Willow, from the Ribbon Twist Collection. [Oooooh!]

Finishing par-taaaaaay!

Why...is that a collar for Willow?
It is, it is a collar!

You know what that means...it's a finishing party!
[Serves tequila all around.]
[Psst...don't miss the neckband slideshow.]

Let me tell you how I spent last Sunday afternoon. Comfy pajamas, warm wool socks [thanks, Emma!], some VERY spicy olives, a tequila cocktail, the smell of pot au feu on the stove and a couple of hours working on the neckband of Willow. My kind of afternoon.

A couple of notes re the neckband of Willow:

1) I made sure to save one whole entire ball of yarn for the neckband so that I wouldn't have to join in new yarn at any point. Nitpicky, I know. But what can I say? I like neckbands that don't have any ends to weave in if it can be avoided.

2) I did have to join in the Wool Tuft for the trim at a free edge of the neckband. I wove in the end at the same time I knit, using the stranding technique. (Let's weave as we go!)

3) The yarn is so big that firm edges are needed in order to avoid holes, especially for picking up stitches for the neckband, so I made sure to work the edge stitches of the neck shaping tightly when I knit the back and front pieces. I was soooo glad that I had done this when the time came to pick up stitches for the neckband.

P.S. OF COURSE I have a neckband slideshow for you! (I still have to finish seaming, though. I decided to work the neckband before joining the sleeve and side seams.)

Knitting news aside, let me show you a little surprise that just arrived in the mail for me:

Chant this with me now, please:
I will not eat all this candy at once!

Tons of candy sent over by the fabulous Mrs. Pilkington! We're talking all the candy I've loved since childhood: Abba Zabba, Reeses, Razzles, Starburst, Raisinets, Wax Lips [!], candy necklaces...the list goes on. I could open a candy store with these goodies, but I most definitely will NOT. I will hoard it away for my own greedy sweet tooth self, and I promise not to eat all of it at once. But that's not all; Mrs. Pilkington must know I'm a fan of 80s music because she also included some CDs packed with hits from the 80s. I've been singing "Shy, shy...hush hush eye to eye" all day. Yes, complete with hand gestures. And that means that we can expect a frenzied knitting evening fueled by sugar and 80s tunes.

Everybody Wang Chung tonight.

And then there was a Willow.

Why, it's a finished Willow!

As always, you have the stand-still-like-a-mannequin shot.
[Click here for the BIG "Look, Ma! No hands" shot.]
[Wanna see a CLOSE-UP of the tufts? Oh, go on!]

Project details: "Willow" from Rowan's Ribbon Twist Collection, using Ribbon Twist in Ripple and Big Wool Tuft in Shiver. I knit the XS size, and used less than 8 skeins of Twist and 2 skeins of Tuft. And you know how Rowan shows an artsy black and white off-center photo of Willow in the pattern book? Well, me too:

Me so silly*.
What's that? Whack dance photos? Oh, ALRIGHT.

Things I did when I knit Willow: I used the long-tail cast-on for sleeve cuffs and hem. I knit all the pieces very tightly because I have a feeling the jacket is going to grow with wear and washings. I worked the eyelet buttonholes as instructed in the pattern, but worked the yarn overs very tightly in order to avoid big old gaping cave entrances instead of buttonholes. I seamed using an off-white finer-gauge wool yarn (no embroidery floss; I'd rather use something similar in composition). Shoulders were shaped via short rows and sewn together using the three-needle bind-off. What else? Even though I knit the Ribbon Twist tightly, I relaxed when it came time to knit the rows in Wool Tuft. Oh! And the buttons. I got the buttons at La Droguerie. They're wooden buttons painted in charcoal gray, and I love how they look and fit into the buttonholes. Tip: When I went to buy the buttons, I took the completed left front piece (which is the piece that does not have the buttonholes) and tried out various buttons by placing them where I had placed the stitch markers to mark buttonhole placement. After I bought the buttons I knew what size buttonhole to work, and it was then that I started knitting the right front piece. And that's the end of my incredibly blabby paragraph.

I'm not a big fan of knitting with honkin' big needles, but I really, really like this jacket. I haven't been able to give it a proper debut yet because the neckband is too large to fit under any of my coats and jackets, and it's so cold and windy over here right now that going out without a coat or heavy jacket is a welcome invitation to hypothermia. I'm not complaining, though, because that big neckband is one of the main reasons I like Willow so much. [Wanna see the neckband from the back? Sure you do. Click, click.] As soon as the weather goes from freezing cold to chilly I'll be wearing this baby OUT. Oh yeah!

*I had just come back from a dance class and was feeling particularly hyper.