My knitting group's Christmas party yesterday was wonderful, as always. In addition to our regular show-and-tell, we all bring a wrapped gift, and then draw numbers to select one for ourselves. I didn't wrap my gift because I brought a bottle of home made Apple Wine (bottled in 05), and I didn't want anyone who'd rather not have alcohol, getting it by accident. I drew the last gift, a lone package in a plain red bag that everyone overlooked in favor of the more brightly wrapped gifts, and I hit the jackpot- I got a fantastic wooden engraved and painted heart from Susie Ewinger. It's an Art Heart, and I love it unreservedly. I know it's sort of a Holiday decoration, but my kitchen happens to be red and green, so it's going to stay up all year. Susie is an artist and teacher- her pieces are always highly prized (luckily, none of the gifts had tags, or hers would have been snatched up early). I have another S.E. art piece- a wonderful felted and embellished Dove that she gave me in exchange for knitting her a pair of socks (I got the better end of that deal).
Susie does not have an Etsy shop to sell her one-of-a-kind pieces, but she should.
I always take a sock to work on at our knitting group, but the Monkey pattern is too complex for me to knit there (due to that whole chew gum and knit complex socks at the same time syndrome), so I cast on... wait for it... more Twisted yarn. This is Valkyrie (no eye patches needed)- it's the Playful base (heavy fingering weight, superwash merino), dyed in a mutating variegated pattern of black/purple/gold, with mottled gold for the ribbing and heels. Isn't it glorious? Makes me want to kill da wabbit (that's myValkyrie connection).
I started by working my usual plain-sock-variation of *YO, K 2 tog* every 6th rnd, but it didn't show well enough with this yarn. In the meantime, Laura Kessler passed around a scarf she made, using a pattern from her Aunt Helen. I looked at that pattern, and promptly tore out the sock and adapted Aunt Helen's pattern to these socks, and I love it.
Herewith The Aunt Helen Variation: K 4 rnds, next rnd: *YO, K 2, Pass the YO over the K 2*, rep around. (and do not K the 2 together, knit two stitches). It works with any even number of stitches, and it's perfect for making the colors pop on this yarn.
Wine updates: the Riesling SG was 1.08 this morning, very close to being finished with fermentation. The Hard Lemonade is bubbling merrily finally, and has dropped to SG 1.050. I think that perhaps there was a little preservative in the lemonade concentrate even though it wasn't listed on the label. That would account for the slow start to the fermentation.