Saturday, December 20, 2008

this is going to be big, really big

in fact its probably going to be bigger than I expected, not a bad thing, but a surprise. Today I introduce my new project and explain why I'm knitting on 12mm needles when I generally like to knit on 3.5mm or smaller, and I did a stock take, and a stash sort, from which this and another a side project has arisen ...

So whats this new big project I'm knitting on 12mm needles? Its a stash buster, we went on a pre-Christmas Mill visit last Thursday, M wanted to deliver a hand made Christmas cake and who am I to leave her on her lonesome for the 40 minute trip. Most of knit night went, 4 in my car, and 3 in another. We always visit the Mill, have lunch in the local 'country club' (sounds more luxurious than it is), and visit the 3 antique/2nd hand shops. M- found me a little vintage cardboard folder of sock needles, which I have forgot to photograph, next time.
When I returned with a cone of lace weight merino, and enough possum merino in Bark to knit Owls, I couldn't put it away. More embarrassing I had not put away the previous trips haul, more possum merino for Ski Jacket by Veronik Avery. The reason was a whole drawer of matching yarn, a 6 ply almost unspun vintage yarn called Cowichan, by Shepard. I've got 11 wheels of this in a soft natural grey, 225g per wheel, 117m. I bought it for $2 a wheel earlier in the year thinking that it would make EZ garter stitch baby blanket ... sounds good so far, a whole blanket for $22. If the weight and meterage don't mean much, perhaps the gauge will, Its knitting up at 2.5 stitches per inch.

Now the yarn is in a basket in the family room, and I've put the newer yarn away in the drawer. I have to knit it if I want it out of the room. So far I've knit nearly 4 of the 11 wheels of yarn, I'm knitting another of Elizabeth Zimmerman's garter blanket. Thats basically 24 squares of garter stitch, arranged into 2 long shapes and 2 short shapes. I've knit nearly 9 squares, 15 to go. I've done enough to work out a guess-timate final size, at least 6 ft by 4ft, and if it relaxes in the blocking, and garter usually does, then larger. We are talking single bed here, at least.

And its big already, the section I have knit sits beside me on the couch - like a patient cat, growing slowly. This is two 3rds of the first section, taking up a chair all on its own. I've decided to knit the largest sections first, as its quite depressing to leave the largest section to last. I'm managing to knit a wheel a day - but I'm not sure I can keep that up for 11 days, this stuff is hard to knit. I've not been able to knit it continental - reverting to english style. Its just so heavy to knit that english makes more sense, the needles don't need to move as much, just in and out, and my right hand can manover the yarn into place.

I spent Saturday morning dealing with my stash overflow, working out what I had (cause sometimes we forget), and putting it away. Now I know I have enough sock yarn to knit 15 pairs of socks. I have 22,000+ meters of lace weight or fine fingering, which if you do need 900m for a shawl - means I can knit a fair few shawls and even more lace scarves. I have yarn specifically for 5 sweaters, including a Bohus kit from sweden, yarn for the aforementioned Owls and Ski sweater, as well as something for Toby and enough Pink Angora, wool nylon on a cone to knit Poppy a larger version of her last jacket. I've also got 6kg of fiber sitting waiting to be spun.
Fabulously I didn't find any real lumps of yarn I didn't want, i did find two cakes of yarn left from Chris's last sweater, and some odds and ends of balls from previous projects. Some I've put aside in the basket the cubs select from when they want to knit. The rest I've set aside for the local charity shop. I did find 6 ends of cotton yarns, left over from past wash clothes. I knit a variation on a log cabin modular pattern and worked up a residual-washcloth. I've not decided if this is good enough to be a gift, or if it is to much 'left overs' so is for family, but I like it. I like it enough to want to remake it with whole balls of yarn.

Of course I've not yet woven in the ends, and my charm with the design may quickly fade whenI weave them in. Being cotton, I know to get an invisible finish I need to split the yarn and weave the singles in individually, which will take longer but be worth it. I know it is one of those tasks that seems daunting and boring, but once set to goes quickly.

And christmas is upon us, so cubs under foot, and time to do things - the tree is up, and the fridge and pantry full. Bear has two more days of work to go and pretty much all is sorted. As usual I sent my christmas mail away far to late to get where its going on time, and I've still cards to write. And as usual we have had all manner of christmas tv specials, with snow and ice and actors in fake snow wearing winter clothes - so yes it is Christmas here. But I'm on holiday as are the cubs - so things are relaxed and easy. We've eaten salads and chinese greens out of the garden two nights in a row, but the birds have gotten all the red strawberries. In short its summer and holiday season and Christmas here in New Zealand.

Take care
hope that there is peace and ease and lots of time with fiber and knitting over the next week, and christmas is good if you are a christmas person in a christmas place.
na stella


Angelika said...

That log cabin is really nice and the colors work well together. That "fat" knit whould be done in no time. You always find such nice things at your mill. Merry Christmas, btw. :)

Knitting Linguist said...

You're right -- that blanket is huge! Your stash inventory is a great idea (although I sometimes find it daunting to think of all of those potential projects clamoring in my shelves), and it sounds like you're enjoying some holiday peace :) Merry Christmas!

Helen said...

I clicked on the link to the Owl jersey and asked my daughter what she saw. She said "Owls, no wait Tiki," then as she peered closer, "no wait, happy owls".
I enjoy your blog. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

CraftyGryphon said...

Those 12mm needles are beautiful. I'd have fun knitting with those, even though I don't tend to do big-needle things anymore, either!

I'm afraid to count how much sock yarn I have now. I might have to make "catalog ALL the yarn" one of my New Year's resolutions!

Shirley Goodwin said...

I hope you and your family have a safe and happy Christmas, Stell.