The days have been getting shorter, the air colder. Today, when I look out my window the horizon is lined with bare trees. The browns and reds and golds of autumn have faded, leaving the dark brown earth and the still-green grass to contrast with Germany’s brick-tile roofs. Smoke is curling from my neighbor’s chimney, and all the signs say that winter is on its way. Welcome to November.

I like November. I like the chill in the air, and the smell of woodsmoke in the distance. I like the sound of shuffling leaves, and even the patter of rain. The grey sky is beautiful set against the bright, fiery yellow of the leaves still clinging to trees scattered here and there. I like the feeling of tucking in, this settling down as we prepare for the cold and darkness of winter, kept at bay with fire and lights and cups of tea. And, of course, knitwear.

I finished Branden’s handwarmers at our knitting group in Heidelberg on Saturday. Yesterday we went for a walk along the Rhine with friends, and he repaid me by sharing his warm hands.

I will miss those warm hands this winter in Madison. This years’ November is also tinged with a different flavor…that of goodbye.

We came to Germany knowing that I would move back to Madison first, and that Branden would follow a few months later. Five months was a long time, and November was far away. Two to three months apart is manageable, and it was (and is) the right decision. But those five months are running out quickly now, getting shorter and shorter with the days. There’s a lot to look forward to, and a lot to leave behind. We’ve made quite a few deep friendships for such a short time here, ones that I will be sad to leave behind.

We’ve applied for two apartments already, and should hear back soon. Branden’s company has booked our plane tickets back to the states (he will come back with me for the first week to carry a cat on the plane and to help me move in.) Ironically, our flight is on the 27th – 9 years to the day since we first decided that we’re officially “together.”

So, this years’ November promises to be a more transitional month even than usual. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily; transitions hold a lot of promise. A month of endings, but also a month of beginnings. I don’t like the “lasts,” but I look forward to the “firsts.”

And in celebration of those beginnings, last night I swatched for something that will probably take me the better part of three months to finish:

That’s the Kauni yarn that I bought at the German Raveler’s meeting. I thought I’d have enough to do a colorwork sweater, but after consulting myriad Ravelry project pages I’m not so sure. The reported yardage required varies a lot, and I don’t want to end up with another vest instead of a sweater.

I looked for a stitch pattern that would allow me to highlight the yarn’s long color repeats, while also not using so much yardage that I’ll run out. The Royal Quilting stitch promises to do just that. It’s a simple two-color slip stitch pattern that looks much more complicated than it really is. The two colors will be used up at different rates, so the same-color lattice should gradually transition to a contrasting lattice as the knitting progresses.

I was a little worried about the long floats on the front of the fabric, but they pull in nice and tight in the swatch, and the Kauni knits up at such a fine gauge that it shouldn’t be a problem. I thought I’d be able to knit this on 4’s or 5’s, but ended up having to switch down to a size 2 needle to get the fabric that I wanted. I could actually go one size smaller, but the slipped stitches keep the fabric from stretching too much, so I shouldn’t really need the tighter gauge.

This certainly won’t be a fast project, but I’m in love with it already. And heaven knows one can’t have too many sweaters. Or handwarmers.