Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Winter flowers, cash and showers!

Wowsers. Remember that scholarship I received last year from the good folks at Jimmy Beans Wool? Well, it's that time of year again, and for this round of scholarships, they've recruited a bunch of incredible sponsors, and boosted the award amount to a whopping $3,000 in tuition money for knitters and crocheters with college bills to pay. I was thrilled to be awarded $800 last year, so I can only imagine how great it would be to get three G's. Three cheers for Jimmy Beans! Please encourage any crafty college kids you know to apply; full details are here. It's such an easy form to fill out, and such a great program. The scholarship information page also has downloadable fliers for posting at your school or LYS. If you're not in school yourself, help spread the word--you could put some very deserving student on the road to a huge windfall!

Thundercloud cowl

Speaking of windfalls and weather, we've either been having a sneak preview of spring, or else we're taking a pass on the rest of winter here in Austin. We had a teensy bit of the snow and cold temps you may have heard about on the news--including one inch of snowfall over a Thursday night when I was out of town, which was all melted away by the time I got home Friday afternoon. It did get chilly enough for a few days to shut down the schools, which everyone called a snow day (even though it was more like a sleet day, or a "dagnabit it's colder than I'm used to" day). Since then, though, it's pretty much been sunny, muggy, and pushing 80 every day. Punxatawney Phil must be down here on vacation or something. Go home, groundhog, and let us have our six more weeks, please! It'll be a hundred here soon enough, and I miss the snows and cold rains of my Seattle childhood, I really do.

I've been making my own wishful winter weather on my needles, though: everything I've made lately either looks like winter skies (I'm off the orange and back on the gray now) or works for winter wear. I worked up a pullover version of my new Hill Country pattern in some Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend in a lovely variegated range of mother-of-pearl tints, which turned out terrific. I also got to experiment with a brand-new yarn from Knit Picks, Aloft, which I turned into a downy-soft cowl in a lace pattern that looks like thunderclouds massing on the horizon.

Thundercloud cowl

Clusters of tiny blue beads and a fringe of the same complete the cloudy-with-a-chance of rain theme. Complete details and pattern link are on my Ravelry page, here, and you can download the PDF directly by clicking on the link at left--just $1.99 gets you charted and written instructions (knitters, you have been heard! I do try to provide written instructions for charts whenever possible in my patterns) for this little lovely. Imagine, a cozy little thundercloud you can put over your head any time you want! Now, if only I could figure out how to knit myself a snowdrift before summer comes...