January: One month down, on the way to spring…
When our second blizzard rolled in, my
daughter got concerned about her aging mother, slip-sliding
through snowy, icy streets with Chewbacca, and shovelling all
that snow. So she ordered a a zanzy new show-shovelling device,
called a Wovel, and a pair of YakTraks as a gift and had them
shipped--something that was sweet and thoughtful and caring.
This thoughtful gift made me feel…like a geriatric case. Which,
of course, I am.
The box—43 pounds of it—arrived on the
porch about 8:45 one night, with snow falling and the FedEx
truck whining and spinning as it tried to pull away, while I
waved the driver a thank-you. When he’d gone, I dragged the box
in, opened it, and put the parts together with just one mistake,
easy to correct.
Next morning, I went out to the garage,
found a ratchet set, corrected my errors, tightened the
fastenings, and went at the new snowfall, with sure footing
thanks to the Yak Traks. Since then, I’ve used it for another
snowfall, and done my neighbors’ for fun, and helped a friend
with his long sidewalks on a corner lot.
The sum of this experience: I have
realized that one feels less like a geriatric case with the
Wovel and sure footing than with a broken hip, a sore back, or a
heart attack. Or all three. Thank you, Mollie!
I’ve had pictures in from two more knitters
of the cowboy hat. Here’s Kathy W’s, in a terrific red with the
laurel wreath band; her mother is the model, looking as if she’s
about to claim that hat for herself.
And my friend Shannon, having done one for
her husband, Dave, finally did one for herself in vivid blue.
You’d never guess she’s a wizard welder, would you? She does
great work in steel and stone, despite being tiny.
And Adriana Z, in cold Toronto, worked a
Caroller’s Hooded Scarf for her aunt. Here it is looking soft,
cozy, and very protective.
Another busy Canadian resident, Christy K.
in Calgary, asked her son, Matt, if she could knit something for
him. He answered, very quickly, that he’d always wanted an
Icelandic sweater. Matt’s 6’8”, with a big chest, and there
were no patterns Christy could find that would fit him.
I pitched in. In a Calgary shop, she and
Matt found a pattern leaflet, yellowing with age, from Samband
of Iceland, now mostly found with old pattern dealers. Even the
XL size in this would be too small, so I helped her find a yarn
in the same style that was a little larger than the one
specified, enough to make up the difference. It was Sandnes
Uldvarefabrik’s Alfa available from Norwegian Spirit. She
worked from the XL on #11 needles, following stitch for stitch,
but adding length for body and arms.
Her yarn arrived before Christmas. Christy
finished late in January. It fits perfectly, it’s beautifully
knit, it more than suits the looks of a big man of Viking
descent, it’s warm enough even for Calgary, and Matt’s smile
says everything. This was her first Icelandic, but probably
not her last. Isn’t it gorgeous?
And I’ve been working on hats, for the days
that have fallen below 20 degrees. The result is a new pattern,
dubbed “The hat so nice you knit it twice,” because it has two
layers—an outer face plus the lining picked up from the cast-on,
for temperatures well below freezing, or for wind-chill
conditions. I present this a little nervously; the
wild and wooly
cowboy hat is a tough act to follow, but I’ve made
the new hat available, marked “new” until I can get the red
sweater pattern done in multiple sizes, because I believe it
would become most figures if properly written and fitted—a task
with which I’m struggling.
In that effort, I hit a glitch that I’ll
discuss in detail when I’ve solved it. It shouldn’t be much
longer, but In the meantime I have a new
Tips and Tricks
that gives you three different ways to finish a turtleneck in a
way that will not strangle the wearer.
To answer generally some questions I’ve
been asked by readers and replied to individually:
Blogging: I have no intention of starting
a blog. There are already lots of blogs—good, bad, and
indifferent. To my mind, they are best when they post on a
consistent schedule, when they are largely about knitting, and
when they do not (as so many seem to do, through no fault of the
bloggers) fill up with endless comments about how wonderful the
blogger is and how admiring are the commentators of her skills,
taste, and speed. I have a quiet personal life. I am not
wonderful, nor do I design and knit fast enough to be even a
halfway interesting blogger. Really!
Paper patterns: I don’t sell paper
patterns to yarn stores. Life is too short, and winter’s too
long, for one medium-sized woman and one medium-sized dog to
handle printing and printer’s bills, shipping and shipping
bills, book-keeping beyond the automated kind that the website
provides, or the hassles of collection—a rough spot all by
itself. I’d end up sobbing uncontrollably in the middle of a
chaotic living room. However, individual yarn stores are
welcome to purchase from the website, and to mark up for the
costs of printing and profit margin. I will happily supply
them, as I have with a few so far, with a binder front and spine
Knitalongs: And I don’t plan to start a
Knitalong, though I look forward to, and happily post, good
photos from you, whether you’ve knit one of my patterns or are
recommending someone else’s. I like seeing knitters succeed
with their projects, and that’s mostly what HCK’s about. I like
encouraging knitters with pictures of what others are making,
whether with my patterns or someone else’s. I’d rather have you
all knitting away out there, making useful and beautiful things!