I like starting the New Year with nothing on the needles and an empty loom, I don’t always manage it but this year I did. I made another pair of the Either/Or mitts, this pair I made a little smaller now that I can see which bit goes where. The first ones were a tiny bit long over my knuckles, once I’d knitted them I could see that it was the first part of the pattern which is knit in the round from the thumb that determines the length so I stopped that part a bit earlier. That affects the width as well so I added a few more rows in the middle garter section in the second pair because otherwise they’d have been shorter and narrower rather than just shorter. I could knit these from the scrap bag from now to the end of the world (whenever that falls this year) except that I need to refer to the pattern for establishing the increases and the set up rows when the knitting changes direction. I didn’t print it off because it was very long which means I’m faffing around turning the computer on and off and that’s not what I want in an evening’s knitting. I did try writing out the bits I needed, twice, but seeing as I immediately lost the directions (twice) that wasn’t particularly successful either.
This was the husband’s New Year’s Eve project. It had potential for disaster (first choux pastry, first day with hot sugar syrup) but he pulled it off. We bought him a croquembouche mould for his birthday because we’re subtle like that and this was the first opportunity he had to use it seeing as it needs more than three people to eat it. The small one is built inside the mould, so it ends up being worked top down, and that means that the caramel is at its best right at the top where you don’t need its structural properties quite so much. Next year he’ll making it on the outside of the mould, bottom up, which should make it more stable and also bigger which is good because there wasn’t quite enough of it to go around. It leaned a bit from the outset and that crack on the right hand side got progressively larger which meant that it was put in a bowl in case the whole lot went over. It was still standing when we came to eat it which counts as a win in my book.
The caramel used to hold the choux buns together was his second use of hot sugar, building on the experience gleaned from his first ever sugar project an hour earlier. I’m all for using leftovers and this marshmallow used the egg white that was left over from the creme anglais in the choux buns and the gelatine sheets left over from the packet I used to set the jelly in the pork pie. That was a reprise of the brown sock incident – I made the stock earlier in the year, strained it, reduced it until it stood up by itself, congratulated myself on planning ahead and then the smugness fairies spirited it away. Somewhere in the freezer was a bag labelled “pork pie stock” but I had two sessions looking for it without success. (I found it on January 3rd while looking for something for dinner) I am told that the marshmallow is perfect, I poked it with a finger and it is as fluffy and bouncy as shop bought but for me it ranks alongside candy floss under the heading “things I can’t bring myself to eat”.
I’m at the stage of planning to knit, this sketch is about as far as I’ve got. I weighed the fibre I had (it’s what I used to knit my Celtic Dreams) and there probably isn’t quite enough to make Dan a sweater so I’ve ordered more. I can’t start spinning the first lot until the second batch lands because it’s although it’s the same fibre from the same supplier there’s no guarantee that it will be exactly the same colour. The next step is to write the child’s measurements on the sketch, spin and knit a couple of yarn samples and then convert the sketch into something more resembling a pattern whilst at the same time making a pile of yarn. I’m hoping that the rib means that he’ll get some wear out of it, if he wears it at all of course because it could fit perfectly and not be right for some reason only discernible to a twelve year old.
In the meantime there are always socks. I’ve been looking at the overflowing sock scrap bag and feeling guilty even though I’ve recently made a pair of socks and two pairs of fingerless gloves out of it. I should have been knitting another pair of socks from the scraps but I wanted to play with the new shiny yarn that I found under the tree. The guilt lost out this time, these are Apple Laine Apple Pie in “Best Friends”. It’s 65% wool, 20% mohair, 10% nylon and 5% silk and I have the yarn for another two pairs of socks after these. The first pair is going to be toe up so I can see just how much less there is in a ball, after which I may revert to cuff down. The sock yarn bag will be meeting the loom just as soon as the tree comes out of the space where the loom should be, that way I get to knit the new stuff and still feel good about catching up with the scraps.