it's been a while.... by now the leaves are off the trees (Elke - it didn't look half as nice today, or rather it was so foggy that you could barely see the tree in the header, never mind the other side of the valley....), the nights are often frosty - but the day temperatures are still in the plus grades, so that we do have icy patches after dark, but during the day the roads are ok... I hope that it stays that way; at the back of my mind I have the niggling worry that very soon we might have snow and ice again and problems with shopping etc.. and I am talking about shopping for food, not for elaborate christmas gifts etc.!
which brings me right on to the reason why there was so little blogging done here. several larger projects as christmas gifts mean very little time for anything else I could show here! but - it's looking good, I am making progress and hope to be finished in time (without night shifts, if possible:).
this is a small project I used to test out a bigger pattern. the first time round I chose a needle size too small and ended up with a piece of cardboard (Lagerfeld might have worn it instead of one of his ubiquitious stiff collars:). after ribbing and going up in needle size I ended up with a wearable cowl. which could be improved on, it's far from perfect. if you wear it like this it rolls up to the outside, which is alright. if you try to wear the purlside out, you end up with a ring around your neck that feels uncomfortable and looks.... a bit like a rodon cake tin! the yarn is darker in real life, handspun superwash merino, dyed with food dyes, plied with a fine cotton thread. I am not sure if I leave it like this and wear it - maybe. or I'll just pull it all apart and use the yarn for something else.... I don't think I'd buy superwash fibres again - they have an odd feel to them, a bit like cotton balls, nothing like wool at all:(
I also spun some honey coloured mohair I had in stash for some time, but I only managed 200 of the 300 g, the rest is still in the corner, waiting for a quiet moment. I miss the spinning, but if I start doing it right now, I loose too much of the time I need for finishing christmas stuff! but I am looking forward to lots of spinning time during the holidays:) no plans for the mohair yet. I think it's too scratchy for a scarf, no idea what I'll use it for or even if I should ply it or not.
to make sure I don't run out of work during the holidays I stashed up from Suzie during the last spinner's meeting:) there are some small balls of merino in purple, red and green. also two bags full (100 g each) in different shades of blue. I got two 1 kg balls of teeswater (I think I might have bought most of what was in store by now:) plus a small bag of a few gaywool dyes. a small booklet with christmas deco ideas in knitting. and for creative times two bags full of sari silk strips, in the pic on the right, pink and purple tones....
I had also planned to knit the "licorne" socks by J. Laidman. I looked around for some sock yarn in the right colour, which isn't easy (the original yarn isn't available anymore and was from overseas anyway), because it has to be one with very subtle colour flecks, nothing with stripes or other patterns. I thought I found what I wanted on Beata's hedgehog fibres page, but when the yarn came it was too pinkish blue to fit the pattern. luckily the yarn found a new owner immediately! that's what the gaywool dyes are for - I think I stop hunting and just dye my own:) I also orderd some corriedale fibres in purple from Beata - and I can't get enough of it, have to keep myself from running to the wheel to start spinning it:) I only have 250 g, so it won't be enough for a large project. but I think if I spin it into a fine singles I should have enough for a nice shawl or maybe a shrug.
when a friend asked if I wanted to order some sock charms - I couldn't resist! it was fun to unpack the little bag they came in and lay out my collection:) some of them I wanted for a friend, who cannot resist anything "mousy".... I'll add them to the christmas gift, without socks, just as a small something to unpack.
the hands I want to put on handmade larger projects. the elephants and hippos (below the elephants) will go to new owners soon - and the rest will go into my stash for now - to be added to later projects... but in my mind I am already working on dragon and witch socks:) or maybe something with teapots in the design?
at the last spinner's meeting we also took apart the CTC exhibition in the museum in Castlebar. my picture socks are back home now as are my bobbin lace pieces - and the jacobs wool socks, which I'll send to their intended owner this week - after the poor man had to wait for so long to receive his "thank you" for the milksheep and jacobs fleeces he gave us for nothing!
as I said, nothing much to show apart from materials... but while I am knitting away on the christmas stuff (I still have to write all the cards, too:() my head is whirling with new ideas, projects I'd like to start in the new year and techniques I want to try out soon... right now the garden is so dripping wet and cold, that I don't even make it down to the tunnel or dome. most days I just put bird food out and that's that:) it's too tempting right now to sit in front of the warm oven and do "inside stuff" after the long months of taking every opportunity to do jobs outside!
happy "1st advent" to all those, who celebrate it - and a nice time before christmas for those, who don't! I am finally going to put up my deco around the candle holder - to light the first candle, if rather belatedly....