And being modelled by yet another lovely cousin:
Yarn: Bendigo Woollen Mills 3 ply in Indigo. I still have almost a whole cone left. How was it? It's wool. It's nice enough. It's nothing fancy, but it's light and airy in the 3 ply (that'd be what - fingering weight? - for you yankees). I love the colour, and it was hardly splitty at all.
Pattern: Branching Out
Difficulty: I was a lace novice. At the start, I would knit one repeat at a time. Any time I did more, I would have to rip back, cursing. But the pattern is simple enough that I could start to see what was happening fairly quickly - I memorised the pattern... on the last repeat. Definately a good lace beginner's pattern.
That makes me think. I feel like I am so in control and in charge of my knitting. I've done lace, I'm doing cables, I know my way around the knit and purl stitch, I know several cast ons and offs, I can fix almost every mistake I make without ripping back. I can turn the heel of a sock with relatively little thought. Short rows? In my sleep.
And yet... this time last year, I was sitting in my room, knitting this jumper. I didn't know how to m1 without making holes. Is that nuts? I think it's nuts. It makes me feel good about how far I've come - and humble about how far there is to go.
There's always something new to learn, in knitting.
FO number two: Christmas ornaments by three. One for my mama, one for my sister, and one for my bff in China. I cross stiched christmas motifs on tea dyed aida cotton. The two for my mum and sister I actually stitched last year, with the thought of doing this, but never got any further. For Meg, though, I started from scratch:
I think this looks like it should be some sort of weird alien writing. But no. It is, in fact, un tannenbaum (I have no idea if that if the German word for 'one'. I'm pulling that from a special place.)
Like so. I had grand plans of doing a log cabin like square, with the stitchery in the place of a fussy cut piece of material. But I was putting it off, and putting it off, and then I got a delivery of lovely lovely felt from winterwood. Their customer service? Excellent. They bend over backwards for me and my demanding ways. And the felt? Like butter. Lush and soft and I could just roll around in it all day. Yum. My fibre love is renewed yet again.
So, anyway, I decided to just whizz it through the sewing machine (with green thread, which happened to be in there already. None of the ornaments are green. Nope. I'm so professional.) and stuff them.
I think it looks lovely, if I do say so myself. Then I ruined the polished look by letting some two year old scrawl on the back:
I don't care that it looks dodgy. I love them. I hope their new owners do, too. Here is a very dodgy photo of the other two. Santa on the left for sister, santa on the right for mother.
Then I hung them on FO numero three:
Yes, in fact, I AM claiming my christmas tree/branch as an FO. So what about it? It might look like it's only one step up from a Charlie Brown christmas tree, it might be in a vase filled with rocks, it might look like it's about to topple. But those rocks are in fact brick chips, from the property I grew up on - they say 'home' to me. The two branches (one pine, to give that authentic smell, one she-oak, or native pine, to look pretty and be true blue) were grown on said property, and chosen by my dad especially for me. And do you see that bright yellow runner it's sitting on?
My mummy made it for me that dismal christmas I spent in China. It's bee-yu-ti-ful.
This christmas - this whole year - has been a search for meaning. My gifts are almost all handmade. The ornaments on my tree each have a story. The things that have warmed my heart have been the little things, the things that make Christmas a specail time for me, even though I am no longer a practising Catholic, even though I usually hate everything Christmas seems to stand for these days - shopping, commercialism, buying empty, plastic presents, sitting with people you don't really like pretending to be jolly.
And, because I grew up in Lobethal (before it was commercial and toursity and the locals got fed up with it)
It's not Christmas without lights
They make me happy, from the inside out. They are warm and soft and I actually like them more than my regular overhead lights. A note to any aspiring renovators: IKEA is great. Just not for lights. Or curtains. Somet things shouldn't be scrimped on.
To add to the parade of christmassy items, I started an advent calendar, a la this one. Yes, I know it's halfway through December, but I thought I would give it to my little sister for Christmas, with a promise to restock it every year with goodies. The background is a $5 blanket from the Salvos. It's just acrylic, but whatever. The rest of the materials I had (Maybe I'll use some of my felt. Maybe not).
And the DNA scarf I am knitting for my dad.
I am furtherer than this now - I'm knitting the second repeat of five on the other end. It looks great, although I think it'll need some firm blocking. I love the colour - it's hard to see, but it's sort of shimmery blue. It's called 'midnight tweed'. I'm thinking of using it to make a hemlock blanket. Or make to make myself one of these:
D00ds. Tkaing photos of yourself is hard. That one above was the best I could do, pitiful attempt as it is. Also: I feel stupid doing it. Well, welcome to life, I suppose. The one below is an unfortunate shot, but I need to use it to get your advice:
And finally, Jen is not feeling the love. You should go read her blog. She is funny and she knits and she has two j'adorable cats, and she takes photos of them and then tells you stuff about how she manipulated them (the photos, not that cats) which is useful and interesting. And sometimes she talks about how to choose colours that make you look good, in a really scientific way, which I respond well to (none of this 'you're an autumn' shite) and she says 'y'all', cos she's from the south. And she likes things fried. And she knits.
So go read her blog.