with this:

Yarn Book Banner 3Books, yarn, music…pretty much everything I ever write about.  And a pen to indicate the writing.  I’m thinking I might make this photo the banner for this blog.  Or maybe stage a better one.  What do you think?

Freshly Finished Friday(Edited to add:  I’m going to link this to Hard Knit Life’s Freshly Finished Friday.  Well, it contains an FO, doesn’t it?  Click the badge over there to go to the link party.  You know you want to.)

Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Work in progress

WIP Wednesday: What Once Was Lost Edition

A funny thing happens when one straightens up the clutter in one’s craft room. One finds a project that one had forgotten one started. By the way, one = yours truly, in case you hadn’t figured that part out yet.

Orange Sampler Afghan 1This is a sampler afghan made from some vintage Rowan Plaid (the orange multi) and a chunky wool blend (the solid) from um, Plymouth? Plymouth Encore Chunky, maybe? The ball band is long gone on the solid rust-colored yarn, so I’m relying on a vague memory. I have enough of these two yarns left to make another square plus a border. Each piece is roughly one square foot, so it currently measures about 3×4. With the addition of a thick border, maybe in simple double crochet or perhaps more decorative in some kind of shell stitch, I can finish it off at about “lapghan” size. Boom! A Christmas present for somebody somewhere.

Mom's Tunisian 16Speaking of presents, I’m also still plugging away at The Tunisian Terror for my mother. Egad, how bored am I with this project? *hangs head in shame* So bored that I look for any excuse not to work on it, but gradually the squares are adding up. Currently at 34 squares, so not quite halfway done. According to the pattern, I’m almost finished with the solid squares; the multi-colored ones are coming up shortly. At least that will be something different.

Rustling Russet 2Further speaking of gifts, and guilt, I’ve officially started my first Christmas gift of the year. I know! It’s a miracle! Here’s where the guilt comes in. I looked at my list of people I had promised to make gifts for (or had decided on my own they were deserving of a handmade item because they were generally all-around awesome human beings), and nearly fell over. This is a list of somewhere around 40 names, because it includes the last three years’ worth of “pay-it-forward” hand-made gifty challenges I had left undone. *more head hanging in shame going on* And one name that had been crossed off had to be added back because his present vanished somewhere in the mail between Atlanta and the West Coast city where he resides. (Don’t even get me started on that loss.) That being said, and no longer wishing to live as a guilt-ridden hag, I started a hat with stash yarn (Copper Corgi Savannah Sock in “Devil’s Kiss”) and a stash pattern (Rustling Leaves by Alana Dakos).

After I had gotten about three inches into the hat, I realized I should have used a long tail cast-on instead of a knitted cast-on because that bottom ribbed edge isn’t really sturdy. I mean it won’t unravel or anything, but it’s kind of wobbly and insubstantial. Stitch Along WednesdayAt that point in the knitting, however, I also realized I didn’t want to rip back the last three days’ work and start over, so I’ll persevere. I think it will be okay. When the hat is worn, no one will be able to tell, anyway, right? Right? Please tell me I’m right.
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This post is part of Stitch Along Wednesdays, hosted by Gracey’s Goodies. Click that badge over there to see what other folks are up to this week, and link your own WIP Wednesday story!

Posted in Crochet, Finished object

FO Friday: Baby Granny Redux

My first FO Friday in months! This giant granny square baby blanket was finished some time ago, but because I somehow managed to go two months without a single blog entry, it was never properly documented. I made it for the first grandbaby of my colleague Penny, and she reports her daughter and new grandson think it’s fabulous.

Penny's Granny 2
Pattern: Great Granny by Katherine Eng, from Crochet Today! Jul/Aug 2010
Yarn: Bernat Berella 4 in Soft Taupe, Burnt Orange, Burgundy, and Natural; Patons North America Canadiana Vintage in Oatmeal and Brown. Total yardage due to use of partial skeins, approximately 500 yds.
Hook: US H
Satisfaction with end product: As usual, the acrylic became soft and drapey once washed and dried. I’m happy with how it turned out. And, as mentioned above, its recipients were quite pleased, which pleases me. Because with a gift, it’s how the giftee feels that’s important.

7cde9-fofridayThis post is part of the FO Friday roundup, hosted by Tami’s Amis. Click the badge over there to see what everyone else finished this week!

