Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome 2013

Since I ended 2012 with a "Year in Review", it would be fitting that I start 2013 in the same vein as 2012.

Welcome 2013!

Since we missed spending both Christmas AND New Year's together last year, our strategy and planning actually worked this year.  Eric managed to get the 24th off, as well as New Year's eve and day.  Things were going to work out for us, after all.

After a scrumptious New Year's Eve party at friends, we fell into bed at 2 AM.  One thing I have discovered over the years is 1) control rich food intake, and 2) ditto for alcohol consumption.    While I behaved last night, if you can call eating foie gras, scampi bisque and beef Wellington "behaving", I was also the designated driver, since Eric is most always the designated drunk.  (He's French, he can't help it.  Plus I think he deserves it - he's always shafted on weekends and holidays.)  But going to bed late throws me off, and waking up close to 10AM is the closest I come to feeling hung-over and jet-lagged.

Today, I need a nice blanket, a hot fire, and lots of mineral water.  Tomorrow, after a good night's sleep, I'll probably recover.

In 2012, I resolved to not buy any more wool and finish everything I start.  To say that resolution crashed-and-burned is an understatement.  I bought wool, I was given wool, and while lots of little projects flew off the needles, the biggest project I finished was my neutral Saga:

It's been finished for months, (despite the fact it languished for many more...) and when I finally threw it on and asked Eric to take a photo of me in it, this is what he handed me:
My ass, in digital form.  My husband, either not clear on the concept, or forever the joker, I know not which but I forgive him for both.  Thanks sweetheart.  At least it's proof my thighs don't touch.  I'm telling you, all the walking I do is paying off.

Now, since this is my second Saga, I did a few things differently.  I made a large this time, and added repeats to make the sleeves longer.  Despite using the same needle size for the seed-stitch border, it turned out a bit wavy, but I haven't blocked this baby yet, so that feature might block out.  Either way, I actually like the wavy, somewhat flared look.  I have monkey arms, so I added a few row repeats in strategic places on the sleeves as well as the yoke, so they're longer and not 3/4 like the pattern is written for.  I also wanted a large because I knew I'd be wearing this over my regulation gray cashmere sweaters which I wear like a uniform in winter months.  I've got them in all shapes, shades and styles.  The only prerequisite is that they're gray, and cashmere.  I aim high.  I always say, if I'm gonna be cleaning my house, I'm gonna be doing it in cashmere.  Take that, Mr. Clean!

I stalled on how to finish the front.  I didn't want frog-clasps like the first one, but something different.  It took me a few months to figure out what that "different" was.  Finally, I made a rolled garter stitch border, sewed it on the inside, and added buttons on both sides, all closed with a simple crochet loop:

The inside of this sweater is as nice as the outside.  I will be in love with lopi forever.  Here's a closer look at the closure:
Perfect it isn't, because it's not exactly wind-proof, but I was aiming more for look than practicality.  At some point, I'd procrastinated about this sweater so long, I just wanted it finished.  Job done, moving right along...

I blogged about my Blue Hole shawl which provided hours and hours of fun:

However, I didn't blog about the Vancouver Fog fingerless mitts done in Lana Gatto camel hair (seemingly on liquidation the world over and fabulous stuff!) and a cabled hat from Rowan book 48 called the Tinker Hat that I completely re-wrote.  I didn't do anything the pattern called for in the end.  I cast-on 96 stitches instead of 109 going down 2 full needle sizes, knit it in the round instead of seaming (who does that? who seams a freaking hat?) and winged every single crown decrease.  I also used only one ball instead of two, following some helpful tips on Ravelry.  I love this hat, it fits perfectly and is super-warm despite being loosely knit.  I love me some Rowan Cocoon, but I don't love me the price...but this being a one-skein project given my mods, I can easily justify the cost.

I cannot however justify the cost of the Sweet Georgia I ordered to make the Colour Affection shawl.  Not realizing it's dyed to order and the delivery time was 6 weeks, by the time I received my order, my love affair with the pattern had faded away like lust is wont to do.  Now this wool is languishing in a Rubbermaid bin in the laundry room.  Not even cast on, this wonderful wool might need to find another vocation.  So much for my 2012 resolutions.

Likewise, I fell in love with Kate Davie's Rams and Yowes on a whim.  Kate knows how to write a pattern, and Jamieson and Smith Shetland could be my antidote to lopi, I'm that much in love with it.   Again, total impulse purchase, but the project is still chugging ahead:
I've got 924 stitches on 3 circulars and can't hope to take a picture that makes sense, but it's turning into a work of art.
The border, which will be doubled, is a ton of work.  I've turned the corner and am now decreasing, so I'm on the downhill slope.  Busy bashing away on this baby, I hope to have a photo of my completed lap-blanket before long.  And I promise to keep my finger away from the "BUY NOW" button, and keep my Mastercard firmly in my wallet when it comes to buying more wool on-line.  You heard it here first.

In the interim, the days are getting longer, and we've probably gained a half-hour of daylight since the solstice just over 10 days ago.  Once again, the setting sun casts a shadow of the house against the side of the barn, and in minutes, I know I'll see the moon rise from behind the barn.  Despite the fact it's a bone-chilling -14C outside right now, with a wind-chill that would freeze exposed flesh in minutes (there's always a downside, isn't there though?), it's that time of year for reflections on the past and hopes for the future.  

So, with a click of the mouse, I'll turn the page on 2012, and open the book that is 2013.

