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Adam’s Hat, part 2

Before Christmas, I showed you the hat that I was working on to give to my brother Adam, but it wasn’t very far along. I managed to finish it, even with law school finals happening all the way up until December 23rd and my family arriving and needing entertainment on the 23rd… (that is a rant in itself that you’re likely uninterested in.) The 24th I finished the last of the seaming, and voila:

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One silly hat for Adam. The hat was a kit from Knit Picks called “Into the Woods” and it’s still available as of this post, but is “last chance.” The yarn used is Red and Bittersweet Heather Wool of the Andes for the main colors and Oyster Heather Wool of the Andes and Natural Suri Dream for the inner ear flap. The Suri Dream is carried along with the Wool of the Andes to make the ear flap fuzzy and soft.

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Like most of the Knit Picks patterns I’ve encountered this one has, what I would consider, too many spelling, grammar, and technical errors for a pattern that is paid for. Also, for the earflap, the pattern is completely unhelpful. The ear flap has to be knit back and fourth. Rather than cutting the yarn and moving it I just used it from where it was. Sometimes this meant knitting a row with the red, then needing to do a bittersweet heather row but the yarn wasn’t on the end of the fabric to set up a purl row… in these cases I just went back to where I started (you must have a circular needle to do this) and knit a second row rather than cutting the yarn and moving it to the other side to do a purl row.

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The pattern makes a huge hat (I knit to pattern gauge) that sits up really high, sort of like Elmer Fudd’s hat. I could never see wearing this hat for anything other than using it as some sort of prop, or trying to win a silly hat contest… Adam is all dressed up in these pictures because they were taken Christmas day and we’re about to go to a dinner party. He wore the hat through most of the party.

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Interesting Construction

I love projects that have interesting construction. Things knit on the bias like the Delancey Cardigan; things folded origami-style to get the finished object like the Baby Surprise Jacket; Things knit sideways like the spread spectrum socks… Coming up with a cool new colorwork or cable pattern is awesome, but coming up with a whole new way to make something is particularly amazing to me. That’s why I loved knitting up the Kinetic Cowl over the past week.

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The pattern is by Amy Polcyn and it’s in the Winter 2010 Interweave Knits.This has a very fun construction. It’s knit in one 116 inch strip and then the strip is seamed together in a big coil to make the cowl. The strip is only 8 stitches wide (and knit on the bias!), so I found that I could knit about a foot while watching a 1-hour TV show. Knitting this was great for working on at Yarnia because it was easy to pick up and put down as customers needed help.

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The yarn is Coos Bay from Yarnia 72% Bamboo/Nylon 28% Wool. The bamboo/nylon has really long color repeats, making it a great choice for this project. My cowl ended up a lot drapier than one pictured because of the bamboo. It makes a nice fall/spring cowl, but it wouldn’t be good for the really cold temps. Also, if you make this pattern, be sure to crochet very very loosely when you do the seams, otherwise you’ll never get it over your head. I thought I was being very loose, but it was still a tight squeeze until I steamed it.

Happy Holidays!

Finally

I finally cast off a project that has been on the needles for almost 18 months last night. I started my Mojo socks (pattern by Donyale Grant) when I fist moved into my apartment in August 2009. I got past the heel (they’re knit toe-up) of the first one and it sat forever. Then I decided to buckle down and finish them in the spring. I made pretty good progress, got through the first sock and most of the way through the second. Then, for no reason, I stopped working on them.

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This is how they sat for almost six months. They’re so close to done! Usually when I get so close to the end of a project I get caught up in cast-off excitement and plow through to the end but not this time. They just sat. Finally, I pulled them out yesterday and knit the last 30-ish rows that were left.

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The yarn I used was Regia Silk 4-Ply, which is 55% wool, 25% nylon, and 20% silk. They’re black so as to be manly and also function as dress socks. The yarn is buttery soft to the touch, but it pills like crazy. It started pilling on the ball just from being taken in and out of my knitting bag. I probably won’t use it again. Most pilling doesn’t bother me, and I’m quite comfortable using my sweater stone, but this was truly excessive.

The bind off on the first sock seemed tight (Ryan was able to get it over his foot but he did comment on its tightness) so I bound off the second one using Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off which is exceptionally stretchy, but that’s why the two cuffs look different. JSSBO has sort of a ruffly look to it… Ryan didn’t seem to notice at all so maybe it’s just something only detectable to the knitterly eye.

Mojo

I made these complete opposites. One toe is knit side out, the other is purl side out. The sock with the knit toe has a purl heel and the one with the purl toe has a knit heel. This means not only can each sock be worn on either foot, they can also be worn inside out. I’m hoping this will make them last longer since the wear will be distributed differently depending on how they are worn.

Happy 5th night of Hanukkah.

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.

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