Clearing the Decks for Holly (with a FO)

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holl-y fa la la la la, la la la la!
Oh no you didn’t, Roo!

Apologies.  Here we are in mid-November, and already I am torturing you with seasonal songs.
But here is how it is:  the Big Red Doily is  now on row 148 of 184, which has started to feel do-able, and I am in full Christmas-knit-planning mode.

I finished my latest stripey socks:  Optio by Anneh Fletcher, “Shanghai Lily”.  She designed these in honour of Professor Mick Aston, the stripey-sweater wearing archaeologist of Channel 4’s “Time Team“.  FL loves “Time Team”.  So what better pattern to use for his stripey socks?

Pattern:  Optio by Anneh Fletcher, currently 25% off on Ravelry with the coupon code giftalong2014.
Yarn:  On Line Supersocke 100 Paradise Color 1437 (with aloe vera and jojobo oil)

Process: Completely straightforward.  I aimed for matching stripes and I got them – woo hoo!

The USP of this top down sock pattern is the absence of a heel flap.

Instead, you work a triangular insert at either the back of the heel or the instep (your choice).  This makes all the space you need for the heel turn.  No picking up of stitches required.

Verdict?: These are wonderfully stretchy with all the spring-back you need for a well-fitting sock.
I am holding them in reserve as a second pair for FL’s Christmas, because at the moment the only other thing I can think of getting him is a map of Roman Britain.

Yesterday, I thought I would knit up my handspun, using the Windschief pattern by Stephen West.
I originally tried to ply the yarn but it was far too thick, so I decided to knit the singles.  I did not prewash them, so there was a lot of over-spinning to contend with.
I ran out of yarn at the crown shaping.

I will have to buy some more undyed Jacob fibre and stripe it up with the last few yards of the over-dyed stuff.
It has created an incredibly warm and windproof (bulletproof?!) fabric.
I had half-planned to give this to FL but I know that he would complain it was too hot and scratchy and does not cover his ears.
Some people, eh?

I am not about to gift my precious handspun to a sceptic, so this hat will be mine, for use in blizzard conditions.  So hopefully there is no rush to finish it…?
It’s a great pattern, and a quick knit – highly recommended!

I have one more Christmas knit to deal with.  I had better not write about it here ;)
Suffice to say, I haven’t actually cast on yet.

To make up for all this gratuitous use of the C-word, have a gift from me:  yesterday’s sunset.