My hopes are that everyone can experience the peace and gratitude that I feel, from the moment I pull up the blinds and find another fresh day waiting for me outside.  From the time I put my head on my pillow at night, resting with the knowledge I've done my best and accomplished something, no matter how inconsequential it seemed at the time.  From the knowledge that I've been kind and good and smiled and laughed, done a small favour or a big one, I appreciate my life, plywood floors and all.

Here's to 2013.  May it exceed our expectations.  May you all be able to see the gold instead of the snow.


Miriam said...

Lovely thoughts to begin the year with.

2012 will go down for me as the year in which I started to knit again, thanks to the inspiration you gave me with photos of your gorgeous projects! (However I feel I must confess to you that I haven't even started a project with all that Lopi I bought - I am having commitment anxiety about even casting on! What if I chose the wrong pattern? What if it doesn't fit?! Help!)

Shim Farm said...

Hi Miriam, you have to get your lopi in the works LOL! Like the lopi cardigan I made for Eric last Christmas that was too small for him, but fit my father perfectly, it will fit SOMEONE!

Do you have a particular pattern in mind? I'd suggest a simple sweater, not a cardigan to start. The choice of yoke is up to you. I like this pattern on Istex's site:
(Sorry you need to do a cut-and paste!), but you'll see you don't really have THAT many options in size, while the sleeve length and body length are up to you. Just get the specified gauge (which I nail with a 4.5mm needle) and you should have no problems.

I've found lopi very forgiving. Wash it hot, and it shrinks a bit. Wash it cold, and pull it to size, and bingo, you've just made the sleeves or body longer. It also grows a bit with wearing, so what might seems a bit tight at first magically conforms to your body.

Also, before I lead you completely astray, did you get lopi or l├ętt-lopi? Be very mindful of this when looking for patterns.

Or maybe you want to cut your teeth with a vest? There is a nice one on the istex.is website under free patterns. No real worries about length or where the armpits will end up with that one!

Now you're making me want to cast a new project on! AARRGGGHH!

I must get that Shetland blanket done first! The agony! So if you cast something (anything!) on, I'll fee that much better!

All joking aside, if you need more help, let me know and I'll try my best to guide you in the right direction!


Ron said...

I am truly amazed by your skill with knitting!

Shim Farm said...

Hey Ron, I scare myself sometimes. It's like I knot all this stuff together, and bam! I have a sweater. And now I have start-itis, and that means wanting to put something new on the needles, despite needing to finish other stuff first LOL... Oh, the agony! It's really quite the infernal hobby. If it didn't result in something warm to wear, I'd probably give up.

Miriam said...

Thanks for your suggestions and advice Ann - you're right, I just need to START the damn thing! I will take your advice and begin with a sweater rather than a cardigan, and I have a few patterns to choose from. And if I get sucked into thinking it has to be perfect I will try to remember there will always be another one!

knitigatingcircumstances said...

Hi Ann, what a lovely post! Your Saga looks great and I think you made an excellent choice with the edging. It's funny - I was sure I preferred the Saga in bright colours, but now I'm not so sure. I also love the fact that your standard "uniform" is a grey cashmere sweater. When Emma was home at Christmas, I gave her not one, but two, grey cashmere sweaters to take back to college. You can't beat the classics. It looks as if your off to a fine start to the year. Kelly

knitigatingcircumstances said...

I should never sit at the computer before I've had my coffee! I made a grammatical mistake in my comment above (and it's one I find particularly annoying). I know better than to push the button before reading.

Shim Farm said...

Hi Kelly...LOL...now we're even. I made a typo on one of my last comments on your blog, and saw it the minute I hit the publish button - DOH. I hate it when that happens!

I'm happy with the Saga and have been wearing it quite a bit. I do prefer it to the brighter one, and now that I've made both versions, I'm done! It's much more joyful to knit with colour, though, but the end result isn't quite...me.

This summer, as I was knitting on the sheep baby blanket, the Rams and Yowes and the Saga, I thought I'd go mad by the lack of colour! Everything was so bland and lacking, somehow. When I started the sock stripe shawl, it was a huge sigh of colourful relief.

The year has gotten off to a good start. Now if I can get the R&Y off the needles, it would be even better.

Robin said...

I love how that Ewe and Rams project is turning out. You have been very busy indeed. My Aunt is a big knitter and 2012 saw her with a bad back. Needless to say it was a huge knitting year for her also.

I love how Eric took a picture of your bum when you asked for a photo. That cracked me up!

Robin said...

I forgot I was going to send you a link. I may have seen this on your web site already so I apologize if it is a repeat.

I saw this picture and it cracked me up. It then made me think of you. I"m thinking you are going to have to start making sweaters for all your pets now. http://modfarm.tumblr.com/post/41278856858/give-whoever-runs-the-visit-scotland-program-a

Shim Farm said...

Hi Robin, those ponies are too cute! My friend just got a pair of miniature horses. Their names are Pecan and Cashew, and are they ever adorable! They're so feisty I don't think you could put a blanket on them, let alone a sweater LOL!

The Rams and Yowes is coming along, but I'm running out of certain colours. I need to do some creative colour-work which doesn't sit well with me, but at this point, I just want to get the damn thing done! It's been a long haul. And of course, as I'm knitting it, I'm imagining my next project, another blanket, but knit out of my wonderful Lopi this time. It will go much faster, hopefully. I'm hoping to get the R&Y off the needles in January , so February can be tainted by another huge project LOL!

Robin said...

Ok, so I can't help myself. I saw another knitted project that made me giggle. The next time I see a mounted animal head I am going to have a hard time not picturing this. :)


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