Monday, 18 November 2013

Cold and Frosty vs Warm and Woolly

I can't remember whether I've had to deal with frosty car windows yet this autumn, but it seems to me that last Wednesday was the first 'real' frosty morning here.  If that's true, then it was really late.  Suddenly, any leaves which managed to cling on after the high winds a couple of weeks ago have turned more vivid colours. The temperature is dropping and the weather forecast is for a very cold snap in the next couple of days.  The cats look at me sadly when the radiators are off and/or their bowls are empty.  They are more reluctant to go out and quickly come back in, eager to dry their cold, wet paws on a warm human, preferably one with a warm towel to dry them off.

Time for thick jumpers, hats, scarves, socks, and all things snuggly, including an urge to knit!  Oooh, yes, I need some fingerless gloves, and a cowl, and I wanted to learn to knit socks, and another hat might be nice, and what about some sort of woolly earwarmer headband, and a hot water bottle cover, and legwarmers, and a knitted dress and there's that wonderful cabled sweater I was going to make ....

I love cables! It's the thing I have for Celtic knotwork. The sweater appears to be cabled all over, is quite long with a big collar and takes a lot of yarn. Cue browsing in a few online knitting shops. Eeek! Even in a fairly cheap wool, it will cost around £75?  Is it my imagination, or was knitting wool relatively cheaper a long time ago? There seemed to be a point in the late '70s where the cost of yarn to knit a jumper seemed expensive against the price of jumpers in the shops. I remember knitting a chunky jumper as a present for a friend in the early '80s, and finding the money for the yarn was more difficult than knitting the jumper! Perhaps I'll have to do some serious research into online yarn shops and find a wool mix yarn to use for that sweater.  My local yarn store specialises in Rowan yarns, which are gorgeous and out of my budget, even when on sale. Something in me rebels against using 100% acrylic for this and the other lovely cabled jumpers I've seen, even though acrylics now are often better quality than the soapy-feeling '70s yarns which pilled as soon as you looked at them and stretched after washing. The cabled sweater needs three or four sizes of circular knitting needles, which of course I don't have. And of course, if those sizes don't give you the correct tension swatch result, just change needle sizes ... which I still don't have! Rules of the stash - you have all sorts of things except that which you specifically need. I might have to treat myself to a set of interchangeable circular needles just to get a selection of sizes and cable lengths in one fell swoop.  I managed to find some 'sets' of dpns at a charity shop a while ago, but never see circular needles.

Yes, the stash, which reminds me of other projects on hold and which I should complete before I start any more.  I discovered an unfinished cardigan in 4 ply when I was sorting out a box this summer (in a shade of blue I would not normally go for and I don't know what size I was making. What was I thinking?). Not to mention a bag of fleece which needs dealing with, because I am going to learn to spin. So to satisfy my knitting urge, I've picked up my mohair autumn leaves thing again.  I still haven't decided what to do with it, because I'm very bored with it, but I feel like I've put in too much work just to junk it. I was thinking along the lines of a shrug, but I don't think what I had in mind will work. One of this week's jobs will be to take a few of the leaves and see what size they are after blocking. Note to self: just get over it and learn to do colourwork. Aran has always seemed so easy to me, and  Fairisle so complicated, but lots of people do it so how hard can it be?

I might have to have a go at some fingerless gloves too, because my hands get so cold (honest!) ... but only if I promise to myself to use yarn and needles from my stash!

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