It is September. That can only mean one thing this year. That’s right…all Christmas knitting all the time. I am in the Christmas spirit. I have been working on Christmas dishcloths, Christmas tribbles, Christmas laundry soap, Christmas blankie squares, and a Christmas scarf! I have gotten a couple more dishcloths done. I have also gotten a couple of tribbles done. These will go in baskets with some “kitchen” goodies (measuring cups, hotpads, etc). I also found a great recipe for laundry soap, so I have been making batches of that to give away in pint jars! My laundry soap is 1 Bar of Kirk’s Castille soap finely grated, 2 c. washing soda, 2 c. baking soda, 3 c. Borax, and a small amount of fragrance (about 30 drops). It smells wonderful and cleans better than anything I have ever tried. It is also diaper safe (a big deal in our house).
In working on the Christmas blankie squares I have learned a new skill. Cabling. I haven’t just learned to cable, but I have discovered that I hate cable needles. I learned to cable without a cable needle! I feel so daring! The May square was my first attempt at cabling. I decided that I was not brave enough to cable without a needle. I fumbled with the needle for two really badly done repeats. I decided that there had to be a better way. I had only ever seen cabling without a needle where you drop the stitches you would normally put on the cable needle, knit the others, and then pick up the dropped stitches. I decided I just wasn’t that daring. Then I saw some reference to doing it the way that is described in the Confessions of a Knitting Heretic. Well, I just got the book. I looked up how she did it. Taking the example of a 4 stitch cable, she takes the first two stitches and slips them to the right hand needle. Then she knits the next two stitches. Then she puts her needle into the two slipped stitches (into the front if the stitches were to be held in front or into the back if they were to be held in back). She then slips all four stitches off of the right needle. The two slipped stitches are now on the left needle. The other stitches are “dropped”. You then pick them up on the right needle. They don’t hang out there. They are only off of a needle for a few seconds. That didn’t seem so dangerous. I tried it out, and discovered that I love to cable that way! For some reason, it is much neater and easier for me. Not to mention that I don’t risk losing the cable needle. I ripped the first cables I tried and started over. The square came out great.
I have now done three cabled squares without the cable needle. It is making me feel so clever and daring (and as you know, that always makes me love a technique…when it makes me feel smart)!! I am so glad I waited to do the May and July squares until after I bought that book. I am thinking of writing an ode to Annie Modesitt since she has so transformed my knitting (or maybe that would just be weird)!!
I also got a great present in the mail, which made me think it was Christmas for a day! I got my package for the Reducio 7 swap. Included were a lovely little Hufflepuff sock, a travelling bag (which is lined and has a little bumblebee sewn into the lining…my pal’s patronus to protect against lost items), a train whistle, and some candy. It also had the Ribbit pattern, yarn, and a tennis ball to make a cute little frog!! She did such a fantastic job on the package!!