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Well I confess that I have been having a vile week. I have a nasty cold, the weather is nippy, and all my current knitting projects are harder than I feel like dealing with right now.

I have made some headway on the eight petal rose sweater:

I was just starting to really get the hang of manipulating three balls in intarsia and suddenly the number exploded to seven, so now it is hard again.

However, I have reached the cool colours, which surely should count for something:

I have no great plans for bringing in the new year. My cold stymies any thoughts of general enjoyment, but I am considering my options in the resolution department. I am stuck on finding and following an exercise plan that works for me, but surely I can come up with something more original than that?

Here is a new and improved, tech-edited version of my Slouch Hat pattern.

There seems to have been a bit of confusion caused by the previous version, so hopefully this one will make sense to everyone.

There were no actual errata, but some of the short rows were altered slightly to make the knitting easier.

I seem to be incapable of fixing the row count for this pattern myself, and I have outsourced the solution.

Here is the new and improved tech edited Russian Princess in Exile pattern.

I would like to apologize for the confusion the previous version caused.

I am still not good at winding yarn onto my ball winder:

I must say that there is something special about a skein of yarn that a ball of yarn doesn’t capture. They have that wonderful slightly floppy heaviness that speaks “yarn” to me, and makes me so tempted to acquire them, but winding them on the ball winder is tedious.

I was trying to wind a 1600m skein of 90% alpaca, 10% silk a few days ago and the knot above is what happened. It was so frustrating, as the ball on the winder got bigger it would suddenly fly off across the room and I had several small balls in sequence:

In the end I got it wound, but I had to break the yarn in several places, so I have two good sized balls and two little ones and one clump of forever knotted mess that I have thrown into the pillow case of fibre I am putting aside for future art yarn spinning projects.

I suppose that result is acceptable, but I can’t bring myself to believe it is optimal.

I started my eight petals rose sweater yesterday night, and here is is all tidy and giving a sense of calm serene intarsia working up as simply as anything:

Of course this impression is a complete fiction and my project looked like this by the end of the knitting last night:

I knit a little longer than I wanted to as I really wanted to get to the first design change. There is something satisfying about the moment when the design starts to show. The next exciting thing will be when the cool colours start balancing the design.

I came home yesterday to a parcel notice and rushed to the post office to pick it up, and my Icelandic yarn had arrived.

I love the ability to buy things from where ever I want on the Internet – it makes me feel so cosmopolitan.

Here is a picture of the yarn:

It is Ístex Loðband Einband, which is a wool lace weight with 225m to 50g, and I have never seen it in a yarn store. I got it from the Handknitting Association of Iceland.

I am very pleased with it. It is very woolly, if you are someone who doesn’t like animal fibres and thinks wool is itchy, then this yarn is not for you, but I like woolly clothes so that is not a problem. Actually it is not at all scratchy (to me), but it is not soft either. It is almost like spun crêpe paper. The closest yarn I can think of is Noro Kuryeon sock yarn, but this is quite a bit finer.

The impetus for this international yarn acquisition is this book I mentioned before:

Icelandic Knitting Using Rose Patterns by Hélène Magnússon.

I am going to knit this sweater:

I have been wanting an oversize sweater, and this just seems too lovely to pass up. It is going to be my first major project involving intarsia. I was just never so attracted to patterns that used it before.

I think this sweater is a very good example of a project where substituting yarns would greatly change the effect, and after listening to yarn store staff a couple times — I know that whatever yarn they carry in the same gauge is not always an acceptable substitute for me.

And see I am so committed I have already worked my swatch:

It is even the the right gauge on the first try (stitches and rows) — that never happens. I will cast on for the sweater today.

Here are a few more patterns that I still think about from Interweave:

Seaberry Shell by Wenlan Chia:

It was published in the summer 2006 issue. Unfortunately this one is not available anymore because the issue is sold out at Interweave, and this sweater is not in Knitting Daily. Here is the Ravelry link. The only change I would make would be to make it longer as I love everything to be hip or tunic length — otherwise it is perfect.

The next pattern is this one:

The Bonbon Pullover by Mary Lynn Patrick.

This one is available. It was published in the winter 2007 issue, which is available from Interweave (here), and from Knitting Daily (here). The Ravelry link is here. It is like a sweater that a movie star would wear only you could relax in it.

The next one is the Wedgewood Blouse by Nora Gaughan:

This one was also from the summer 2006 issue and is not available from the Knitting Daily store (Ravelry link), but it is a pity that it is not. Who but Nora Gaughan could so perfectly render paisley in knit texture? If anyone can direct me to anything as good or better, either of your own or someone else’s design, I would love to see it, as I love paisley (a fact I have managed to keep rather quiet until now).

That is all I will share for this post, but I may have a few patterns from Vogue Knitting I may want to draw your attention to next, while I have all the magazines taking up a whole chair to themselves in the dining room.

December 2008