Champagne Classic was this past weekend.  We only won two out of our six games, but it was, as usual, loads of fun.  It was also an opportunity for me to be ridiculously productive. 

I cast on for Leftovers in the airport friday afternoon.  Between sitting around at the airport and sitting around at the pitch between games, by the time I landed back in SFO Sunday evening I had knit ten inches of sweater vest.  

I am loving the massive ribbing at the bottom and how quickly this is progressing.

The theme for the social saturday night was “party animals”.  Because I think team costumes are always more fun than individual costumes, I threw together some construction paper penguin beaks (which got turned into visors, as wearing them on the nose interfered with grain-based beverage drinking) and organized spray-paint stenciling for friday night in the hotel parking lot.  

I’m convinced that as far as last minute inexpensive costumes go, this was near genius, but I might be a little biased.  😉

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My favorite cardigans are falling apart.  I spent a considerable amount of time last winter repairing them, preceded by an even longer period of searching for appropriate weight and color yarn to use for darning.  Despite my efforts, they continue to deteriorate.  The elbows are wearing thin on the blue, and the stitching on one of the buttonholes has unraveled.  The cuffs and collars are disintegrating on the green, and although I know how to darn holes, I can’t figure out a good fix for these edges.  

It’s not unexpected that they are going to pieces:  they are hand-me-downs from my mother, are at least forty years old, and I wear them nearly every day.  But while I had very little trouble removing the matching wool a-line skirts from my closet when they became too tight to breathe in, the idea that I have to retire these sweaters from my wardrobe is causing me some distress.

I am somewhat ambivalent about fashion.  I want to look put together and stylish, to wear clothes that reflect who I am, but I have trouble putting forth the effort required for shopping and coordinating and sifting through styles that that don’t suit, please, or fit me.  These sweaters, however, strike a strong connection deep down inside of me.  I love them not just because they are familiar, but because they are perfect.

Accepting that my cardigans are on their last breaths, I have started looking for alternatives.  So far this has involved several exploratory shopping trips to various department, thrift, vintage, and yarn stores.  I don’t actually expect to find “the” sweater any time I walk into a new store, but I remain hopeful that by browsing I am signaling my intentions to the universe, bringing me one step closer to a suitable replacement.  Just like you can’t sit at home and expect Mr. or Mrs. Right to show up at your front door, I can’t go about my life just expecting a perfect wool cardigan to magically appear in my closet.  I’m calling it “sweater dating”, but since for the most part I am just giving them the up and down with my eyes before rejecting, not even taking them into the dressing room for an introduction, “sweater cruising” might be a more appropriate term.

Here are some sweaters that I am contemplating initiating (potentially long and torrid) affairs with:

Katherine Hepburn Cardigan

Lucy in the Sky 

modified cropped fitted cardigan

If only I could decide on the right yarn.

I finished this back in August, and after several creative blocking attempts threw it into the back of my closet convinced that it was unwearable due to baggy sleeves.  In the intervening months I have realized that a) I have absolutely no intention of re-knitting the sleeves and b) it’s not like I don’t wear ill-fitting clothing all the time anyway.  I put it on this morning and wore it to work where it’s flaws did not drive me crazy, so I’m rescuing it from the purgatory of failed knitting projects and throwing it into the regular rotation.

I’m not in love with it, but it’s not terrible either.  I am done using knitpicks wool of the andes, though.  This was done up in “firecracker heather” and it’s a perfectly nice color, but it’s time for me to start spending the money required for wool that feels a bit nicer between one’s fingers.

My favorite part is where I duplicate stitched my initials and the year into the hem, a la Elizabeth Zimmermann.  It’s a nice little touch, don’t you think?

My two favorite things about gift knitting:

1. Sometimes the recipient actually use the gift. This is great because you get to look at it all the time and admire your handiwork and see how nice and warm the recipient is as a result of your talent and generosity and ~love~.

2. And sometimes (now this is really good) you get to be the recipient.

I have two pictures to share today.  The first is of an irish hiking scarf and habitat, knit in matching cascade 220 as expressions of my affection christmas gifts (the scarf in 2007, the hat in 2008).  

The second is a gorgeous, scrumptious, malabrigo-soft, practical and all around wonderful scarf-like object that arrived in the mail from Touchyphiliac last week.  Please note the sexy gray button securing it around my neck.  Also note my complete and utter joy at having received such a gift.

   

Cables for everyone!

Despite my general response to requests for knitted items (“Sorry,I don’t love you that much”) I do, on occasion, enjoy gift knitting. Back in 2006  my friend, fellow rugger, jello wrestling instigator, and all around  kick-ass human being Hurricane Abbey departed from the bay area to go tromping around in the Maine woods as a camp counselor. Since it was the middle of winter and Maine is rumored to be cold, I knit her a pair of modified broadstreet mittens.  

Hurricane Abbey has since blown back into California, and now does her tromping in the wilderness of Southern California.  She came up for a visit in December though, and as we bundled up to brave the stormy SF weather she pulled a familiar pair of gloves from her bag with gaping holes where the thumbs should have been.   I informed her that this was unacceptable, and that I would be repossessing the gloves until such a time when they became suitable to wear.  Total repairs included two reknit thumbs, one reknit finger, and four washings (it takes a lot of soapy water to get out two years worth of campfire smoke).

My first finished project of the new year is not a new project, but here they are, good as new.