From my parents' house, after Christmas, I proceeded to a large social house party, then after a week, to a guild party lasting nearly another week.
The plan was to ride down to the house party in a car with Kathy, Kevin and John. I met up with them at Kathy's house, where Kathy proceeded to give me this amazing present. USB-powered handwarmers. Kitschy doesn't describe them. The only adequate description I can give is that they were obviously designed in China. (Click through and look. The first picture doesn't show off the pom-poms on strings to their fullest effect.) I've tried them out since, and they actually work rather nicely, even if they're almost too small for my hands and I had to tear apart a section of the wiring so that I could reach my keyboard and mouse at the same time. Unfortunately they don't allow my hands enough range of motion for unfettered knitting. (And there's a lot of knitting that has to go on right about now, but that's an explanation for a future post.)
When we reached the house, I received a lovely present from Andrew which I very foolishly neglected to take a picture of. It consisted in part of a beautiful skein of merino laceweight from Rhino Fluff (formerly Traveling Rhinos), dyed in a one-of-a-kind colorway ranging from pale blue to rich purple. I'm half contemplating what sort of project I want to knit with it, and half contemplating just keeping it to pet.
The house party was as impressive as always. The main house, which I was staying in, had three full stories and was within a block of the beach. It was also never quite warm enough, being designed as a summer beach house, and so I (and the various other knitters I reunited with from the summer party) often had some yarn in my hands and lap. I only saw the second house (the quiet house) once, but it was nearly as large. We also had some overflow of people staying in a nearby hotel. For a full week we ate, drank, gamed, laughed, and (in some cases) knitted, and I only regret that I hadn't managed to socialize more while I was there.
From there I went to the guild party, which was a much smaller and more intimate gathering in comparison. Amy (whom I hope has been able to find this blog - hi Amy!) and Luna had combined forces in order to mob me with a whole array of knitterly gifts:
A gorgeous mawata silk square, wonderfully soft bamboo fiber, a lavender-scented lotion bar, handmade stitch markers, a carved wooden shawl pin, and two DPN holders. You can only see one in the picture because the second is busy holding a sock in progress. (Also, this makes two shawl pins I own now. Why did I give away the only shawl I've knitted?) The mawata is so delicate that I have to keep it in a plastic bag in order to keep it from snagging on everything, including my own fingers. I know that I want to knit something directly from it without spinning it first. A warm hat? A scarf? A cowl? I just can't bear to decide on something and stop happily speculating what it should be.
Over the course of the guild party, I finished Amy's first sock and started on the second.
But as I looked at the remaining yarn for the second sock, my heart sank. There wasn't going to be enough, I knew. I looked up the vendor from whom I'd purchased my yarn, Greenwood Fiberworks. There wasn't any more of this yarn in their Etsy store. I remembered that Amy had bought some yarn in the same weight and colorway, but with sparkles added, and asked if she still had some left over. She didn't. I frogged the little bit of the second sock that I had, and covered up my dejection with amusement at the horror that Amy expressed when I talked about frogging the first as well.
As luck would have it, though, when I was able to weigh both sock and remaining yarn, the sock weighed 52 grams and the remaining yarn weighed 48 grams. This is a little irritating - so close! - but also reassuring, because when I reknit these, I won't have to worry about reapportioning the yarn, recutting and grafting on for the second sock. I'll just have to knit the first one a little smaller. As the finished sock is somewhat too large on Amy anyway, that's not such a bad thing.
Everyone told me that Bandit had been wearing the socks I knit for him all the time, and an inspection of the partially-felted soles corroborated this. Incredibly flattered, I immediately bought yarn for another pair for him.
Anxious not to repeat the mistake I made in Amy's socks, I'm working these two-at-a-time and toe-up (there's a story about the cast-on for this), using the few yards of leftover Alpaca Sox from last pair for the contrasting toes. Should I run out of yarn before I get to the cuffs, I have some Patons Kroy waiting in the wings as well.
Finally, in the week or so that I stayed on after the party was officially over, I worked a little on Bandit's sweater. I'm just about two-thirds of the way through the second sleeve, which gives me hope that the sweater as a whole might be finished in time to wear next winter.
Next part: the full list of projects I intend (at the moment!) to knit this year.