Wednesday, August 12, 2009

planning ahead

Over the past few weeks I have been attempting to plan and begin my Christmas knitting. Every year I get caught in the all too familiar trap; Christmas season arrives, everyone else is planning and finishing gifts and I realize about a week before the 25th that I want to knit everyone a sweater! It has never ended well. Usually one or two people get their gifts, the rest have to wait until I finish them sometime in June (and they are lucky if I DO finish them). I think that makes me a terrible gift giver...hmmmm....yes it does!

But this is the year that I plan to change all of that. I've already cast on a sweater for my mom, and a shawl that I hope to give to my sister! Woot! My dad is the most difficult family member to knit for. Not because he is at all picky, in fact he is happy to receive anything I make. The problem is that I want to be knitting frilly pretty things, and he is just not going to go for that...obviously! I THINK that I'm going to knit him a plain and simple sweater, but construction is yet to be determined. I have a bag of beautiful Cascade 220 in a beige/green colour that will do the job nicely, now I just have to decide what to make.

I start to run into trouble after I cover my immediate family, and begin thinking that I should knit for everyone else and their brother. I would love to make a bunch of vanilla socks, and just hand them out around the holidays. It sounds great right now; I'll use up a bunch of stash yarn (awesome) and I'll always have a good travel project at hand. But I know better than to think I can pull that off!

Right now, all I can report is that the sweater I'm knitting for my mom is moving along nicely. It is very plain, which has allowed me to knit it while watching TV in the evenings. the pattern is Sally, from the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Collection and I'm knitting it in Henry's Attic Prime alpaca. I picked this yarn up when I was in L.A. a couple years ago from Wildfiber in Santa Monica (a lovely store, by the way). At the time I was totally in love; it felt great, each skein had 600 yards of sport weight yarn and came in a lovely selection of natural colours. I grabbed a bunch of it for sweaters and it has sat in my stash ever since. I love knitting this yarn, but I have to say that it is VERY scratchy, certainly not the soft delicate alpaca I thought it was. The colour I'm using for Sally is "Nutmeg",

but I also have 1 skein of black and 2 skeins of "Fawn" that I recently overdyed this colour...

I am seriously hoping that the colour I'm knitting now came off a very prickly alpaca, and my other colours will be softer, because I planned to knit them into shawls, and no one wants a prickly shawl!

I've also been doing a good amount of spinning. Pigeonroof studios has been all-consuming of course, and I'm almost through spinning the 4.1oz of corriedale in the "Collision Course" colourway. So pretty. I have yet to decide how I want to ply it; initially I wanted to go for a 2-ply, to maximize yardage (as usual). However, I need to work on planning ahead, why on earth did I not split the roving into quarters before I started spinning?? I don't predraft at all, so I just dove in, winding the singles off my spindle when it got too full. I'm almost finished spinning and I'm going to end up with three balls of singles, not as simple when one wants to make a 2-ply yarn!

One more thing before I go...I've been having great fun dyeing roving! I still am just guessing at what results I'm going to get, and so far I've only tried painting them. Here are my latest attempts...

...the blue is a baby alpaca roving. I had expected it to be much darker than it turned out. And the reddish braid is mohair. I LOVE this one and was even more surprised at the way it turned out. Before I stuck it in the pot to steam it was covered in pink...where the heck did that go?!