I have finally finished the Christmas knitting, as well as a few other things. And I've started working on a new sweater for me--Ramona from Sensual Knits--which I'm very excited about and deserves its own post. It's been on hold for a couple of days; I've been using it as a carrot to finish up my brother's sweater. Now that I'm done with that, though, Ramona it is!
I've also started a new pair of nephew socks. After the success of the red-socks-that-come-up-to-his knees (one of the bind-offs is a little tight, but he won't let them out of his sight long enough to mail them to me so I can fix it--how cute is that?) The nephew has requested orange socks next. Orange is a surprisingly hard color to find--maybe it would be easier in October? Or in a city where team colors include orange, maybe. But I found some funky Regia silk yarn at Webs, and have made it down to the start of the foot on the first sock. I've knit in some scrap yarn to mark an afterthought heel, which will both keep the funky striping going nicely as well as make sure that the socks are as long as possible. I can always make the heels and toes a different color if I need to. Next time I'm going to try toe-up socks with an afterthought heel--the toe-up heel is what's really been giving me pause.
I knit about 2 inches of the ribbing during my first day of classes yesterday--I needed writing samples from everyone, making a portable project important.
Also done recently: basic socks in Claudia Handpainted, blue terra cotta color:
I was a little "meh" about this pair; the yarn is fine (although weirdly thick-and-thin in a few places, as if it weren't spun/plied/twisted tightly enough), but a little splitty and I had some trouble with dropped stitches. I think that I'm going to send them to my bff, who likes hand knit socks almost as much as the nephew. (I've also got some peppermint marshmallows for her--we've been big hot chocolate buddies since college--yum!)
And, most importantly, I've finished my not-so-little-brother's (who shall be, from now on, the NSLB) Christmas present:
It was too big to get the whole thing in. The details: a seamless hybrid sweater, based on Elizabeth Zimmerman's percentages formula, using Plymouth Encore in a heathery green with contrasting tan hems, knit on KnitPicks Harmony interchangables size 6. I bought what I thought was an extra skein of yarn but wound up unpicking my gage swatch so I could sew down the collar hem. 47" chest. Lessons learned: 1) NSLB sweaters take a lot more yarn than I would imagine, and 2) NSLB sweaters need to be started at least two months before they're due to be gifted. Also, count everything. Frequently. And then have someone else count for you, just to be sure.
I started using a Russian join on this one--the yarn is superwash, and has some acrylic in it, so spit-splicing didn't seem like a good option. I really liked doing this--way fewer ends to weave in at the end, which made finishing pretty easy. And I like this sweater recipe a lot--I don't think this will be the last one I make. I'll have to wait for a report on how it fits, though, for a final decision.