Posted in Finished object, Knitting

FO Friday: I’m a wanderer. Yes, I’m a wanderer. I roam around around around around.

Spouse as model.
Spouse as model.
So, the Wanderer Scarf is finished. Feast your eyes upon the beauty!

The scarf, I mean. Although my husband the model is awfully handsome, too. 🙂

Pattern: Wanderer Scarf by Martin Storey
Yarn: Rowan Soft Tweed (discontinued), colorway Twig, 5 skeins (435 yards)
Needles: Addi Turbo US 11
Finished size: Approximately 6 inches wide and 8 feet long
Satisfaction with end product: I think it’s wonderful. The texture is amazing, and it’s cushiony soft and warm. I hope its intended recipient will like it.

Here are a few other pictures that show the texture in more detail.

If you click the pic, you can see them full size.

Wanderer Scarf 10Wanderer Scarf 7Wanderer Scarf 6

And now, for your amusement, here are pics of spouse being silly with stereotypical catalog model poses.

Wanderer Scarf 3 Wanderer Scarf 4

With goofiness like this in my house on a daily basis, is it any wonder I keep him around?

7cde9-fofridayThis post is part of the FO Friday roundup, hosted by Tami’s Amis. Click that badge over there to see what other folks have finished this week.

Posted in Finished object, Knitting, Technique

FO Friday: The Third Day of Christmas Edition

Wouldn’t it be lovely if we celebrated Christmas the old-fashioned way? Let the month of December be the reflective season of Advent, with the focus on preparation for the coming of the Christ; and let Christmas be the celebration of that holy birth with the traditional twelve days of joy and gift-giving, beginning on Christmas Day. Of course, the religious aspects of this sort of celebratory tradition will apply only if one follows Christianity, but still, isn’t it a marvelous idea: a winter month of solemn contemplation and introspection, followed by almost two weeks of joyous revelry?

We do this in a small fashion in our home: I refuse to put the Christmas decorations away until Epiphany (January 6), the thirteenth day after Christmas. The gift-giving, not so much, except for you, dear readers. Here on this third day of Christmas, I give to you three completed projects.

Entrelac CowlPattern: Entrelac Cowl by Preita Salyer
Yarn: Noro Cashmere Island, colorway #6, two skeins (220 yds). Actually, it was just under two skeins. I had barely 4 grams of yarn left out of 40, and that works out to about 11 yards remaining. I don’t like having a lot of leftover yarn, so that was perfect. Mini yarn review: This yarn is a single, and it tended to break. A lot. But it was soft and cushy, and the end product is so lusciously warm and cozy, it makes the breakage worth the trouble, at least in this small project. In a larger project, I can see it becoming a royal pain. However, the yarn is discontinued and, except for those 11 yards, I have no more, so it’s a moot issue at this point.
Needles: Addi Turbo U.S. size 6, 20-inch circular
Satisfaction with end product: As mentioned above, the cowl is warm and cozy and cushy and soft. It’s big enough to pull up and cover the wearer’s ears, if needed, but not so big it can’t be worn beneath a coat. I liked it a lot. In fact, I was tempted to keep it for myself, but it was always intended as my sister’s birthday present, so I gave it to her. By the way, this was my first entrelac project, and I’m quite pleased with the result. Noro, with its long color repeats, is the perfect yarn for entrelac. And, as I knitted each tiny square, I used the “knitting backwards” technique I learned at Stitches South in April so I didn’t have to turn my work every seven stitches, making the knitting go faster because I didn’t have to constantly re-adjust my yarn and tension.

Molissa's Scarf 1
Molissa's Scarf 4
Pattern: Richelieu Scarf by Carol Wolf
Yarn: Southwest Trading Company Tofutsies, colorway #921, approximately 390 yards of a 464-yard skein. Mini yarn review: Easy on the hands, no breakage, nice soft feel and drape. I have another skein in a different colorway that I’ll definitely use, maybe for a shawlette.
Hook: Boye aluminum, U.S. Size G
Size: Roughly 7 feet in length, and 8 inches in width. Plenty long enough to wrap around one’s head and neck and still leave a decorative tail to drape across one’s coat.
Satisfaction with end product: Pleased. The pattern was fairly simple for me. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to a beginner. Also, I’d have preferred the directions to have been charted, but the written directions were easy enough to follow. The scarf itself blocked out beautifully, with a wonderful drape. I was a little unsure about that intricately-detailed edging. I was afraid it would look busy or sloppy, but it blocked out nicely. This was a gift for my sister-in-law, who made all the appropriate noises of appreciation.

