Life has been a bit hectic - some of you showed an interest in my latest operatic endeavour last summer...well, it's on the stage in May and we start rehearsing in February so I've been pretty stuck to my desk dealing with the Papin sisters and their extremely unpleasant employer. Some days, spending all day with such an unpleasant gang leaves you reaching for bottle rather than the knitting. Anyway, I'm nearly there - just the final eye-gouging, flesh slicing scene to go.
I have been knitting - some of you might remember the paint colour card jacket I was working on with lots of colours on a grey background? Well, after getting to the armhole and realising it was too small and going back to the beginning and starting again, the project was slightly driving me crazy. I've never done much colour-work before and I find it hard to get into a relaxing rhythm. I often find myself entwined and entangled and in a bit of a pickle. I'm 3/4 of the way through the first arm so I must be getting there. But you know how some projects just never quite hit the spot? This has been one of them. Perhaps it will all be different when it's on...
So, on Friday, I ventured the chill and popped out to get some shopping and grabbed my other half's hat on my way out. He'd bought it a few weeks ago from the supermarket (!) when the weather was getting really nippy. I scoffed, of course....it has fake fur ear flaps and a foldy-back bit on the forehead...and it's absoluto synthetico which would, I decided, provide no warmth whatsoever. (There is some gripe here which goes back to one of my first projects - I knitted him a hat with small twisted cables which he has worn once when we were on holiday in Venice, no doubt because the chances of bumping into anyone we knew was so slim. The hat, you see, looks much more like a tea cosy than a hat....I should just cut my losses and snip a hole in it and make our tea pot happy) So, anyway, I wore the synthetic-ear-flap-horror to do my shopping and loved it and found it extremely toasty. So at work yesterday, and with the prospect of some proper snow on the way, I decide I'd get home and dive into my stash and have a go at the Maltese Fisherman's Hat outlined in Elizabeth Zimmerman's 'Knitter's Almanac.'.
I found some really thick wool in my stash and a suitably chunky circular needle in my box and got to work while watching a particularly grim episode of 'Silent Witness' on the TV. Given my grumbles with the last project, this was just what I needed. The neck shaping is both easy and interesting and it was an absolute joy to have on the needles.
Now, those Zimmerman aficionados out there will notice from the picture that I've taken a few liberties with her pattern. (well, it's not actually hers, is it? Some Maltese granny (or grandad) must take the credit for that as she was copying one somebody bought on holiday) After the neck and earflaps, EZ joins in the round and knits every round. I preferred the medieval chain-mail look of the earflaps and wanted to continue it. I also co 16 stitches and knit a few rows to make a little flappy-visor thing. I joined it in to the main body after the earflaps (K2 tog at each end) which saved co 14 for the front which I always find hard to do neatly. I also found that the knitting across resulted in a fold line of stocking stitch meaning that the visor folded back, just like my other half's fancy one form the supermarket.
Anyway, It was ready for a walk this afternoon in beautif,ul beautiful snow - and toasty warm it is too and I'm pleased with it...and other half (OH) said he'd LIKE one....
By the way, Elizabeth's Zimmerman's knitter's almanac is cheap as chips on amazon but is the book that I always have by my bed and the book which I always take with me on my travels. It's soothing and friendly and entertaining and reassuring and if I had to pick one knitting book out of my ever groaning library , this would be the one without a doubt. There are a couple of other hats to try here too, although I'm not sure Faversham's ready to see me in a three-pointed tam...
And, to counter those of you extolling the virtues of extremely expensive needles in your armoury (and to be fair, I have plenty too) I did win a full set of Denise interchangeable knitting needles a few years ago when I won 'letter of the month' in simply knitting magazine.....(!!!!!!!) Well, I scoffed a little -I mean they're entirely plastic (rather like OH's ear-flap hat) but I was pondering today, they're the needles that I've used more than any others in my box. They're light and sharp and very easy to interchange (if that's a verb) There's a lesson here somewhere...don't look a gift horse in the mouth; expensive isn't always best; and don't knit your OH a tea cosy!