EScouter 03.01.2014

by Lori Law

Did you get a wool blanket for Christmas?  Me, either.  Guess I’ll have to knit/spin/weave my own.  Probably what people were generally thinking, she can just make her own.  ;)

So what do you do after the post holiday-madness is finally settled down from the roaring crazy time it was until a few days ago, after all the handmade projects are gifted to their expected recipients?

Me, if I can squeeze it into the schedule (I usually can’t but I do try), I like to try something I’ve had on the radar for a little while.  Sometimes it leads to startitis which I’m quite good at creating and I don’t get very far with anything before reality sets in, but, really, it’s usually what happens post-last stitch is grafted, in my case.  I like to think of it as ‘you did good and now you deserve to focus on you for a wee while’.

This year I did not craft a stitch of anything personally for anyone on my gift list.  However, I knitted quite a few things for the handmade lists of others, like socks on the circular sock knitting machine and cowls on the flatbed.  So even though I didn’t have a deadline which involved madly knitting until 2 am so I could get the thing steamed, wrapped and delivered by noon the next day, I still felt the angst, sometimes more strongly because I knew I was being depended on to fill slots on the angst lists of customers.  I am not going to tell you the details of how closely I cut that rope, getting toes grafted and tops finished, but it was pretty close.  I will say that much.  And frantic.

So, in a yearly fashion, these days, the time post-Giftmas leading up to Hogmanay and including the few days post New Year’s which are still sort of innocent and freshly waiting to settle into the routines of the new year, in my opinion, are meant for reflection and quietude and just giving into a few creative whims.  While I am putting together these few selfish creative ideas for myself, I often find myself, because I am technically “off” the schedule for a few days, more relaxed (probably exhausted, ha) than I am typically.  And, when I am actually a little relaxed, I come up with fresh ideas or ideas which have been rolling around in my head or on the to-do “possibly’ lists come together more solidly than they would have a week ago.  So, I consider this post-Giftmas time to be somewhat imperative to the organized version of the future.

And, as I will point out further along, sometimes it’s a great time to also just pick up those lonely projects which have been feeling abandoned.  Maybe a crafty version of  really making Auld Lange Syne rhetorical and into a reunion full of new energy.  Sometimes projects get tossed aside for one reason or another and it’s great to see them again.

So, what do I have on the selfish/re-acquainted needles/wheels/loom?

I have on the needles is a fair isle hat design in fingering weight alpaca, which I resurrected fairly quickly after packing the last of the socks out the door.  This has been sitting on the sidelines for a while and I’m glad to see it up and growing again instead of languishing.  I’d originally worked it up over a year ago in hand-dyed merino mini-skeins, but in the end I found the mini-skeins too much for me to keep current, especially in particular colourways.  This is a shot of the original, but the new version shows the patterning much more dramatically.


And, again, avoiding startitis, I am working on fringing a scarf and a shawl which came off the loom but have been sitting there as ‘rainy days’ projects (which I never have, so why I think I might actually come to a point where I have no pressing issues and get to the nearly-finished projects pile, I do not know, it’s all a pipe dream, I guess) for more than a year.  No pics of those, yet, but if I have any luck, they will be finished pronto which will lead to pics.

A little while ago, during the madness, for some non-fingering weight yarn work, I allowed myself to start this :  Nanook, which I am working on in an Araucania yarn gifted to me by a friend.  And, last week, I started knitting a Dickson skirt, out of hand-dyed bamboo-wool, again, gifted by a friend (I am blessed in the yarn and wool gifts department, it appears).  Who knows, I might finish them in a timely fashion; but today I started picking around for new items to knit up for shop samples for in the studio and I am binding off a new shawl design and sewing in the ends on another one, hoping to get photos of both in the next few weeks for publishing, so I don’t have really high fast hopes for either Nanook or Dickson, but one never quite knows how things roll out in this business.  I know now that I am thinking of them, I will be keen to pick up one or the other as soon as I get finished with the laptop duties.

On one of my wheels, a Louet Victoria, I am nearly finished plying up some yak-merino in a rustic natural grey which I really just wanted to spin for the sake of spinning nice soft yak.   It’s a small amount, only 50g.  It may or may not work itself into a future project for Ennea, but I do have ideas for it surfacing now and again.  Time will tell.  :)  On my hopeful to-spin-and-then-knit-soon list, I have the Damask Cowl, by Ennea’s Anne Podlesak.  I have a set of rovings in the stash from FatCatKnits‘ club offerings from a few years back which would be perfect for it.

And on the loom is a lonely partially-warped bunch of threads set up for a sampler scarf, in cottolin, waiting for me to tie on the rest of the warp.  It’s been patient.  But now that the madness is over, I hope to do much more weaving while I’m at the studio over the winter.  The finished scarf will hopefully turn up in one of our special edition issues of Ennea, which we are preparing to publish this spring and fall (if you’re a designer, feel free to get in touch with us for our submission specs for these upcoming publications).  We have quite a few things on the burner for 2014 – a new look for the site, reviews, monthly Indie Spotlights, new patterns, special collection issues, a club or two, and more!  (But, I don’t want to get ahead of myself here during this time between the end of the madness and before life returns to the normal routines.  More information will come in time.  :))

So, what do you have on your list during this post-madness time?  Let us know on our Ravelry forum.  :)  And don’t forget, you still have a few days to post your handmade holidays comments/photos in our forum as well.

Wishing everyone a happy and positive 2014!  Knit, spin, weave.  Be happy.  :)

Images © original owners/websites.

Don’t forget about our handmade holidays thread in our Ravelry forum.  **only 3 more days to add your projects and comments!**  Are you making gifts by hand this year?  let us know!  There will be prizes!  As the holidays come to a close, we’ll pick 3 random posters to win an exclusive something from Ennea (we’re still putting together final prize determinations).  Our draw will be held around Jan.6.2014.  Happy crafting!

And don’t forget to check out our pattern listings, many of which are one-skein projects perfect for gift-giving.

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Images © original owners/websites.

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