U.S. size 5 (3.75mm), that is. It seems to be my favorite needle size, closely followed by U.S. size 4 (3.5 mm). This is how I discovered I have too many WIPs -->
I don't know if you can see (click to make big), but there is a distinct gap in the size 5s, and a sizeable one in the 4s. No needles to start the new project with — a baby cardi for my friend Matt's son Austin, for Christmas. Now that was unacceptable.
Twitching to get my hands on the Debbie Bliss Cotton DK I'd bought for the project, I was forced to finish a WIP instead.
Cheryl, my Other Secret Pal in 2006, had gifted me with three skeins of Linen Isle (cotton/linen/rayon) yarn in a greeny-beigy-grey color (hard to describe). I had hoped to knit a dish towel of it, but there wasn't enough, so I ended up with a big washcloth. This is what it looked like before its bath, after I finished it this morning. (I stayed up late last night trying to finish, but I didn't quite make it.)
After its bath and a run through the dryer — which I'm told is recommended for linen, despite the "no dryer" note on the yarn tag — it's a bit smaller, cushy and thick, and incredibly drapey and soft. In another color, I'd definitely make a summer top from this stuff. It knits like twine, but it will probably wear like iron and stay soft. I don't know exactly what I'll use this for, but for now, I just squeeze it a lot. Mm, squeezy.
And then I had a size 5 to make this swatch:
The swatch will become a Geordie Stripe Cardigan from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms. I could not get gauge even in a size 5, and you have to use a smaller size for the edge. I know that even in a size 3 I will not get gauge; changing needles seems to help me very little gaugewise, I must adjust my tension somehow. I usually have a gauge for a particular yarn and I can't fight it. So I'm accepting the 4.5 spi on this (instead of 5). That means the 12-month size, with 18-month lengths, should fit; the baby will be 11 months at Christmas, but his dad is 6'3", so I'm guessing he's a big boy, and I want the sweater to fit until late spring (they are in the Bay Area, cooler than here, and it's cotton).
After a day and a half of enthusiastic garage-cleaning (there's a path now, at least!), I baked some awesome ginger-pecan pumpkin-spiced beer bread this afternoon. Today I go off to carve pumpkins with Colleen and Elinoire, too.
It's a relief to get back to some normalcy, but two of our friends have lost their homes (that we know of) in the fires. So for some people, there will be no normal. Not for a long time. And even then, it will be a different normal. :-/