I've started something new. It's the Hitchhiker scarf by Martina Behm who has several patterns listed on Ravelry. All other WIPs have been put to one side. The reason? The scarf is destined to be my mother-in-law's birthday present and her birthday's 2 January. The yarn I'm using is Unicorn from Fyberspates, which I've mentioned before as it was a yarn produced for a joint-venture competition/yarn club between Jeni at Fyberspates and Amanda at The Natural Dye Studio. A fingering-weight yarn, the fibre blend isn't specific on Ravelry, but if memory serves, it's 70% baby llama, 20% cashmere and 10% silk (or something like that). Whatever, it's soft and I hope my mother-in-law will like it as I've never knitted anything for her before. I spent a few hours looking for a suitable pattern and then saw Hitchhiker on Wendy Johnson's blog, so investigated further on Ravelry and decided that it would work. One of the difficulties I find with knitting for other people is the after care. I know that whilst my mother-in-law will be happy to hand-wash a scarf, blocking would be a different matter and if you're giving something as a gift to a non-knitter, it's a bit cheeky to include a sheet of blocking instructions in the package! So, although I'll probably block Hitchhiker, it won't matter if it's not blocked after further washes.
The yarn's variegated in a subtle way and is knitting up nicely. A bit of pooling here and there, but that seems to be coming out as stripes that move around the scarf rather than glaring blobs or flashes, so I hope it continues. The scarf construction is interesting as well. It starts with 2 stitches and for each 'tooth', 9 stitches are increased and 5 cast off, which means a stitch increase of 4 stitches per 'tooth' (it's an 8-row pattern repeat). By the end of the knitting and it's time to cast off (determined by the amount of yarn available), the teeth form one side of the scarf and the cast off edge the other side. Here's a photo of progress to date:
It curves nicely at the top edge and is easy knitting (garter stitch) but with some detail to retain interest. I started off with 90g of yarn (I used 10g in a ripple blanket for my older daughter) and I've just weighed the ball on my digital kitchen scales and I've got 67g left, so I should get a decent-sized scarf. I started it on 2 Dec, so if I continue at the same rate, that's averaging just under 6g of yarn a day, so it should be finished in a couple of weeks.
The weather here's bright and sunny, but the temperature has dropped considerably this week and there's been frost on the ground and cars when DD1 and I leave the house at 7.20am to walk to the station so she can get the train to school. I'm trying to resist putting on the heating during the day if it's just me at home, so I've been washing winter jumpers and layering up. If it's still cold at the weekend, I'll even be breaking out my vests when I go to work as last weekend every time the door opened, a cold draught wafted across the shop straight at me! I buy small-sized men's vests from Marks & Spencer as they're longer than the ones in the women's department, even though they're not the most attractive item of clothing I own! Hubby laughs, but if I'm cold, I'm grumpy!
I'm off now to hopefully get another few repeats of Hitchhiker done before lunch, at which time I'll probably have another laundry load to iron and the dishwasher to empty (I forgot to put it on last night - whoops!).