3.5 hour hat

Recently, Ryan misplaced his Cousteau hat that I made him last winter. He felt very bad and was very grumpy when he realized it had gone missing. I maintain that it is somewhere hiding in my tremendously messy apartment (no time for cleaning until after finals) but he’s convinced that it’s gone for good. Since we’ve been having sub-freezing temperatures on a regular basis here, I decided that until it turns up, he needed a replacement to keep his ears warm.

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This is Close Knit Waffle Hat by by Leah Bandstra. The pattern is free and can be found by following that link. The pattern calls for bulky yarn and size 10 needles so it knits up very quickly, 3.5 hours in one night for me (while carrying on conversation and watching TV.) The pattern has a short and long option, and I chose to make the long because I prefer hats that completely cover my ears (probably should have consulted Ryan’s preferences rather than my own, but he hasn’t said anything about it’s length and this way I can borrow it if need be…)

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The yarn is Knit Picks Swish Bulky in the color Hawk which was leftover from the blanket I’m making for Ryan. It is a 100% superwash wool. I love this yarn, it’s so soft and squooshy. It does have ugly matted joins maybe once a hank though… I wish they would just tie knots instead of trying to do felted joins on superwash yarn, but at least they can be easily cut out and there’s never more than one per hank.

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Ryan does wear this, but he did inform me that it’s “borderline girly.” I never would have thought that a gray beanie would seem particularly girly, but I’ve been told that the texture of the hat seems to make it less manly… I showed him a picture of a cabled hat and he told me that it was “girly” as well, so I think he’s adverse to pretty much all texture other than plain ribbing. If the Cousteau hat doesn’t turn up in the post finals cleaning I’ll cast on a new one (in gray again…) so that Ryan can have a hat he’s truly happy with rather than one that just meets the minimum requirements of being warm (and gray.)

Whirligig

In September I finished test-knitting Whirligig Shrug for Stephanie Japel. The pattern originally appeared in Interweave Knits Weekend 2009 but was only sized for babies. Stephanie decided to up-size it for children, and eventually plans to release an adult version as well. I volunteered to test the Child size 6 (in the hopes of getting a free copy of the adult sized pattern once it is released.) I have no idea about children’s clothes sizing so have no idea what age of child a size 6 would fit. It’s pretty cute though.

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I used a DK weight yarn called Soft Sea Wool from Reynolds. It’s 100% wool, so it may have been an impractical choice for a child’s garment since it’s not machine washable… Also, it’s a 2-ply yarn so it’s a bit nubbley and doesn’t show off the seed stitch or the cables as well as it could. If I knit it again I will be sure to use a more balanced 3- or 4-ply yarn for smooth stitch definition.

I couldn’t get a good picture of the front because I couldn’t hang it and get a picture, but here it is flat against a dark background. (I figured kidnapping a child just to model handknits for me might be more trouble than it’s worth, so you’re stuck with this mediocre picture of the front.)

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I can absolutely vouch for the pattern and say that it is error free (at least as to size 6) and very quick to knit. I found working the small circumference of the arms a bit tedious, but I assume it would be that way for any child-sized garment with arms. Probably this will end up donated to the charity that provides clothes to the homeless here in Portland.

One Christmas gift down

Last year I didn’t do any Christmas anything until about December 20th because I was so busy with school. This year, finals go all the way until December 23rd (yeah! I know!) so I’ll have to cram in cleaning, celebrating, and gift making/buying alongside my finals preparation. While working at Yarnia, I managed to whip up my dad’s Christmas present in about 4 days.

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This is the Windschief hat by Stephen West. This is my third Stephen West knit, and like the other two, the instructions were well written and the finished product looks great.

I used a pre-made Yarnia yarn called Santos which is which is mostly rayon and acrylic with a tiny bit of cotton. I wanted to go for machine washability since my dad is a runner and will like get this all sweaty and gross on a regular basis.

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I love the color of this yarn. “Oatmeal” would be a good word to describe it, with just a hint of sheen from the rayon. I asked Ryan and he assured me that it counts as a “manly” color, so dad should like it.

I only used about 25% of the cone on the hat, so I’m thinking about whipping up some convertible mittens to go with it. One of the benefits of buying yarn by the half-pound cone.

