Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Year of Ten Billion Garter Stitches

Hey Y'all,
So it dawned on me pretty solidly last night, as I was talking about Scotland with a friend of mine, that I have had a vague goal now for maybe a decade to knit an Aran sweater. I know, I know, Aran is of Irish origin, but still, geographically the places are close enough as to have reminded me that I am nowhere near actually embarking on such an ambitious project. I keep getting sidetracked by other projects-- sometimes gifts for others, sometimes garments for me. And this year has really turned into The Year of Ten Billion Garter Stitches, pretty much the opposite of an adventure in cabling. Oh well, one of these years I actually will dedicate myself to a super complicated sweater pattern.

For now, having completed the Adult Baby Surprise Jacket at very long last, I have two new projects on the needles. Pictured above is the first of what will hopefully be two socks, done in Freia. You know, I'm pretty sure the yarn I chose wasn't made for socks. On the other hand (foot) there is some nylon content, leading me to think they'll be sturdy enough to not wear through too soon. But now that Sock One is finished, I'm not so sure. Also, somewhere in my imagination, I envisioned these turning out more stripey, kind of how the ball of yarn looks. In reality I knew that wasn't going to be true, but after the ABSJ I fell into Supreme Lazy Knitter Mode and had zero interest in actually using a second skein, and working it from the outside in to add stripes.

I am hoping to knock out Sock Number Two by next Sunday. That's when I leave for Monhegan Island. Yes, I know showing up for our Knitting and Yoga Retreat three months in advance is a little over eager. But the truth is that I love the island so very much that for the fourth year running I am going up for a bonus trip. I take a bunch of friends. In the past we've used our time for a writing retreat. This year we are just going to chill out and let the weather and our daily desires lead us. I'm super excited that a couple of friends I've known for decades, who've never met each other before, will meet on the island. I am certain we will have a blast and that Holden and Sue at The Monhegan House will serve us ridiculously fabulous food as they always do. Monhegan Island truly is my happy place.

I often use a little plastic clicky counter but when I'm working patterns with repeating sets of rows, I bust out my StitchMinder App

My new purple socks will serve me well on this trip. But then there is a possibility I might not finish the second one. And why is that? Because I finally got going on a Color Affection Shawl. I first saw one of these in TESS in Portland, Maine, during our yarn crawl home after Monhegan Island last September. I was instantly smitten with the design. I was also taken by the yarn, a TESS original known as Kitten. So yes, Smitten Kitten, that was me. I'm pretty sure Kitten is not made of actual kittens, but it might as well be. I argued with myself a bit, trying to talk myself into buying enough for a shawl, and I'm no stranger to splurging for good yarn. But this really was beyond my reach. So I kept my eyes open for something that would work hopefully as well.

I found just the yarn-- Villa by Classic Elite Yarns. It's 70% baby alpaca and 30% bamboo viscose. I would like to create an entire wardrobe out of this stuff, including foundation garments. It's so soft I get kind of weepy just touching it. I selected the beigey color above, and also a gray, and a pink. Sort of a muted neapolitan effect is what I'm going for. I'm not really much for pinks but, power of suggestion and all that, these colors are very similar to the knitted up sample I saw at Tess. Oh, and I also love using Classic Elite Yarns for another reason-- Susan Mills is a designer there and Susan has joined us many times on Monhegan Island. She is one of my Top Two Most Awesome Knit Teachers Ever. (The other is my friend Deb, who teaches at Hill Country Weavers in Austin.) Susan has exhibited so much patience with me, fixed so many of my mistakes, and blown me away with her endless Knit Knowledge. Sadly she won't be joining us this year but...

Norah Gaughan will be coming along as our guest designer and teacher. Norah happens to be the Queen of Cables. So maybe if I really try hard I can knock out this Color Affection shawl, with it's endless garter rows, in time to wear it on the ferry from Port Clyde to Monhegan Island. In which case I'll have my needles empty and ready, perhaps, to finally start actually contemplating that Aran pattern of my dreams.

If you want to join us on Monhegan Island there are still a couple of spots left. You can REGISTER HERE. I'll even let you try on my new shawl.

See you in September,

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