Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Welcome to 2009!

A little belated, but still heartfelt. I didn’t make any resolutions for the New Year, but I do have good intentions about keeping up with the blog. So here goes!

The year seems to be off to a good start. I was on leave over the Christmas holiday, so I enjoyed several relaxing days at home, knitting, watching old movies, and snoozing with the cats. It seems like every two or three days we’ve had snow or sleet or some kind of weather to deal with. The latest was icy rain, which made all the roads and surfaces slick and shiny. It hasn’t really been warm enough to melt yet, so walking around outside is done by taking baby steps.

Much knitting was done during this time. It seems like lately I’ve had so many ideas for new projects, but just can’t knit fast enough! I’ve written most of them down, so hopefully I won’t lose the idea or inspiration.

This is one spur-of-the-moment project. Nothing fancy, but it’s my first attempt at a wine bottle cozy. Instead of digging out a pattern, I just made it up, figuring out the shaping as I went along. I like my basic premise, so I will use it as a jumping off point for future wine cosies. The yarn was an old ball of Brunswick Crystal, that I got from who-knows-where. It’s similar to Lopi, but I never really had any coordinating colors to put with it, and knew that one ball wouldn’t go very far. I wasn’t even sure that I’d get to the top of the wine bottle. The string tie was all I had left when I cast off. Even though it’s kind of plain, it still made a nice gift bag.

My other project that went from start to finish during the holiday was this Christmas Stocking. I adapted the stitch pattern from a vintage sweater pattern, and let the repeats determine the size of the stocking. It’s a little on the large side, especially the foot, but I think Christmas stockings can be all sizes. The yarn for the stocking was – GROAN - Red Heart Super Saver. I don’t intentionally go out and buy this yarn. It just happened to be mixed in with some more desirable yarn in a bag at Goodwill. I was going to use it for charity projects, and still might, but the colors worked well for this project. This is actually the second stocking to come from this yarn. It’s not that pleasant to knit with, but I did find that by washing the finished item in conditioning shampoo, then liberally shooting it with a steam iron will take away most if not all of the roughness and make the hand and drape of the finished item much better. I won’t go overboard with the steam on this stocking, as I want it to have some structure, but I know it will soften up considerably.

Finally, here’s a photo of a recent visitor to the back yard. It was a snowy day just before Christmas, when this pileated woodpecker came swooping in, and spent a good 40 minutes working away at my old black walnut tree. This bird is bigger than Lily the cat, and looks so intimidating! And since it normally doesn’t visit neighborhoods, I felt honored to have it in my yard. It came back last Sunday, which was much sunnier, but I was too close to the window when it swooped in, and couldn’t move to get the camera without scaring it away. What a treat!