Oh dear, my dears, I am pooped. Permanently pooped, it feels like. Christmas is coming like a tinsel-covered nightmare train, but I am unfazed. My Christmas knitting is done and in the mail; Advent is humming along splendidly, and I am putting up my feet for the calm before the storm. I can’t show you the Christmas knitting yet, and I have a half-baked post on sock yarn that’s too involved to finish right now. In fact, I don’t want to speak to anyone about anything at all except Lord Peter Wimsey and knitting with Mohair.
Mum and I had agreed that our Advent gift to ourselves for finishing our Christmas knitting in a timely fashion would be to start our mitered mohair stoles.
This is a way cool project that has been sitting in our stashes for ages. The story goes like this:
There was once a ravelry group called Yarn Stormers. They were a benevolent crowd of knitters whose sole mission was to cheer up other knitters having a rough time. They pooled together nice yarn that was languishing in their stashes, sent it to an organizer, who put it together into boxes, that became a care packages to a knitters who needed a good day.
One of them happened to read the blog of yours truly. This was back in 2010, when I had gone through some difficult times and was about to head off to seminary with very little money. Absolutely out of the blue, I got a package in the mail one day, jam-packed with beautiful yarn. Just goes to show you that, no matter how horrid this world gets, you can be surprised by wonderful people being randomly kind.
Anyway, I used most of it up over the years, but I never found time to use the “piece de resistance” or however you say that french thing. It was a kit for the “Modern Quilt Wrap” by Mags Kandis.
It was beautiful. Colorful. Cheerful. Made with Rowan Kidsilk Haze, which was too rich to buy for myself even during my days of gainful employment. But I never found time for it. So, not wanting it to sit in my stash forever, and knowing my mother is a color fiend, I gave it to her.
When she opened it, she made the startling discovery that there was enough yarn in the kit to make two Modern Quilt Wraps. Yea, verily, the loaves and fishes of the generous youth had multiplied! Over this last summer, I took half the yarn back north in my suitcase, and we made a pact to finally make it. It would be another colorful, long-distance project to tie us together, like our fair isle sweaters had been.
Not one to follow directions, I spent a few quiet hours playing with my daughter’s magic markers, and came up with a tessellated sort of rainbow color scheme of my own.
Fall was busy, then there was Christmas knitting, but when we were done, we finally cast on. Square by square, texting each other pictures as we fussed over preferred cast-ons and left-leaning decreases.
I adore this new project. It captures my imagination and attention.
However, it makes for lousy reading knitting. I needed something else, something plain and boring, to cruise along forever while reading to the kids, reading the interminable amount of text in Space Quest V (which I despise). Most importantly, these sweet and innocent mitres were getting in between me and my latest literary hero, Dorothy Sayers’ lordly detective of 110A Piccadilly.
This was on my mind when I went on a moral-support-mission to the local craft store with friend Jenn. She needed her sewing machine fixed; the girls and I needed to get out of the house. What I wasn’t banking on is that Sue had put her entire stock of Patons Lace on sale. The Patons Lace I had been admiring from afar for months. I’m not sure what caused my moment of weakness… was it the fact that I haven’t been in a yarn store for months? Or the unguardedness that comes from going for moral support and not for one’s own shopping? Either way, I came home with five skeins.
One was for Naomi; she’s been bugging me to make pants for her dolly for a while. I cast that on as soon as we got home. Mission Reading Knitting: Accomplished.
The other four skeins, though, were a moment of inspiration. It was the only four balls of the same colorway left, a fiery slow-striping gradient I’d been particularly moved by.
You know how sometimes an idea just takes possession of you? You can’t think about anything else until you’ve worked it out? This time, a sweater idea appeared, fully-formed, in my mind, and normal life could not continue undistracted until I’d worked it out. I snuck onto the computer in between activities and tried to find anyone else who’d done this idea. I gleaned bits and pieces from other patterns and altered them. I worked out a fresh schematic on the notepad by the phone, then typed up most of a pattern with my thumbs while nursing.
My goal was some brainless knitting to carry me through reading time for a while, and I think this is still that. It’s coincidental that, at the same time, it’s become a BEHAG that could turn into a real design, if I put the work into it.
So there it is. I went from Christmas production rush, to zero projects, to starting three projects with mohair yarn in about a week. A case of Fuzzy Startitis. Not really what I expected when I was knee deep in mittens a month ago.
Well, happy Gaudete Sunday!