A Tale of Two Hats

July 23rd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Summer is a great time to do little knitting (or crochet, if your interest bends in that direction) projects that keep you motivated while larger projects are on the needles.  I’ve been working on my Passion Flowers Shawl (Ravelry link) but I’ve had to stall it because the project requires pretty much all of my brain power to do with its complicated charts and lots of repeats. I’m about to start the most difficult part of the pattern with scary-large charts but I WILL DO IT. Eventually…

Here’s what it looked like on June 11 before I did the second section:
passion flowers yah

I will get back to knitting on it. I just can’t make an excuse to sit inside on a sunny evening pouring over complicated lace charts right now.

Nope, simpler projects have been calling me lately. Cue – hats!

Here goes the story:
Once upon a time I made a hat for my boyfriend. He loved it so much, he wore it every day all last winter. He would forget that it was on his head as he walked into the shower (this happened a couple of times). He asked me to make him another hat. I figured, “Heck ya! He loved the last one, so he will love whatever else I knit him.”  Assumptions do what? Oh yah, make an ass of u and me.

I asked D what colours he would like for his new hat. He said “green & blue” but failed to mention exactly which shade of green or blue (or both!) that he would like. So I went off on a search for yarn and came up with this:

Kroy sox yo

I thought that the muted colours would look awesome with his wardrobe but alas, when I showed him the yarn, he was not pleased. So I thought, “Fine, I’ll find another yarn that hopefully he will like.”  Off I went to another LYS to find man-appropriate yarn and came out with some lovely Noro that I thought was mostly green. Here’s the resulting hat:

D's hat

Project Name:  Twisted Reversible Hat
Yarn: Noro Takeuma in colourway 6, dyelot A
Yardage: 128.8 yards for stashdown (huzzah!)
Needles: 4mm 16″ circular + dpns

Then I was left with the Kroy sock yarn and wondering what to do with it. I decided to make the exact same hat but for my friend Carsen, who I have been promising to knit a hat for since last winter. So I did:

LB's hat

I had to mess around with the pattern a little to make it work because I was using fingering weight yarn for this version when the pattern calls for DK weight yarn.

Yarn: Pattons Kroy Socks FX in 1212 colourway
Yardage: 99.6 yards for stashdown (huzzah!)
Needles: 3.5mm dpns

I’ve got another few blogs in the back of my mind, so be prepared for more yarny updates in the near future!

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Festivus – better late than never…

January 30th, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

Every year, my local knitting group – the Terminal City Yarn Wranglers (quite a mouthful) – has a Festivus swap.  Festivus, rather than Christmas, as its not really about religion/holiday, and more about the time of year and spoiling other knitters.  There is something inherently rewarding about knitting for other knitters/crocheters.  Mostly, because they really understand what it takes to plan and execute a project in terms of time, effort, and money.  And, they appreciate what is given! 

I won’t get into a rant here, but I do have a knitter’s Black List for folks that I absolutely will never knit for again for various reasons…

The Yarn Wranglers were a bit late this year getting organized in time for Festivus.  We usually have the swap & dinner at the beginning of December so to avoid the Christmas/holiday season knitting frenzy most of us have to contend with.  Since we were late, we group-decided to have Festivus in January instead.  And so the dinner & swap was set for January 19, 2013.  Here’s monnibo’s Flickr photos from the dinner.

I was super stoked when I learned that my giftee was none other than my knitter pal Shelby (Belb on Ravelry).  I haven’t seen her in quite a long time, but I always enjoyed talking to her as we have similar values and a shared love of travel.  She was unfortunately working the night of the swap & dinner, and so I had to find another time in both our busy schedules to meet up and give her the goodies.  Here’s her gleeful face when I gave her the package yesterday:
Shelby

That picture’s a bit dark, so here’s a better one of the mitts:

vancouver fog mitts

And I also improvised a matching headband (which I am modelling here):

headband

I also gave her: snagless stitch markers, organic dark orange chocolate, Murchies apricot black tea, a card, and the leftover yarn.  I think it was a good package :)

