When we got back to Taiwan it was cold: apparently it rained through Chinese New Year, and the temperature in our bedroom was only about 60F (15C). Definitely weather for snuggling – and knitting! And I’m pleased that I get to wear my Rogue sweater today, since I really thought it would be too hot by now.

When I left the Netherlands, a friend from the knitting group there gave me some sock yarn she’d picked up at the knitting fair in Zwolle: one skein (big enough for two socks) of wool hand-dyed in the blue and white of Delft pottery and two skeins of a light fingering / heavy lace yarn in deep turquoise. The second one had no label, but has enough halo in the yarn that I think it probably has some mohair or alpaca content in with the wool. I’m embarassed to say that I never knit either yarn, though I spent time petting them and thinking about what to make.

Since I will be going back to the Netherlands so soon, I needed to make something to show my friend how I appreciated the gift! So right before leaving for South Africa, I cast on Damson. I couldn’t quite finish it on the trip as I’d only taken one skein and I ran out of yarn but finished and blocked it yesterday. Here it is:

I took the Delft sock yarn as a second project, since Damson was going so fast. Unfortunately one of the wood circs I’d taken broke in my luggage! (Harmony from Knitpicks, but it was only a size 1 so not really a reflection on their strength.) I began a Hatheel sock magic loop-style, but my remaining needle was short enough to make that frustrating, so I’ll save it to work on (with other needles) on the next trip. Meanwhile, I’ve somewhat foolishly begun a lap blanket in in the probably-forlorn hope of finishing it before I move. For this one I’m holding together two strands of Peace Fleece, one in worsted weight and one DK. I think their processes could use some work; the colors are gorgeous, but the first skeins in both colors were so tangled that they were a nightmare to wind. I had to do the worsted by hand on a nostepinne, as it just wouldn’t stay on the ball winder. I’ve also seen a few knots in the worsted, but the yarn can be spit-spliced so that’s not an issue.

I’d have to say that the foolish gamble I took on Rogue paid off. The merino yarn with a strange label that I bought here for stupidly cheap is soft, was pleasant to knit with and bloomed nicely when washed, and after all the knitting and a few hours of wearing today (and wearing as a vest once before I sewed the sleeves on) there is no pilling at all – I’ve worked with yarn that was showing pills by the time I finished knitting, let alone washing or wearing. It’s a good thing that I found that one extra skein and that I didn’t make a pocket, but I did have just barely enough yarn to finish and sew up the pieces. Whew. (To decrease bulk, I used sock yarn to sew the hems.)