Monday, September 01, 2008

I can't believe it's over

The end of summer always comes as a surprise and a disappointment. Since I love the two months of summer and hate the six months of winter so much, the end of August is always a depressing time. We still operate on an academic year calendar, and while the start of the new school term always brought with it the promise of a fresh start, for a retiree it just means the onset of cold, gray misery.

But enough whining (or whinging, as the Aussies would say).

August was wonderful. We had a delightful vacation cruising in the British Isles (where in fact it was cold, gray, and rainy everywhere we went). And I got an amazing number of UFO's finished.

My "cousin" Michael's wife had twin daughters in July. (The relationship is more complicated than that, but the details are irrelevant and boring.) My major objective for the cruise was to finish these for my visit shortly after our return:

The variegated yarn is Bella Colour, a cotton and acrylic blend from Plymouth Yarn. The pattern is the Toddler Jumper that I got from Discontinued Brand Name Yarn when I bought the yarn in the pink and gray the first time to make a dress for my granddaughter. I bought the blue for the second dress (before I knew the baby would be twins) and had almost enough of the pink left over for another one, but not quite. Fortunately I found the solid gray (Caron Country, a washable wool/acrylic blend) which coordinated color and texture-wise at the local A.C. Moore just before we left. They came out quite nice, don't you think? The babies' mother was delighted with them, which is always nice when you give a hand-knitted gift (and happens far too infrequently).

I couldn't go to visit without a gift for the twins' two-year-old brother, so the few days between our return home and the trip to Miami I went on a knitting blitz and finished the Childhood cardigan just in the nick of time. The yarn was Mission Falls 1824 cotton, which has a very nice feel to it and is supposedly washable (though I would always recommend handwashing for hand knits). The mom was equally delighted with this! One interesting thing about this pattern is that it calls for snaps instead of buttons (though it is shown with fake buttons sown on). I didn't have time to buy buttons, and my wonderful friend Clare had the perfect snaps. I think I like it just as much without buttons, unless you happened to have particularly interesting ones. And it was nice not having to bother with buttonholes.

My other major project for the trip was the Revontuli (Northern Lights) shawl. (Yes, I know the pattern is in Finnish, but the designer fortunately translated it into English.) My mother lives in Florida but is always cold, so I wanted to make her something both colorful and warm. When I saw this pattern on Ravelry I knew it would be perfect in Kauni wool yarn, which comes in a rainbow colorway with very long repeats. It was, unfortunately, less soft than I would have liked, but once knit and washed, it was acceptable. I wasn't sure if my mother would like the colors, but she seemed to be very happy with it. (And she doesn't fake happiness very well.) I had two skeins of yarn and still have about 1/3 of the total left. Until it got really big, it was a good travel project, because the pattern was very easy to keep in mind with only an occasional glimpse at the pattern at the beginning of each row.

I actually did some more knitting in August, but that's enough for one post. More coming... along with some photos from the trip.

1 comment:

fleegle said...

I love the Northern Lights shawl! It's stunning!

And what bothers me about the Bling shawl is that wide stripe in the middle. It interrupts the flow of the lacy stuff. But thanks for the nice words!