Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Post-Christmas Present Rundown

Unlike some of you lucky bloggers out there, I have a family who reads my blog - meaning that I can't post about their presents, or anyone elses' presents, until after they've reached their recipients safely!

While this year wasn't a huge year for knitting items, both of the things that I did give away were hand-knits - a pair of mittens and a pair of handwarmers! My father has been wearing the same handwarmers I knitted for him five years ago until yesterday. They were a pair of plain but rather ratty Knucks that I'd made when I was first getting back into knitting, while driving along on a rather long car trip. Since the wool they're made of wasn't exactly the best or highest quality, they haven't held up very well - it was high time to replace them, especially since such things get worn around our very cold Iowa home almost daily.

I used my own pattern to come up with a large enough men's handwarmer to line it fully with the softest of soft - Malabrigo. The outside is made from my handspun Hello Yarn romney in colorway 'Alpine'. It was lovely fiber and a lot of fun to spin - Adrian always does an amazing job though, everybody knows. The innards are knit in Malabrigo Merino worsted, colorway 'Rich Earth', a happy, warm brown.

The second gift meant to keep hands warm went to my friend Emily, who recently became engaged (congratulations to her and Jon are in order - they make a lovely couple). She is the sweetest person I know, quite actually, and has impeccably traditional tastes in color. This meant that while she would have graciously accepted something in a handspun or even a fun, funky color, it wouldn't have been her and I'm not sure she would have worn it. I wanted a classic palette and an interesting pattern so that she would actually wear the toasty mittens meant to keep her warm.

I ended up choosing Malabrigo Chunky, which is a 2-ply and pills less than the worsted, in the 'Pearl' colorway, a pale gray with a touch of pink. These turned out to be lovely selections for the Pescovegetarian Mittens pattern I used. It makes mittens at lightning speed, and was used as a basis for another project that cannot be revealed quite yet (it didn't make the Christmas deadline thanks to an unfortunate incident with a yarn-hungry cat!) I'm almost certain that the color couldn't have complemented Emily's brown or pink coats more perfectly, and she tells me she has been wearing them about Minneapolis quite often.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Oh, The Weather Outside is Frightful...

It truly, truly is. Here in Iowa, we are under a blizzard advisory for the whole state. Wind gusts are picking up entire drifts of snow and scattering them to the air, likely to re-land on my dad's freshly shoveled driveway. The man across the street has been snow-blowing his own driveway for three hours, probably to escape his crazy, screaming wife.

I got trapped in Marshalltown for the week (or, at least until the snow clears up) because of the blizzard - they have literally shut down all the highways. I-35 had the National Guard on call yesterday. Thank goodness they got to go home today - I worry about them just as much as any of the yahoos who felt the need to be on the road even though it was snowing non-stop.

I might have gone completely crazy had it not been for the single knitting project I brought home, my computer, and the wonderful painting studio we have at the house. I'm going to get some painting done today - something I haven't done in awhile. I know a few of you are having snow days - what are you up to?