Sometimes there’s a project that just lingers on and on, despite your best intentions to finish it in a timely fashion. Life happens, other projects call to you, and before you know it, you look down and realize you’ve been working on the same project since before the start of this interminable election cycle for a really long time. I’ll admit that I’m not a “get ‘er done” kind of knitter. In fact, one of my favorite quotes (by the brilliant Douglas Adams) is “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” Back in April, I blogged about my mother’s cowl-to-be, made out of glorious silk, and I think it’s time for an update:
Do you know what that is? That’s a darning needle with my final sheet of mawata threaded on it. That’s the finish line coming into view at long last! Yes indeed, I’m binding off, using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind-off for stretchiness. Ta-da!
This may not seem that exciting, but you must remember that I’ve been knitting on this project for years. I had almost started to wonder whether it would ever be finished.
Now, the end is in sight. Mim will get her Chiao Goo needle back (thanks, Mim!), my mom will finally get her Christmas gift, and I will get to choose a new travel project to stuff into my purse! Finishing something like this is bittersweet, a little like finishing a good book. You’re pleased to reach the end, but you’ve been immersed in it for so long, you’re not quite sure what to do with yourself once you’re done. Fortunately, in this case, Ravelry is here to help!
This week is Rockland’s annual sidewalk sale, and Over The Rainbow Yarn has joined in with gusto. We have two big tables outside, laden with one bin of pattern booklets and seven (7!) bins overflowing with yarn. Everything out there is 25-75% off, except for the pattern booklets — those are $2 each. You could knit a pair of socks for less than the price of a movie ticket!
I’m pretty excited about this sale. There’s a lot of great stuff in those bins, some of which I might have to buy myself, if you all don’t get to it first (please, save me from myself!). I’ve been staring at all of these yarns, and thinking about the cool things they could become. Since I can’t possibly make all of these items myself, I’m going to share some of the patterns with you.
Berroco Brio is in the 50% off bin this week, so I just have to recommend the Quick Slip Cowl by Andra Asars. I’ve already made this cowl twice, and I’m barely restraining myself from grabbing another skein. That’s the beauty of this free pattern — it only takes one skein, and it is a super fast knit on size 15 needles. For under $10, you could have a holiday gift ready to go by the end of the week. This cowl is also reversible, and looks great worn as a single loop, or doubled over for extra coziness.
The Luxury Silk Sport is also on sale, in the 25% off section. This yarn is so deliciously sleek, it really needs to be against your skin, preferably in the form of Turbinado, by Sharyn Anhalt. This crescent shawl would be my go-to item for the fall wedding I’ll be attending, or the perfect light layer for when Brooks next takes me out to dinner at Primo (Are you reading this, honey?). Mine would of course have to be in the luscious raspberry color we have.
Tobnoggan by Katie Vlasov is my suggestion for American Lamb, a bulky weight yarn grown and processed in the U.S. and currently 75% off. This is another one-skein wonder, and I can’t even tell you how much I value my earflap hat on cold February days. Tobnoggan features classic cables, plus a fun pompom. If you got two or three colors of American Lamb (75% off!), you could easily make multiple striped hats.
Our sidewalk sale is running from now through this Friday, the 12th. If the weather is bad, we’ll set it up indoors. This is the perfect opportunity to snag some yarns for gifts, and to get started on your holiday knitting! These three patterns are merely the tip of the iceberg — I have so many more in mind for all of the lovely, lovely yarns in our sale bins. Just ask me!
I started out as a one-project-at-a-time knitter. No starting a new one until I finished what was on my needles. As you can imagine, that resolution quickly fell by the wayside after I started working at the shop. One project became two, and two became three (“One simple, one complicated, and a travel-sized item!”), and it grew from there. We won’t even talk about how long my “to-knit” list is. Suffice it to say, Ravelry has been both a blessing and a curse. As a result of my cast-on-itis, some items take longer than I’d like to finish. Some items have even celebrated multiple birthdays on the needles. One item, in particular, is roughly the same age as my favorite toddler — and he’s growing faster than my project!
Toddler sweater! (Pattern is “gramps” by Tin Can Knits)
(Note for clarification: not MY child, the child of a friend. She deals with the day-to-day challenges, and I knit cute things and get sticky hugs and high-fives.)
This poor, neglected project, approaching its third birthday, is a beautiful cowl-to-be, knit out of hand-dyed mawata. I hadn’t heard of mawata until Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (aka “The Yarn Harlot”) taught a class on knitting with it here at the shop. Mawata is also called “silk hankies”, and is the result of evicting silk worms from their cocoons (sorry, silk worms!). To knit with it, you lift one whisper-thin sheet of mawata, stick your thumbs through the center of the square, and pull until it is stretched as thinly as you’d like. You then break the loop, and cast on. Mawata creates lovely, soft and lightweight items, and is ultra warm — perfect for our Maine winters!
(before & after)
Who on earth would be patient enough to wait almost three years for a cowl? Well, that would be my mother. With the patience of a saint, my mother has watched me periodically pick up and put down this cowl; she’s seen a baby sweater and multiple hats be cast on after (and be completed before) her “Christmas” gift. Yes, indeed, this is a Christmas present from 2013. In my defense, I had no idea how much yardage I would get from 25g of mawata. Let me tell you, it goes a loooooong way.
I’m enjoying knitting with it, but it’s time to wrap it up. That’s why I’m telling all of you about it — to hold myself accountable. This cowl will be done in time for Christmas 2016! (Mom, thanks for not guilt-tripping me on this. Also, could you please pretend to be surprised when you open the wrapping paper?)