Saturday, November 24, 2007

Temptation, Thy Name Is Sock Yarn

We've had some really cold weather here recently (well, cold for us - don't suppose Lene or Charity or Laurie M would consider it cold just because it got down close to zero for one or two nights). But it was enough for me to dig out the heavier duvet and get the stove lit in the evenings, while the days were beautifully clear and chilly, with those trees which still had their leaves showing off to a fine degree. It won't last of course - that's one of the main differences between West Cork and Lapland - as milder weather and rain are forecast, but it was nice to wear sweaters and see bright skies for a while.

Here is Carrigaphooka castle almost upstaged by this splendid tree, just a few miles from home, on the Killarney road. Carrigaphooka stands on a rocky little outcrop overlooking the river valley and I've known it since childhood, playing around its ruins quite happily without ever meeting the Puca himself. Still, he's more likely to play tricks on inebriated men staggering home late from the pub, throwing them across his back and making off with them to the far side of the mountain, there to dump them in a boggy morass and leave them to find their own way back. No harm in him really, just mischief.

Sophy Wackles has decided she doesn't like cold weather, and spends much of the time (until I catch her), roosting on my favourite knitting chair with a close companion.

Can you tell which one is which?

Now for a fanfare. The Blue Ridge Mountain Socks are finished! These are the ones in the Claudia Handpaint with which I had some trouble, if you remember - or with one of which I had trouble, to be accurate. In the end I decided that if I didn't make a determined push, they were never going to be done, so I pretended we were back in the insanity of Sock Madness and knitted like it was 3 am and the deadline was first light (been there, done that, I know some more of you have too). And so they were FINISHED at last.

Today was rather a special day in fact. I wore not only the new Blue Mountain socks (which are divinely comfortable and make my feet feel really happy), but ALSO that little vest in blue I whipped up for instant gratification earlier this year (crochet, but don't hate me for that, please - it really does work up far more speedily). I think it's the first time ever I've worn two items that I've made - three if you count each sock individually, and considering the time that goes into each one, I think that's only fair. Oh this is Wear What You Make with a vengeance!

I was so pleased at this success, that when we were passing through Cork University today on a job, I got Richard to take a picture of my elegantly clad self in the main quad. You can't see the socks or the vest particularly well, but with a background like that, who cares?

Of course having actually finished a project has the instant effect of igniting the desire to start several more. And the newest love affair is with Ragna. You know, Ragna from Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Knits.

This one. I love the medieval-style tabs at the bottom. I'm going to make it a bit narrower than the original since I think that would be a bit too loose and floppy on me. Got a cone of very nice dark charcoal 'cashwool', which is I think actually merino, very smooth and silky and soft. Unfortunately it's also very fine, so I have had to ply it by six to get gauge, which leads occasionally to splitting problems, but that's a minor price to pay for such beautiful aristocratic yarn.

Have only made one tab so far, but it shouldn't take too long to get another three done for the back. Or maybe I should go the whole hog and make the entire sweater in the round up to the armholes, what do you think? Heidi in Denmark and I are doing a kind of friendly KAL on this - I saw her started project on Ravelry and praised it while swearing gently at her for tempting me beyond endurance. Now we're swapping progress stories. Oh and while I think of it - go check out her list of good knitting resolutions. They are hilarious - as well as sobering, since most of us have thought of most of them quite often, even if we never keep them.

So Ragna is already on the needles. Another project. Will it be finished before or after the charcoal/poppy red kimono? And how about poor neglected St. Enda? And just LOOK at what arrived in the post from darling Roggey!

Yes ma'am, that suttinly is Seasilk! And those are the most gorgeous beads to go with it. What kind of nice person ARE you, Roggey? We've been exchanging surprise packages, but Seasilk... Listen, what, WHAT can I make to do justice to that yarn and those beads? Suggestions please - this is one project that I will have to get right from the beginning. Can you imagine frogging Seasilk? With or without beads? No, neither can I. I just wouldn't have the nerve. Lynn, you did something exquisite with beads, as I remember. Tell me what to make!

And further temptation has come my way today with a wicked and entirely undeserved trip over to the Knitivity website to see what divine new sock yarns Ray had dyed up. I simply can't resist his creative colourways. You remember that glorious Watermelon that I am making up into my Bishop's Lace Socks (no, not for the bishop to wear, silly, for me to wear under a long black skirt so that I can flash the socks and cause him to drop his mitre or whatever). Anyway, I thought the Watermelon might be feeling lonely while it was waiting, so I went over and had a look and fell for these two (well actually I fell in love with a whole lot of them - go look yourself and I defy you not to be tempted, I myself immediately got on to Angeluna, and we emailed back and forth, drooling over the divine options, that girl is no help, BUT NO HELP when it comes to seeking assistance in resisting temptation, she's worse than I am, where was I?) ANYWAY, these were the two I chose.

