On the right: a cable needle. On the left: the series of items that I attempted to use instead of a cable needle yesterday. Remember that five-hour flight where I was hoping to get a ton of work  done on my last-minute cabled scarf? Yeah. I forgot to pack my cable needle. (I’ve since gotten a replacement.)

Item 1: Ballpoint pen. I thought of it first because it seemed knitting-needle-like and had a point, but its diameter was too wide and the ridges on the point made it hard to slip stitches on anyway.

Item 2: Earpiece that I broke off of an obsolete set of complimentary airplane headphones. The backpack that I use as a carry-on is used for just about nothing else in my life, so of course it contains a set of headphones that have not fit any airplane headphone jack since about 2005. I thought of this because I actually prefer hook-shaped cable needles, but the flat end turned out to be too wide and the pointy end turned out to be too full of ridges.

Item 3: I know what you’re thinking, and that would certainly have helped, but no. That is an airplane barf-bag closure, and it saved my life. It is reinforced with little wires, which made it stiff, and as you can see, I folded the ends to be pointy for easier stitch-spearing. It was not ideal, but it got the job done, and I got lots of scarf knitted on the plane.

Christmas is not ruined. Yet.


What you see here is 1800 yards of pure, unadulterated crazypants. Let me count the ways:

1) The pattern, Jared Flood’s brand-new Leaves of Grass, is written as a shawl in fingering weight yarn but I am knitting it in bulky-weight yarn (Cascade Eco+) to make a blanket. It’s the second coming of Girasole, right? Surely it’ll be okay to just estimate yardage on this much-larger-than-a-shawl blanket before anybody else has posted such a feat on Ravelry, right?

2) There is not enough room to block the finished blanket in my apartment, so I am mailing it across the country while very much in-progress so that I can finish it at my parents’ house over the holidays and block it in their large, roomy basement. I will then, of course, ship it back to myself in California.

3) There is a distinct possibility that my mother will demand one of these for herself when she sees its full blocked-out glory. Assuming that everything works out and I don’t run out of yarn, of course. And, you know, this is a huge project and one that I’m not especially eager to undertake as a gift for somebody who doesn’t quite understand the immensity of it all.

Okay, so there are only three ways in which this is project is totally crazypants. But they are significant. And there is yet more crazy!

You see this? This is a Christmas gift. I have knitted exactly one row on it, and Christmas is 10 days away. My mother texted me yesterday with orders that I am to make a light gray cabled scarf for my brother. And as the lady at the yarn store reminded me while shoving this yarn into my hands, if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. So my brother is getting a cabled scarf for Christmas and I will somehow knit it in the next ten days. Fortunately, there is a five-hour plane ride in my near future. The yarn is Classic Elite Portland Tweed, and it’s gorgeous. I’m not going to link to the pattern until this is done, on the off chance that my brother reads this blog. I think he’ll like it, though, and not just our mother.

The third project that I’m bringing home for the holidays is much more sane:

This is a Port Ludlow sock: mellow, intuitive Anne Hanson knitting and a much-needed stashbusting project. The yarn is String Theory Caper Sock that I’ve had sitting around forever. It seems very similar to Sanguine Gryphon’s Bugga and might even be the same yarn base; I think it’s got the same fiber composition. Before Xmas-scarf-o-rama came into my life I was sure that I’d be able to finish these puppies before the end of winter break, but now I am less sure. Wish me luck!

Whiskey Girl

Ever since I took that picture of this scarf with the whiskey bottle, I’ve been fixated on calling the color of this yarn “whiskey.” It looks more orange here because of the light, but in some of the pictures below you’ll see what I’m talking about. The colorway does not appear to have an official name, but the yarn is a sport-weight alpaca from Twist: Yarns of Intrigue in Manhattan Beach. It looks like you can’t actually buy their in-house yarns online at the moment, which is too bad, but if you’re in southern California I highly recommend that you check out their shop and their hand-dyed house-brand yarns.

Here I am checking out some orange flowers in the courtyard of our apartment complex. Despite all the tropical greenery, I was pretty chilly in this tank top — but I chose to suffer for fashion, because this outfit seemed like a good way to show off the scarf.

The pattern is Anne Hanson’s Monkey Bread Scarf, a simple and satisfying arrangement of big fat cables. I just knit straight through to the end of the skein, and as you can see I ended up with a rather long scarf — which was the goal. I was stunned at how quickly this knit up, too!

Here it is on the blocking board. Now you can see what I mean when I say that it’s whiskey-colored, right?

I also just recently finished spinning and plying that Jacobs wool I was working on. Here, you can see it overlaid with a tiny sample of yarn spun from that fleece I got from my friends’ farm last year:

Since Shannon uses the wool from her sheep for needle-felting and not for spinning, I wanted to make sure that it would spin decently well before I committed to it. And it looks like it’s working fine! I’m going to spin a bunch more of it and make something striped with it and the blue yarn, since they’re both Jacobs wool. I’d been a little reluctant to spin that fleece, because there’s just so much of it and I thought I should save it for when I have a wheel and can make a whole sweater or something, but I’m happy about finally taking the plunge. I won’t use even close to all of it for what I have planned, but that’s just fine — I’m sure I’ll figure out something else for the rest someday.