Friday, December 29, 2017

Deep Freeze

Greetings from the frozen north!  Deep winter is upon us here in my neighborhood.  The yard creaks with cold.  Catdog loves the snow, for about three minutes.  She chases a snowball, running practically sideways with her skinny little legs all a blur, and leaping through the drifts like a bunny, her ears pricked up and pink, and then, before I'm even tired of the game, she's at the door wanting to go back inside.  The lure of the fuzzy fireplace rug just calls to her.  It calls to me, too.  We spend a lot of time curled up there together, soaking up the warmth.  
This kind of weather calls for a serious sweater.  I have a new lopapeysa!  Guys, Icelandic wool...I can't even.  Where have I been?  
It's so hairy that I sort of feel like a catdog myself, but whoo.  So warm.  It's a little rough on the bare skin, but I don't really mind that.  The pattern is Moon Pulls, by Dianna Walla, in Lettlopi "Ash Heather" and "Golden Heather."  The cream is a skein of Andy's Merino from the stash that I decided to use when I realized that the second lopi contrast color I'd chosen wouldn't work.  (Value/contrast.  This is the hardest lesson there is for me.)  The collar and cuffs are lined with the oh-my-goodness-so-soft Woolfolk Sno.  I may live in this until March.  I want all the lopapeysas now.  
There's really been quite a lot of knitting going on around here, actually.  These tucked-in days when the sky outside is raging are so good for lots of cozy needlecrafting.  This is my newly-finished Shadow by Olga Buraya-Kefelian, in West Yorkshire Spinners Fleece, the very excitingly named "Brown" colorway.  This yarn is dense and soft, and sort of cushy.  It makes the cables jump right out of the fabric.  
I started "Shadow" back in September, made the whole front, and then got sidetracked by a lot of other things.  When I decided I really wanted it so I could, duh, wear it, I got it back out and focused on it for awhile, and one night, in the (constant) blue glow of the Netflix box, it got done.  It has 3/4 length sleeves, which would have been fine a month ago.  Well, this is what wristwarmers must be for, right?   I think I'll wear this one a lot, too, if I can pry myself out of my lopapeysa.  
Also, I finally managed to produce this.  It is Ravello, by Isabell Kraemer, in Holst Supersoft "Bleached White", "Verbena", and "Heath".  I have knit and then unraveled two other Ravellos, and I almost had to do the same to this one when I ran out of white three inches from the end of the second sleeve, but my favorite LYS came to the rescue.  We drove to them in a snowstorm, and it was wound and ready for me when we got there.  Yarn Culture.  They are awesome.  This garment is so light and wooly and weightless--I think it would fit in my purse.
I know, that's a lot of finished sweaters, all at once, isn't it?  I'm often asked how I manage to get so much knitting done, and I'm curious about that, too, so I've thought about it a lot, and the answer is really mostly that I spend a LOT of time knitting.  I just knit a lot.  If I'm not doing something else, I'm knitting.  It might come in small increments of a few minutes here and there, but it adds up.  Another big contributor to production speed is that my style preference is for garments that are mostly unadorned, so I don't often choose patterns that have a lot of lace, or complicated stitch patterning, or quirky shaping or construction.  That means there are usually long stretches of stockinette stitch, usually knit in the round, and that is ground that I can cover very quickly.  Another thing that helps me is that I have had nearly forty years of experience with knitting, and with garment knitting in particular.  I know what I want, and I make those things.  I decided early on that I wanted to make socks and sweaters, so I abandoned all the half-finished garter stitch scarves I had started and grown sick of, and started making socks and sweaters.  The early ones were pretty awful, but of course I wore them and was very pleased at the time.  So by now, I know how those things go together.  I don't have to spend a lot of extra time deciphering instructions because I've been around the block a few times already, and if I find I'm doing a lot of peering at a pattern and struggling to understand something, it's a pretty good indication that I'm not going to enjoy the process of knitting that thing, nor will it be anything I will want to wear.  I appreciate brioche stitch and all that, and I can admire a design where you cast on at the left shoulder and build out from there in a diamond pattern, or whatever, but it isn't my style.  So that's just experience talking to me, and saving me time.   Years of experience also means that I am pretty deft and fast (I'm a thrower, English-style) and that helps projects build quickly, too.  That's just muscle memory.  And really, I just love to knit, and it has loved me back.  So that's three finished sweaters since the last time we saw each other.  Which means, of course that it's time to start something new!  Isn't that just the BEST?  

40 comments:

  1. Love them all! Especially Shadow. That texture is gorgeous! Isn't about time for one of your epic blankets?

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    1. There is a languishing blanket in my WIP pile that has hit the doldrums. I am determined to get that done this winter. :)

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  2. Did you know there are Mathmatical knitters out there?The Creme de la Creme I suppose they're known as in their peer groups but that kind of knitting is not for me either. I rather like your woolly philosophy. It's similar to mine but yours provides supreme results. Good going lassie! (I'm watching 'Brave' with the Grands!).

