I can't believe I did it. Fell into the over-ambitious knitting for Christmas trap.
It started out almost reasonably. Having succeeded in NAtional KNIt a SWEater MOnth - not only participating but actually finishing a sweater (more about that later, to make up for not posting at all in November) - I decided I could make a sizable dent in the stash by knitting the sweater for the brother who asked for one back when I knit the Seamless Yoke Sweater for the Lord Protector. That would be the sweater that started in 2007 and finished in 2008.
I was so flattered I went looking for yarn right away (the stash was much smaller seven years ago). Seven years is a long time to hold onto a yarn. So long that Rowan had discontinued it. I bought lots of it, though, thinking about what a tall man he is. Scottish Tweed Aran is (was?) a really heavy worsted, maybe even a heavy aran. Either way, I figured 1) heavy yarn means big needles equals fast knitting; 2) it's commercial yarn, not indie-spun or indie-dyed so no pooling or mis-matched skeins; 3) I knit a big honking sweater in less than a month, and would have done it in two weeks if I hadn't done the indie-dyer thing; 4) I had a month to Christmas, so I wasn't planning unrealistically; 5) the Lord Protecor had strict instructions to bring his sweater home from college, so I would have a template, as long as the new sweater matched the old sweater in size, I was golden.
It all went so wrong. I may never trust Elizabeth Zimmermann again. Admitedly, I went for the raglan rather than the shirt-yoke variation, but I still maintain the yoke should have come out the same size. It didn't.
While I was living in happy delusion, I got an email that Their Father's goddaughter had found a tree-skirt. It's crochet, but I know how to do that.
"Well," I thought, "crochet is fast and I still have weeks before Christmas." I figured I could finish both projects. It might be tight, but not irrational. Besides the pattern is free. Yes, it calls for acrylic yarn, but all the local big-box craft stores carry the product. Except two of the colors had been discontinued and it turns out you have to get up pretty early - like October - if you want Christmas color yarn around here. Okay, fine. I didn't really want to knit it in acrylic anyway. No problem. I have Rowan Pure Wool Worsted in almost every color I need and I can get the rest semi-locally. The pattern calls for 316 yarn skeins. The Pure Wool Worsted comes in 209 yard skeins. If I got 2 of the Rowan per each skein of acrylic, I'd have a generous plenty.
How then, when I should have had 100 yards left over, did I run out of the dark red three repeats from the end of the third to last row?
I should add. When one is crocheting a circle, each round gets progressively longer. Ergo, therefore and Q.E.D. each round will take more time. Factor in having to rip out the third to the last round (which, by the way used the most-yarn- and time- guzzling stitches I have ever some across), because of that yarn shortfall and perhaps you'll understand why the embroidery didn't happen.
You would think that between a sweater and a tree skirt I would have said enough. Not so. I decided I had to knit a scarf. While powering away (as I thought) on the sweater, I realized I had never knit anything for one of my brothers. Admittedly, looking back, I think I got the idea for the scarf before I got the request for the tree skirt, but maybe not. I do sometimes get chronologically challenged that way. Anyway, once I had the idea the result was inevitable. Not just that I would commence knitting a scarf but that I would fail to finish it. I just didn't know about the inevitable failure bit until two days before Christmas and I still refused to admit it right up to the point where I had to wrap the unfinished scarf still on the needles with it's ball of yarn still attached because I had no back-up gift.
Well. I certainly have a good start on next year's Christmas