Thursday, January 21, 2010

Click, Click, Click Go the Needles

My knitting has gotten out of hand recently. Well, no, to be more accurate, my knitting has been in my hands quite a lot this month. Usually I have two or, at most, three knitting projects that I'm actively knitting on at any one time. But right now I have 5 projects underway, all competing for my knitting attention. If knitting was my only craft, five projects would perhaps not seem so unreasonable. But weaving and spinning also make demands on my time too, so that's why I'm feeling like my knitting is a little (or perhaps a lot) out of control. To make matters worse, all five projects are interesting. I'm not willing to banish any of them to the "Knitting Basket of Limbo." So here they are, in no particular order.

First of all, the project that has been on the needles the longest is a Fair Isle vest in Jamieson & Smith 2 Ply Jumperweight Shetland Wool. The pattern I'm using is Meg Swanson's April in Wisconsin Vest.

In the perfect vision of hindsight, I can see that I would have been wiser to have just knitted the pattern as written, especially considering that this is my first attempt at a Fair Isle vest. But no, I wanted a button-up vest rather than a pullover. Now that I'm up in the armhole and neck opening decreases, there is so much happening in every round that I can only work two or three rounds before my brain starts to beg for mercy. This is definitely an "early in the day with a cup of tea" project.

The most recently started project is a pair of socks. The pattern is Cauchy from Cookie A's book Sock Innovation. The yarn is Briggs & Little's Durasport. I launched this project a couple of weeks ago because I was on call for jury duty last week and wanted a compact project to take along in the event I was required to report to the courthouse. My juror number was never called, so a sock project has joined the WIPS. These socks are destined to be a gift and there is no deadline, so I don't need to rush to finish them. By the way, the graphpaper notebook (which barely shows in the photo) has a nice handsewn fabric cover and was a Christmas gift, from and made by my sister Bonnie.

The next project is the one I am focusing on the most right now. The pattern is Elizabeth Zimmerman's Green Sweater. Pattern and Briggs & Little Sport yarn are from Schoolhouse Press. Although it presently looks like a floppy shapeless thing with random holes, with time it will turn into a neat stockinette stitch cardigan with dolman sleeves. The knitting is easy and relaxing. I'd like to finish it while our weather is still cold enough to wear it.

Another conglomeration of yarn that doesn't look like anything recognizable at the moment is the Akimbo Scarf. Designed by Stephen West, this is a triangular scarf which can be worn in lots of ways. I'm using Pagewood Farm Denali Hand Dyed Sock Yarn in two colorways. The second colorway hasn't been introduced yet.

The last in my knitting projects quintet is a double knit tam. I've only finished the ribbing so far. The pattern is the Double Knit Trinity Tam by Bex Oliger, the intrepid knitwear designer and partner/manager of True Blue Fiber Friends. This is my first foray into double knitting and I'm enjoying it so far, although I can already tell it's not going to be a fast knit. I'm using two colors of Knit Picks Palette fingering weight wool. The pattern is lovely. Hopefully I'll do a good job with it, so that it can be used for an Access Arts fundraiser.

Well, there's my current knitting line-up. Plenty of variety and luckily it's winter, so chilly afternoons and long evenings allow for lots of knitting time. But did I mention, there are weaving and spinning projects scattered around our house too? So, that's all for now. I'm going to go whomp on my loom for awhile ...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Blue Jay Way

In these harsh winter days I've been busy at my looms and spinning wheel, not inclined to write much. But today the weather was just mild enough for me and the dog to do a little walkabout around the pond and through the pasture. Sure enough, the spare beauty inspired me to snap a handful of photos. Just as I was ready to retreat to the warm kitchen, I walked round the old chicken coop and glanced at the weatherbeaten door. Stuck in a gap in the wood was an acorn, stashed there by some blue jay, I'm sure. A morsel of food, a bit of survival for the blue jay, a smile on a cold day for me.