Well. Here we are on our third day of being more-or-less housebound in the PDX area, due to roughly a foot of snowfall. (I know, a foot of snow doesn't stop most of the country in its tracks, but it is a rarity for us.) DH is going stir-crazy, although the Olympics have helped a bit with the boredom factor.
Speaking of the Olympics — holy crap, what was Ralph Lauren thinking with those opening ceremony sweaters? The wool for those things was sourced from right here in Oregon, and I used to be proud of that fact. If I were more cynical, I'd think that RL and Co. were mocking the fuddy-duddy image that handknitting still has for a lot of uninformed people. Comparisons are being made to team Andorra's sweaters but really. Andorra's sweaters are extremely stylish, classy, black-and-white Fair Isle with a modern pop of orange, and probably a helluva lot of work too. I don't know for sure if they were hand-knit, but they are definitely at a much smaller gauge.
Anyway, between the snow and the Olympics, I suspect a lot of local knitters got a lot of knitting done this weekend. YAY! Am I among them? Well, no. I did get an initial swatch made for an upcoming design project, but that is about the extent of my knitting.
What with getting back into teaching shortly, I've been doing some sorting through boxes of old samples and class material, as well as going through my knitted wardrobe with a critical eye and armed with a box of "Dry Cleaners Secret" sheets (which I had a hard time finding, and now appear to be branded with the Woolite label. Same stuff though). I pulled everything off my sweater shelf and dumped it on the table in the studio — which made a pretty impressive pile, actually — and got to work.
The amount of time I have spent this weekend with a fabric shaver in my hand is not to be believed, BUT several of my older sweaters now look astonishingly new again. I was particularly stunned by how clean and colorful the colorwork on my Lopi sweater looks now, with 13 years of fuzziness shaved off the surface.
The fun part was finding out that I have over thirty hand-knitted garments! Not counting scarves, hats, socks and so on. I counted 35 garments total on my sweater shelf, and only three of them were not personally hand-knit by me. One, a mohair blend sweater that was a graduation gift from my sister; two, a little vintage evening-type shell made, as far as I can tell, out of pure angora; and three, a supremely fuzzy mohair pullover that I bought at a consignment shop, definitely hand-knit by somebody, possibly out of Mohair Lungo. (And, I keep saying that one day I am going to copy that sweater, because I wear the crap out of it. So to whoever lovingly knit it and then gave it up — I for one appreciate it.)
I've been making sure they are all clean, the smooth ones have the pills and extra fuzz shaved off, and the mohair ones are fluffed up with the mohair brush. I've been fixing a few little annoyances, too, like tightening up the buttonholes on one of the cardigans. A few have been relegated to the "frog" pile and one or two need some more in-depth fixes. But slowly the sweater shelf is being filled back up again — with garments that I know like old friends, almost every stitch made by me. It's a good feeling.
On the other hand, last week I bought yarn for not one but TWO tank top projects, and those have me excited too — because knitting teachers have to look ahead, and despite the snow outside, tank top weather will be here before you know it. One of the tanks is definitely going to be a class sample: an easy intro to sweater design, with a few variations to keep things interesting, but not so much of the m-word (MATH) and no sleeves to worry about. (Of course, if you are into sleeves, you could think about making a cute little shrug to go over your tank.)
The other is a tank I'm knitting in some yummy Shibui Staccato just for myself, although I already plan to change it — I think I am going to ditch the chunky-looking ribbing at the top in favor of something a bit more delicate. It looks like I am in good company there, as a lot of other Ravelry knitters appear to have doubled the main yarn to do the ribbed section. If it goes well, it could turn into a class project or a knitalong too.
As the saying goes, "Make new friends, but keep the old!"