Project notes:
Project name: Vancouver Fog Mitts (external link for everyone! Yay!)
Yarn: SMC (Schachenmayr) Soft Tweed, aran weight, in colourway #71/dyelot #130209 but looks like green tweed to me yo!
Yardage: approx 189 yards used up over all, and points for Shashdown!
Needles: 4mm dpns
Other: I improvised the headband thusly:

  • CO 3 stitches and did an i-cord for approximately 9.5”
  • increased to 5 stitches (K1, M1, K1, M1, K1)
  • purled back with no increases
  • next RS row, increased to 9 stitches following earlier established increase pattern and then repeated the last two rows until I had 20 stitches
  • started ribbing (K1, P2, {K2, P2}* until last stitch, K1) and knit this for another row on WS
  • next RS row, began pattern (K1, P2, cable pattern over 14 stitches as in Vancouver Fog mitts, P2, K1)
  • did 7 (or maybe 8 repeats, can’t remember!) cable repeats, then decreased to match other side and finished with 9.5” of i-cord. Wove in ends.

I gotta say, I’m pretty happy with this package that I put together.  I’m currently still awaiting my package in the mail as the person gifting to me was sick the night of the swap & dinner.  So yah, get well Petra, and I look forward to gifties in my mailbox!

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De-stash/Re-stash

January 24th, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

I was hoping to write a blog post this week about my knitting group’s belated Festivus swap and dinner.  Unfortunately, the person that I was knitting for was unable to come to the dinner and thus, does not have her gift package yet.  I’m still trying to meet up with her so that I can give her her gifts and take photos and blog about the whole shabang.

But not to worry, I’ve got other crafty things on the go to write about instead…

Last Saturday (January 19, 2013), I participated in the Knit Social yarn swap at a local library.  It was an opportunity to go through my yarn stash and get rid of some skeins/balls that have been languishing in my stash for ages, and also trade for other yarns that may interest me more.

The low down: I managed to trade/give away 3,271 yards of yarn!  Success! Which is great as it ensures that I’m well on my way for this year’s Stashdown Challenge (Ravelry link only).  I did, however, have an influx into my stash of 2,684 yards due to trades and also receiving the yarn needed for my next cardigan project.  The balance is -587 yards, which is still positive!  Plus as I use up my yarn in projects, that negative number for stashdown just increases.  So I’m not worried about my level of stash at the moment.

One of the best trades I made on Saturday was a bunch of yarn in exchange for 3  gorgeous braids of Two Sisters Stringworks 100% Colonial wool roving in a fiery colourway that I’ve nicknamed “Firefly.”  Stunning.  The colours transition from a fiery red to a range of oranges to soft apricot.  No idea what I’m going to knit from the yarn that I’ll spin from it, but its a nice change from all the green & blue I seem to knit with…
firefly roving1

And a close up of one of the braids:
firefly roving2

And an obligatory shot of the yarn in process on my spinning wheel:

spin firefly

Nice huh?

Oh, and about that new cardigan project.  Its going to be a green-yellow colour (Knitpicks Wool of the Andes in Green Tea Heather colourway, to be exact) and its going to be a challenge to knit.  I’ve done some research on Ravelry, and this cardigan is not a cakewalk.  There are design elements like lace, darts, applied i-cord, etc that will certainly keep me from getting bored.  It has less stockinette stitching than my previous cardigan project as the lace goes across the entire neckline and shoulders.  Perhaps I should show you what exactly I’m talking about:

Talahm

Only image it in this yarn:
green tea

Yes, I’m aware that its more green, but a red-head has gotta knit with whatever looks good with the hair, yanno?

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Christmas projects recap

January 3rd, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

Now that Christmas is over, its finally safe to me to reveal to the world at large what I made this year for gifts.  As I’m a logical creature, I’m going to present them in the order in which I completed them.  I had to keep photos and information offline while making these items as I didn’t want to spoil the surprise for those who I was gifting.  I don’t have photos of each person wearing the items I made, but I will get them eventually – so I have substituted a dummy model or a chair instead.

First up, a cowl & mitts for my birth mother.  I made her a cowl a few years ago that she absolutely adored, but it got destroyed this year when it fell down in her coat closet and was repeatedly run-over by the sliding mirror door.  Considering it was Malabrigo Sock yarn, I can only imagine the mess it became.  She didn’t send a picture, I think she was too ashamed/dismayed by the demise of this cowl.  This time around, I let her pick out the yarn as I had a specific pattern in mind.  Here she is:

cowl

Project notes:
Pattern name: Gossypium (link is available to all)
Yarn: 99.8 yards of Rowan Felted Tweed Aran in Cassis colour
Needle: 6mm 16″ circular needle
Other: did only 8 repeats of the pattern as Mary wanted something closer to her neck for warmth. And it only took me two days to make this, huzzah!

I made a pair of fingerless mitts to match the cowl (you can sort of see one in the photo above) as I still had 90 yards of the yarn left over and I thought it might be nice for her to have a set.
Pattern name: Sherwood Mitts (Ravelry link only)
Yarn: 85 yards of the same above
Needle: 5mm dpns
Other: only took me 3 days to knit these mitts! Had to learn a new knitting technique call the Vikkel Braid which is from Estonia. Took me a few tries to figure it out, but its really rather cool. Funny thing about this gift, my b-mom had no idea that I made her matching fingerless mitts to go with her cowl.  Only a day or two before Christmas, she was telling me how cold her workplace was, and how she wished that she had some fingerless mitts to keep her warm on the job.  Talk about psychic!

Next up, a hat on demand by my boyfriend D.  He had another hat that he likes but found it sometimes overly warm to wear, and he was specific about how he likes hats to fit his head (I understand specificity very well when it comes to putting stuff on my noggin too).  So I did some searching around Ravelry, and made him this:

turn a square
Project Notes:
Name: Turn-a-Square hat (Ravelry link only)
Yarn: Berroco blackstone tweed (no idea yardage as I forgot to weigh it after the fact) in Ancient Mariner, and Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted Instant Print (try to say that 5 times fast!)  in forest tones (again, no idea about yardage, but it was minimal as this yarn was used for the self-striping portion of the hat).
Needles: 3.75mm & 4mm 16″ circular needles
Other: this hat also only took me 2 days to knit.  Efficient? You bet!

And now for something completely different – a woven project.  I posted about this scarf that I was weaving for D’s mum for Christmas, and now I have something to show for it!
dragonfly sunset scarf
It sure is purdy, eh?  It sure took me a long time to weave as the yarn weft was all lace (or cobweb) weight.  Probably some of my finest weaving work to date.  I didn’t have a pattern per se, I just warped the loom in a way that I thought would showcase the variegation in the weft yarn.  I have no idea how much yarn I used up, as I was busy trying to get this thing done in time for Christmas.

Project Notes:
Craft: weaving – on my Ashford 32″ Rigid Heddle Loom
Warp: 7′ long and 14″ across a 10 dpi (dents per inch) reed.  I alternated 3 double shots of tan coloured rayon yarn with 2 double shots of blue Sweet Georgia Seasilk yarn except for where I pooled the blue yarn in the middle of the warp.
Weft: variegated nylon/cotton ribbon yarn that moved through a muted rainbow colourway.
Other: I hand-twisted all the ends to have a more finished product.  Patti loved it, and I can’t wait to see a photo of her wearing it!

Lastly (are you keeping up ok?) is a hat that I made for D’s dad.  Ron walks his lovely dog daily, and being in Vancouver where its cold and rainy, its important to keep one’s head warm.  But its also important to keep rain off one’s glasses.  In short, no toque would do for Ron.  So when I mentioned the idea to D that I would make a hat for his dad, he said, “Make one with a brim.  He will love it.”  OK.  So I did:
headcoat hat
And man, was this thing tricky!  Knitting toques is really no big deal, but having to knit a toque with a brim was kind of hellish for my poor hands & wrists.  I decided to knit the “body” of the hat first as that was the easy part.  Then I had to figure out how on bob’s green earth to knit the visor casing, let alone attach the thing to that hat.  Here’s a few pics of my process:
visor
Firstly, I cut out a visor from a hat that I bought at the Sally An for $5 (side wank:cannot believe that Dressew doesn’t carry visors for hats.  They have every other bobdamn thing for sale for crafting but NOT visors – WTF?!)
visor casing
Secondly, I had to knit a casing for the visor (which included learning how to, finally, do Judy’s Magic Cast-On for an invisible starting edge – cool stuff I tell ya).
casing done
Then I had to knit the visor casing closed.  This was a challenge and required as many size 3mm dpns that I had laying around.  But the real challenge was yet to come – knitting the visor onto the body of the hat.  I needed a lot of patience and deep breathing to get through this part.  I couldn’t put the knitting down to take a photo, but as I have a completed picture, you can take my word that I survived this process.  It did hurt my hands though; and needless to say, I took a break after all this holiday gift knitting.

