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Just Put it Back on the Couch When You're Done

Get down with your funky self and work those granny squares! 

Have you heard of steeking? It’s when you spend hours and hours doing something massive, like a fair isle jumper, and then pray vehemently as you take a pair of scissors to it and snip it up the centre to make it into a cardi.  Naturally, I don’t want to spend hours and hours (not to mention mucho $$) on making a full on fair isle jumper only to destroy it as only I know how, so I figured I might get clever and cut up someone else’s jumper first.  Living in a charity-shop less suburb of hell, I turned to ebay to see what I could score.

And got distracted by this: DUKYANA hand knitted THIC...

and this: DUKYANA hand knitted FUZZ...

and this: Item image

Hand-knit muppet-wear from (naturally) Bulgaria.  And the real kicker? These hideous garments go for over $200 EACH!! And this lady has sold over 900 of them! WHAT?!?!

I”m really kicking myself for giving away some of my hand knits to the charity shop when it became obvious I was never going to wear them ( i.e. my shedtastic furry blue hoodie), a few jumpers I out grew, some shrugs, etc.

Item image I mean, it looks like someone killed Oscar, skinned him, and then draped him over a a log instead of a mannequin.  This one Item image is $560!! To be eaten by a blanket and cocooned!

fashion fail - Poorly Dressed: What a nice wholesome...OH MY GOD

But some of our best friends are black!

One thing I quickly learned about Cambridge is that everyone and their mom gets from point A to point B via bike.  A bike is far more essential than a car, and for those of us who live 10mins by bike outside of the town centre, a bike is life.   The next thing I quickly learned after that is that Cambridge is  almost always being hit with a FREEZING wind (especially in winter) that drops the temperature down at least another10 degrees.  Trust me, when you leave the house to bike to the pub and have to scrape ice off your seat first, you better be wearing gloves.  I forgot my gloves that day and almost had to have my hands removed from the subsequent frostbite. So I decided to fight back with gloves.

Bella Gloves

Oh yeah. Those are Aran weight Alpaca HELD DOUBLE for chunky alpaca-y goodness. Me-1, Nature-0.

I don’t peculiarly like making new year resolutions because I’m every so good at forgetting them. However, there is quite a mental list of craft projects/skills I would like to work on this year.

1) FINISH WHAT’S ON MY NEEDLES. How often do knitters express this? But I need some of those needles now, and these projects seriously need to get done. I have a half finished fair isle hat that I need to just hunker down and do, as well as the lace hoodie Lakia that is only missing 1.3 sleeves,a hood, and the trim.

2) improve fair isle. See above. Last year, when I really wanted to work on my standing skills,I did a pair of mittens and was fairly happy with the results. Which is why I wanted to further improve then with the hat. The hat I’ve been procrastinating on now for about a year. Just finish it!

3) work the refashioning. This is a major one I want to really embrace. I have a sewing machine and I need to not be afraid to use it. While ideally I will one day make my own awesome dresses and clothes, for now I need to just learn the basics. And since I am ass poor,I need to learn them without spending money on fabric. This is where refashioning comes in. I’ve tinkered with this in the past, making a small kilt fit my hips, and turning a pair of leggings into a long sleeved shrug. But I would like to take it further by embellishing old cardigans, livening up old shirts, and by busting the thrift stores to transform old things into awesome new ones. I don’t think I have the imagination to be able to walk into a shop and see how to transform a men’s  shirt into a dress, but hopefully one day. Plus, refashioning will let me play with my nonexistent sewing skills so that one day I won’t transform 3 yards of fabric into a heap of expensive scraps. Refashioning project of the week-transforming a jumper that I accidentally super shrunk into a pair of felted slippers.

The problem with stranded knitting is that you can’t successfully do it drunk.

…when you suddenly have more hats than heads. Yeah. You know it’s winter when you can’t stop knitting winter accessories.  And let me tell you, the freezing winds of death that threaten to blow me off my bike everyday in Cambridge have sent me into a knitting frenzy.  Luckily, I have plenty of stash to help me.

First up was a hat.  I thought I had lost all my hats (eeek!) in our move, but then I found my two favourites in…my yarn box next to more stash yarns. Whoops.  But by the time I found them, I had already resolved myself to use up some of my stash on another fake cabled hat.  I love this pattern! It’s super quick, the fake cables give it more interest than your standard knit beanie, and it’s a great way to use up that not quite full skein of Malabrigo.  

But did it end there? No.  The hat didn’t use up all the left over Malabrigo that I had, so not wanting to waste it, I also made an earwarmer/headband for those days when my ears are suffering from frostbite.  Read: EVERYDAY

 

But wait, there’s more!! 

I also talked myself into going to the newly opening and freaking AWESOME Sheep Shop.  This is a small, local yarn store that stocks the good stuff- local British yarns and affordable luxuries (Drops alpaca for £1.50!!) and I had been doing my best to avoid it because I could easily see myself spending hundreds of non-existent pounds on wool when I totally told myself that I had SO MUCH stash to get through.  Seriously! I have half a Lakia waiting for me to finish the sleeves, hood and trim, another fair isle hat that is halfway done, a buttload of fingering/sport yarns waiting for me to tackle more fair isle mittens, and enough sport weight to make Connie’s Mountain View cardigan, which has been in my queue for ages.  

So naturally, I caved in and bought a skein of Malabrigo Chunky because I had NEVER knit with Mal’s Chunky before.  And because I told myself that I wouldn’t buy any more yarn, I had to quickly knit it so that I could tell myself that I didn’t really add to my stash.  If I buy it and use it in one day, it doesn’t count as being bought, right? 

I’ve knit this pattern before and should have knit a few more rows before decreasing because the first hat is just so every so slightly too small. I mean, it works, but I wanted 3 rows more ear coverage to call it perfect.  This one is near perfect!  It eats my ears, covers my head, and fits nicely (if just a tad too big), but I rather it like this than too short.  So the old hat will most likely go to mom. 

So what is on the needles now? Well I just finished the jumper for my Honey, and that I blocking as we speak.  So far, I have used up more stash on a pair of super thick cabled mittens and have one done and one more to go.  Then I suppose I really need to address the fair isle hat that’s been sitting there for months just waiting….or I could start my Central Park Hoodie, or finish my Lakia, or start the Mountain View Cardi, or work on a fair isle cardi….I want to make EVERYTHING that is in Ysolda’s Little Red book….

Yep, the best part about winter is that it inspires so much knitting!

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