Tuesday, November 20, 2007

TAMS! FINISHED! Before Christmas, even!

Man O man, why do I always bite off more than I should chew? ;-)

The list of Christmas projects is as long as my arm, but the amount of time left for completion is becoming more precious by the day. I just finished my first stranded colorwork project, which is also a Christmas gift: a tam in an ombre yarn (Patons Classic Merino "Retro") and a solid that is the favorite color of the intended recipient (Patons Classic Merino "Burgundy"). Sort of a 'cheat' Fair Isle look. It took less time than I anticipated, only a week, for which I am forever grateful. I'm not Speedy Gonzales on the needles either, so it would be a really fast project for most anyone else. Once I got my tension and strand separation issues worked out, it went very fast. Many thanks to Kathleen Taylor, who created the pattern and posted it on her Dakota Dreams blog. She offers a new free stranded colorwork pattern every Friday. Be sure to check out her site; she is a wonderful knitter and designer. Her Ravelry ID is GrammaK; go look at her projects there, too.

This tam is in the Interweave KNITS HOLIDAY GIFTS 2007 issue, called the Qiviuk Webs Tam, but I substituted a delicious baby alpaca for a HUGE floppy tam. It was so large that I had to haul out the heavy artillery to block it: my trusty 18" round Christmas cookie plate. The yarn, Fable Handknits "Pure Baby Alpaca", is so so so so SO soft, but is tough to work with on the needles. To say nothing of the fact that this entire pattern is PURLED almost exclusively. UGH. It looked so floppy and lifeless, seeming to resist any kind of pattern. I was not happy while knitting it. It was very hard to stick with it, but knowing that it would be well-loved kept spurring me on. Knit on US size 2 needles, it took me three weeks to complete, an eternity for such a smallish project. But after washing and blocking, it miraculously bloomed into a gorgeous, ultra soft, ultra luxurious, lacy, ENORMOUS tam .... exactly what the recipient has been looking for! If I did it again, though, I'd figure out a way to knit it on the wrong side to avoid all the purling. It's those K1TBL, crazy P2TOG combined with YO's that would make that a tough conversion, though. But it sure would be a lot easier.

There are still three more bags and two vests to complete. Do you think Santa could use a couple of crack knitters on her staff? Pictured to the right is the Autumn Woods Bag from the Patons Yarn website, on it's way to becoming yet another gift. I actually started this before the fair isle tam, hoping to figure out the tensioning and stranding issues before working on the tam. Great plan, worked like a charm. The beauty of this bag is that even my beginners efforts won't show in the long run, because the bag will be felted and lined. No one will ever see my haphazard, uneven, beginner's-type stranded tensioning. Once I got the hang of it, I set it aside to work on the quicker tam project. Gotta have a little gratification to keep me going.

Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and it's going to be the quietest one ever for our family: Just three of us. Claire is working that day, too, which predetermines and dictates our celebration time to Noon. I'll be making the whole schlamoo: Fresh turkey breast and dressing, butternut squash, garlic and bacon green beans, an apple/cranberry relish, pear and spinach salad, mashed potatoes, gravy, and homemade dinner rolls. Hubby is making his potato leek soup recipe as a starter. Claire wants a Coconut Cream Pie, so I am caving and making that. I can't bear to have Thanksgiving without a fresh, warm Pumpkin Pie, so I'll be making that too. ( Pie is always perfect for breakfast the next morning, especially pumpkin pie with leftover homemade whipped cream, of course.) Calories be damned!

The other three kids and the rest of my extended family are still on the East Coast. The kids are driving together to PA to spend it at my Mom's. I can't complain about that; she's 86, and the more time they spend with Gramma, the better I feel. Liz is catching a bus from Philly to Maryland, where Sean and Julia will pick her up and continue onward. Now that Sean has a car he loves, he can't stay off the road. :-) My brother's family lives in the same city as Mom, so they'll all be together for a big, happy, noisy, excessive-as-always feast. We're already missing them all.



  1. Wow you knit that tam quickly! It looks great!

    Pie for breakfast! Sounds like a winner! My husband still can't get over me eating sweets from the night before in the morning.

    Have a great Thanksgiving

  2. Those projects are all so lovely! I've been wanting to knit tams for a while- there's so many beautiful patterns out there- but I'm not sure how one would look on me. You've inspired me to go for it anyway. I'm sure it'll look good on someone!

  3. I do love those tams! The "fake" fair isle is so cool. They are going to be cherished for sure.


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