Blue Jeans (I'm telling myself the resultant socks will be a gift for a friend, but who am I kidding, I won't let them out of my grubby little paws);

- and Glacier Lake which looks so beautiful I want it right here, right NOW. Hurry up, Ray!

You get good yardage from Knitivity, so I might make these as spectacular kneesocks. I love what Ray does, and I think he is one helluva guy, adjusting like that to a new life in Texas after being made homeless by Hurricane Katrina, so he doubly deserves to succeed. Let's hear it for Ray and Knitivity!

It's been one of the busiest weeks I remember, with constant deadlines and waking up each morning with the nagging thought that something is still unwritten that is now urgent. More work kept piling on top, until the temptation to go hide in a cabin somewhere with the latest pair of socks was almost irresistible. Slightly less frenetic now, though, and maybe, just maybe, by tomorrow night I might be able to post up some yarns on eBay. This week's are all going to be mohairs - some laceweight kid mohairs, some heavier ones, all colours and shades. Anyone thinking of making scarves, stoles or shawls for Christmas presents, get your supplies here. They'll all be listed with the Celtic Memory tag, so if you go into Mohair and search for Celtic Memory, you should find them all.

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. We celebrated it here too at home, since we thought we had a lot to give thanks for. One of my biggest causes for thanks is the number of friends I have made since starting blogging. I would not have believed it possible that so many of us could know each other so well all over the world. It has got the most amazing potential for peace and goodwill. Let's use it.


rho said...

I cannot wait to see bluejeans knit up - it is spectacular.

We had turkey leftovers tonight and tomorrow the bones become turkey soup-- ;)

Lots to be thankful for here too.

Tracy said...

I love, absolutely LOVE Elsebeth Lavold's Ragna. It's definitely in my Ravelry queue (though I have so little time and so many things to knit). I can't wait to see what you do with it!

LaurieM said...

Hooray for FOs! And good for you for wearing them. If you come to visit Canada in the winter, you'll want to pile on a whole lot more knit wear. At work on Friday I had on hand knit socks, was wearing my Alice Starmore vest, and when I went outside I had on a handspun scarf, the beret from last year's Interweave Knits, and a pair of Latvian mitts! All I need now is a pair of knitted tights to be clad in wool from head to toe.

Anonymous said... speaking of Denmark and socks, have you seen these??! viking socks in English too. karen (not the same one as lykkeogloekker)

Anonymous said...

Jolly grand picture of your socks and vests at Cork U!

Roggey said...

You're killing me with the lust for that ragna! Hello ravelry queue!

Glad you like the seasilk and beads! I got lucky with the beads going with the colorway (last tube in the rack at the store).

Karen S, Lykkefanten said...

He he, so you are the one Heidi told me about! Absolutely loved your comment (it made me smile very much). Good luck with both Ragna and Viking.
Cheers Karen

hmm, wonder who that other Karen is ;-)

cindyl said...

Little Miss Wackles looks extremely haughty here, conveying the message, "don't even THINK about moving me!"
I never can remember the formula for celsius to farenheidt, so guess the zero degrees to be somewhere above freezing but not alot, which is what we have for a change. Perfect Sunday for working on the Noro tea cosy I'm doing for a friend's Christmas (my yayas this year are receiving a tea pot (found at junk, thrift, antique shops) and matching cosy handknitted with love (and a few dog hairs, since Will & Lupe, my Yorkies) are worse than Wackles about being whereEVER they want to be.

pacalaga said...

I knit Swallowtail out of a skein of sea silk. (I even had to frog it once and it handled the mishandling beautifully.)
Lettuce Knit also sells a one-hank shawl pattern for the sea silk...

Sallie said...

I just finished a pair of socks in the Glacier Lake colorway from Ray. I love the way they turned out, and they feel great on my feet. I made them my regular length and had lots of yarn left over, so you probably could make kneesocks quite easily.

Laurence said...

Ragna is on my needles too and it is a very beautiful pattern, not difficult to memorize. I have to leave it for a while because I am busy packing for our move from Paris to Dublin but will be happy to knit it soon. Love your blog...just shy to write comments because English is not my native language !

Dez Crawford said...

Jo, I have a vest on the needles in Ray's "Carina Nebula" sockweight and socks on the needles in "Lake Berry." It's awesome stuff.

Love the photo of Miss Wackles.

Anonymous said...

Well, howdy! I heard my name being mentioned, had to come look-see. Thank you for your post! The mill shipped your yarns on Monday, so I should see them tomorrow or Friday. Far be it from me to interfere with Temptation's Pursuit and Conquest.

Have to correct one item ... I wasn't rendered literally homeless (or jobless) after Katrina -- but the conditions of survival in New Orleans after the storm were such that for my health and sanity I just had to leave and start over, after trying my best to stay and be part of the recovery; I just couldn't. Either way the end result is the same, of course, and I've started over, but I try not to miss an opportunity to express gratitude that I wasn't one of the original ones who lost it all to Katrina.

I'll slip you a note when your yarns are dyed and shipping out to you.

Ray said...