Lotus

I have recently been expanding my hat wardrobe. I have decided that hats go with most of my casual day to day wear and are a great way to 1) stay warm and 2) cover up a bad hair day. My newest addition to my hat wardrobe is this.

Lotus Hat

It’s the Lotus Hat by UptownPurl and it can be found free on her blog. It’s a very simple 8 row zig-zag lace repeat that makes beautiful vine-like motifs running up the hat.

I made a few changes to the pattern as written but they were so minor and mostly based on other ravelers’ suggestions. I did the 1×1 ribbing as twisted rib instead of normal. I did the ribbing for 10 rows instead of 6. I knit 4 repeats of the pattern before decreasing instead of 3 to make it come down over my ears. That’s all. Not minor changes, but worth mentioning if you want your hat to look “just” like this one.

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This is the hat blocking over a balloon… my new favorite way to block hats. A bag of balloons was less that $2 at Target (in the area with the birthday wrapping paper) and it’s so much faster than blocking by laying flat. I just blew up a balloon to 21″ circumference and put the hat on it. No having to constantly flip the hat to make sure both sides are drying, no having to rotate how the hat is laying so that it doesn’t dry with a crease, AND it drys 3x as fast because the wet layers aren’t sitting on top of each other keeping the moisture in.

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The best part of the hat is the crown where the decreases make the vines spiral together beautifully.

I used Malabrigo Merino Worsted in colorway Black Forest. According to my yarn scale, this took 50.5 g of yarn, so just a bit over half a skein. This was leftover from my earlier Botanic hat, where I used it as the secondary color, and even after both hats I still have 33 g left. I’m thinking I will just be able to squeeze a short pair of fingerless mitts out of it.

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Action shot! Also, a picture of my fuzzy mitts from last post where they can be seen in actual use… and in sunlight no less. Much thanks to the Portland weather gods for sending a bit of sunshine our way.

Warm hands, warm heart

My grandma always says “warm hands, warm heart” which I think means that having warm hands is proof that you are a “warm-hearted” person. This does not bode well for me because my fingers are always cold. Recently I’ve been craving a pair of fingerless gloves to keep my hands warm and still allow me to use my computer (my school says they’re being “green” by keeping the classrooms freezing cold, but I suspect is has more to do with being cheap…) I was in my LYS, and they had a sample of this simple pattern, and it stole my heart.

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This pattern is Brushed Suri Mitts by Merri Fromm. I used the exact yarn called for Blue Sky Alpacas Brushed Suri. The yarn is 67% baby Suri alpaca, 22% merino, and 11% bamboo. It’s a halo yarn like Kid Silk Haze from Rowan or Suri Dream from Knit Picks. There is a “core” to the yarn that fuzzy alpaca fluffs out from. The pattern only takes about 75% of a skein.

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It’s not super clear from my bad photos (we had a week of gloom w/ no natural light at all when I took them, now that the sun has returned I should go outside and take some more) but one mitt is actually about an inch shorter than the other. That is because after you knit the thumb gusset you are supposed to knit straight for 10 rounds before actually separating the thumb… I forgot to do this on the second mitt. I love this bunches, so I bought another skein and I will make one long (correct) mitt and one short (leaving out the 10 rows) then then have a pair for myself and a pair that I can give away (or a backup).

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This photo is blurry, but it shows the halo coming off the gloves well. I was worried that I would find them itchy because of the high alpaca content and because of the halo, but they’re pretty much the softest most comfortable thing ever and I wear them all the time.

If it weren’t me it might be funny…

So, in my last post I told you how I broke my size 7 harmony straight needles for the second time while working on my Climbing Vines pullover. Well, I set that project aside and waited (impatiently) for my order from Knit Picks with my new needles (and some yarn… Damn you free shipping, Damn you!) So it came, but in the meantime I had begun another project… you know, just until the needles came… and got totally distracted by it.

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It’s the Traveling Woman Shawl by Liz Abinante. The yarn is Blue Sky Alpacas 100% Alpaca Sport Weight. I know the bright pink of my blocking mats tends to distort colors but that’s pretty close to what the blue actually looks like. The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn but I wanted to make a bigger shawl so I chose a bigger yarn and needles rather than adding more repeats. I ended up using about 2.5 hanks of yarn but I wouldn’t have had enough to do another repeat.

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This was my first time working with 100% Alpaca yarn and I love the way it drapes–perfect for a lace shawl. It really didn’t bother my hands to work with at all, but when I wrap the finished project around my neck it feels so itchy. I washed it in Soak before I blocked it so I think it’s just that Alpaca and I don’t get along.

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Now here’s where the would-be-funny part comes in. I started this project on my size 6 Harmony straights (sometimes I like working on straights) and two days after my Knit Picks package arrived with my new size 7s, I step on one of the sixes and break it. Grrrr… I’m a disaster when it comes to Harmony needles, but I love them so much! I finished the project on my circular 6s but I have a new shopping cart going at Knit Picks as I debate whether or not to place another order.

I have no idea what I’m going to do with the other project that I recently finished. I made it on a whim to use up some half balls of yarn I had lying around. It’s a baby sweater.

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The pattern is Helena from a back issue of Knitty.com. Again, the pattern called for smaller yarn that I used. The pattern calls for DK weight but I used worsted because that what I wanted to use up some leftovers. I followed the instructions for the 3 mo. size but it came out more like 12 mo. because of my gauge. It doesn’t really matter since I don’t have a recipient in mind.

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This is what it looked like in progress. I worked the body and both sleeves at the same time to make sure the stripes were even. The yarn is what was left over from my Knit Picks Montavilla Market Tote. I only made one of the bags… Not a bad pattern, I just don’t have an inclination to knit it again… I had about half a ball of each of the colors of Simply Cotton Worsted left so I jumped into this hoping that there would be enough to finish. It’s technically been done for a while but I just bought the button and attached it today.

I’ve been adding a few stitches here and there to other projects but these have had most of my attention for the past few days.

Sorry the photos are so bad this time. This semester my brother is taking a digital design class and he needs a digital camera, which he doesn’t have, so he borrowed mine. These pictures are all from my cell phone.