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    1. Mathematical Knitters? I hadn't heard of that, must do a google. I'm sure I would hate it though..."math", ugh. :)

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  3. Your knitting skills are amazing. All three are stunning.

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  4. Impressive. They are all beautiful. The 5th photo reminds me of the Aran era of Seventeen magazine circa 1970. The high neck of the Iceland one is gorgeous and the stripes of Ravello are just perfect.

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    1. "Seventeen magazine circa 1970" gives me all kinds of inspiration! I love that you felt it, too.

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  5. These sweaters are beautifull! My favourite is Ravello one of these three. I usually wonder your sweater-factory. :-) How many sweaters are there in your gardrobe? Best wishes from Hungary!

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    1. The truth is that there are way too many sweaters in my wardrobe. I am trying very hard to limit them--one in, one out--but it is tough with the handknits.

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  6. Oh so COZY! They all impress me, but my! the first one is so beautiful with the pattern and the color you chose!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, it is the warmest, most perfect deep freeze weather sweater I have. :)

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  7. WOW that's so awesome! so cozy! so beautiful!
    Catdog sounds too funny & cute
    glad you're enjoying the winter weather; sweltering here in the downunder
    thanx for sharing

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    1. Photos of summer in the Southern Hemisphere keep me going in these bleak months--they remind me that in good time, we will, indeed, be warm again. Meanwhile, have a tall, cold one for me! xoxo

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  8. Lovely sweaters! I'm pondering how you lined the collar and sleeves of the Icelandic wool sweater. But I really appreciated the description about why your output is so high. I've wondered that dozens of times! Happy New
    Year! Here's to many more beautiful sweaters!

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    1. The cuff and collar linings are just knit right on--there's a purl row to help the turn be neat, and then you simply switch yarns. The lining is folded to the inside and stitched down. :)

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  9. That cable is a beauty and looks so good styled with a shirt - I mean really stylish! I am a thrower too and it is fast. I tried to knit continental but my muscles just won't do it efficiently enough for me to watch TV at the same time! I don't mind trying out new patterns it is the sizing that shits me up every time - maybe experience is teaching me things right now and I am in the process of learning all the time. I agree, there is no harm knitting when the dumplings are browning, I am waiting in the dentist or on my lunch break. Happy New Year! Jo xx

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    1. Thanks very much! :) Yes, I am slowly learning to knit continental, too, when doing colorwork, but it will never be as fast or as effortless for me. xoxo

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  10. They are all just so wonderful. Having knitting time is a precious gift. Happy New Year.

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    1. Thank you, Meredith! I wish you many hours of knitting time in the New Year. xoxo

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  11. Beautiful sweaters! Living in Florida, I don't have much occasion for beautiful, warm and wooly sweaters. So.......I make mountains of quilts......!!!! Go figure!
    Happiest of New Years to you and your family.
    Mona

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    1. I think mountains of quilts sounds quite wonderful. Inspiring even. :)

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  12. Your post is so timely. I too am rediscovering Letti Lopi and it is the perfect time for it. You write about the speed of your output as if you are in my brain....I love to knit, I would do it all the time if i could; i love the zen of it or the meditation qualities it brings to my life. Your output garments are beautiful. Next project Suggestion: coat for the beautiful pup of yours.

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    1. Catdog has a whole wardrobe of handknits, but it probably is time for a new sweater. She loves them, and wears them right out! :)

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  13. I get what you mean. Stick to the things you like and 'work' for you and will get worn. I like socks. With small needles I probably put in as many stitches as sweaters on large needles, but I still like socks. The sweaters kind of languish.
    Happy New Year! Helen M-H

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    1. I agree, stick with what will work for you. I need to get on a sock bender myself; the drawer is looking pretty sparse right now. :)

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  14. What beautiful knits. I love the cables on the second sweater. :)

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  15. They re wonderful,,and you re a superb model for them.ravello in action please..?:-) happy new year Kristen!keep up the good work xxxxxx

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    1. If there is ever any light around here... ;)

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  16. I love each of them but oh that Moon Pulls is divine! Last year was the first time I made myself a sweater with Lett Lopi and how divine. It was so great I made one for a fundraiser and did it go fast! Happy New Year! and happy knitting

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  17. Wow! All three sweaters are wonderful! Enjoyed reading about your history and "process," too. Think this might be the first time I've commented(?), but I'm in awe of your knitting. Love Catdog, too. Happy New Year! Bess

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    1. Hi Bess, it's so nice to hear from you! xoxo

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  18. So much loveliness!!!!! I adore that Moon Pulls!

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  19. So many sweaters! You've been working hard at your needles.

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  20. Such lovely and inspiring work you do! I have some Lettlopi just waiting for a project and now I want to cast on right away! And I also have to agree that Yarn Culture is the best!!! Though I also love the Village Yarn and Fiber Shop. :)

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  21. Great i like your sweaters. greatings send you Conny

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