Friday, December 29, 2017

Deep Freeze

Greetings from the frozen north!  Deep winter is upon us here in my neighborhood.  The yard creaks with cold.  Catdog loves the snow, for about three minutes.  She chases a snowball, running practically sideways with her skinny little legs all a blur, and leaping through the drifts like a bunny, her ears pricked up and pink, and then, before I'm even tired of the game, she's at the door wanting to go back inside.  The lure of the fuzzy fireplace rug just calls to her.  It calls to me, too.  We spend a lot of time curled up there together, soaking up the warmth.  
This kind of weather calls for a serious sweater.  I have a new lopapeysa!  Guys, Icelandic wool...I can't even.  Where have I been?  
It's so hairy that I sort of feel like a catdog myself, but whoo.  So warm.  It's a little rough on the bare skin, but I don't really mind that.  The pattern is Moon Pulls, by Dianna Walla, in Lettlopi "Ash Heather" and "Golden Heather."  The cream is a skein of Andy's Merino from the stash that I decided to use when I realized that the second lopi contrast color I'd chosen wouldn't work.  (Value/contrast.  This is the hardest lesson there is for me.)  The collar and cuffs are lined with the oh-my-goodness-so-soft Woolfolk Sno.  I may live in this until March.  I want all the lopapeysas now.  
There's really been quite a lot of knitting going on around here, actually.  These tucked-in days when the sky outside is raging are so good for lots of cozy needlecrafting.  This is my newly-finished Shadow by Olga Buraya-Kefelian, in West Yorkshire Spinners Fleece, the very excitingly named "Brown" colorway.  This yarn is dense and soft, and sort of cushy.  It makes the cables jump right out of the fabric.  
I started "Shadow" back in September, made the whole front, and then got sidetracked by a lot of other things.  When I decided I really wanted it so I could, duh, wear it, I got it back out and focused on it for awhile, and one night, in the (constant) blue glow of the Netflix box, it got done.  It has 3/4 length sleeves, which would have been fine a month ago.  Well, this is what wristwarmers must be for, right?   I think I'll wear this one a lot, too, if I can pry myself out of my lopapeysa.  
Also, I finally managed to produce this.  It is Ravello, by Isabell Kraemer, in Holst Supersoft "Bleached White", "Verbena", and "Heath".  I have knit and then unraveled two other Ravellos, and I almost had to do the same to this one when I ran out of white three inches from the end of the second sleeve, but my favorite LYS came to the rescue.  We drove to them in a snowstorm, and it was wound and ready for me when we got there.  Yarn Culture.  They are awesome.  This garment is so light and wooly and weightless--I think it would fit in my purse.
I know, that's a lot of finished sweaters, all at once, isn't it?  I'm often asked how I manage to get so much knitting done, and I'm curious about that, too, so I've thought about it a lot, and the answer is really mostly that I spend a LOT of time knitting.  I just knit a lot.  If I'm not doing something else, I'm knitting.  It might come in small increments of a few minutes here and there, but it adds up.  Another big contributor to production speed is that my style preference is for garments that are mostly unadorned, so I don't often choose patterns that have a lot of lace, or complicated stitch patterning, or quirky shaping or construction.  That means there are usually long stretches of stockinette stitch, usually knit in the round, and that is ground that I can cover very quickly.  Another thing that helps me is that I have had nearly forty years of experience with knitting, and with garment knitting in particular.  I know what I want, and I make those things.  I decided early on that I wanted to make socks and sweaters, so I abandoned all the half-finished garter stitch scarves I had started and grown sick of, and started making socks and sweaters.  The early ones were pretty awful, but of course I wore them and was very pleased at the time.  So by now, I know how those things go together.  I don't have to spend a lot of extra time deciphering instructions because I've been around the block a few times already, and if I find I'm doing a lot of peering at a pattern and struggling to understand something, it's a pretty good indication that I'm not going to enjoy the process of knitting that thing, nor will it be anything I will want to wear.  I appreciate brioche stitch and all that, and I can admire a design where you cast on at the left shoulder and build out from there in a diamond pattern, or whatever, but it isn't my style.  So that's just experience talking to me, and saving me time.   Years of experience also means that I am pretty deft and fast (I'm a thrower, English-style) and that helps projects build quickly, too.  That's just muscle memory.  And really, I just love to knit, and it has loved me back.  So that's three finished sweaters since the last time we saw each other.  Which means, of course that it's time to start something new!  Isn't that just the BEST?