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I hope everyone is having a nice holiday season, with a minimum of stress and a maximum of pastry seasonal cheer.

Me, I'm just glad it's winding down. Despite my efforts to keep things simple, everything combined always ends up being too...too, what with the booze and the sodium and the electronics and the paper and the lights and the crowds and the general atomoshpere of frenzy. I spend the last week of every year slightly dazed, as though I've just emerged from out of a particularly garish pinball machine.

Last night, that sweater coat became

a lot of very fine, somewhat fragile yarn. I was wrong when I guessed that it would be a fingering weight made of several plies - turns out it's two strands of laceweight-ish knit together. It needs to dry, and be wound, and then we'll see what we see.

To rip the coat, I used this


Courtesy of my boyfriend, who apparantly braved the uncharted and highly treacherous territory that is the knitting store in order to pick this up. It's perfect, since I don't need a ballwinder - I'm getting pretty handy with the nostepinne method - but the whole outstretched-knees-as-skein-holder thing wasn't really cutting it.

He gave me this, too:

I've been wanting this collection for a long time; there are some unbelievably beautiful patterns and motifs in here (Frost Flowers, anyone?). It's worth having for the charts alone, but the prose is charming and some real effort went into making this a coherent collection. Huzzah for wonderfully thoughtful, much-needed and much-appreciated presents!

Yesterday, I got my first (long-delayed) closeup look at the winter Interweave. This design was the only thing that caught my eye in the magazine -

but, oh, what a winner it is! I'm not crazy about the colors, but I love the concept, the shaping, the sense of geometry together with those sinuous cables that interlace and join the panels of the garment as though they grew that way. This is the sort of stuff I want to come up with - there's so little that's truly innovative when it comes to a craft as old as knitting, but man, is this a clever take on things.

Project Rundown:

--I decided Friday afternoon that I wouldn't try to finish my dad's sweater or the houndstooth clogs - a copout, maybe, but there were shrimp to be fried and temaki to be rolled in preparation for a big party. I really should learn not to bite off more than I can chew or choke down or chug.

--Some time ago, I took stalled-out projects off of the progress list. Brief obituaries follow:

  • Circular shrug: I hated the way the motifs were looking, hated the length of my rib section, was running out of yarn, and probably would not have found a shrug all that flattering (I think I was induced to cast on by the same flight of wild fancy that makes me think every May that yeah! This is the summer I can pull off one of those cute string triangle bikini tops. Yeah, no). I've been thinking lately of making a tightly shaped felt cloche, the mohair brushed up and shaved to resemble rabbit skin. Some wilting felted flowers and a droopy ribbon, and Ann Darrow'd have nothing on me.
  • Fair Isle Vest and the Fair Isle Sweater Jacket: The Fair Isle Exercise lives on, as the Fair Isle Armwarmers. The sweater jacket was poorly planned (suprise!), while the vest never really got off the ground. Until I develop an eye for color and pattern, I'll experiment with small projects.
  • Martha: Sigh. I have no excuses here, except that I got tired of knitting it. I came to dislike the Dale Stork (weird-feeling, like knitting with a full strand of embroidery floss), and dreaded the thought of stringing more beads. Maybe I'll get back to it when spring rolls around, or maybe it'll become a little baby jean-ish jacket.

Phew! Now, I just have to decide what knitting to take on vacation with me. The Austrian stockings? The baby sweater I've got to make? Those damn convertible mittens?


Marvelous gifts! I love A Gathering Of Lace - its a great book. Yay for a swift! I loved that pattern in IK too - Annie Modesitt is a genius. One of these days I'll get to it.

I agree--Gathering of Lace is great (Frost Flowers is one of my favorites, too), but there are a couple ugly patterns in there, too--like that patchwork lace sweater in the back? Ugh.

And, really, I don't know how I managed before I had my swift and ball-winder. I THOUGHT I was doing fine, then bought the swift--Wow. So much better. Then, months later, I caved and got a ball-winder . . . really. How did I manage without it?? (grin)

Looks like it was a good Christmas!

Looks like a very nice swift! Hmm, what to take on vacation... I always like taking socks - they're portable and you get a lot of knitting for your money when you use fingering weight. A lace scarf would probably be comparable.

Don't take obligation knitting with you - be free! :)

Your boyfriend did well! I'm waiting for my husband to build a swift for me. (He bought me a ball winder for our anniversary 2 years ago. He's not really that romantic, but I love him anyway.) One of these days he'll get tired of me saying, "Will you come help me a minute?"

Isn't it funny how we put serious thought into what we take on vacation? We're leaving for Disneyworld next Wednesday, so I'm in the same boat as you.

Love Gathering of Lace! I made the Frost Flowers, and it's a wonderful pattern to work. Word of warning, though, it's HUGE. You'll enjoy that book so much. Lots of great patterns in there. And yay for the swift. How do knitters live without them?

Oooh, that swift is pretty! I gotta wrangle me ne of those soon (you should see the weird gyrations goin on while my daughter mans the ball winder and I "play swift"!!!)

Visited your pages today for the first time. Loved what I found here. Will come back!

That is *exactly* the sort of cloche I want to make. I will be watching with interest!

(I think an angora blend may work really well, maybe once I've finished spinning my alpaca/wool it may have to turn into a cloche)

You guys are the 32645 best, thanks so much for the help.

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