Wednesday, March 03, 2010

When the going gets tough, the tough make stuff.

Some times are meant more for creating, it seems, and others for talking about and documenting the creating. The last few months have been more of the former, less of the latter. I notice that the last couple entries are about losses. January and February were pretty arse-tastic in that respect, I suppose. My brain's response has been to prod me to make things - things to keep me and others warm and wrap us all up in comfort.

Makes sense to me.

I finished those mittens that I was working on in December, according to my notes, on January 10, and they have seen wear almost every day since. The pattern was for fingerless with the option of making them into mittens. I decided to make mittens with removable tops:

Mostly-Fingerless Malabrigo Flip-top Mittens

We also have another finished baby blanket for a friend. Little V, daughter of Vanessa, is nearly a year old now. This blanket has been on the go since before her arrival was imminent:

Crochet really can fix anything, it's true. Consistent sized squares? Bah, that's for wimps.

Truly a group project in every way, Lydia, Manami, Sarah, Chris, Tanya and myself worked out a layout, went shopping together in December 2008, divided up the yarn squares and got creative with picking our favourite stitch patterns for the squares. Several of us even took up hooks over the last couple months and learned (or re-learned, as the case may be) to crochet so that ├╝ber-crocheter Liisa wasn't stuck putting it all together on her own. It was finally delivered last weekend, and pics of a happy Little V with her blankie landed in our inboxes earlier this week. Hurrah for finishing before she's ready to go to grad school herself, I say!

And then there are the cardigans. I recently decided there is an appalling lack of cardigans in my wardrobe. Enter the Liesl cardigan. I originally started it as the "Liesl de Manos", in a lovely light colour of Manos del Uruguay silk blend. Unfortunately, I needed size 15 needles to even come close to gauge, and I didn't like how it was looking, so it was frogged a few rounds into the yoke increases. I re-started using Malabrigo worsted, and redubbed it (in intentionally bad Spanish) the "Liesl de no Manos":

The Liesl of Not Manos, in Malabrigo worsted (Plena colourway), ready for some sleeves.

The left sleeve is done now, and I'm working on the right one. The back will be as long as the remaining wool allows.

It's going so well, and so quickly, that I've decided to make a second one, this time as a "concert black" cardigan for when I don't want to sweat my butt off under stage lights wearing the Shimmer shrug for band concerts. I love that shrug, it was a true learning experience. But it has its problems, not the least of which: it's heavy. Really freaking heavy. And despite all the re-engineering of the sleeves, they are still a little longer than I'm totally comfortable with when playing the horn. I really need a short-sleeve concert sweater.

Not to make it too easy, because what's the fun in that, I'm planning to spin some lightweight singles to knit together with the plain black yarn to give it a little shine. I found this marvelous roving last month:

Wool and Soysilk, Louet "Karaoke Black Tiger" roving

Spinning is underway. I'll need a good 800 yards of it at least, so it won't be an instant gratification kind of thing, but I'll have enough by the time I finish the "Liesl de no Manos" to be able to start knitting, and I'll continue to spin as-needed.

Finally, in a fit of crazy, I started a second cardigan. This one is a bigger project, definitely not for instant gratification. It's also intended to be another on-stage-appropriate cardigan for over the sleeveless black concert dress. I'm making a February Lady Sweater, or what I have dubbed my "February 'Hey Lady!' Sweater":

The neverending garter-stitch yoke increases on the "February 'Hey, Lady!' Sweater." Yarn is Cascade 200 wool.

I can't wait to separate off the sleeves so that it no longer takes me 15 minutes to knit a single row. The never-ending garter stitch is killing me here, I'm looking forward to the lace pattern. My friend Jean, who is a glass bead maker, offered to make me some buttons for this, because she is made of awesome. I can't wait - this sweater definitely needs special buttons, and what she has in mind sounds perfect.

When the Zombie Apocalypse comes, my friends and I will be ready. We'll have plenty of warm blankets, we'll be wearing sweaters, and we'll be kicking butt and taking names.