Saturday, December 4, 2010

2.5 out of 3 and counting...

Heading into the Thanksgiving holiday, I had three knitting goals: (i) to finish the Frejya sweater, tail and all, (ii) to bring Eriskay up to the armholes, and (iii) to get past the heavily beaded bottom segment (= 7.5 pattern repeats in all, ~30 more rows) of Elm Row's second half. Then, I thought, it would be OK to start something new for a chance. And despite the inevitable delays and distractions, I am happy to report that I managed to complete 2.5 of the three during the break. :-)

Frejya is, not surprisingly, the one partial hold-out. I find it very hard to work on the painstaking embellishments when I am tired, which is, alas, almost always the case in these waning days of the fall term, especially right after I get home from work (i.e. during my prime knitting hours). So my progress remains maddeningly slow, but I am encouraged by the extent to which incremental steps continue to be taken. I have finished the face of the cat and one paw (two to go!) and acquired the googly eyes for the goldfish. Anita (The Fiber Artist) and I made an informal pact at our last Odd Tuesday gathering (Nov. 23rd) to complete a sweater each before the next meeting (Dec. 7th), since we both have projects very near to completion that require just one final push to get them "D-U-N done." I intend to wrap up the last few bits of embroidery *today* and then, God willing, to deal with the tail tomorrow (and the next day??), so that I really can wear the sweater to the next Odd Tuesday. Suffice to say that having this perennial project off my "To Do" list would be cause for GREAT rejoicing. As an added reminder that the darn thing is still pending, I am holding off on further photos at least until the embroidery is complete.

Although Frejya went slowly, I got excited about Eriskay and was able to complete not only the diamond pattern in the lower part (which was my original goal) but also the 18-row horizontal band that ends right at the armholes and marks the transition to the ornate yoke. I am following the instructions for the medium size, but added a repeat of the diamond pattern as per the large, once having reassured myself that the amount of yarn on 2 cones of Frangipani would suffice, so that the sweater will have plenty of length below the armholes. I want it to be ample, more like a man's sweater, since that's my preferred modus operandi in the depths of winter. I inherited several sweaters from dear old dad, and wear them often, grateful for the extra coverage. Click on the image above for a closer look at one of the lovely armhole gussets, although I should warn you that the dark plum color (code name "Damson") does not lend itself terribly well to low-light photography. I am waiting for a sunny day to see about getting some better pictures.

With Elm Row, my ambitions were fairly limited as well, but again I managed to exceed my goal by a wide(ish) margin. Happily, once I got going, it did not take long to make my way past the heavily beaded section, and then the work sped up enough for me to do several more pattern repeats. In fact, I surged ahead with it this past week and am now just *6* pattern repeats from the end. Happy dance!! Since the scarf/stole is destined to become a Christmas present, I am reluctant to post pictures of the finished piece until after the holiday, but I have to say that the combination of the graceful design by Anne Hanson, the sunny green-and-brown colorway ("Deep Forest") from The Unique Sheep (also shown here), and the sparkling metallic gold-lined crystal beads from Earthfaire, has proven to be a winner and I think blocking will really open up the lace into something truly special. Anne has also recently come out with this complementary pattern (and yes, I do mean that with an "e," as in "complementary angles"), which I am hoping the remainder of the skein will allow me to make in addition, as the perfect little flourish for the gift.

So where does that leave us in relation to new projects?? Well... I went ahead and joined this Advent KAL, on the grounds that it's not a big time commitment (12-32 rows per day) and will be over in just 3 1/2 weeks. Keeping up with the daily increments will get a lot easier too when classes end next Friday (December 10th). Because it is such a short-term thing, I'm not counting it as a "real" WIP either, but especially with Elm Row suddenly and unexpectedly so close to completion, I'm incredibly reluctant to start anything else until that and Frejya are finally done once and for all, leaving me with *5* of the original dozen, plus the KAL. Then, and only then, will I feel at liberty to cast on for something from my queue. *Almost* there...

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