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The High Country Knitwear Newsletter

Dear Readers,

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, The Crested Butte, 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 title.

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!

Knit on,

Pat