Looking Up

Now, you tell me: at 28 degrees F, with a sky like this, what can we expect?

If that doesn’t look like a Snow Sky, I don’t know what does. The air is cold and damp, the wind is rattling the branches against the windows, and I’m hoping for some flakes…

I stayed up a bit too late last night finishing the Endless Black Hole Socks of Doom, which, now complete, are renamed Spiral Rib socks.

Spiral Rib Socks (my own version of a pattern idea from the Yarn Harlot)
Paton’s Kroy 4-Ply sock, “Harris Tweed,” 2 balls
US 1 (2.25 mm) dpns

The spiral ribbing is simple enough. It’s a simple K2, P2 rib, but every 7th round the pattern is shifted one stitch to the left or right. I’m not sure if it shows well in the photo above, but I made the two socks mirror-images of each other, because such details make me happy.

Close up of the yarn to show true color.

I’m so relieved to be done with these socks. They turned out well, and they will be perfect for the person receiving them, but the yarn is more long-wearing than soft and cuddly, and there’s just something about the plainness of men’s socks… they seem to go on forever! I’m much more relaxed now that they are off the needles.

When I first started knitting articles of use (as opposed to the wonky garter- and stockinette-stitch parallelograms of my childhood) I knit a few things for other people, things that didn’t really meet my expectations or that were less polished that I would have liked, but they were the best I could do at the time. The recipients were touched by my gesture and understood that I was learning, and if the items don’t get as much use as I first imagined, they served well as demonstrations of love.

As my understanding of knitting patterns and yarn use grew, I began experimenting more with knitting and with my budding skill at spinning, and I created mostly for myself. It was more necessity than selfishness: What better way to discover the best armhole shaping than to try it on? And what better model at 2 a.m. than your own body? It’s the way I learned to sew as well.

Now I churn out knitting nearly compulsively, sometimes it seems I do it for its own sake; I am quickly realizing that I will soon have more sweaters, hats, mittens, gloves, socks, and shawls than I myself need, but there are so many patterns and techniques I want to try!
So I am back to knitting for others, hoping they will appreciate the time and thought that goes into each project. I say “hoping” because I remember the nonchalance with which I viewed garments before I began to create them – a knit hat can be bought at nearly any store, and to the untrained eye an acrylic cap from the dollar bin is just as functional as a handspun handknit one. I know my friends and relatives are smarter than that, but I tend to obsess over a yarn or pattern choice, hoping to make a perfect match so the item will be treasured above all others. (Until next year, of course.)

This hat is an example of a yarn and pattern that made their own match.

I spun up an alpaca roving from Spunky Eclectic some months ago (Mahogany colorway) and at the time I called it “Beachcombing” because the colors remind me of the colors cupped inside a mollusk shell. Knitting it, the colors melt together like a bowl of neopolitan ice cream left out, or like a handful of ancient rose petals, dried and faded to weightless paper.

The yarn is soft, thin (13 wpi, dk weight,) and light, with a slight halo; it used to live in a bowl near the Wool Room door, where it received much fondling. Last night I listened to it as I was patting it, and a few moments later I cast on for a softly shaped tam or beret; not too wide or flamboyant, but with plenty of drape.

Simple stockinette, to show off the gentle undulations of the color and subtle texture of the handspun. I have 230 yards, and I’m hoping for enough left to make some matching wrist warmers. And yes, as enthralled with it as I am, I will be able to part with it.

On the subject of teacher’s gifts, I appreciate all the suggestions in the comments. I haven’t decided yet, but I found a few threads on the subject over at Ravlery (ah, Ravelry, font of information on nearly all subjects!) and since I know other parents are facing the same question, I’ve compiled a list of some good ideas.

  • wrist warmers / fingerless mitts (especially thoughtful for elementary school teachers, who have to do up lots of coats and boots on the playground!)
  • small scarves (for indoor wear)
  • felted slippers – unfelted with instructions so they can be felted-to-fit (a nice idea for a very special teacher!)
  • hats (cause who doesn’t need extra warm hats around!)
  • knitted mesh bag (because “everyone should have one in the trunk of their car!)
  • mug cosy / coffee cup cosy (if you include a mug or cup, it can also contain teabags, hot cocoa mix, coffee beans, or a gift card.)
  • washcloth with fine-milled bar of soap
  • mini-sweater or mini-sock with gift card inside (I think this may be my favorite!)
  • small ornaments (knitted snowflakes, decorative felted balls the kids can help with, etc.)

It was pointed out on the forums that with 20+ students in a class, many teachers get more gifts than they can handle or use, and that “consumables” (not just edible, anything that can be used up) and gift cards are perfect. Also, home-baked items are good, so long as you check for allergies etc. first.

Hope your day is going well. All for now!


5 thoughts on “Looking Up

  1. Oooh.. I wish it were snowing here! Unfortunately I live in Georgia and its currently 61F outside. *grumbles* I’m pretty sure that’s what is killing my will to knit lately is these ridiculous temperatures here. I think I need to move back up North!

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