Once upon a time I took up needlepoint. But after making several Christmas ornaments and two framed nutcrackers, I decided I didn't like needlepoint because it was... frivolous. Nothing I made had any particular use; I felt like a pampered rich bitch from the seventeenth century who probably deserved to have her head lopped off and all her possessions distributed to the starving serfs who slaved to make her useless existance happen.
Knitting is not like that. Knitting is useful. Knitting is functional. Sure, we can make frivolous things sometimes, but by and large, even those frivolous things are at least nominally useful.
My recent knitting has been useful.
I finished two pairs of fingerless gloves. The Kat's™ hands are safe from frostbite. Midwestern hospitals have been reporting an epidemic of frostbite this winter. Apparently, many people have forgotten how to dress for the weather.
Not me. I dislike being cold. My winter outerwear is either a down jacket or a down coat. Toasty warm but boring because both are dark brown. Boorrrr-ing.
Solution: jazz them up with bright hat(s), scarf(ves), gloves, mittens.
There was the turquoise hat and scarf I made last spring. Hat keeps me warm, scarf did, too, until I lost misplaced it.
A casual stop at the outlet mall scored me two pairs of leather gloves.
I pair the blue set with the down coat, which is what I wear when it is particularly cold. Because they are stranded knitting and worsted weight yarn on US#5 needles, they are warm.
Pattern: Striped Mittens from Favorite Mittens by Robin Hansen.
Yarn: Cascade 220 in the creatively named 4006, about half a skein. The blue and green tweedy bits are two strands of sock yarn held together, Online Highland colors (also creatively named) 838 and 840.
Needle: Signature US#5/3.75mm circ.
The red set is paired with the down jacket when the temp is above 20˚F.
Pattern: Basic Mitten Pattern, from The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd.
Yarn: More of the same Cascade 220 for the ribbing and Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Iron Ore (not currently available) for the hand.
Needles: Signature US#5/3.75mm circ.
Then there was my cowl. I liked it so much I decided to make a cowl for a friend whose birthday is this month. (She doesn't read the blog, so it is safe to show it here.) I have been thinking about knitting her something for her birthday for at least two years. I had only a week until her birthday, however; clearly, her gift could not be the Clapotis I had been thinking about nor a fingering weight cowl like mine. But I had some lovely soft DK weight that would be perfect.
Behold, the City Creek Cowl!
Pattern: City Creek Cowl by Susan Lawrence.
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss DK (70/30 merino/silk; 50gr/123yd) in cream, about 1-1/4 balls. I have a couple skeins of fingering weight Gloss, and they feel like any other sock yarn. The DK, however, is delightfully soft and fluffy.
Needles: Knit Picks Options US#10.
Mods: The chart is 45 rows, then the pattern says to repeat rows 16-45 once. I omitted that repeat because I could not imagine attempting to wear a cowl that was as tall as it would have been.
Because this is DK weight yarn knit on 6.0mm needles, it has a nice soft drape. The pattern recommended blocking it on a large can to ensure that it is stretched enough to drape properly. I omitted that step, but I will tell her about it so she can do it if she wants it larger. (I have the perfect can -- maybe I should give her that, too.)
That's the FOs. Here is what I started after I rose from my sickbed last week.
That is the beginning of the sleeves for Fairfield, using the Gedifra merino/cotton that came in the mail last week.
I will be spending at least ten hours in a car and a bus this week, plus needing to idle away a fair bit of time in the middle (more on that another day), which means lots of knitting time. Thinking that juggling two balls of yarn might be problematic -- I'm knitting both sleeves at once because if I don't they will not match, no way, ever -- I decided to cast on for the back.
My goal is to march right through this sweater. I have made myself three sweaters since I got back to serious knitting in ~2005 and every darned one of them took me at least two years. Not this time (she said firmly).