it’s been awhile.

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December’s been a pretty rough month on the health and stress fronts, but I’ve finally finished the Secret Thing, and submitted grades, and while I don’t exactly feel well, I also no longer have the flu, and we haven’t had a big dumping of snow in a little while now, and of course we had the Solstice, so there are brighter days ahead.

If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you probably know that my husband I celebrate the Solstice, rather than Christmas, partly because it fits nicely into our scheme of celebrating our marriage every turn of the seasons (we were married on the Spring Equinox), and partly because we are not religious, and the secular version of Christmas, the one with Santa and “OMG BUY ALL THE THINGS!”, is just not something that works for us. So, Solstice. It was a lovely Solstice, though I did still have the flu at that point; my husband took the day off work, and we just spent the day together, had a nice dinner, and exchanged our (small) gifts. I love what he gave me:

91: solstice present

It’s a “Colour-a-Month” Yearly Planner from Moleskine, and it is pretty much the most perfect thing for me ever. See, if you’ve known me for awhile, you know I’m a list-maker. I make lists. Lots and lots of lists. And I’ve never found a truly satisfying digital method for this list-making; it simply feels more “real” if I’m writing it with pen and paper. So I love having little notebooks to put my daily mental lists into. And I love rainbow colors, too. So to have an entire yearly planner, in a rainbow of colors, but to be able to carry it around one little colorful notebook at a time, is pretty much the best pre-New Year gift I could get. I kind of hope it becomes a tradition! And I kind of can’t wait for January to roll around so that I can start using them. Actually, I take that back – this next week can drag on as long as it likes, as I need the rest!

Shortly before the Solstice, another delightful “gift” arrived:

90: goodies from ysolda!

I had ordered an Otto kit from Ysolda’s shop, so that I could knit up a cute little polar bear for my little nieceling. And then I found out I have another little niece or nephew on the way…my brother and his wife are having a baby! So while the yarn from the kit will only make one Otto, the pattern will be put to repeated use. Every baby needs a handknit polar bear, don’t you think? And didn’t Ysolda’s team do such a lovely job of packaging those kits up? Such a fun box to open.

I’m also currently plotting other knitting for my niece-or-nephew (wow, English really needs a gender-neutral word for that relationship! “niecephew” will have to do for now.). See, my brother and his wife are big Ohio State fans, so scarlet and grey are likely to be major colors in my niecephew’s life. And while I could probably just whip up a design of my own, I couldn’t help but think that a scarlet and grey Budgie would be the perfect little sweater for my newest family member. I’m planning to knit it in the 6-12 month size, since my niecephew is due in June – that way it’ll be plenty big enough for them to wear to a football game in the fall and throughout the winter. I still need to order some yarn, since I am, in my own knitting, not a big fan of red, and therefore have none. I’m planning on using Cascade 220 Superwash, unless anyone has a brilliant suggestion for an alternative?

Oh, and lest I forget, I have actually made progress on that hypothetical sweater I was swatching for in my last post:

92: knitting

Just your basic bottom-up seamless cardigan, in garter rib. It’s actually even further along than that photo would indicated – I’ve already started some of the decreases for the shawl-collar neckline and am about to put the body to the side so that I can knit sleeves and join everything up with my beloved, EZ-inspired, seamless, set-in sleeve treatment. I’m thinking of writing this up in the sort of “pattern/tutorial” fashion that I used for Stripes!, if there’s any interest. I actually hope to finally write out the pattern/tutorial for the basic v-neck pullover with garter detailing that I knit forever ago, first, but I certainly wouldn’t mind having a bit of a series of pattern/tutorials. I think that format suits me better than straight patterns, as I’m far more interested in sharing the techniques I know for creating a sweater that fits well than I am in telling knitters exactly what to do (though of course there are some patterns, like, Vahtralehed, where a tutorial simply wouldn’t work well). If I had all the time in the world (which I certainly don’t), I’d actually love to write a little book about sweater knitting, a la Elizabeth Zimmermann, with tutorial-based patterns for a whole range of sweaters, with tips and tricks for beautiful finishing and details. But that will probably never happen. Still, I can dream, right?

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8 thoughts on “it’s been awhile.

  1. I love the idea of celebrating Solstice instead of Christmas. I’m rather sick of the BUYSTUFF tradition. And I would totally be on board with the Moleskins too. hee hee!

    I’ve been using the word “niecephew” for a couple years now. It’s just more convenient than anything else.

    Cheers!
    Daisy

  2. Juliet in Grand Rapids

    Hi!

    I’m sorry you were sick. It can be so discouraging when there is so much to do and a time limit, too.

    I’m jealous of your moleskine monthly planner. I bought one for the coming year that has a page a day. I used to use Now Contact, but it got so cumbersome with all the notes… so I’m back to paper and although it’s difficult to keep track of the past, it certainly makes the present much easier. And that’s what it really is about… NOW!

    I’d think about a sweater for a baby with O-Wool. It’s a delight to work with. But if O-Wool is not of your choosing, then how about Spud and Chloe?

    • I am seriously SO tempted to do it – but since I’m also writing a dissertation at the moment, I seriously doubt it’ll happen. But you never know! At least I know I have one potential customer, thanks! :)

      -whitney

  3. Oh, that would be cool. I gravitate towards patterns more for their techniques than to actually follow them, and I always love a new method of making a seamless sweater!

    • That’s how I am with patterns, too, so I suppose it’s not that surprising that that’s the kind of pattern I prefer writing, as well. We’ll see if it ever happens. Thanks!

      -whitney

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