I don’t think I have ever before been so happy to see January go! Good bye to the dark days and welcome light; even with small increments daily, it is more and more and it shows. It gave me such a pleasure to turn the page in the almanac!
I have truly enjoyed your comments on the cats, thank you for all of them. When I started to make them, I thought that they would be too silly to show on the blog and for a while thought that I would just keep them to myself. While making, I heard this practical voice inside of my head pounding… “if you don’t have anything else to do, go clean the walk-in closet … or the kitchen cabinets would benefit from thorough look-through…don’t you have anything else to do?” Even though I kept telling me that this is my hobby, hobbies are supposed to promote mental health and well-being and that is just what I am up to, I kept thinking that this is utterly silly. But silly took over me and now I have six cats and one on the go.
Putting together one little cat takes lots of steps and is little bit fussy. Even though it is knitted in one piece, it is the after work that is fiddly. I have knitted the cats with the same pattern but with two different needle sizes, with 3,5mm the cat will be about 20cm/8” and with 3,25mm about 17,5cm/7” tall, but the yarn will affect the size little bit as well. I have not given up on writing the pattern to it at some point, but now I keep having headaches when I try to work on the computer. I had all my glasses updated last fall, and I even got myself special ones for the computer time, but even these have not helped much. I spend a lot less time at the screen these days than before. I have had these spells of migraines over my life, there have been very good years and then some very bad ones and for some odd reason that I cannot figure out, the headaches have been a nuisance lately, this past month was one of the bad ones, and I have had to restrict the computer time. Would be lovely if I could have you over and we could make one kitten together, it would be so much easier to show you the steps if you were here.
Even without looking at the almanac, I would know that it is spring approaching, since I am reaching for the crochet hook… come fall, and it is the knitting needles.
Last January, oh no, the one before, I decided to make lots of crochet swatches. I did keep that going for some time but when fall came, I got sidetracked. I am trying to get back to it, since I still have a dream of crocheting a cardigan for myself one day. But this is yet to come. A goal for this year is to use the stash. I am not sure what would be the best way to tackle the stash but this is what I have done so far…
Last fall while I was redoing the coat, I needed some beige yarn for the cuffs and knew that I had some alpaca in my stash. I went to the garage, got out the box that had all my alpaca yarns inside (I hope they are all there and I have not scattered them around) and brought it inside the house. I used little bit from it while upcycling the coat and then the brown cardigan; the blue hem was knitted with alpaca from that same box. Then I knitted a pair of mittens.
Most of the alpaca yarns I have there are thin, suitable for 2,5mm – 3,0mm (US1.5-2.5) knitting needles. While these yarns are lovely to touch, silky and smooth and soft, it is almost impossible to get even stitches with them. It is achievable, but I truly need to concentrate and keep the yarn quite tight and that puts a strain on hands which is never good. And thus, all these alpacas have stayed in the box for decades (I am not kidding!). I have tried them here and there and most of the balls there are without bands and look very unloved.
While thinking about this “use the stash” theme, I looked at the box and thought that why not start from there… But what would that yarn be good for… I could not bear to knit with it, there were so many false starts with knitting that it was out of the question. There was not enough for a sweater, not one color anyway and I am not quite ready for the crochet cardigan yet.
Last fall when I crocheted the shawl with woven stitch, I used too small gauge and the shawl does not drape well. I don’t like my shawls too soft and loose but not too stiff either. I took 3mm crochet hook and a stitch pattern that is called Crosshatch in Sarah Hazell’s Crochet Stitch Dictionary, but I found the pattern on Pinterest and there were the instructions on how to increase the pattern to form a shawl.
I started with one repeat and kept crocheting and after a while, I blocked the beginnings of the shawl to see that the drape was right and it was. I continued with what I thought was all my light gray alpaca, (I did find more after I had bound off, in the same box there was one small ball hiding away) then used up the dark ball and luckily the shawl was big enough at that point. With the sun on the way, I added this one row of color and adjusted the stitch pattern a little bit to be suitable for the edging and then finished off with a row of crab stitches. And what I have now, must be one of the most beautiful shawls I have ever come up with. I am really pleased. (The shawl used up 300 grams/1080m/1200y.)
But that was not all the alpaca yarn yet. There is more in the box and I immediately cast on for a scarf and it is going to eat away most of the thin balls but not all…and I have my doubts of the outcome… but I am determined to clean this box, if my “use the stash” is over soon (usually the new year’s goals are over by February), at least I want to see the bottom of this one box.
My goal is not only to get rid of the yarn, because I do love yarn. I rather would like to challenge me to use the stash the best possible way there is and sometimes it is good to give parameters to work with, otherwise the choosing gets too tough, and to have this box as my first parameter worked well… or rather has worked well so far. Once I get the long scarf done, I will see how much I have left and will go from there.
Be well, enjoy February, and wool with you,