Here I am, resurfacing after a very hectic holiday season, and a flu-filled January. But I haven’t been idle. I can report on several bits of progress.
First, the annual holiday cookie bake – ten kinds, plus. They are all long since eaten, but since I list the kinds each year (and often look back in succeeding years to remember the ones we liked best), here we go
Top row: Chocolate crinkles (aka Earthquakes); Sugar Cookie Stars; Gingersnap/Lemon Sandwiches
Middle Row: Raspberry Rugalach; Classic Tollhouse; Peanut Butter Suns; Coconut Macaroon, Chocolate Dipped; Buffalo Bourbon Balls
Mezzanine Row: Both are fudge rolled around a whole roasted hazelnut
Bottom Row: Sugar Stars with Lemon Filling (I had extra buttercream); Mexican Wedding Cakes; Hazelnut/Ganache Sandwiches (aka Oysters).
The next accomplishment was a set of six mythical beasties crocheted placemats, which had their debut when family came to dinner for New Years Eve.
As I described before, the designs are all from Dupeyron’s Le Filet Ancien au Point de Reprise VI, itself an on-line offering in the Antique Pattern Library’s filet crochet section. I used a large cone of unmercerized cotton cordage, roughly worsted weight, that I bought aeons ago at the old Classic Elite Mill Ends Store, when it was in its original location, in the mill building itself. I ended up having to unravel some experimental swatches I had knit with the stuff before, in order to have enough. I still have one piece of the set unfinished – a small center runner to go with the mats. I’ll pick that up again in the warmer months. Note that the patterns for these beasties are from a matching set of squares – 35 units x 35 units. Filet crochet with this stuff, at this gauge, using this hook, by my hand is NOT square, but the resulting rectangles are perfectly useful. More on this project is here.
I also finished the Bee Socks, but younger daughter took them back with her to school, so no pix of both done at the same time. However, they are both complete.
Moving closer to the present, it was freezing here in Massachusetts in January. Although one could argue that knitting a cozy, warm, oversize sweater in the Fall would have been better timing, the weather did inspire me to knock one out in January.
I’m quite pleased with this one, although in real life it reads more as maroon than blue-purple. I used Melissa Leapman’s Men’s Cables and Ribs Pullover, and knit it up using most of two stashed bags of Debbie Bliss Glen. It’s a very soft merino/acrylic blend ragg single, with a soft spin. It’s luscious stuff, but it is extremely splitty and difficult to handle, which is probably why it ended up at my late, lamented, local yarn shop’s remainder sale. The striping effect was a surprise, but I like it.
The only thing I did to adapt the pattern was to stop knitting the sleeves after I accomplished the bulk of the increases. At that point I sewed the front and back together, and finished out the turtleneck. Then I tried it on. I knew that the drop shoulders would be VERY wide, and being a men’s pattern, the sleeves – if knit to the original specifications – would be way too long. So with the unfinished thing on, bib style, I measured the length of the run from the edge of the drop shoulder to my desired cuff termination point. Then I completed the sleeves to that dimension for a perfect fit.
And now we are caught up to the newest project: Octopodes for Niece Frankie – a bespoken project by special request, just started yesterday:
The pattern is Octopus Mittens by Emily Peters. I’m using Cascade Heritage 150, a fingering/sport weight yarn, but doubled to get the DK thickness recommended in the pattern. And you can see, I’m using my Strickfingerhut knitting thimble/yarn guide thingy to assist with the stranding.
So far I’ve gone down a needle size from the pattern’s recommendations. I may end up ripping back and going down another size. We’ll see. For the record, the solid yellow bit at the bottom is turned up and sewn in, to make a double-thick cuff. Had I read ahead in the pattern, I would have used a provisional cast-on, then grafted the section later on. At least I had the foresight to use a half-hitch cast-on, to allow for maximum stretch.
And a final note. Younger Daughter is an octopus-fiend. I suspect she will see this post, and wild with desire, demand her own pair of Octopus Mittens. In her own colors, of course.