Dustland for Christmas and 2014 Review

I really only knit one gift for Christmas 2014 and it wasn’t that involved at all. That’s really the case for most of my 2014 knitting. I only completed 13 projects for the year,  and 8 of those had been on the needs from 2013 or earlier. It was a slog of a year, but I managed to squeak this last project in just before the year end.






I’d been wanting to make Stephen West’s Dustland since Book 2 originally came out. When thinking about what I could whip up for Bob for Christmas, this hat popped into my mind. Two days later, I had a hat.


I used Malabrigo Worsted in colorway Cypress. I made the large size, which, in hindsight is was probably overkill. It’s quite big. I used the full skein of yarn and actually ran out before the last 5 rows were finished. I had to use a little gray yarn to finish because I didn’t have any matching green. You can see the little gray patch in this photo.





These a very well lit photos, but in most indoor light the hat looks almost black, so the gray is not really distinct most of the time. The changing textures make the knitting go by so fast since you don’t have time to get board with pattern before it changes to something else.





And so ends 2014. I must admit, it was not the best year. Life challenges. Career challenges. Health challenges. Nothing devastating, just relentless. Setting goals and resolutions for 2015 feels like a surefire way to feeling disappointed in myself. Instead this year needs to be about focusing on the process. Anxiety has even been spilling over into my knitting when I think about all the yarn I have, all the patterns I want to make, and how slowly projects have been coming off the needles lately. I need to get back in touch with how much I love the process of knitting and love my yarn. Finishing is not my 2015 goal.

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.


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.


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).


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.