I am pretending that this week is not on fire. (It is.) I am pretending that I am totally organized (I am not) and that everything is absolutely coming together (it isn’t) and that I have all of this well in hand. (Sorry. Just laughed so hard I almost choked on tea.) Joe and I, despite difficulties of a stunning variety, are leaving for our annual holiday on Saturday. We thought we would go somewhere warm, and then somewhere adventurous, and then somewhere we’d never been, and then go on our (now) annual ski trip to Banff, and then we remembered about a few complications, like time and money and family and reality, so now we’re just going skiing, which is totally what Joe loves, and I like it too (although I am getting pretty sick of winter) and it is very hard to complain about the Rocky Mountains, because going there is almost exactly like the beach.  (See title.) I’m busy sorting my work and getting ready to try and take a week off, and I’m going to be absolutely prepared and ready to set aside all the stress of the week and our lives and be great at relaxing. (See title.)  I’ve been knitting something for skiing too – just to be prepared.

Nine years ago, just about, I knit Pretty Thing. I have worn that one a million times, and most recently, I’ve taken to wearing it skiing. It’s the perfect little bit of extra warm softness, tucked between my neck and my ski jacket, and I can even pull it up to cover my chin, cheeks and nose when it’s really cold. It works really well – not bulky, stays where I put it, it’s perfect.

(I love how this picture makes it look like I know what I’m doing. See title.)

It’s so perfect, that it would appear I’ve finally worn it out. The last time I went to put it on, there was a hole.  I know when it happened too – it was just after Christmas when we went skiing and it was -35, and the thing froze solid with ice from my breath, and it snapped as I pulled it up.  (If you do not live in a place where it gets cold enough to actually break frozen textiles, take a minute and hold Canada in your heart.) I came home that day and started thinking about a replacement – though truthfully, I did keep wearing the ratty one until now – like some feral knitter with broken stuff. (I am rather attached to it.) I went through the spinning stash, and found a beautiful batt.

It was from Heidi at the Artful Ewe, about 50g of superfine merino, cashmere and silk.  The perfect little bit for a Pretty Thing.  I spun it up, and plied it,

and yesterday I started knitting it up. (The second Bonfire is finished, if you’re wondering how my faithless needles have wandered again. I’ll show you later, it’s blocking.)

I love how it’s working out, though I think I will forever miss my first one.

A little luck and tomorrow it’s washed, packed and ready to hit the slopes.

(See title.)

57 thoughts on “Pretending

  1. I had to touch the clock so that must mean you’re knitting like the wind. And packing. And organizing. And making lists!! Have fun and enjoy the time off with your man

  2. Oh my gosh, that last picture: it is coming out beautifully! Meanwhile, enjoy your vacation . You certainly have earned it.

  3. Wow! What a beautiful yarn!!! You are brave going to a place to enjoy more of winter. I’ve had enough!
    Enjoy your w.

  4. OMG! I was reading your blog when you originally wrote about Pretty Thing! I have been reading your posts for over nine years. What enjoyment you have given me! Thank you.

  5. Have a wonderful vacation. So looking forward to seeing you in DFW in a few weeks. Some day, I’m going to have to make myself a Pretty Thing – I made several for friends, but never made one for myself.

  6. Sorry to hear about your Pretty Thing! 🙁 But they are so fun to knit! I’ve knit seven already and was thinking recently of doing another one… Did I tell you about the time I was knitting one whilst in South Florida? People would ask what I was knitting and I would say a “cowl.” Every single one of them said, “What’s a cowl?” Ha/ha! Stay warm!

  7. Love that batt! It reminds me of pictures of the planet Jupiter. Luckily, the yarn you spun is also quite attractive. Can’t wait to see the finished cowl.

    As for your trip…it sounds like you and Joe really need some R&R! Enjoy! (And, even if the skiing stinks, there’s still the bar in the ski lodge!)

  8. I can’t believe it’s been 9 years since the Original Pretty Thing. Wow.

    Going to have a lie down now because apparently I am old.

  9. Pretty little things knits up very nice in Quivit
    And if you go to Banff skiing there is a store on the Main Street that sells it!
    It’s also very warm and super light.

    • Omg, I have a little skein of quivit! I’ve been waiting to find out what it wants to be and I think it’s whispering, “Pretty Little Thing”!

      • Sorry for the pedantic comment, but… it’s spelled qiviut — no u after the q. It’s an Inuktitut word, so it doesn’t need to follow our rules of English spelling. 🙂

  10. Living in the US south, Atlanta to be specific, I can’t comprehend why someone would go to a place they already know they will freeze their ass off. It’s currently 39 degrees and our tulips, daffodils, and dogwoods are in full bloom and have been for weeks. I start whining when the temp goes below 70 degrees. Needless to say I am miserable, but I’m a knitter so I have cold weather gear! Hope you have a fabulous time on your vacation. Take time to be still, in the moment, and be nice to yourself. I’ve learned (the hard way) that I can’t take care of my loved ones if I don’t take care of me.

  11. Your Hubbie sounds exactly like my Hubbie – no warm beach for me in the Winter! Sunshine has had fabulous snow and I’m sure you’ll have a lovely time wherever you are in the Rockies – hope to see you on the hill! Cheers, Kim x

  12. Aaaah the memories! Getting caught outside at -33 with my vinyl handbag and having it disintegrate is one of the reasons I moved back to Vancouver. Have a good trip, ski safely, and knit.

