Monday, January 8, 2018

New Year

Sigh, it's January.  I do not love January, and I'm glad to get it out of the way right at the beginning; to have all of April and June and August and October still to look forward to.  January is deeply dark and miserably awful.  I have some feelings about this.  At the moment, the death grip of arctic cold that's been ravaging pretty much our entire continent is loosening temporarily and I'm feeling slightly joyful about that.  Maybe I will be able to get the back door open!  I guess it is all relative, then, because if 33 degrees F starts to seem like a relief, then I really can get used to anything.  This post-holiday lull is when I am at my most gloomy, so I try to combat that by cleaning and tidying and generally getting the house--where I am sometimes trapped for days--back into shipshape.  Thus, we took the whole house apart last week, and threw plastic over all the furniture and piled all the books and paintings and pillows and chair cushions in the corner in preparation for painting.  I washed all the walls and we spackled over my forty-jillion nail holes and took off the outlet covers.  Chaos, buckets, caulk, disorder, screws loose and scattering...and then the sky opened up and dumped a million tons of snow on our heads and everything was closed, and we were becalmed.  We couldn't get any paint.  We couldn't even get to the mailbox.  And then the polar cold turned the road into a sheet of ice.  And then the wind drifted a million more tons of snow into the driveway, and we had to alternate endlessly shoveling with just sitting bleakly in the middle of all the plastic while the catdog, who does not enjoy change, paced nervously, wondering where all the recognizable features of her life had gone, and (despite her very cute wardrobe of sweaters and boots) refused to go outdoors.  I drank all the coffee in the house, switched to wine, and heartily sympathized.  I didn't want to go out there, either.  I knit monogamously (whoo, that's rare) on that sweater up there, "Arboreal" by Jennifer Steingass, and finished it this morning.  It's sprawled in front of a fan right now, trying to dry, and I'll show it later, in action.  I used the most interesting stuff:    
This is Plotulopi, an unspun yarn (is it yarn?  Unspun fiber?) that my mama brought for me from her recent trip to Iceland.  (You can get it in the US here).  It comes in "plates" and it just looks like very thin pencil roving.  I had never worked with anything like this before, and it was so fascinating.  The wool of the Icelandic sheep is pretty unique, and the staple length of the fiber seems to be quite long, so while Plotulopi has a reputation for being fragile, I only broke it twice, when I sat on it accidentally, and otherwise was plenty sturdy enough.  You'd never be able to sew a seam with it, though, hence the Icelanders have the good sense to use it for their famous lopapeysur--patterned yoke sweaters, knit without seams, and that's what I used it for, too.  The structure of it, this unspun stuff (and this is also true of the other lopi yarns--"lopi", or "lopa", by the way, is Icelandic for "wool"-- which are spun, but loosely) traps a lot of air, so fabric knit with it is very fluffy and apparently will also be very hard-wearing.  If you are thirsting for more knowledge about Icelandic wool, you can read more from the true experts right here.) In my own limited experience, Plotulopi is without a doubt the hairiest thing I have ever knit with--it shed like a Labrador--but the garment it made might also be the warmest garment in all the world.  The heat of it on my lap as I worked on it was pretty unbelievable.  It felt like it was plugged in.  The extreme fluffy hairiness of the Plotulopi does somewhat obscure the leafy patterning of the Arboreal yoke, but I have decided to look at that as a design feature.  This thing will be perfect when winter comes roaring back with a vengeance next week.  
Catdog is hoping things will calm down around here.  Her very rigorous napping schedule is all in disarray.  And now that I have finished another sweater, it's time to pick out something else to make.  (Didn't I just say that last week?  Uh oh, too much knitting?)
 Never.  

15 comments:

  1. My heart really does go out to you with the extreme weather conditions some areas are having. I am hoping it will get better for you soon and normality will resume. Beautiful sweater, I have never come across this type of yarn.

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    1. I never had come across it, either; it's very unusual, and quite wonderful! :)

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  2. Catdog's "very rigorous napping schedule" made me laugh out loud. Wish I was a dog and could nap all the time in this horrible weather.

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    1. I do, too! She's got life figured out. :)

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  3. I'm sorry you are not a winter person, I love winter. Growing up in the mid-west I knew cold. All the great knitting days in winter warms my heart. I must admit I have lived in Colorado now for 40+years and we have cold spells but not like the mid-west. Hard to wear heavy wool sweaters in the house;{ Love your Icelandic sweater.

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    1. I grew up in the Midwest, too, and I always feel like that's why I hate winter so much. Walking to school with bare legs, hauling a saxophone across town, ice forming on my eyelids...nope. I hate it.

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  4. Your knits are gorgeous! Cold here too in Oregon....Spring will be welcomed!

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    1. Indeed it will be--only ten more weeks! xoxo

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  5. Love your creations and wish I lived where the weather is like you have - I ABSOLUTELY Love the Cold , my two favorite seasons are fall and winter.

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    1. Daisy I also adore the autumn and winter... that said the weather we have been experiencing is beyond what I know to be WINTER... sub freezing weather that drains all power from car batteries and makes your fingers feel as if they might snap and break off due to the extreme cold... even while wearing heavy and warm gloves. so cold in fact that 10 -15 minutes of exposed skin can suddenly be plagued by frost bite..

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    2. There's the your holiday card "winter" with fluffy flakes and cozy parties and the crunchy cold walks in the snow (all good) and then there's Reality Winter, which is sideways snow and eight-foot drifts and cars going off the road and frozen pipes and dark, dark, darkness. Which is terrible.

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  6. Life happens regardless of the weather. Bad things happen in sunshine, while happy and jolly things come out of the winter darkness. It will be nice to feel warmer again but otherwise all seasons have much to offer and I appreciate them all, being glad we have them really.

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    1. I am just not evolved enough yet to appreciate the misery that is winter. Looking forward to "mud season" already. xoxo

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  7. I used to ask my Mom to knit complicated items I felt was beyond my ken... many decades ago when I did not often knit things other than simple scarves and such... Mom was also allergic to wool so she was unable to make me something with the Icelandic yarn I purchased 50 years ago. And of course that yarn got packed away and has moved with me from my parents home to the 2 apartments and 2 homes Hubz and I have lived in in our 44 years of marriage, and was mostly forgotten about until your blog!!! SO now that we are enduring this crazy Arctic Vortex here on my little Island, and since I now knit for myself - I think its high time I seek out said yarn and create something amazing for myself! I remember the sale and that I paid a $1.00 a skein and think I have something like 28 or 30 of them... but they measured in ounces and Am not sure how far I can get with them.... Research and lots of thought will go into this as I Am thinking this yarn's time has come to be turned into a much treasured piece of something I can wear! Love ya bunches MIssusJ xox

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    1. How wonderful! Oh my goodness, you are in for such a wonderful knitting experience. The sweaters you make will be SO WARM. xoxo

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