Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy After Christmas!

Happy-After-Christmas, Not-Quite-New-Year's!

I figured since the year is drawing to a close, I better post something before my readership completely dwindles to the occassional accidental tourist.

I hope everyone had a lovely christmas, filled with lots of tasty eats, good company and nicely wrapped presents. Here at Through the Back Loop we had a busy but enjoyable holiday and are dreading a return to real life. I could definitely get used to leading a life of leisure gentle reader. Though I've been enjoying my time off, it hasn't all been leisurely. I'm a knitter. It's christmas. I knit like a house on fire. I delivered my Unbloggable Project to Miss J. and was happy that they were a) a surprise and b) well received. Nobody knits for a knitter - which is too bad really, because nobody appreciates knitting more. I think she and her mitts will be very happy together. Too bad I forgot to take some pictures of them. Ah well, next time.
The mittens you see here in all their geometric glory are the second Unbloggable Project. They haven't been delivered yet, but Mammals knows about them already (okay, okay, she was there when I picked out the yarn and we're knitting buddies. Plus she knows me well enough to know that golden yellow, rusty orange and navy are not quite my favourite palette). The pattern is from Charlene Schurch's Mostly Mittens. I heart this book. I desperately want a copy of this book and have been stalking it on Chapter's website. Temporarily Unavailable to Order is not what I want to see people. Just saying. I knit them on 2.25mm bamboo dpns and used Sisu. I haven't read any overly complementary reviews of this yarn and was expecting the worst. Overall, not a bad experience. Yes, it is a little on the splitty side, but other than that, not bad. It comes in a pretty wide range of colours and is affordable. I'm not sure that I would use it for socks as the yarn did develop a bit of a halo after I washed it by hand. I think the fuzzy factor would be even more pronounced if washed by machine and would make the item look worn out before it's time. However, these are mittens and I think they'll have an easier time of things than a pair of socks would. I'd use the yarn again and will definately knit more mittens from this book in the future.

It wasn't all socializing and relaxing between delivering gifts. Things were accomplished. The christmas knitting list grew (again) and 2 more pairs of socks were added to the queue. I'm happy to say that 1 sock from each pair is finished and the recipients, who are out of the country until mid January, will come home to some nice wooly socks after their South American adventure. One pair is knit is a delightful swamp green (another pair of man socks) and the other is from Trekking XXL, colour 105. I chose the Yarrow Ribbed Sock from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. That pattern held 2 new elements for me - the German heel and the French Toe. I liked both, especially the decorative stiches along the edge of the heel flap and gusset.
I also managed to knit myself a pair of mittens from Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition by Terri Shea. Another fabulous book. The patterns are visually interesting and addictive to knit while the history is informative, well written and approachable. I highy recommend it for any fancy mitten lovers out there. Traditionally worked in black and white, for my own pair of NHM#9, I used a grapey-purple alpaca in a fingering weight and some natural cream coloured alpaca, both held double throughout, knit on 2.75mm dpns. The result was a pair of warm, thick mittens that I love. Next time I would use smaller needles and a single strand of each yarn for a pair of thinner, less bulky mitts. Love this book.
I know that as New Year's approaches, resolutions are the big thing. Well gentle reader I too have soem resolutions and here they are in no particular order: post more regularly, practice active stash enhancement whenever the opportunity presents itself (we'll leave the restraint to other, more mature knitters), post on other knitblogs in the hopes that they might visit mine and finally, I resolve to knit more. Not just for myself, but for other folks as well. So far the knitted gifts have gone over well, even my BF liked his man socks and requested another pair ("But just in grey, just like the first pair").Besides, if I didn't give stuff away, I'd be up to my ears in all things knit.
Happy New Year's everybody and happy knitting.