Soft Drawstring Pouch
This was the reason I bought Last Minute Knitted Gifts last year:
I love the idea of knitted gift packaging and the Blue Sky Alpacas' Alpaca and Silk has been languishing in my stash since August 2006. I made the i-cord tie called for in the pattern but decided to try the Hana silk ribbon instead and love it. The Blue Sky Alpacas yarns I've worked with improve noticeably after washing and blocking -- the softness and sheen of this bag makes me want to buy more (which is a bit counterintuitive to the idea of knitting what's in the stash!). I used my favorite Soak fiber wash - A Scent for Celebration - to soak the bag before blocking overnight. (For a handful of you who love all things Amy Butler -- there's a new limited edition Soak -- "Sola" by Amy Butler).
And although I'll probably jinx myself by saying it, I've been motivated to continue working on evaluating the stash and finishing works-in-progress. The stash cull has been ruthless, but I feel a lot of peace about my decisions. I'm also relieved about having frogged this. I fell out of love with it when I took it off the needles and put it on waste yarn to try it on. I noticed something unfixable that I had done in the first several rows (plus two other small mistakes I had decided to live with). So although I was nearly finished with it, I frogged it and the yarn is waiting to become something else now. Because I was knitting this for a loved one, my standards were higher -- and I had to balance whether finishing it would even yield something the recipient would love. It's probably not a good idea to give a shawl to somebody who's never worn one. (And, yes, I should have thought this through before casting on). I think I'll knit her a cardigan in a soft, feminine color and I'll make sure it's machine-washable. Have you tried Louet Gems Worsted yet? It's what I plan to use -- with a Knitting Pure and Simple cardigan pattern. Until then, I'm focusing on season- and climate-appropriate knits like sleeveless shells and tanks for myself. I'm tired of knitting for the wrong season.
And, last but not least, I wanted to share some lovely things that have been given to me as gifts or just out of pure thoughtfulness: