I am so glad that it is Friday. It’s been a rough week.

Since my handspun shawl is kinda stalled until I can spin more fiber :( , I pull out the Ulmus and started working on it. I try to have about three projects on the needles for this very reason. The Ulmus still an enjoyable knit even though I haven’t worked on it for a while. My favorite part is the color sections, seeing where the colors will land.

I will say that my stash has been calling to me again. I never realized how noisy fiber can be. Which fiber to be exact, you ask? (I know you didn’t ask, but humor me, please. ;) )

Alpaca with a Twist’s Big Baby – two skeins of luscious alpaca yarn – bulky. It’s telling me that it wants to be a scarf. A Christmas present scarf. But… that would be silly, right? Starting a scarf, destined to be a present, one month before Christmas…

…wouldn’t it?

a gift for a friend

Remember this yarn? [Alpaca with a Twist Big Baby (Mountain)]

It became this:

The Delores Park Cowl. My first cowl ever! I now see why they’ve become so popular. Simple, fun and functional (and NOT a neverending scarf!). It was intended as a Christmas present but life being what it is and me being who I am, I didn’t get it in the mail until the last week of January. I loved working with this yarn.

What I remember most about knitting this was that I brought it with me to see a Broadway production of The Lion King. I’d never brought my knitting to something like that … but I hate crowds and I thought it would help. And it did. It was very basic knitting so I didn’t have to think a lot and it made waiting for the production to start and the intermission tolerable.

I’m happy to say that this gift was well received. I have been knitting for three years (in January) and this was the first Christmas where I managed to make gifts for people I wanted to. I love being able to make gifts for the people I care about ’cause I know what it feels like to received a hand made gift.

labor of love and lots of cables

On the day that I took my spinning lesson, I sat with a knitting group while waiting for my class to begin and woman was knitting a sweater out of alapca and she let a few of us touch it.

Oh. My. Gawd! I was not expecting such softness. I wanted more of that softness.

So what did I do the next weekend (November 29th)? I bought some alapaca yarn, an alpaca/silk blend to be exact – Plymouth Earth Mainland in #4 colorway.

That same day I used it to start the Gretel hat.

I’d been admiring it for a while so I just took the plunge and started it knitting. I learned the long tail tubular cast-on from a video on the designer’s website and after that I was off and running. I knit fast and furious on this hat. It has been great knit therapy when the stress and/or melancholy of the holiday season get to me.

This hat is definitely a labor of love. I love the yarn. I love the pattern. I love the person for whom this hat is for.