Seventeen weeks in a row on the road, kids. Seventeen weeks.
It all went well, I am pleased to report. But I confess to being a smidge tired.
I started in Florida (with a private engagement in Key West) and ended in Florida (sailing to Central America with Melissa Leapman and a jolly crew of knitters). There were multiple trips north, south, east, and west in between. Looking at the calendar, my longest unbroken stretch of at-home time since September was four days.
It's nice to be needed, but it's also nice to put the suitcases in the storage room and firmly shut the door.
Meanwhile, blog topics have stacked up on the worktable until they've blocked out the sun. I could dump the whole lot in the trash and pretend I never saw them, like I do with the annual I-still-love-you Christmas card from my ex; but I don't want to start 2014 feeling like I'm in arrears.
Better to see what I can do about lowering the stack over the next few days.
Mind you, it's going to be messy. I'm just going to pull items off the list at random and do a couple a day until I run out of the new year arrives, whichever comes first.
When you saw my Tour de Fleece 2013 challenge I had sleepily increased and increased on the intended improvised hat until I wound up with this.
That got ripped out, and re-knit into this.
The hat's not for me. It'll go to somebody, I dunno who, with a slightly larger head than mine and who looks well in these colors. (I do not.) I'm also not much of one for novelty shapes like that pixie point in my own hats. I am insufficiently whimsical to carry them off.
Looking at the finished piece, I am astounded at how easy the Smoothie Batt from Lunabudknits made it for me–who had no previous experience of this sort of thing–to make an acceptable color-change yarn. I enjoyed it so much that at the Southeastern Animal Fiber Festival, between classes, I bought another Smoothie Batt. This time around maybe I'll detail the process, since I now I know what I did. Which is not be confused with knowing what I'm doing.
The yarn itself is distressingly imperfect. Yet it turned into a hat. I suppose I need to keep that in mind. Imperfect yarn is yarn nonetheless. If nothing else, you can tie up wrapped gifts with it.
Speaking of gifts.
My niece is growing up and developing opinions. She will no longer always agree to wear whatever you shove her into, even if it's made by hand. I was warned this day would come.
So I was hunting around for other gifts she might enjoy, and found a hidden gem on the Schoolhouse Press Web site. Among the offerings for children is a sweet book-and-CD set called A House Filled with Music,
by Margret and Rolf Rettich. It's a lighthearted introduction to the
instruments of the symphony orchestra, originally published in German.
The fluid English-language edition retains the lively original illustrations, and includes Meg's
new narration on the companion CD.
If you're a fan of Meg Swansen's knitting videos–the ones she did with her mother, Elizabeth Zimmermann, or her solo output–you know Meg's got a notably musical speaking voice. She does such a superb job with this book that I'd enjoy hearing her do more audio books. I wouldn't mind a few for grown-ups. Are you listening, Meg? Please?
Quite aside from that, I recommend the book as being simple enough for kids to enjoy without being simple-minded, sweet without being goopy, and cute without being sticky. It'll entertain a child on her own, but adults who listen along won't be tempted to rip off their own ears. It's especially useful if you want to instill a love of good music, but know that if you have to listen to Peter and the Wolf one more time you will develop a syncopated twitch over one eye.
Travel or not, I had promised to contribute new designs to a potpourri of projects and here is one of them.
Yeah. Another hat. I'm in a hat phase or something.
It's called Meliorus. It's very simple. It's also very colorful, because nothing lifts me out of gloom like vivid color and I figure you can't fight cancer if you're full of gloom. The e-book in which it appears benefits Breast Cancer Connections of Palo Alto, California. Here's a link to their Web site, in case you'd like to learn more about them.
While I'm on the subject, I'd also like to mention Calendar of Hope, a knitting and crochet calendar (available both electronically and in print) also supporting the fight against breast cancer. I didn't contributed to this one and I'm not part of the group; but I heard from the publishers last year because the 2013 edition featured designs based on antique patterns. It was too late for me to mention them then, so here they are now. This year's edition is a selection of original designs, and benefits Army of Women.
That's all for today. More things tomorrow. And yes, one of these updates is going to include the reveal of the knitted bathing drawers.