Monday, January 5, 2009

I've been hibernating

Where does the time go? I swear, last time I looked, Christmas was on the horizon, holiday parties were starting to pop up and I was in the midst of gift knitting. I hope everyone had a good holiday with lots of tasty eats, family and friends. And knitting, lots of knitting.

I swore that this year I wouldn't knit for anyone - too much work, too much stress, not enough appreciation, blah, blah, blah. Then I got an email from my dad telling me how much he was looking forward to his Christmas socks and how his partner loved last year's socks so much - what's a girl to do? Knit some socks of course. Socks that I knit, wrapped and delivered without taking a single photograph. Awesome. Take my word for it, they were plain, but handsome socks - good for hiking, which is what those folks like to do. They were well received and next year I'll know better.

There was a lot of knitting this Christmas. Lots of last minute I-will-finish-this-before-the-29th-if-it-kills-me variety. You see, It all started with the Laminaria shawl that I knit for myself. My globetrotting friend was home for one of her infrequent visits and was admiring it. Would I make her one she asked, sure I said. And so it began. I started in late September and worked away on it in fits and starts, all with the intention of mailing it to her when it was finished. Then came the surprise Christmas visit and the shawl was so close, but not quite done. I was knitter obsessed. I was driven. I was sick of looking at this lacy purple beast and I wanted it gone. So I knit. I knit the full shawl version in the Fleece Artist's Suri Blue. This time around I knit it up on 4.5mm needles and was much happier with the result - slightly more open, but not too fluttery, if that makes any sense. It blocked beautifully and my friend was thrilled. Of course, I don't have any photos of it either. She has promised to take some pics for me in the foreign and exotic places she'll be travelling to in the coming year - knits on the move!

Lest you think that I spent my holidays knitting undocumented items for people who live far away, behold! Another neck warmer!

But not just any neck warmer - I knit this out of some luscious, luscious yarn that I've been hoarding for just the right project. For Christmas this year I gave myself a copy of Luxury Yarns One-Skein Wonders. What a great book. I am a collector of single skeins of yarny goodness. After a while, a girl likes to actually use those single treasures and this book has a lot of good ideas for yarns ranging from lace weight to bulky. I chose Cheryl Oberle's Yak Neck Cuff. I wasn't seduced by the name, but the picture. It just looked so soft and cozy and I decided I too must make one. I modified the pattern to knit in the round on 4mm 16inch circulars needles and had to fiddle a bit to get the knitting to match up with the project photo. And, true to the title, I used the entire skein. The entire skein. I may have had 3 inches left over after I wove in the ends, I didn't want to waste an inch.

The yarn I chose is Fibre-Isle International's Mooi- a medium weight blend of bamboo, bison and cashmere. It's pretty much like knitting with a little bit of heaven. Something this soft absolutely belongs next to the skin. There are several things that I love about this yarn - the combination of the rich colour, the sheen of the bamboo and the fuzzy halo of the bison is fabulous. It knits up into deliciously fat stitches and has a lovely drape. It also light weight and quite warm and as such I think this yarn would be best suited to projects like scarves or simple shawls. Because it's pretty fabulous on it's own, I would keep the stitch pattern uncomplicated- maybe a simple cable or something of that nature. I really can't say enough how much I enjoyed this yarn, if you can get your hands on some, do it. But don't be fooled by the picture, I'm not keeping the neck warmer, it's going to be gifted to a friend in the near future. I was thinking of her when I cast on, and am hopeful that she'll enjoy wearing it as much as I enjoyed knitting it. If not, I'll steal it back ;)

Well, Happy New Year from TBL and hopefully this year will bring all of you peace, joy and good knitting.