    • I thought that I was the only person this happened to! In my case it was a fake sort of leather…but exploding wouldn’t have been much of an exaggeration.

  13. Thank you for Pretty Thing. I made one a few years ago and love it. Your new Pretty Thing is turning out beautifully!

  14. Cold enough to freeze textiles! We live in New Hampshire and just had a Nor’easter with 14 inches of snow and power outages, but warm enough to shovel in short sleeves. Isn’t Mother Nature a wonder? Have a safe and awesome time!

  15. I’ll share my motto for crazy times: Fake it ’til you make it. If you pretend enough, eventually that pretending becomes real. So pretend that you’re having a great time and I bet you will.

  16. I realized this morning that I am pretending that the benefits of spring (like birdsong and peepers) outweigh the disadvantages (like an infestation of pot holes on the highways). It’s nice to know I’m not the only one.

    • Our potholes are big enough to make small cars disappear. (And I get to touch the car – how appropriate!)

    • She doesn’t need a passport to fly to Banff. Not yet, anyway.
      (And I got to touch the balloons. Oh, let them take me away.)

  17. Wow! I can’t believe that the original Pretty Little Thing is 9 years old. It is a fantastic pattern. The new yarn looks gorgeous and you will, hopefully, enjoy it as much as your original old friend. Hope you and Joe will have a great trip and that you will stay safe. Take care.

  18. as usual, you had me laughing that skiing in the Rockies is like going to the beach.

    I am also done with winter, and so am spinning pretty bright sunny colors, even as I knit a sweater and a warm shawl.

    I hope that you have fun and get through this mad week, and do get a few relaxing moments on vacation… is there a hot tub at this place you ski? That might be more beach-like….

  19. This reminds me of the time I was planning a quick getaway in the middle of winter with my husband. I was looking at all of these hot, tropical places when I noticed an ad in the corner of the screen mentioning Ontario and dogsledding (I don’t know how I missed the fact you can dogsled here in Ontario). Yep, next thing you know we’re up north of Huntsville dogsledding and snowshoeing for the first time ever. We came home and bought our own snowshoes and love the snow now. Enjoy your trip!

  20. My Mum gave me some yak fiber DECADES ago, and I only got brave enough to spin it about five years ago. It was luscious and I was so pleased with the yarn I made Pretty Thing out of it. It is my absolute favorite hand spun, hand knit, for me! Thank you!

  21. Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt!! Sometimes it’s what gets us through though….fake it till you make it
    Have a great holiday. Time to relax and recharge.

  22. I remember Pretty Thing–and knit one, in a tiny perfect ball of quiviut that I think Lettuce Knits was doing up as kits for Pretty Thing. Gave it to a cousin who’d just had thyroid surgery, perfect as a scar-wrap, too. Safe travels, good and true vacation!

  23. Hope you have beautiful weather at Banff! And that you have a new Pretty Thing to wear on your trip! Now I want to knit another one. Knit one years ago for my best friend but haven’t knit one for myself and it does sound like the perfect inner layer to wear while skiing. May mine never freeze and break!!

  24. I hope that you have a lovely time, and that once you are there and have left behind everything having to do with work, and have no possible way of doing work… that you will be able to relax and enjoy your time away without stress. I know for me, preparing to go was always worse than being gone. 🙂

  25. I’ve knit Pretty Thing twice now–once as a gift for a friend before I moved out of LA, and once for myself when I moved to Canada. It is a pretty useful thing.

  26. I know I’m hopelessly repetitive at this point, but nine years!!!! I have a ball of qiviut purchased specially for the pattern, but I never got around to it. I’ll dig it out now. Have a great time on your vacation. It’s good to get away, no matter what the weather (says the Californian).

  27. This Puerto Rican not only held Canada in her heart, I went into the fetal position and whimpered when I read about it being cold enough for natural fibers to freeze and snap.

  28. It’s not nearly that cold here and I’m tired of the cold too. And also I want to make some batts this weekend, but family takes precedence. I had a colleague who used to end every gripe session with “We’ll get there.” She was right, we always do.

  29. Cold is good (can’t knit comfortably when hot and sweaty!) but that cold? If it’s cold enough to endanger knitwear, I think that’s sufficient reason to stay inside by the fire with a mug of cocoa. And, of course, your knitting.

  30. Have you tried darning the original Pretty Thing? Securing a small hole should take about 15 minutes, and then it can’t run further. In this modern age nobody darns anymore, except me. It takes too long to knit a pair of socks to just throw them out, when a few minutes darning puts them back in service.
    Julie in San Diego

  31. I bought the pattern, printed the pattern, got the yarn and the needles and cannot figure out how to read the graph.
    Where do I start, what do I do? I need help please

  32. I also wear mine all the time. Have a wonderful holiday! (And thanks for recommending The Golum & the Genie–I never would have thought to listen to that but thoroughly enjoyed all of it.)

    • Me, too. My father’s paternal grandparents were from Huron and Elgin counties in Ontario, but both emigrated to Michigan and married in Detroit about 1893. I finally visited West Lorne and stood on a street corner and couldn’t believe I was in the place I had heard about all my life.

  33. It’s just lovely! I made several years ago. My favorite was the one I wore daily into the barn, made of my own sheeps’ wool. What a wonderful pattern.

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