Akimbo

Recently, I cast off another store sample for Yarnia. I made Akimbo since we carry most of Stephen West’s patterns in our shop. All of his patterns are fabulous. This is the second one I’ve made (the first was Botanic) and it is well written and well charted.

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The pattern calls for a fingering weight yarn, but I made mine in a DK to give it some more weight/size. I created the yarn at Yarnia. The main color is one strand of spice colored silk, two strands of pumpkin colored wool, and one strand of variegated cotton that changes from Dijon yellow to spice to rust to brown. The contrasting color is one strand warm brown alpaca, one strand reddish brown wool, one strand cold brown rayon, one strand warm brown rayon, and one strand cold brown silk.

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I used size 6 needles instead of size 4 because of the heavier yarn I chose. The shawl grew about 20% after blocking which was surprising, I didn’t expect plain garter stitch to grow so much.

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This was a really fast knit, it only took me so long because I was mostly working on it in Yarnia when things were slow. Right now it’s on display there to help give people some fall/winter knitting inspiration. It will come back to live with me in the Spring.

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I would definitely recommend this pattern to anyone who wants to try a basic triangular shawl without also having to keep track of a lace pattern, or someone who likes to be warm, but doesn’t like the look of lace at all. I am anticipating knitting many more of Stephen West’s great patterns.

Another hat

Back in September I got my hair cut, and got bangs for the first time since the 3rd grade. I love them, I think they look great, they totally suit me. However, they do take a modicum of styling attention… not much, but some. However, as finals creep closer and closer, I’m finding the need to roll out of bed and get out the door quickly more and more pressing. Since I usually shower at night sometimes my bangs can end up drying in some pretty weird bed-head type positions, e.g. 90 degrees from my forehead. This has made me come to appreciate knit hats in an all new way. It doesn’t matter what my bangs look like if I shove them under a hat and leave them there all day.

I’ve been wearing the Bashful that I made in August quite a bit, but as the temps have dropped, the drappy lacy open nature of the hat isn’t keeping me warm in the same way it use to. Also, I just have the one, so it limits my clothing choices on bad-hair days to things that go with purple. So I decided to make another warmer hat so that I could have more all around fashion choices.

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A quick Ravelry search led me to Slouchy Hat with Pico Edge by Jan Wise which is a free pattern. The first 25 rows are knit on size 4 needles, the rest of the hat on size 8s. This makes the part around your ears nice and snug but still lets you have the wonderful slouchy hat look. Other than a row of eyelets around the brim, it’s mostly stockinette with purl rounds every so often to add a bit of texture.

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On the day I took these pictures my bangs were mostly behaving, so I let them be in the picture. It is nearly impossible to take a picture of yourself that is both flattering, and shows off knitwear well.

The yarn I used was leftover from a pair of convertible mittens I made over a year ago. The yarn is Cascade Rustic 79% wool 21% linen single-ply. It’s medium-soft to work with, but after you wash it, it softens up much much more. This hat took less than a single skein. I wouldn’t use this yarn for anything other than “plain” projects though because I think the yarn would hide any texture/pattern pretty completely.

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When I showed the finished hat to Ryan he said, “It looks Slavic.” I would have preferred, “It looks pretty,” or “Wow, you’re a talented knitter,” but I’ll take Slavic. At least they know how to get through some cold-ass winters…

Dino-Mite!

Lame title, I know. Hopefully I can make up for it by showing you a super-cool project.

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Absolutely adorable right? Right. It’s a dinosaur! The coolest kind of dinosaur! A Triceratops! The pattern is so cute. It’s Triceratops Dinosaur┬áby Joanne Succari.

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My crocheting skills aren’t that great… as you can see the stuffing shows through a bit on the face. It doesn’t show as much as it looks like though. The flash really caught the white poking through. I love amigurumi toys! They are so wonderfully adorable. They’re also pretty easy to make. single crochet is about the only thing you need to know, as well as how to increase or decrease.

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The yarn is pretty cheap. The body is Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice 100% acrylic. The frill and toenails are Plymouth Encore 75% acrylic/25% wool. I bought the Vanna’s Choice for $3 on clearance for this project and other fun amigurumi I have planned. The Encore was left over from a baby sweater. I could easily see myself getting wrapped up in making more cute crochet creatures.

