I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season. I certainly did, but I AM glad to be back to my routine, otherwise known as Making Stuff.
I had hoped to finish the sweater pictured above by Christmas, but a tendinitis flare-up slowed me down. (That’ll teach me to knit for five hours straight just because I was enjoying an audiobook!) The pattern is Elizabeth Doherty’s Donner, and I wish to sing its praises from the rooftops. It looks so simple, but it is beautifully detailed, and the directions couldn’t be clearer. Here is a close-up of the back neck short-row shaping, highlighted by an i-cord braid, and a detail of the slip stitch ridge pattern:
(The color is more accurate in these photos, too.)
It’s quite oversized, with about seven inches of positive ease. After all those acres of knitting, the tiny sleeves go so quickly that it was like knitting a sweater for a T. rex, though they are 3/4 length when worn. The yarn is Brooks Farm Acero, a fingering-weight, 60/20/20 blend of wool, rayon and silk. It seems to me that sweaters with this kind of neckline want to be worn next to the skin, and this yarn is great for that.
I have also made a knitting resolution: I have been feeling guilty about my “yarn footprint;” after all, how many sweaters and shawls does one old lady need? So I have been wanting to do more charity knitting for quite some time.
In the past, it’s been hard for me to maintain enthusiasm for charity knitting. So many organizations want everything made in acrylic, and/or they want an endless supply of the same thing–so that one ends up feeling like, say, a one-woman, preemie-cap sweatshop. I once stumbled across a “hats for the homeless” program that specified that all of the hats had to be plain, and that unspecified “gang colors” should be avoided. Moreover, hats should not contain any fancy details like colorwork or fancy cables, because if they did, the recipients would fight over them. It was all so dreary and uninspiring, and not the way I wanted to spend my knitting time.
Wool-Aid benefits children in some of the poorest (and usually coldest) regions of the world–Nepal, Afghanistan, Tibet, the Indian Himalayas, Syria. Because the emphasis is on warmth, and because there are very few washing machines in these areas, wool is not only recommended, but required–the heavier, the better. And they can use everything–hats, socks, mittens, sweaters, vests, blankets and scarves. There are a few common-sense restrictions and suggestions: Any cardigans should close securely. Religious symbols should be avoided. If you specifically want to knit for kids who were donated to Buddhist monasteries because their parents couldn’t afford to feed them, certain colors are specified.
And I benefit, too. I get to use my favorite fiber. I won’t be bored. I will have a good use for the skeins in my stash that are too warm for New Mexico, so I will get more storage space. My stiff hands will benefit from switching between my fingering-weight projects and bulkier items on larger needles. Size isn’t a huge concern–anything I knit will fit someone. I can knit with, say, a lovely bright saffron that would look awful on anyone I know personally, but it will be perfect for some little proto-Buddhist. Really, they could have called this Roxane-Aid.
So far I’ve done a scarf. The plum-brown color isn’t really kid-like, but it’s a toasty wool/llama blend:
Last night I cast on a bright red sweater, and I am planning multicolor mittens with some other oddments.
It’s nice–and, for me, unusual– to be at the end of the first week of a new year, and still be enthusiastic about a resolution. If only exercise were this inspiring!