Thursday, January 11, 2007

oh look, it's 2007

Q: Guess what my New Year's resolution is?

A: Yes, you are right. Not to knitblog devotedly every day, no. Sorry, dear readers, if any still remain: I am a ridiculously negligent knitblogger. Yes, Christmas was mental, no, it does not lend itself to quiet reflection and genteel knitting, yes, work is also quite hectic, but still. Still. There is little point having a blog if you don't update it, is there?

But I have learned an important life lesson, one that I will never forget, from this Christmas: I hate knitting for other people. Gift knitting is the worst kind of drudgery. There, you have it. I slogged through two of my Mystery Christmas Presents, abandoned the third and bought a book instead of the planned fourth. Never, never again. Does this make me a bad person in the cosy world of knitbloggers, all patiently turning out socks for dear old grandmas and cute dresses for winsome babies? But if I can't imagine every stitch transforming me into a foxy bemohaired temptress, or keeping me snugly warm against the astonishing gales we have here in Ireland at the moment, it's no good. I just hate it.

So look. Here's my mystery surprise present for my dad:

Socks! How very dadly! And look, here's the toe:

Now isn't that exciting? Well... no, not really. Inoffensive navy socks make for fierce dull photos. And my father hasn't even bothered to try them on yet, so in general, grrr. Christmas knitting bites. Perhaps my daughterly labours will bear grateful fruit yet; or perhaps not.

The other present was a second Ubernatural for my friend D., and it was a roaring success. Unfortunately, it was also a roaring last-minute success: I was frantically ribbing the waistband half an hour before running out the door for New Year's Eve shenanigans. Said last-minute-merchantry meant that no photos were taken, and now the Ubernatural is shielding D. from the bitter cold in Vienna, where she lives. I'm visiting her in two weeks, so I promise scenic photos on location.

I spent Christmas in England, which entailed a long journey in the middle of the night including bus changes, standing around foggy cities in the very early morning, trekking through the night toting a case, and my health was delicate, to say the least. A hat was clearly required. Neelia's rhapsodies about berets convinced me to give the Le Slouch pattern a try with the Tivoli Aran yarn I had left over from my biker jacket. Et voila! Le style!

The pattern is a simple k4, p4 check, and it came out fabulously textured and took one and a half balls of yarn. I love it. Very now, very warm. You should all beret! Most saliently, though, it took me an evening. Whereas the dadly socks took about two weeks. Proof that altruism is most definitely not the root of efficiency.

(I neglected Neelia's advice, and cast on as many stitches as would go round my head. DON'T do this: the brim stretches no end. However, a quick fix with elastic seems to be working just fine, though less elegantly than a properly fitting rim.)

Since then, I have lashed into another pair of Lana Grossa socks with my Edinburgh yarn:

And started swatching for Glampyre's Bulky Green Cables cardigan, in gorgeous chunky teal Tivoli tweed.

I'm still in two minds as to whether or not bold, bulky cables over my bosoms are the most slimming idea ever, but curiously for a knitter, I don't seem to have very many warm jumpers this winter, and I'm longing for the chunky comfort of a simple woollen raglan. Plus, it's a Glampyre top-down pattern, and as she says in the Ubernatural pattern, "If you don't get gauge, don't sweat it. You'll be fine." That's the kind of pattern I like.


Anonymous said...

I think nearly all people look good in berets, and you're no exception! The whole number-of-stitches-for-around-your-head has me baffled, tbh - I did the same thing you did but ended up having to rip it out. It sort of goes against the whole concept of gauge in a way. Christmas knitting is not really a good idea, unless you know the people you're giving to are 1. uber, uber grateful and 2. don't mind if it's late... and even then, a book isn't the worst of Plan Bs!

Interesting cable cardigan... I wouldn't worry too much about it looking too bulky. It IS January! PS: did you see anything like Hurricane Wednesday last night?!

PPS: Enjoy vienna!

felinity said...

Aww fewer glitzy knitposts, woe!

Don't give it up altogether though dear. You know you don't want to (*hopes*). Regarding gift-knitting -- all mine so far has been in one of two camps: quick and small and easy; or a complete labour of love (keeping my interest by dint of an interesting pattern). Anything outside of those two extremes is best to be avoided I completely agree.

la glitz said...

Aileen - thanks so much! I'm madly in love with this beret, particularly during these crazy hurricanes. It hasn't blown off my head ONCE. Elastic is magic.

Felinity - fear not, I have posted once more! You know how addicted I am.

And thank you for the wise words on gift knitting, both of you. I am learning.