There seems to be a misconception that when I said "I wouldn't want my stash to end up at the Thrift Store" I meant "I'm going to give you guys my yarn." In reality I meant "I need to get to the knitting and use up my yarn."
But of course now I feel bad and will probably have some kind of yarn giveaway to buy your affection again.
I have been working on something though, despite all appearances to the contrary. Remember when I said I was going to knock off Eunny's Macho Aran? Well, when I started examining the knit, I realized that there's no such thing as knocking off when it's a traditional Aran sweater. The ropes, cables, braids, what-have-you are all more or less in the public domain. It's just a matter of deciding which ones you want, swatching the panels, putting them together handsomely, and doing a bit of math.
So I just did that, instead.
I changed my mind on the needed size, after having knit 6 or 7 inches of sweater. I needed more width, so I ripped it back and added another rope cable to the outside of the 12 stitch plait. See? Old sweater (sorry about the crappy picture. Arrows indicate where I later added more ropes):
I like it better with the extra rope. Not only is it wider, it's more visually balanced.
For the actual cables, I consulted Cables Untangled. None of the charts are complicated, so I haven't had to photocopy or even write down a pattern, which makes this project just about as portable as a sock.
As the sweater started to take shape I noticed that all the motifs had fairly short repeats (the longest, honeycomb, is 8 rows) resulting in a dense fabric with a small-scale appearance. This wouldn't be my choice all the time, but for this particular sweater it's perfect. Because when complete, this sucker will be under the Christmas tree of a very, very cold person.
The yarn is Classic Al, by Elsebeth Lavold. It's a 50% merino, 50% alpaca worsted weight. This yarn is completely dreamy. I'm not a fan of Elsebeth Lavold's charts (or maybe, I'm not a fan of her pattern editor? test-knitter? someone.) but I have to admit she doesn't make mistakes when it comes to fibre choices and spinning. I've used her Silky Wool and her Silky Tweed, and now the Classic Al. All three are gorgeous, quality yarns.
(And hey - if you feel like trying it out, Webs has it on clearance for $3.49 a ball US!! That's, like, $3.30 a ball Canadian. Which means you can get an entire sweater for about $80, shipping to Canada included, with leftover yarn afterwards. Woot!)
And I realized I forgot to post a picture of Candy&Costume Day. For the first time I just went with the Princess thing. My daughter was shocked and pathetically grateful to be allowed to dress up as a Princess, complete with curling-iron ringlets and actual.....real.....makeup.
"Oh, Mummy, I thought for sure you would say no!! Oh I love you, Mummy."
"I love you too sweetie. And remember: you are strong, you are beautiful with-or-without-a-dress, you are clever, and anything he can do, you can do better. Including saving yourself from towers, dragons, and evil queens. You don't need a man to complete you and you certainly won't be waiting around for some lame Prince to come schmaltzing up on his stupid pony, magnanimously agreeing to kiss you and somehow magically make your life complete just by condescending to "fall in love" with you."
"Yes Mummy." [Absently, while stroking her ringlets with glazed eyes.]