The state of the holiday knitting

When last I updated you, this was the state of my Christmas crafting list:

  • One hat (already done) - still the case, but I've realized that I need to make the lining a bit longer, so that needs to happen.
  • One scarf (weaving) - probably 6 inches from being done. This needs to happen tonight.
  • A set of felted clogs (which will be delivered unfelted) - I pulled the yarn out of the attic, but this is plane/post-Christmas knitting (since they won't be delivered until later)
  • Another cowl (already done) - I'm re-thinking this one, and I think I won't be gifting this particular cowl.
  • Two kid-sized sweaters - One done and blocked (albeit with 3/4 length sleeves due to yarn shortage), second is done down to the underarms and I've designed/charted the stitch pattern for the hem. Hopefully to be done with the knitting before we get underway, but I'm not holding out for blocking.
  • A Color Affection (done) - still done, and I'm hoping the gloves will be done to go with it by the post-Christmas events.

However, more things have been added to the list:

  • A hat for Himself - after seeing the Copenhagen Hat, he decided it was pretty nice, and he'd like one, only less gnome-like. This hat is done, but only because I ripped out and reknit the sample hat to his more close-fitting specifications. It's blocked and waiting for a tassel, which I might hold off on until he tries it on, in case there need to be more modifications done.
  • Spindles for the girls - I have the whorls, but now they need shafts and hooks (and balancing!). I was going to sew up little bags for them, but given the time crunch, I may just go to Devil's Favorite Store TM and get a couple of spindle-sized bags for them. I've already got piles of scraps from dyeing for them to play with...
  • The Royal Alpaca cowl has been cast on, and is going to be the main airplane knitting - totally mindless and straightforward. Should be done by the time we land.

I keep catching myself thinking "Oh, maybe I could just cast on that and finish it off quickly..." but it's totally insane to even contemplate such a thing. Unless I'm also planning on giving up sleeping between now and Christmas. Not. Bloody. Likely.

Post-release bliss

I've spent the last week or so working on other people's projects. Which is to say, working on patterns that I didn't write/am not currently writing/am not planning on writing up and publishing. It's been very enjoyable!

I've been doing some spinning...
JUS needs more yarn
I ran out of yarn with one row and ten stitches left in the third chart of Jane's Ubiquitous Shawl, so over the weekend I spun up 8 more ounces, and last night I plied it all (in less then 2 hours - love the miniSpinner for plying!). It's now having a bit of a soak, and it should be dry by tomorrow, so I can motor on with that project.

I've been working on Ruth's Mystery KAL, a pair of gloves in Botany Lace.
KAL gloves in progress
I'm almost done with last week's clue on glove #2, which is good because the last clue was released this morning. I think these are going to end up as a Christmas present.

And I've been cranking along on Boo's Christmas sweater.
Boo's Christmas sweater
Despite all evidence to the contrary, she is not colorblind. She simply wants to look like a green and purple bumblebee. We had a mini-P3 reunion lunch last week, and the general consensus was "Did you talk to her about the color wheel at all??!!!"* and "You should probably do some kind of slip stitch when you change colors..."
Boo's Christmas sweater
The end result is a slip stitch color change row of which I am becoming increasingly enamoured. If I hadn't put a mental moratorium on designing projects** until after the new year, I would be starting a steeked fingering weight cardigan using this switch over. But in some more appealing colors, to be fair...maybe I can just do a bit of swatching?

* The girl is not yet six, but she has pretty definite ideas of what she wants. Color wheel, shmolor wheel. Green and purple it is.
** Note: this does not mean I'm not going to buy yarn for it. Knitpicks doesn't deliver to the UK, but they do deliver to my parents' house! Hello Christmas present to myself.

Successful marketing FTW

Today Alli* and I ventured out to the St. Margarets section of Twickenham to Mrs. Moon, a lovely little yarn and haberdashery shop right by the train station. She had been before, but this was my first visit, and it was either very successful or completely disastrous, depending on your point of view.

Mrs. Moon is pretty heavily into alpaca and alpaca blends. This is not a bad thing in any way, shape or form, but as I perused the walls of the shop, I came across these little gems.
Blue Sky Alpacas Royal Petits
Spectacularly soft, 25 gr balls of 100% Royal alpaca, in the most gorgeous subtley muted colors. I fondled, sighed, and moved on, determined to resist their siren call. Because really, more yarn is not what I need, amirit?

But then I noticed the patterns. And it was game over...
Successful marketing ploy
Blue Sky Alpacas have released a set of accessory patterns to go with the Royal Petites, and the package is completely irresistable. The cover of the pattern has a vintage style drawing of the accessory, and when you open it up,
Successful marketing ploy
there are two pockets. On the left side is a photo of the fiber sources,
Successful marketing ploy
while on the right is a gorgeous, wallpaper-y shot of color peeking out which,
Successful marketing ploy
when unfolded, reveals a picture of the finished accessory on one side, and the pattern on the other.
Successful marketing ploy
There was no way I was escaping unscathed, no way. It's almost too over the top, but I couldn't resist.
Successful marketing ploy
However, this purchase has firmly put the nails in the coffin of my theoretical attempts to not knit presents for Christmas. Currently, the list has ballooned to the following:

One hat (already done)
One scarf (weaving)
A set of felted clogs (which will be delivered unfelted)
Another cowl (already done)
Two kid-sized sweaters (now swatched - Hooray!)
A Color Affection (done)

Also in the works are a handspun shawl (for me), a laceweight cardigan (also for me), and some gloves (yet again, for me, but they may end up as a Christmas present instead). So adding one more cowl to the list isn't so crazy, right?

We will ignore the fact that I have not yet cast on either of the sweaters or the felted clogs. Apparantly I'm counting on our 8 hour flight home ballooning into something like a week and a half, given all the knitting I think I'm getting done on the plane. To be fair, if I prioritize, I need to do the sweaters and the cowl first, because they need to be done by Christmas day. The clogs can be a few days late.

Shit. I guess this means I have a plan? Oy!

* I'm getting a bit concerned that this is the second Friday in a row Alli has dragged me to a yarn store, and the second Friday in a row I've purchased something. Since we're scheduled to do another outing next Friday, I'm thinking I should leave my credit card at home...

Remember, remember...

I love Guy Fawkes Day. Not because of the terrorist associations of the holiday, or the burning effigies on a pyre thing, but because who doesn't love standing out in 3 degree weather drinking mulled wine and watching fireworks?

Anyway, the 5th of November seems like a good day to take stock of the state of my knitting world, and consider exactly how crazy the next seven weeks are going to be. I have a wonderful family, and I love knitting them things - we're at a stage now where pretty much everyone lives in a place where wooly goodness is a good thing. But, given the general state of affairs (and my time constraints), last week I decided that I'm not going to try to knit for everyone this Christmas. That's not to say there aren't going to be knitted gifts - I've been doing a bunch of hats recently, you may have noticed, so some of those may find new homes. I've also got a bunch of handspun crying out to be woven, which is way faster then knitting, particularly once the warping is done. So there will be weaving.

Then given all my good intentions and promises to myself of no more late night, panicked knitting sessions, I then promptly turned around and asked the girls what kind of sweaters they wanted for Christmas.


There is dyeing in my future (something new and different...). Boo wants green and purple stripes, and Dev wants colorblock in pink, teal, turquoise, bright blue and fuschia. Ow, my eyes!...I think I'll do Boo's yarn first and hope that Devil has a change of heart. Fingers crossed!