Hello Blog, I missed you.
See, things got kinda hairy there for a while. I spent the fall and most of the winter working through my secret closet of hidden wierdness. Everyone has one. I just needed to clean mine out. Right now there's weird lying all over the floor and I trip over stuff on a fairly regular basis. There's a big box of crazy in the corner, but I have most of the rest cleaned up. The trick is keeping it tidy, maintaining my perspective, and not getting obsessive. Divorce watchers out there can plan to uncork a nice white wine with me on March 4, which is the date everything becomes final.
Meanwhile, I've been knitting. My sock mojo deserted me when I discovered creative ribbing in the socks I'd started in August. I have this lovely skein of hand dyed fine sock yarn from Cider Moon (who have morphed into a different company now, and continue to make gorgeous stuff). It's called "Lost" and is all of the greens of the jungle. I love the colours and the yarn, but it didn't play nicely with any sock pattern I tried. Finally I decided to just do a regular sock with a ribbed leg to give it enough elasticity to hug my shapely calves. Honestly, you'd think I could manage K2 P2 around and around. Apparently not. I decided to try 2 circs instead of my usual dpns and to go top down instead of toe up. You know... mix it up a little... I cast on and joined to knit in the round, without twisting, then K2 P2 along the first needle, ending with a P2. No Problem.Then I started the next needle with a P2 ending with a K2. Over the next several weeks I knit sporadically on the socks and made it all the way to the heel before noticing that I had a K4 directly opposite a P4. Gah. I've ripped this yarn back out of socks at least 5 times already so made the K4 a "design element" by placing it front and centre of the leg (thereby hiding the P4 up the back like a seam) and knit the heel. About halfway down the foot (knit plain!) it occurred to me that I could very well mistakenly knit the ribbing on the second sock correctly, thereby messing it up yet again. That's when the sock mojo ran away.
A change was required, so I dug through the stash and came up with a single ball of Austerman "Gina". Novelty eyelash yarn. Horrible stuff, but soft as a kitten's belly and just as fluffy. I couldn't resist buying it for the shear novelty factor of having yarn with my name on it. Several hours of sifting through patterns on ravelry led me to this from Crazy Aunt Purl. Oh yeah.... soft fuzzy novelty yarn + super easy cute beret pattern = the start of an obsession.
"Gina" Beret (Flickr link: Have never tried this before, so don't know how it will work.)
The soft fuzziness was fairly rapidly followed by this: Manos Del Uruguay Beret I've had this single skein of Manos in beautiful fall rust colours sitting in the stash forever. Same pattern. This beret took about just over half of the skein. Holding the yarn double would have made for a warmer, firmer structure and I think I could have squeaked it out by skipping a row or two just before starting the crown decreases.
Thoroughly hooked, I took myself over to my LYS for a single skein of Meritwist which quickly became the Monet Beret because each stitch is a different colour from it's neighbours and it reminds me of a pointilist painting. Monet is soft and thick and cozy and warm and I love it.
In fact, I was stopped by a store clerk and asked about it. "Is it handknit?" she asked.
"Yes," I replied with a big smile, "I just finished it."
"It looks handknit." she appraised.
I really didn't know how to take that, and my shock must have been written all over my face because she quickly explained that she liked my beret very much and had been talking to people who were looking for a handknit chunky beret but couldn't find one in stores and wondered where I'd got mine but since I made it myself it didn't really help her problem.
Nevertheless, I decided that yet another beret was needed, this one dressier and made to match my winter dress coat in red and black. I had to search out a new pattern because I wanted this one to be a bit finer guage and, well, dressier. Opus Spicatum fit the requirements nicely. I even did a guage swatch, in the form of a pulse warmer for my daughter. Proud of myself for actually following proceedure, I happily cast on exactly as directed and knit away, two-handed fair isle just for fun. You know what's coming don't you. In fact, so did I, by the time the brim was finished. But with that brand of self-delusion peculiar to knitters I thought it would block to size. It didn't. My first attempt is now the proud possession of my colleague's almost 2 year old daughter, Isabella, whom it fits perfectly. Miniature Opus Spicatum (Cascade 220 in the round on two 5mm cable needles).
I've just finished yet another beret, but haven't yet got a picture of it. This time I just went ahead and did it using the instructions for worsted weight in The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd. If I can get the Girlchild to model it in daylight, I'll update this post with a picture for you. Tonight's tv knitting is a matching cowl for her, so you might get lucky and see both. Don't count on it though, I'm unreliable.