I gave this cute little lady, who has been named Lucy the Triceratops, to Ryan. Last week he took me to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry because they had a T-Rex skeleton on display and we wanted to see it before the exhibit moved on. It was a fun dorky adventure and I wanted to make Ryan something cute to remember it. As a rule I don’t think he keeps too many toys in his apartment, but Lucy is sitting on his bookshelf in his living room. The pattern probably would have only taken about two evenings, but I was busy while making it and didn’t want to work on it in front of Ryan so it took about a week.

I just pinned down another FO for blocking so tomorrow you’ll get to see what I just finished! And I will only have 9 WIPs to show you after that…

The wonderful hat that I must give away

For Christmas and my birthday (also in December) my brother gave me yarn. Of course by “gave me yarn” I mean about two weeks before Christmas he accompanied me to the yarn shop, waited impatiently for me to make my selection (anything I wanted as long as it was under $80), and handed over his credit card. As far as I am concerned, this is the most perfect way for a brother to Christmas shop for his sister. Among the things I picked out were two skeins of Malabrigo Merino Worsted. One skein in the Sunset colorway and the other in Black Forest. I have grown ridiculously fond of this yellowy-orange/charcoal color combination though the yellowy-orange is not ideal for my skin tone. I actually bought this yarn with a project in mind. Stephen West’s Botanic.

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I was slightly worried that in striping the two colors I would end up looking like a bumblebee but I have been assured by several people that I do not. That is what I consider the “outside” of the hat because that is the side that you see as you knit so I think of it as the “right side” but really the hat is reversible and has no “right side.” The other side is, I believe, magical because you would never guess from the unassuming outside that such a funky bold inside is just waiting to come out.

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And, the coolest part is the crown (which I do not have a good picture of because these pictures were self-taken and it is quite difficult to take a good picture of the top of your own head).

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In short I love this hat. I love the pattern. I love the yarn. It was fun and quick to make. It’s soft to wear and fits me well. But, I must give it away. You see, there is a slight flaw. It’s not captured in any of the pictures (no one but me will ever see it) but I know it’s there. On one of the decrease rows, near the top just where the crown picture cuts off, I held the yarn to back instead of to front while slipping a stitch. This caused a charcoal strand to float tauntingly over my beautiful sunset column. I did not notice until the hat was complete, the ends woven in. I suppose even then I could have gone back and fixed the error but that is not my way. No one else seems to notice, even after being asked, “can you see an error?” Everyone has examined the hat and declared it “really cool” and “made with skill,” but I know it’s there. Therefore I will give the hat to someone who can’t “see” the error and make another flawless one for myself (the hat takes less than .5 of a skein of either color.) Oh woe is me, I must make another awesome hat in awesome yarn. My life is so hard.

Some Actual Knitting

Alright, so now that you’ve been apprised of my new house and my major yarn-related outing it’s probably about time for me to tell you about so actual knitting that I’ve done. First, though I know it doesn’t look like it, I’ve made some progress on my Op Art blanket.

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The last time I showed this to you there was a giant tail of circular needle sticking out because I was magic-looping it on a 60″ needle. Now the entire needle has stitches around it and it’s not even half the total number of stitches. I’ll probably not show you any more pictures of it until I get it off the needle since it will just look like a bigger and bigger wad of knitting. If you really care a lot you can keep up with the progress on the side bar.

Next are a couple of FOs. The first was actually finished in time for me to wear to sock summit, which was very lucky because they’re probably my “funnest” pair of socks yet.

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They are just a basic sock with a short-row heal. I decided to try the short-row heal because it is supposed to be the best kind of heal for striped yarn because it doesn’t screw-up your stripe length like a heal with a gusset does. I don’t much like it but at least I learned a new skill. The yarn is Knit Picks Felici in colorway Coney Island.

Finally, I finished my Ishbel shawl two days ago and it finally finished blocking this morning. It’s made from yarn that someone handspun and sent to me as part of a swap. I managed to make the full large size with the yarn and still have about 15% of the skein left. It’s not made from very soft wool but I can wear it with no problem.

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I never know exactly how to wear shawls but I enjoy making them and they make good gifts so I guess my lack of fashion sense isn’t really a problem. Next post I’ll tell you all about the new house guests.