It isn’t that I haven’t been knitting since the last batch of sweaters. It’s that in the all-too-brief spring and summer that we have here. I’ve been knitting and gardening and picking (currants, gooseberries, elderberries) and canning and haven’t had as much time to think or write as would otherwise be the case.
Here’s how it started: I turned a batch of beautiful Argentine llama into a bathrobe for myself, a real winter one that is warm and cozy—a good investment of time when fuel prices are through the roof, our last two winters have been fairly rough, and, as it turns out, our first snow date in the mountains was in mid-August this year. The picture of that is in the June newsletter. It has a fold-under shoulder reinforcement, and a warm double collar, on a simple drop-shoulder shape.
Then I decided to try something with Cascade’s 220 Superwash, which comes in a lot of good colors, and is pleasant to work with, so I worked out this second bathrobe for them to take to Stitches. It’s warm and cheerful, and modelled on mine, but has more width at the bottom. Okay, it’s a little crazy, but it’s surely cheerful. When it was finished, I machine-washed it in cold water with a little shampoo/conditioner, dried it flat until it was barely damp, then tossed it in the dryer on “low.” My kind neighbor posed in it, on a hot day, on her porch.
Then on to a gentleman’s sweater, also in Cascade’s Superwash, based on a 19th Century trade blanket. It is not too heavy for spring or fall wear, and, with the addition of the matching turtleneck dickey, is great for winter wear. This is a 44L, which is about a half acre of knitting, and much too big for Millie, on whom it’s a “boyfriend sweater.” I do like this yarn, especially for utilitarian garments that get a fair amount of wear, for children, and for things for men, who never read washing instructions and throw everything in the machine.
Beyond the knitting, of course, I’ve put up ten pints of Hedgerow Jam, six of apricot butter, nine of peach butter, and not even begun on the plum butter or plum ketchup.
I’ve had a great year with the peonies and roses and irises, though I got frosted out last spring, just as the big apple tree was blooming. The new little apple tree is doing fine, and growing nicely, with glossy green leaves and a good shape, though it may need a little pruning over the coming winter. Currently it’s monsoon season on the otherwise dry High Plains. I think we’ve had five inches this week, and you can’t imagine how it’s encouraged the weeds. As soon as it clears off, I’ll be out there again, having another installment of my long-running war with them.
Are you knitting for winter as yet? Some of you seem to be, but if ever there were a year for big projects that will let you turn down the thermostat, this will be the one. Socks, sweaters, bathrobes, throws and blankets, and big woolly shawls are what we’ll all need to save on our heating bills. To get you started, I've decided to run a little two-for-one (buy one, and I will send you the other) on the turtleneck dickey paired with the fingerless mittens, both handsomely modeled by Alex, my mailman. This is emphatically not the year for underwear-as-outerwear, is it?
I haven’t seen any of the magazines or blogs or manufacturers mention this aspect of the craft, but it’s an important one, don’t you think? I know when I went out yesterday in the chilly rain, I was wearing a big wool sweater, Helmsman, and stayed warm, dry, and cozy. This sweater has an excellent split and overlapped garter-stitch hem, longer in back than in front, so it never rides up in back or binds. I love this thing, and can’t believe I’ve worn it in August!