Project Notes:
Name: Tempo’s Headcoat (scroll about a quarter-way down the page to download the pattern)
Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Portland Tweed in Hudson Bay colour; 211 yards used.
Needles: 3mm dpns for the band, 3.5mm 16″ circular needs for main construction, and 4mm 24″ circular needles for the brim casing.
Other: I did 7 short rows on the band to give it a more finished look.  I’m very pleased to say that Ron loves his hat and has been wearing it everyday to walk the dog.  This makes me happy knowing that I gave him a gift he could really love and use.

 

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At last, a cardigan

December 17th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

As one of my knitter friends likes to point out, I knit a lot of items for other people (and not just when Christmas rolls around either).  You could chock it up to the fact that I’m not a selfish person by nature, but honestly, I can’t (or don’t always like to) knit for myself all the time.  There’s only so many items you can make for yourself before you realize that no you don’t really need another hat/fingerless mitts/scarf etc  for yourself.  Or maybe its just me that feels that way. Anyway, I finally (finally!) finished a project for myself just last week.  This lovely green cardigan was started back in mid-June and I kept picking it up, putting it down, and picking it up again while I worked on other projects.  I finally gave myself a push a few weeks ago when I convinced myself that I should finish the damn thing and wear it on Christmas Day as its such a lovely green colour.  Well the mental deadline was apparently all I needed, as I finished it faster than I thought! 

Some glamour shots (but please don’t judge my dark under-eye circles, I was crazy tired yesterday):
cardi 1

And another pic, as I do indeed have a head on my body:
cardi 2

And a blocking photo that shows off the colour a bit better than the two photos above:
cardi 3

Project Notes:
Project name: Emelie (Ravelry link only)
Size: 34″ bust, and 13″ length
Yarn: approx 866.3 yards of Knitpicks palette in grass colour
Needles: 2.75 mm circular for all ribbing (borrowed from a nice Raveller), 3.5 mm circular for the body, and 1 x 4.0 mm dpn was revolved through the sleeves to ensure that they would fit well without being too snug (tight knitter, yo)
Buttons: 11 x plastic pearl buttons in a mock abalone finish

I gotta say, I’m pleased as punch with the final outcome. Huzzah!

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Spring forward/Fall back…

October 5th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

Its that time of year again, autumn. Leaves are falling, the sun feels different, the daylight hours match the night-time hours, and the kiddies are back to school. Its also the time when knitters feel compelled to pick up any UFOs (that’s knitter terminology for Un-Finished Objects) to give them another go-around or put new projects on the needles after a hiatus of summer heat. Knitting in summer is often an oxymoron for many knitters as why would one knit with wool/alpaca/mohair when its so hot out that the yarn is sweating? Some knitters find joy in knitting with cotton; I do not. So my knitting has suffered somewhat over the summer with not much else but getting that baby hat done for the Ravellenic Games.

Until now. I’m very pleased to report that I finished up my “Fall Back” socks that I started this summer. They were languishing on the dpns because I had some crankiness with the pattern. This was due to weird stitch counts on the needles at the gusset (and later, fudging the heck out of the toe decreases). Crankiness past, I was determined to move forward on this project. A big push was done this week when I fell ill to a plague (i.e. cold) that was going around my office at work. Luckily, being at home alone without TV meant that my socks got done quickly. And I managed to also spin yarn for almost two hours yesterday. Yay for getting crafts moving forward!

Project details:
name: Fall back socks
pattern: Spring Forward
size: knit to fit – they are quite snug, but I like ’em that way
yarn: Regia Stretch Color in dyelot #14870
yardage: 300.8 yards, and points for stashdown!
needles: 2.25mm dpns

And glamour shots:

fall back

and from the top:

fall back2

Next up, tackling the challenge of finishing up the sleeves on my Emelie cardigan

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