Craft Room 1Craft Room 2
And finally, this. All the yarn is sorted into the appropriate bins; all the bins are stored in their cubes; all the books and magazines are on the shelves; the sewing machine is stored in the closet but the table is ready for use; the sewing notions, knitting needles, and assorted craft accessories are organized and put away; in short, OMG, it’s a craft room! Thank you to my fabulous spouse who not only assembled the wall units and set them up, he didn’t complain (much) at the cost of said wall units and fabric bins. Craft Room 3Now all I need is a comfy chair and ottoman for sitting and knitting, and all will be perfect! Well, almost perfect. There’s still one corner of the room that needs a little help, and I have several doilies made by my late grandmother that need to be pinned out and mounted in shadowboxes and hung as decor. But the work surface for such pinning and mounting is available!

7cde9-fofridayThis post is part of the FO Friday round-up hosted by Tami’s Amis. Click on that badge over there to see what other folks have finished up this Friday.

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Posted in Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Cast-on-itis needs its own telethon

I’m fighting a bout of cast-on-itis.

These attacks happen every year right about this time: Autumn has arrived in its full force and glory, the house’s central heat has been switched on to ease the morning chill, and I start studying my pattern books, paging through various Ravelry pattern searches, and fondling all those luscious wools in the stash.

Photo © OnceASheep
So, what started it? Last week, when barely three-quarters of the way down the cuff, I got bored with the first k3p1 sock I’m making for spouse — which, by the way, does not bode well for the second sock of the pair — and cast on for a Rowan scarf pattern I’ve admired for a couple of years.

The Wanderer Scarf by Martin Storey is huge and textured and cushiony and made with enormous yarn on enormous needles. It’s intended as a gift for a friend who lives in a cold climate. Said friend may or may not read this blog, so no further details about the giftee will be forthcoming until it arrives in its intended recipient’s hands. But the scarf will probably make an appearance or two in the WIP Wednesday Round-up, assuming I manage to get any such entries written — difficult when working full-time. As insecure as our financial position was during the recent government shut-down, I did enjoy having all that time at home to read and knit and write about reading and knitting. I’m considering it a preview of retirement.

Schaeffer ChrisSpeaking of gifts, though, that’s the other thing that brings on this annual cast-on-itis struggle. It’s getting to be the gift-giving season, when I remember all the people I put on the gift list earlier in the year and realize I haven’t made a single one. In fact, I’m two years behind. And it’s not just Christmas: in my family, we have multiple Autumn and Winter birthdays. You’d think after all these years I’d have learned to make little things — scarves and hats and mitts and socks and fancy washcloths — all throughout the year to avoid being crushed under the weight of the end-of-year obligations. But no. Lesson still not learned. Maybe next year.

Photo © Interweave LLC
Market Jacket, Photo © Interweave LLC
But, truthfully, I really want to knit something for me. Something big this time, like a cardigan or pullover. I’ve been eyeing my stash of reds, in particular, and that 1500 yards of Schaefer Chris in Pomegranate shown above is screaming at me. I think it wants to become the Market Jacket from Interweave’s November Knits. I even have buttons in stash that might work, but it wouldn’t break my heart if I had to buy new buttons. Because, well, buttons! (Have I mentioned I stash buttons as well as yarn? No? Consider it mentioned, then.)

There’s also nearly 1500 yards of burgundy alpaca that wants to become a Gathered Pullover.
Indiecita Alpaca 2020

Gathered Pullover, Photo © Interweave LLC
Gathered Pullover, Photo © Interweave LLC

So, that’s where the resistance to cast-on-itis is coming from: the urge to make a new Autumn sweater for me me me, and the simple fact that there are gifts that should require my complete and total attention. Add the guilt that I’ve recently finished three projects just for me me me… wait, one of those projects was the shrug I cast during last year’s cast-on-itis season. Ha! There’s my justification! Now to decide: the pullover or the cardigan?